I’ve now experienced 4th of July in DC! I think the only thing more impressive than the fireworks was the number of people who filled the national mall (and then flooded the metro afterward). Corwin and I decided to head downtown early to check out a few of the museums before watching the fireworks, although we only had time for a couple.
On our way to the first museum, we walked through Chinatown.
We passed by Chinatown Express, whose delicious authentic Chinese food a friend introduced us to last winter. I love that you can see them making the noodles in the front window!
National Building Museum
Our first museum of the day was the National Building Museum, which had an exhibit about the origin of the parking garage that I’ve been wanting to see since February. It was perfect timing because the exhibit actually ended the following weekend!
Now, I realize an exhibit about parking garages might not sound that interesting, but I thought it was fascinating! It discusses how the invention of the car created the need for places to store the car while still keeping it accessible, and how people grew more creative and more efficient in their methods of doing so. Did you know that until internal ramps in parking garages were designed, many of the earliest parking garages actually used grain elevators to move the cars between floors in order to save space?
Next we walked to the National Gallery, where we spent a few hours exploring and still did not manage to cover the entire museum.
I’m amazed to think that the Austin Museum of Art would be equivalent to just one room in the entire National Gallery, and the Blanton to just one collection! Fortunately it’s free to visit, so I can take as many visits as I need to see everything. I’ve visited large museums before, but it’s exciting to realize I live in a city with a collection of enormous, excellent quality museums that will take me months to explore, and most of them are free!
On our way to claim a spot to watch the fireworks, we ran across a Hare Krishna festival on the national mall serving free food to a large crowd of people passing by. Interested in trying something new, we gave it a try. It was delicious!
The plate included a pasta salad, a salad, a dessert that tasted like chocolate and peanut butter, and something that looked like yellow rice krispies with raisins and cashews mixed in.
Finally, we watched the fireworks! They were amazing. That’s all I can say. Well worth the walk past two packed metro stops afterward just to find a station where we could get inside to catch the metro home. Here are a few pics, although unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture of the crowds of people waiting to enter the metro station.