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Bruce Springsteen (Photo Courtesy of Andrew H. Walker/ Getty Images)

Thousands of people are expected to converge on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the Concert for Valor to honor veterans, active-duty service members and their families. The event — scheduled to start at 7 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 11 — is free to the public. Concertgoers can snag a spot on the National Mall when it opens at 10 a.m. Televised live on HBO, the concert will feature big-name musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood, Eminem, Jennifer Hudson, Dave Grohl, Rihanna and the Black Keys.

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An overhead view of the atrium in Rose’s Luxury. (Photo by Kathleen Rellihan)

Where’s the best new restaurant in America? The answer might surprise you. It’s not in New York or San Francisco, 2 cities that boast award-winning restaurants on every block and attract flocks of foodies on pilgrimages. In its annual list, Bon Appétit magazine recently named Rose’s Luxury, an eclectic restaurant in Washington, DC, that mixes Southern hospitality with playful dishes, the Best New Restaurant in America. In the past, Washington might have been more associated with power lunches than a powerful restaurant scene, but with the bragging rights it has earned now, it might inspire a few foodie pilgrimages of its own.

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Fort McHenry

Photography By National Park Service

As Francis Scott Key watched the smoke clear and the sun rise above Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after witnessing its bombardment by British naval ships during the final months of the War of 1812, he had every expectation of seeing a white flag of surrender. To his surprise, he saw the tattered, but still flying, remains of an oversized American flag that had been commissioned just months earlier by the fort’s commander Major George Armistead.

Key was so moved by the by sight of the flag and by the Americans’ protection of their fort that he penned the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” That poem, eventually set to music and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” became the national anthem of the United States of America. READ MORE

Photo Courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of locals and visitors — from as far as China — converged on Washington, DC, to be the first to take a tour of the newly-reopened Washington Monument. The National Park Service closed the 130-year-old monument for almost 3 years to make repairs after damage caused by a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast on August 23, 2011. Since then, the historic site has been closed to the public.
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Want to meet Travel Channel’s hosts and get inspiration for your next vacation? Come to the Washington, DC Travel and Adventure Show this weekend to see Samantha Brown, Don Wildman and Todd Carmichael talk travel.

On Feb. 22 and 23, get advice from veteran travel experts, climb a rock wall, get a taste of world cuisines, and sign up for trip giveaways all under one roof at the Washington DC Convention Center.

Travel Channel is the official TV media sponsor for the annual Travel and Adventure Show, the nation’s largest and leading series of travel shows. Don’t miss some of your favorite hosts at the Travel and Adventure Show this weekend:

Who: Samantha Brown
What: “How to Travel Better” Seminar + Autograph Signing
When: Saturday 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Sunday 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Who: Don Wildman
What:  Host Mysteries at the Museum Talk
When: Saturday 2:45 – 3:30 p.m., Sunday 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.

Who: Todd Carmichael
What:  Coffee Importer, Adventurer and Host of Dangerous Grounds Talk
When:  Saturday 12:15 – 1 p.m.

It’s not too late, buy your tickets now and find your next vacation, and maybe even win one, too!

 

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Enter to Win a $100,000 Trip
Dangerous Grounds Tues @ 9|8c
Mysteries at the Museum Thurs @ 9|8c
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The White House

Photo by Thinkstock

Chances are if you’re reading this post you spent a good part of your long weekend binge-watching House of Cards Season 2. Those of you who have been sucked into Netflix’s Emmy-award-winning political thriller know the simple truth: It’s the Underwoods’ world and we’re just living in it.

Location manager Patrick Burn did a wonderful job of capturing Washington’s well-known landmarks and neighborhoods, while shooting almost exclusively in nearby Baltimore due to its tax incentives. He told Variety, “I scouted all over DC to see what we needed, and then we created our own DC in Baltimore.”

In fact, the viewers’ only glimpse of the real DC is mostly relegated to the show’s opening sequence, which features the White House as well as North Capitol Street and Nationals Park. Ironically, when Frank Underwood takes the mound it’s at the Baltimore Orioles’ Camden Yards. Wait – you haven’t watched that far yet? We promise no more “spoilers.”

Since all of this drama and deception takes place in Travel Channel’s own backyard, we couldn’t help but wonder which real destinations could have inspired the DC you see in House of Cards.

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Photography by Elizabeth Fraser

Where can you find the rare and exotic coffee that Dangerous Grounds host Todd Carmichael travels the world to find? At the coffee sourcer’s La Colombe cafés –  in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Seoul and the most recently opened Washington, DC, location. To the happiness of coffee lovers in our nation’s capital, a La Colombe outpost opened this weekend in the revitalized Shaw neighborhood. We couldn’t be more excited for our coffee hunter to open a new café – especially one so close to Travel Channel headquarters, too.

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Courtesy of Ballpark Boathouse

A week into the government shutdown, tourists and furloughed employees alike in Washington, DC, are asking, “What do we do now?” While we don’t have the answers for when the shutdown will end or what’s going to be the state of our country after, we do have some ideas to take our mind off the shutdown while it’s happening.

So for those who find yourself in DC with some time on your hands, here are a few things to do:

Churchkey

Enjoy Happy Hour … All Day Long
Drink your debt-ceiling worries away at the numerous bars and restaurants in the district that are offering shutdown specials. Nothing like a little comfort food or cocktails to ease stress and put a smile on your face. Check out Washington Post’s growing list of places to eat and drink for less during the shutdown.

See DC From the Water
Tourists and locals should take a chance to see the city from another angle  — from the water.  Ballpark Boathouse, the only public boat rental open during the shutdown, is extending their kayak rental season by staying open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as long as the government shutdown continues (and until the water temperature hits 55 degrees).

Photo by Kathleen Rellihan

Check Out Other Neighborhoods
Tourists might normally stick to the Mall and downtown, but the shutdown of the National Monuments is the perfect excuse to see less tourist-trodden territory. Escape downtown and head to the eclectic U Street neighborhood for a taste of African-American history, indie shopping and inventive restaurants. And on Saturdays, you can check out the new District Flea for some wallet-friendly shopping.

Take Up a New Hobby
Out of work? Put those idle hands to use by learning a new craft. Fibre Space in Old Town, Alexandria, is offering free knitting lessons for federal workers on any day the government is closed. Or perhaps you have always wanted to try yoga, but didn’t have the time. STROGA yoga studio in DC is offering free noon classes to those with a government ID.

Get Snap Happy Outside of DC
While there might not be any photo snapping of national monuments for the time being, tourists and locals can see a different side of the area by taking a photo safari outside of the city. Shoot the barns and bridges in nearby Frederick, MD, or capture the morning light in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, just an hour’s drive away. Or head out on a leaf-peeping adventure outside DC now that fall foliage is starting to peak in the area.

No matter where you are in the US, don’t let the government shut down your vacation.  Here are travel alternatives outside DC during the shutdown.

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Courtesy of Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Two Sumatran tiger cubs were born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, on Monday evening.  Not only are these cubs the cutest new zoo babies around, but they are also a huge conservation success for the zoo, since Sumatran tigers are critically endangered – there are only 400-500 left in the wild.

Don’t run to the National Zoo just yet to see the lil’ cubs. The zoo is giving the first-time mother – 4-year-old Sumatran tiger Damai — time to bond and care for her little ones, so the cubs will most likely not be on exhibit until the fall.

In the meantime, you can watch the newborn tigers grow (they haven’t even opened their eyes yet) on the zoo’s live webcams. And their dad, 12-year-old Sumatran tiger Kavi is holding down the den as usual at the Great Cats exhibit.

“It’s taken more than 2 years of perseverance getting to know Damai and Kavi and letting them get to know each other so that we could reach this celebratory moment,” Great Cats curator Craig Saffoe said in a release.

“All I can do is smile because the team has realized our goal of producing critically endangered tiger cubs. Damai came to us as a young tiger herself, so it’s really special to see her become a great mom.”

In addition to these rare cubs, there are only 65 Sumatran tigers living in accredited zoos in North America.

Check out more photos and videos of the tiger cubs here. And take a look at our roundups of adorable animal newborns: zoo babies, aqua babies, safari babies and snow babies.

 

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Cherry Blossoms

Finally! The first day of spring is here, and the growing sunshine and warmer weather are bound to inspire travel ideas in you. If those plans include a trip to Washington, DC, for the 101st annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, though, you may have to adjust your calendar ever so slightly: The National Park Service reports that the peak bloom time for the blossoms has been recalculated — it’s now April 3-6. (An earlier projection had called for March 26-30; the reason for the date push-back is the recent cold snap that hit the nation’s capital). To make sure you do not miss the peak bloom, the National Park Service has set up a live web cam of the Tidal Basin.

Along with cherry blossoms, be sure to check out DC’s other top attractions:

Don’t want to wait that long to see cherry blossoms in bloom? Then head on over the Japan! What’s late here is early there — in fact, this year cherry blossoms in Japan have peaked at their earliest time ever: CNN reports that the Japan Meteorological Agency announced the beginning of cherry blossom, or “sakura,” season over the past weekend.

For more cherry blossom travel ideas, check out our recent roundup of cherry blossom festivals across America — and fun fact: The Garden State actually has more cherry blossoms than Washington, DC! So you may want to add New Jersey’s Branch Brook Park to your cherry blossom viewing list!

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