Retro metro D.C.: Exploring the historic capitolPretty much everywhere you look in D.C., you can find something old. Monuments, history museums, America's history—it's like taking a time machine. You have the ancient history, the old history and the '80s nostalgia.
But how do you know it's the real deal? Check out this list of uniquely D.C. places that haven't changed since the day they opened.
Oldest president, oldest monument. The Washington monument was completed in 1884, making it the oldest of all the monuments. The next oldest is the Lincoln memorial, which wasn't built until 1914. To really learn about the ins and outs of this monument, you must go inside. Score tickets through the National Park Service and take an elevator ride to the top to learn all about the history of this piece of history, and to get great views of the city—including all the other old buildings.
An old building of older things
Europe doesn't have the only castles, there's one on the National Mall. The Smithsonian castle was built in 1855. Once upon a time, a canal separated it from the rest of D.C., almost like a moat. Now, however, it's home to the Smithsonian visitor's center. While touring the building, you can see the "America's Treasure Chest" and three centuries of wallpaper—who said history wasn't interesting?
The hotel people are dying to get into
The Washington Hilton, known to locals as the Hinckley Hilton, was built in the 1965. Why do they call it that? Because John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan outside of it in 1981. Now its owned by an investment group that Magic Johnson is a part of, so that's cool too. Its double arched design is very 60s and it stands out against the roman architecture of D.C. and the White House Correspondents dinner is hosted here. Worth a visit to one of the hotel restaurants while sight-seeing in D.C. You never know who you'll run in to.
Soup-a old diner
The original Ben's Chili Bowl opened on U Street in 1958. The restaurant was opened by Ben and Virginia with a $5,000 investment. I've spent basically that much slurping down the timeless chili dogs. Through the years, there have been riots, metro construction, presidential visits and more. It's timeless.
An even older saloon
Old Ebbitt Grill opened in 1856 as a tavern and Washington's first saloon. It has moved locations a few times, but the most recent building has been there since the 83. Back in the day, the animal head décor was provided by Teddy Roosevelt's hunting trips. The newest location still feels reminiscent of the 1800s. And the food is to die for. Get a reservation early so you can make sure to get a table at this still popular spot.
Kirsten Ballard has lived in D.C. for the past two years, she works at a newspaper association and spends her weekends running and eating her way through the city.