Day trip to DC
we are planning a trip to DC on Fri. April 9th. We plan to spend the day around the Smithsonian. Any suggestions for a very good "American" cuisine restaurant, we really aren't all that interested in "tourist traps". All so, important, where is the closest sensible parking near the Smithsonian. Look forward to all suggestions.
Mitsitam in the American Indian Musuem is pretty much as "American" as American gets. There are really no good restaurants on the Mall.
The best parking is at the Metro station closest to whichever direction you're coming from. Parking in DC is horrendously expensive, traffic sucks and you never know when the street you need to take will be commandeered by protesters. If you're metroing, you can also get off the Mall and find good places to eat without having to move and repark your car.
You might try the cafeteria in the Congressional Office Building. While it is not next to the Smithsonian, you would be next to people running (sort of) the country.
I would see if you can get into Central. While there is a French chef, I think burgers, fried chicken, pasta and meatballs and many of the other options are as American as can be. Done wonderfully.
You could also try Zola or 701.
For parking- sometimes you get very lucky and can grab street parking if you circle a little bit, but if not there are garages in Chinatown/Penn Quarter (vicinity of 9th and Fst) although costly, not as annoying as finding a place if there are none. Of course then the walk back to the parking is uphill, but not too bad.
We should mention that people forget exactly how big the Mall is - if you were at the Lincoln Memorial and wanted to walk to Central, it's 1.5 miles. Just something to keep in mind when you plan your day.
Central is really really good though, and depending on how tired your feet are, totally worth the walk.