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First, DADT gets repealed. Then Obama says he won’t defend DOMA. Now the Library of Congress has added two key documents in the struggle for gay rights to its popular “Creating the United States” exhibit. Sure, they’re already archiving all our breathless tweets about our day-to-gay-day and everything about and by the Beibs, but this is another level. Who’s got Pride? The US Government’s got Pride! Okay okay, overstated, yes. We’ve still got a long way to go for full equality, but an exhibition like this shows just how far we’ve come.
Joining documents on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – framing them as living, breathing instruments to the advancement and evolution of our country – are a 1961 petition to the Supreme Court by pioneering gay rights activist Frank Kameny (pictured left) in which he argued that his firing by the Army’s Map Service was an “affront to human dignity” (sound familiar?) and U.S. Civil Service Chairman John W. Macy, Jr.’s infamous 1966 letter to The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. in which he claimed “revulsion” as grounds for justified LGBT discrimination in the Civil Service, a key piece of evidence in the 2010 case against Proposition 8. Seen by more than 1.5 million people since it opened three years ago, this exhibit is no small potatoes.
Looking for a getaway with the family? Try an Affinia Hotel in New York City, Chicago or Washington, D.C. where you can book the My Family Getaway Package starting at just $189 per night! This package includes a backpack filled with a Frommer’s guide book for kids (Chicago, NYC & DC versions), a deck of 52 city adventure cards, a kid’s digital camera and a scrapbook with city stickers to remember the memories. At the hotel you have access to a “Fun-For-Family” chest including board games, family DVD’s, arts and crafts kits and books to use during your stay. There are 7 hotels (5 in New York, 1 in Chicago, and 1 in Washington, D.C.) which offer this getaway package. The lead price of $189 is only available in Washington, D.C. and all the other locations are available starting at $10 more.
THE VALUE: Other hotels during the summer in Washington, D.C. can start at $210/night and don’t include the activity backpack (which is a $50 value). With this package, you can save your family around 25% on the cost of activities and accommodations.
THE DETAILS: Click here to view all the locations and prices on the Affinia Hotels webpage!
WE’VE GOT MORE: Need a flight to New York, Chicago, or Washington, D.C.? Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the best rates!
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Herald the beginning of spring in Washington, D.C. at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Right now, The Normandy Hotel is offering 20% off the best available rate during the festival; that can be as low as $135 per night! Located in the heart of the city, The Normandy Hotel is the ideal spot from which to explore the historical sights of the nation’s capital and enjoy all the free events and performances of the festival.
THE VALUE: The Cherry Blossom Festival runs for two whole weeks from March 26–April 10 and admission is free of charge! The festival includes events such as cultural performances, live music concerts, art shows, fireworks, a parade and more!
THE CATCH: Rates are based on a two-night minimum stay.
THE DETAILS: To book, visit The Normandy Hotel and enter the promotional code: CHERRY.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights to Washington, D.C.
Check out our Washington, D.C. Travel Guide and find out what else you can do while at the capital!
Almost as fast as you can say sesquicentennial, April 12 will be here. The date will mark 150 years since Confederate soldiers fired on Union ones at Fort Sumpter in Charleston, South Carolina, effectively beginning the Civil War. And even if you don’t have Civil War buffs in your midst, there is something about this anniversary and the pageantry surrounding it that could translate to a nice learning vacation this spring.
Many celebrations will be planned around battlefields, and “they’re all over the east,” observes Lonely Planet U.S. travel editor Robert Reid, and “battlefields from Charleston to Bull’s Run are planning particularly ambitious events.”
One of the sometimes humorous ironies of my being a longtime travel writer is that I have a lousy sense of direction. So I was delighted to discover two Decembers ago that the walk from the King Street Metro stop in Old Town Alexandria is a straight 2 ½ mile shot along King, ending at the Potomac River – at which point even I knew to stop walking.
As I strolled King and took in the holiday decorations and cute boutiques and restaurants of this one-time colonial port I vowed to return, as any town with this manageable and idiot-proof a walk would be suitable for my family. And while I won’t be heading to Old Town this month, here’s an idea: you and your family go for me on New Year’s Eve. Read more
Air France has announced that starting June 6, Washington, D.C., will serve as the second U.S. gateway for its A380 jumbo jets, with daily service to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. The U.S. capital is one of only three North American destinations for the A380, which also operates to New York’s JFK and Montreal (as well as to Johannesburg and Tokyo, worldwide). The double-decker jumbo jet can tout as many as 538 passengers, and is one of the world’s most energy-efficient aircrafts – as well as the quietest in its class. High-season summer rates will begin at $1,550 round-trip, including taxes.
On December 15, Megabus will expand its service to and from Washington, D.C., and to celebrate they’re giving away 10,000 seats for free! The free seats are available now with the promo code ILUVDC for use between the nation’s capital and all 10 new routes, which include Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Hampton, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Toronto, Canada. These free rides are valid between December 15 and January15, 2011, but are subject to availability on select dates and routes. But even as the free seats are filled, many routes during this period are still selling for as little as $1 each way!
THE VALUE: Competitors rates on many of the same routes can start as high as $66 each way!
THE CATCH: Free seats are not available on the old routes to and from D.C. which include Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and New York, N.Y.
THE DETAILS: To book your free seat, visit www.megabus.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the perfect hotel during your vacation.
Read our Washington, D.C. Travel Guide to find out about all the best attractions.
With the sparkle and crack of July 4th on the horizon, there’s no better time to consider a trip to the nation’s capital. Sure, it can get swampy, but with scads of mostly free air-conditioned museums to peruse by day (Dorothy’s ruby slippers at The Smithsonian are always a treat; the Newseum is a media hound’s delight), and a revived gay nightlife that’s been getting national attention, plus legal same-sex marriages, it’s coming up hot on our list of must-visit destinations.
From now till September 6, stay in the heart of Washington’s gay district at The Dupont Hotel and save 20 percent off its best available rates ($179–$329) on all rooms, including the fifteen luxurious Level Nine studios and suites (think hotel-within-a-hotel: upgraded amenities, dedicated concierge, chef and cityscape views). A recent $52 million facelift keeps it chic throughout the cosmopolitan property with a mod, masculine design, Frette linens, floor-heated marble bathrooms, and hotel-wide free Wi-Fi. And as the only property directly on leafy, historic Dupont Circle, you’re mere steps from the good gay action. Book now at www.doylecollection.com/dupont using code “SUMMER”. Offer ends midnight May 19. Blackout dates July 10-15 apply.
Although not eligible to be combined with the summer promotion, as an IGLTA member, The Dupont Hotel gives it good to the gays with two same-sex wedding packages available through December 31. Click here for details.
For summer events with a more queer bent, check out any of the highlights below. Read more
You’ve always envied those people: the ones who can hop a pesky handrail with agonizing ease, while you and the rest of the sheep crowd down the stairs. Now, thanks to the exploding popularity of a physical pursuit called parkour, there’s no reason to continue to seethe amidst the flock. Enthusiasts of parkour, which is also known as PK or freerunning, can explore a city in a whole new way: by vaulting, leaping, jumping and somersaulting through it.
In fact, one expert is making a cross-continental journey using parkour. Starting April 17, Johnny “Sticky” Budden of Nottingham is hoping to become the first person to travel parkour-style 1,000 miles from Scotland to Paris, where parkour was born. In keeping with the objective to move from point to point in the most efficient way, Budden will attempt to cover upwards of 26 miles a day, scaling or jumping over any buildings and obstacles he encounters (find out more about his journey, which he’s using to raise money for a charity, at StickyParkour.com). Read more
In 2007, Paris launched a program that’s changing transport in some major metropolises: Velib. The remarkable public bike rental system, whose name is a combination of the French words for bike and freedom, has been a rolling success, with Parisians and tourists racking up millions of trips every year, less car traffic and exhaust fumes – not to mention an increased harmony between cyclists and motorists. Velib has worked so well that it’s being used as a model for cities across the globe – many of them in Europe, with its ingrained cycling culture. But American cities are starting to roll out programs of their own: San Francisco, Houston, Portland and Boulder have all been named as cities that are considering such programs or are in active negotiations. See how Velib works after the jump
Here, our picks for cosmopolitan spots – Stateside and beyond – where you can swipe your card, grab a bike, and get pedaling:
Denver: Visitors in the Mile High City can start logging their own miles via bike, thanks to the newly announced B-Cycle program. Like Paris’s Velib, B-Cycle will operate via solar-powered, self-contained stations. The program kicks off with 500 bikes but only runs through November. Annual memberships run at $65 ($40 for students) or pay per use with credit cards right at the station.
Lyon, France: The company behind Velib created another bike lover’s paradise in this scenic French city with Velo’v. Commuters can rent comfy, sturdy bikes from 340 stations all over the city, which are equipped with kiosks that accept all international bank cards.
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