The Washington DC Temple is a very special, symbolic temple. It's quite different from other temples. There are many unique features. It's a six-spire temple with the tallest gold spire rising to 288-feet, which makes it the tallest LDS temple. The spires are all different heights. The six spires are thought to represent the Melchizedek (eastern spires) and Aaronic Preisthoods (western spires). The tallest spire features an angel Moroni statue holding gold plates. The uncommon statue is only featured on four other temples. The Los Angeles California, Jordan River Utah, Seattle Washington and Mexico City Mexico Temples. Built in 1974, the design is similar to the Salt Lake City temple. The white Alabama marble on the exterior was thoughtfully carved to allow sunlight to penetrate into the interior of the temple giving off a soft glow. The white marble as well as the white glass in the stained glass windows represent purity and enlightenment. The doors of this temple are beautifully designed showing off eight bronze medallions. They medallions feature a planet, the world, the moon, stars, the big dipper & north star, the sun, concentric circles and concentric pentagons. The circles represent eternity. The pentagons represent the seven dispensations. The other symbols represent creation, mortality and the degrees of glory. The building can look different during the day depending on the severity of sunlight. Even the gold-spires have been known to look black from a distance in dim light. There is a large visitor's center onsite with informative exhibits highlighting a replica Christus statue. A reflection pond is located near the visitor's center, where a blurred temple edifice sparkles in the water making an impressive photo.
Kensington and DC are very prominent areas rich in history with a diverse range of members. The city has long been known for it's African American population and transient congregations. Many have been drawn to the area to work in political and government arenas. It may not be surprising that the LDS population is very active and prevalent in many political platforms. This area, the capital city of the US, is centered around government. The dizzying array of free museums, monuments and National Mall took years of planning and building to establish. There are so many worthwhile activities and adventures to experience in Washington DC. World-class museums are prevalent as well as numberless memorials and monuments dedicated to brave men and women throughout our countries history. The Smithsonian museums and particularly the National Air & Space Museum are fascinating. The National Monuments & Memorials are magnificent not only for the architecture themselves, but for what they represent. The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Einsenhower Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorials are all well earned and symbolic of the great men that once led this country. The war memorials and monuments are some of the most poignant and moving you'll see. This is where it all happens - government that is. See the U.S. Capitol Building, the U.S. Supreme Court and the White House all in person. These are all things you'll probably want to see on your first visit. If you're looking for something a little bit more off the beaten path, but most certainly not unknown, the National Gallery of Art is one of the best museums in the U.S. Rock Creek Park is a great park to take a short nature hike, see wildlife or go on a ranger-led planetarium tour. The United States Botanic Garden is near the Capitol Building. A nice place to visit to see some exotic and endangered plant species. The National Postal Museum takes you on a journey through horseless wagons, the Pony Express, trains, motor vehicles and even air mail to tell the story of the post office. Head up the elevator at the Old Post Office Pavilion to get a somewhat obstructed view of the city. A good alternative to the Washington Monument if you're not able to get tickets for an aerial view. Gravelly Point Park gives you a good grassy area to view planes taking off and landing only 400 feet from you at Ronald Reagan National Airport.
If you visit in the summer, you'll most likely be struck by the heat and humidity and will welcome the chance to sit down, relax, get a bite to eat and give your brain a rest. Kefa Cafe is a special treat with luscious gelato. Shake Shack also gives you a chance to cool down with their famous shakes and concretes along with fabulous burgers. Stop in to Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe (American Indian Museum) if you're in the Smithsonian museum area for native cuisine ranging from bison to catfish. The Indian fry bread is a must. K Town Bistro is one of the best restaurants in Kensington (near the temple). A casual bistro with a fancy menu. Mandalay Restaurant & Cafe let's you enjoy Burmese cuisine in the casual-friendly family environment. Oyamel offers Mexican cuisine with a modern twist in a tapas-style restaurant. If you'd like less upscale Mexican (but no less tasty), visit District Taco to see just how far they've come since their food truck days. Bub & Pop's is a celebration of sandwiches. Everything from Brisket Po' Boys to Bulgarian Feta Veggie sandwiches. Old Ebbitt Grill is in a historic building decorated with antiques that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Items like Cherry Blossom French Toast, Baked Maine Cod and Cannelloni di Casa pasta. Something for everyone.