National Geographic Traveler columnist Christopher Elliott recently visited the Washington area with his family. His three-part series, Inside-Out With Kids, explores the D.C. region from different perspectives. Today, on their final stop, they return to the nation’s capital. Read the first and second blog posts in the series.

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What does it mean to be an “insider” in Washington? Money? Power? Access? All of the above.
For our family of five, we would have settled for not having to fight the crowds and seeing a few attractions off the grid. Like the United States National Arboretum, the nation’s garden where you can find every state tree and the forner pillars of the Capitol. No one goes there. Well, compared with the tourist magnets like the Smithsonian and the Capitol, at least.
We stopped by the Arboretum one afternoon and could hardly believe we were still in D.C. The noise of the big city faded as we walked into the forest and toured the property, which including an impressive collection of hollies, magnolias and a Japanese bonsai garden. There were moments, even at the height of tourist season, when we were completely alone.
Now that’s an authentic experience.

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