- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2006

Unlike Memphis, Tenn., the Washington area doesn’t need a place like Graceland to attract world leaders such as Japanese Prime Minister and Elvis Presley fanatic Junichiro Koizumi. Nevertheless, our beloved capital city does boast its share of pop-culture-related attractions.

Marvin Gaye Park — The slain Motown singer grew up near Watts Branch Park in Northeast Washington, and in April the city renamed the park as a tribute to a man the community group Washington Parks & People calls the city’s “forgotten son.”

John Philip Sousa’s birth city — Champaign, Ill. — has his museum, but we have his birth home. The maestro of marching music and the nation’s first native musical celebrity was born at 636 G St. SE, just steps away, appropriately enough, from the Navy Yard and Marine Barracks.

U Street — Cultural Tourism D.C. offers a walking tour of the street known as “Black Broadway,” the stomping ground of jazz legends such as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Cab Calloway.

Celebrity Georgetown Walking Tour — In what other city can sightseers gaze at the homes of famous journalists, diplomats and rock stars alike? This tour offers a peek at the residences of folks such as Watergate reporter and Bush administration chronicler Bob Woodward and former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. You’ll also see the “Exorcist” steps, the pad that singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter once called home and, perhaps, glimpse a celebrity in the flesh at the glam eatery Cafe Milano.

Library of Congress — For entertainment tourists inclined toward something more edifying, there’s always this monumental mainstay, which houses the American Folklife Center, among other treasures. In 2003, the library established a national registry of “historically or culturally significant” recordings, and it is in the process of creating the mother of all digital libraries.

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