What the tourist magazines and television reports won't tell you about a visit to the nation's capital.  Washington DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  It's the seat of power for our country.  Some call it Hollywood for ugly people.  However, one cannot ignore its beauty.  There is another side of DC that you should be aware of before you book your family vacation.

If you love America, then you need to visit the district.  The monuments are worth the cost and vacation time.  You'll get a real sense of what you read about during all those years of history classes.   The restaurants are world class and you might run in to your favorite, or not so favorite, politicians.

Then there's the homeless issue.  Washington DC has an enormous problem with homeless people living on the very sidewalks in front of some of its most iconic sites.  You'll have to watch where you step when catching a train or bus to Union Station.  Most of the homeless in DC mind there own business.

However you might be approached by multiple people begging for money.  During a recent trip to Union Station, I was asked by several folks for change or dollars.  The good news is that there's usually police officers nearby to keep you safe.

You'll see a lot of black SUVs.  Yes, just like the ones in the movies and are driven by real life security officers.  It's not unusual to see politicians and media figures getting in and out of there big imposing black vehicles.

Speaking of the media, chances are if you're hanging around Union Station or Capitol Hill, you'll see either several media types doing their live shots.  Today the Supreme Court building was a popular place.  I saw Brit Hume of Fox and Charlie Rangel today.

It's always good to be aware of your surroundings.  This is true in Idaho's Capital or the nation's.  I would suggest contacting your congressman or senator to see about an office visit or to see if they could arrange a tour of a historic landmark.  They love seeing and helping folks from the Gem State.