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Where to Hail the Chief

Forget the monuments. Here are President Clinton's hangouts

Most visitors to the nation's capital, of course, don't get to say a personal hail to the chief. But your odds improve considerably if you know where the president hangs out. Fortunately, Bill Clinton is more peripatetic than most recent occupants of the Executive Mansion. Here are some spots where you might catch a glimpse of him:

The Morning Constitutional: To be like Bill, you'll have to hit the pavement between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and hoof it at an eight-minute mile. For security reasons, the first runner has to vary his route, but his favorite places to pass are The Mall, the Capitol Building, and Haines Point in Potomac Park.

The Capitol: Except for the State of the Union address every January, the president doesn't regularly come to call on the legislative branch--especially now that the Republicans have taken over. But he does limo up from time to time. The Capitol Building is open and free to tour seven days a week. If you prefer, you can wander about on your own from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call your senator or congressman for tickets to view open sessions of Congress. For tour information, call 202-225-6827.

The Pentagon: In most cases, the generals come to the Oval Office, but when the commander in chief does visit--usually on weekends--he scoots over the Memorial Bridge. Even if the president isn't coming to call, there's no better place to see your tax dollars at work. Hour-long tours are available weekdays. For tour information, call 703-695-1776. A nine-iron shot up the freeway is the Army-Navy Country Club, where the president often goes for a round of golf. Unfortunately, it's members only.

Presidential prayers: The first family often attends 11 a.m. services on Sunday at the Foundry United Methodist Church at 1500 16th Street NW. If, however, they are trying to avoid anti-abortion protesters, they may hit St. John's Episcopal Church at 1525 H St. NW for an earlier service. For their first Christmas in town, the Clintons went to the Washington National Cathedral. Although not a publicly funded building as the name might suggest, this 50-year-old ongoing project is an architectural masterpiece. Gargoyles gracing the walls include the Yuppie and the Crooked Politician. For general information, call 202-364-6616.

Wining and dining: One of the President's favorites is The Bombay Club at 815 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-659-3727, near the White House. Clinton brought German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to Filomena at 1063 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-337-2782 to satisfy their mutual scongili fixation. Galileo's at 1110 21st St. NW, 202-293-7191, found space one evening for the Clintons and actors Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Tim Robbins. Reserve early. For Valentine's Day, the president took the first lady to the ever-popular Red Sage at 604 14th St. NW, 202-638-4444. When Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper double-dated with the First Couple, they first hit RT's at 3804 Mount Vernon Ave. in nearby Alexandria, Va., 703-684-6010. Then they danced the night away at The Birchmere, a great place for live music also in Alexandria, 3901 Mt. Vernon Ave., 703-549-5919.

The White House: Bill Clinton sleeps here--most nights, anyway. The private residence is off limits, but several areas, including the Blue and East rooms, have been completely redone by an Arkansan decorator and are open to the public. Notify your congressman or senator six to eight weeks before you want to visit and you can get reserved tickets for a longer tour, often including a visit to the redecorated Oval Office. For general information, call 202-456-7041.

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Updated on April 5, 1996