24 Hours in Washington DC

I’ve walked the streets of London, climbed the Eiffel Tower, and tried Belgian chocolate from the shops of Bruges, but I never visited the capital of the United States – Washington D.C. – until now.

The opportunity for a quick visit arose when we decided to road trip it down to Virginia to see my sister graduate from A.I.T army training, and I was determined to see D.C. while the chance was within reach.

But I learned a lot about the capital city that I didn’t know before. Basically, you have to see it to understand just how huge and overwhelming it is. But I loved it.

We were short on time, but here’s what I saw in the two days I visited Washington D.C., and what you should consider seeing on your trip there, too.

20604295_1846727082020964_5092231258465505189_n
The view from The Washington Monument on the National Mall

The National Mall

The first stop most tourists make to the city is the National Mall. It’s sprawling, confusing, and in the on-season, crammed with tourists. But it’s so entirely worth seeing. A visit to “America’s front yard” is free to the public (like most, if not all, of the monuments and museums are in D.C.), and you’re greeted with a full view of incredible American architecture and history. Centered within the National Mall is the Washington Monument (you can’t miss it!) and it’s anchored by the Lincoln Memorial on one site, and the U.S. Capitol on the other. Use the L’Enfant Plaza metro stop to begin here!

20597236_1846727055354300_7657936136782134065_n
The White House

The White House

While strolling the National Mall, be sure to stop by the house everyone knows. The residency of the U.S. President, it’s an iconic historical landmark that you absolutely cannot miss. Just be mindful of the secret service patrolling the area, and do not cross any barriers blocking you from the yard. But definitely snap some photos! And if you’re feeling thirsty at this point in your journey, I recommend spending a dollar for a water with one of the non-official vendors (it’s much more affordable).

20526124_1846724475354558_2976498438354044042_n
The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument

You seriously cannot miss this massive obelisk, even if you tried to! Although the interior of the monument, as I discovered, is closed until 2019, I was still awe-struck by the sheer size of it. Make sure to head up on top of the hill and take some great pictures!

20526233_1846725388687800_2894703326380403104_n
Inside the Ocean gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian Museum(s)

The Smithsonian, as you most likely know, is all-encompassing. Spanning several buildings, the two most well-known are the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Museum of American History. But there are also the Air and Space Museums, the African American History Museum, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum. You can spend days checking them out – but on a short schedule, I was only able to choose one. I opted to visit the Natural History Museum (near the National Archives), first exploring the flowering yard outside, before checking out the galleries on the interior. You have the be sure to check out The Hope Diamond, the giant squid, and the Don Pedro Aquamarine, if nothing else! But I guarantee that you’ll be slack-jawed at this incredibly impressive collection of artifacts.

20604220_1846727165354289_8957268167437636014_n
The Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Monument from the World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial

Directly before the Abraham Lincoln Memorial and at the end of the iconic Reflecting Pool, this is an impressive tribute to the 2nd World War. 56 granite columns surround the “Atlantic” and “Pacific,” representing the unity of the states during the time of crisis, and highlights the gorgeous water features on the interior. Be sure to stop by this monument and reflect upon those who lost their lives during that great war.

20597370_1846724558687883_4023721464646329211_n
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial

Abe is by far my favorite president, so I had to visit the Lincoln Memorial. But be warned: The Reflecting Pool is a much longer walk than it seems! From the columns outside to the impressive 19-foot statue of the president seated inside, it was a perfectly fitting monument to a great president. Inscribed within are inscriptions of Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address and, of course, The Gettysburg Address. The tourists are numerous, so make sure to grab some good pictures when you can. And definitely check out the stunning views of the Reflecting Pool from the top!

20525217_1846724748687864_2560929358377941961_n
Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

In the Potomac Park on the right side of the memorial sits the Korean War Veterans Memorial. This is a place teeming with veterans on pilgrimage to visit and respect their fallen comrads, so please make sure to remain respectful! The statues in the center of the triangle represent a patrolling platoon – a striking visual to honor the soldiers who died fighting in that war.

The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial

On the other side of the Potomac Park (cross back in front of the Lincoln Memorial and follow the signs) you will find the Vietnam Memorial. Like the Korean War Memorial, this site is filled with the families, friends, and fellow soldiers of the fallen – leaving wreaths and taking pictures next to the names that line the black reflective wall. Definitely be sure to visit this well-known site, and pay your respects to the fallen of the Vietnam War.

Some sites I didn’t get to see include:

  • Arlington National Cemetery
  • The US Capitol (up close)
  • Georgetown
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • Martin Luther King, JR. Memorial
  • Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial
  • Vietnam Women’s Memorial
  • Marine Corps War Memorial
  • Pentagon Memorial

All in all, I would most definitely go back to finish exploring that incredible city, and I highly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance!

Check out the official Washington D.C. travel website HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s