Ready to get all googly eyed over the United States’ capital? I recently went on a short getaway to the home of the stars and stripes, and left feeling more patriotic than ever. Here’s how I got the most out of my two days in Washington, DC.
When to visit
Spring is the best time to visit Washington, as the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and the weather is pleasantly cool. Fall comes in as a close second, as it typically isn’t as crowded. I visited during summer and it was extremely hot and full of tourists. Avoid June-August at all costs!
While all of the attractions are easily accessible by foot, I recommend getting around the capital on wheels. Capital bikeshare has rental stations situated all around the city, so you can easily rent and return bikes to get around more efficiently. A day pass is just $8. If you’d rather move about the city by car, grab Ubers as opposed to taxis as the rates are usually more reasonable. I didn’t take the bus or metro, but I’ve heard they’re pretty easy to use as well.
What to see
Now on to the reason I visited DC in the first place– The sights! If you only have time for a quick visit like I did, these are the spots I recommend hitting up…
A perfect place to kick off a trip to DC trip is at the Lincoln Memorial. The impressive structure houses the iconic statue of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of his most famous speeches. Again, the only thing that could’ve made my visit better is if it was cooler outside. The monuments tend to trap in the heat!
Outside of the memorial was this glorious freedom display. I’m not exactly sure what it was there for, but it sure made for an irresistible photo op.
Reflecting Pool & Washington Monument
Of course, the stunning reflecting pool (which is situated right outside of the Lincoln memorial) is not to be missed. In my opinion, this is the best place to view the Washington Monument as opposed to up close. If you look on the right side of the pool in the image below, you’ll see the tree covered path that I biked down to get to the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the WWII Memorial! This was one of the highlights of my day by far.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Just south of the Reflecting Pool is this awe-inspiring display of soldiers. I was captivated by their unique expressions and the fluidity of their ponchos, which recall the harsh weather conditions they faced.
World War II Memorial
As the granddaughter of two WWII vets, a visit to this large memorial was a must. The impressive display, made up of 56 columns, serves to honor the 16 million people who served our country. This is also a great place to view the Lincoln Memorial from a distance.
The White House
No trip to DC would be complete without a visit to The White House. I recommend checking out both the front and back entrances, although the best spot for photos is the front entrance as you can get a bit closer.
POV Rooftop Bar
My friend who is a DC local recommended visiting POV for drinks, and it did not disappoint. Located on the top of the W hotel, this trendy rooftop bar wowed me with its spectacular views of the White House and Washington Monument.
This remarkable monument resembles the Pantheon in Rome with its massive marble columns. I didn’t have time, but I really wanted to take a little boat ride around the Tidal Basin to view the structure from a distance. You’ll see what I mean when you visit!
Be sure to make a lap around the Jefferson memorial, as the back is equally as beautiful as the front.
U.S. Capitol Building
So, I know this image isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you think of the U.S. Capitol Building. But hey, at least they’re maintaining it, right? The exterior restoration of the dome is estimated to be completed by early 2016.
You better believe I had my Elle Woods moment outside of the U.S. Supreme Court! After I was finished people watching the protestors outside, I took a free walk through the interior of the building and peaked into the roped off court room. Tours are available, but I enjoyed moseying around on my own. The only way to walk the steps is to enter the building and walk down them on your way out, so you might as well go inside!
This beautiful section of town is the happening place to grab dinner and drinks. Even if you have to wait for a table, you can enjoy a stroll down the beautiful boardwalk to kill time. I met my friend Ely for “cocktail hour” at the Orange Anchor and had a blast mingling with young professionals.
There many highly praised museums in DC. We hit up the Newseum, but it was a little pricey in my opinion. Only visit if you have a group discount or a student ID. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History, however, are free of charge.
What are your tips for visiting Washington, DC? Are you planning a trip there anytime soon? I want to hear from you in the comments!
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