Washington DC: The Seat of Power

The National Mall, Washington DC, USA
The National Mall, Washington DC, USA

Washington DC is one of the most iconic places to visit in the United States. For a  country that is considered to be fairly new, this destination had it’s fair share of historical events, and is still continuing to make history. Here’s a brief guide of the US Capital.

Getting there: Washington Dulles (IAD) is a a hub airport and has flights from multiple international and domestic carriers. From the airport, you can take a bus to connect to some of the Metro stops downtown, however a Metro stop is expected to open in 2018. For domestic flights, your best bet is Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), which is just across the street form a metro station, very convenient  to downtown.

Getting acquainted: The place where you’d spend the most time sightseeing during your trip is at the National Mall. If you plan to stay at a hotel there, expect to pay more, though.

The Washington Monument at Dusk

The Washington Monument at Dusk

Things to do: First off, expect to do a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes. The Metro can take you to your destination, but most of the tourist spots can be a few minutes walk away from the stop. If all else fails, take a taxi, but this option could be pricey.

1) Stroll around the National Mall – For you to get a perspective on how big this place is, the distance from the US Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is 3 KM (1.9 miles). Between those two attractions, expect to see the following in between: The Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Museums (Air & Space, Natural History, and the Castle are the well-known ones).

Apart from the Museums, you can see the following memorials: World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Lincoln & the Reflecting Pool, and the Washington Monument. To get tickets to the Washington Monument, it is highly recommended that you reserve them online at recreation.gov;

Tip: If you don’t reserve the Washington Monument ticket online, you may queue up for hours just to get up the monument. You will pay a service fee for your reservation but tickets are free!

2) Shop and eat around Dupont Circle – It is one of the more high end neighborhoods in DC, but there is such a diverse selection of food and shopping around the area, mostly local. Some reasonably priced hotels are in this area.

3) Capitol Hill – they offer free tours. Just be wary when you go in – they don’t allow food or drink inside the Capitol! If you didn’t book a tour online, you can go in and try your luck for wait list tickets. It is worth the trip as it gives you an insight on how the US Capitol works.

4) The Tidal Basin – Go paddleboating in the Basin or walk around. You’ll see the memorials to Jefferson, MLK, and Reagan, among others. It is a nice place to relax or just sit down and rest your tired feet. This is almost beside the National Monument.

5) Arlington National Cemetery – best to do a guided tour so you can see the more notable figures that are buried there. From the highest point in the cemetery, you can see the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall. This place is just across the bridge from Lincoln Memorial but is in a different state altogether (Virginia).

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill

Those are some of the most famous things to do in DC, but there’s a lot of other attractions. A week is not enough to discover this place! You can go to the Smithsonian Zoo in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, cross over to Maryland or Virginia, or opt to walk around and see the embassies along Embassy Row. This place is good for everyone.

Oh, and not to forget Food – this is the food truck capital of America! You can go around and eat your way around the world and not pay too much for your food & drink. You can find some of them parked by the National Mall and you can eat a picnic under the trees.

If you find the food truck selling ice cream sundaes, then do buy one! Forgot the name but it’s one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had!

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