Washington DC In a Day
I could spend a week in Washington DC and still never see it all. I only got two days there - one in early August and one in November. Both times it blew me away and I still only scratched the surface. For the political nerd in me, it was so exciting to be in DC, often seeing the interns running around in tan chinos and the occasional barricade driving past (my friends swear they saw Michelle Obama and I choose to reject that because I was not there).
But there is something for everyone. Not only are there too many museums to count - and essentially all of them are free - the memorials are incredibly thoughtful and touching.
Also, sidebar: the nightlife was surprisingly good. I shouldn't have been surprised when there are quite a few colleges around - as politics is all about the drinking. I must say, I may have been deluded by the fact that I was accompanied by a forty-piece tour group who knew how to throw down.
1. The famous sights
There's nothing quite like actually entering into the Capitol building, walking up the steps of SCOTUS and taking a picture at the White House. DC is such an iconic setting and it really is as grand and incredible as they say. You are dwarfed by the sheer majesty and size of everything - including the streets that are just huge and every single building just carries on for hundreds of columns long and its just baffling.
1b. The walking. To take it all in, there is no better way than to walk. There are loops on the trolley but everything is quite accessible by foot. it's also just very well thought out so you can walk from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol past the Washington Monument and along all the museums that line the mall. You can be so strategic and yet oddly spontaneous walking around DC. Again, wear comfortable shoes because my blisters only got worse on this day.
2. Tour at night.
A while back, I went with my family to DC in the dead of winter. Now that is NOT the time to do a night tour. DC is an incredibly windy city and at the chill of the night, it is difficult to really enjoy or appreciate the sights. However, many of the memorials are incredibly beautiful in the light of the night and their very thoughtful lighting setups. My particular favourite was the Vietnam War Memorial which was haunting yet beautiful, particularly at night. There is a row of names of the fallen spanning on for miles. The Korean War memorial was much better at night as well.
TIP: Bring a good camera. While all the monuments are beautiful, this is a time when the iphone doesn't do it justice.
Albeit, FDR is my favourite president. But his memorial just puts that above the rest. It's quite far from the main strip of museums and sights but it is well worth the walk. It's a large memorial, with multiple statues and water features of both FDR and his awesome wife, Eleanor Roosevelt. It's filled with quotations, as FDR is so well known for his rhetoric that inspired a nation to embrace the New Deal and reinvigorate the social responsibility that was so needed at the time. It was a beautiful and inspirational place which I truly loved.
4. Capitol Building
The tour - as one could expect - was very limited for a political nerd who really wanted to see the actual chambers. It was still great, with plenty of history about the paintings and information about the general workings of the Capitol. Be sure to try and organise a private tour as a large part of Congressional members jobs is to actually tend to their constituents and they can take you around for free and in more depth if you make a prearranged booking.
I'm really bummed I missed this, but I'm still putting it on the list. This is one museum you actually have to pay for, which in itself is irritating as hell and both times I went to DC, I did not make it there. When every other museum is free, and this is really quite pricey at $20 for admission, I still believe it would've been worth it. There was even an Anchorman exhibition going on.
TIP: Be aware that toilets are not actually very common. Use it when you can in the museums because when you start hitting the memorials, you'll be hard pressed to find a nice place to pee.
Photos all mine. Check out more on instagram @ting1294