Being a Tourist in: Washington, D.C.

I’ve lived about two hours away from Washington D.C. my entire life and, somehow, I’ve only visited a handful of times… and during those times, it’s only been for a few hours!  So, a few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I decided to plan a weekend trip so we could get a better idea of what D.C. has to offer.  Finding activities to fill our three days in the city wasn’t hard at all – there are so many options!  Of course, we knew we wanted to check out the normal museums and monuments along the mall but I also wanted to check out some hidden attractions, such as the Old Post Office and the National Portrait Gallery.

On Friday, we checked into the Hilton Hotel, directly next to Tyson’s Corner in McLean, VA.  When I booked the room, I thought it would be quite a drive to the places we were going each day but, as it turns out, it was only about a 15 minute drive from D.C., Arlington, AND Georgetown.  Wonderful location and beautiful room!  Since we only had a little bit of time on Friday night, we walked around the mall a bit (it’s the second biggest on the East Coast!) and went to dinner.

Saturday was truly the beginning of our Washington adventure!  We headed out quickly, wanting to be able to get food and get exploring while it was still early.  We started off with breakfast at Bread and Chocolate, located at 2301 M Street.  We were quickly seated and the food was delicious!  From there, we booked it to the national mall (long walk, recommend driving or taking a cab) and visited the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, and the Reflection Pool!  I had seen all of these before, but something I didn’t realize is that there’s a little museum-esque room in the bottom of the Lincoln Memorial that gives some history about past presidents and American history.  The picture of Lincoln’s face below is from inside!  It’s an interesting and quick activity for history lovers if you have a few extra minutes!

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The french toast I had at Bread and Chocolate.
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A picture of Lincoln in the space under the memorial.

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After returning to the car and moving it to a parking garage (with one minute to spare on our parking meter!), we checked out the museums along the mall, stopping to eat lunch at one of the cafes in the Museum of Natural History.  We finished up with the Museum of the American Indian, which we didn’t get to spend a lot of time in because we (I) wanted to make it to the Old Post Office before the sun went down.  From the little bit we saw, it seemed like a very modern and cool museum, so I’d love to spend more time there when we visit again!

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The beautiful Old Post Office!

Seeing the Old Post Office was one of my favorite things of the weekend because, up until that point, I had only seen it in pictures.  Besides the construction that was happening around it, it was such a beautiful building and the architecture is just incredible.  So pretty!!

The last location of the day was the National Portrait Gallery.  Neither of us had ever been there before, and, from what we had heard, it was a good spot for twenty-somethings to visit because of the variety of people featured in the various collections.  It ended up being a quick stop, partially because of it’s small size and partially because we had been walking from 10 to 6 so far and our feet hurt tremendously, but it was definitely worth the walk and I really recommend going if you enjoy a modern take on photography and portraiture!

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The walk back to the car after visiting the National Portrait Gallery!

Following our crazy, hectic Saturday, we wanted our last day in the area to be more relaxed, but we also wanted to experience some different places that we hadn’t gotten to the day before.  We headed to Arlington, thinking we would go to Best Buns Bread Company, but the line was long and there weren’t any open seats by the time we got there, so we headed down the road to a little diner, which turned out to be just what we were looking for!

Next, we headed to Gravelly Point.  Gravelly Point is a nice spot to just sit and relax and watch the planes take off from Reagan National Airport.  I didn’t take any pictures while we were there, but the planes take off in front of you and fly right over your head!  It’s a cool little spot to spend a few minutes between other things you have planned.  From there, we headed to Georgetown.  We didn’t realize it was such a big place!  We were imagining a little main street with maybe a couple shops but no!  Definitely do your research before visiting… there’s so many things to see and places to go!  We started off by quickly driving through Georgetown University to look at the beautiful buildings and campus they have.  A lot of it was under construction, but from what we could see, it looked awesome!

Going through all the shops in Georgetown took us a good couple of hours.  There’s a four story Free People, as well as a Warby Parker store (I thought it was only an online company), so if you’re into places like that, Georgetown is definitely for you!  We had such a fun time window shopping and people watching, so it was a great place to round out our trip!  We finished with lunch at Good Stuff Eatery, which is your basic burger and milkshake shop, but the food and the experience was incredible!  We will definitely be going back there for a bite to eat next time we get to Georgetown.

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We passed over a canal in Georgetown on the walk back to the car!

Overall, there was so much more to D.C. than we had originally thought.  It’s a lot bigger and has a lot more going on than your high school field trips lead you to believe!  We had a wonderful weekend and we can’t wait to take another trip and keep exploring sometime soon!

Thank you for reading!!

*All pictures featured in this post were taken by me, Allison Santmyer.