One of my favorite trips I have ever been on was our simple weekend in Washington DC. What brought us to the East Coast was a wedding in Baltimore. To make the most of our time over there, we explored DC.
We stayed at The Henley Park Hotel, which was full of historic charm. The decor made you feel as though you were stepping back in time. It was conveniently located between the National Mall and Union Station.
Our morning began in Capitol Hill. We went to the Eastern Market for breakfast and walked around the precious town. Capitol Hill was so charming! The cherry blossoms and daffodils were in full bloom!
The first big stop of the day was the Supreme Court. From here we went to the National Archives. Here you will find the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Next up was the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. This was a MUST for me because Dorothy’s ruby red slippers were temporarily housed here. Additionally, the original American Flag is here. We then walked and took photos with the Washington Monument. It is possible to take a tour to the top of the tower. We did not do this, but heard it is incredible. We then continued towards the White House. We were unable to get private tours here but it is possible! If you reach out to your congress man or woman months before your trip, you can get tickets to the White House and/or the Capitol…for FREE!
Walking the National Mall is incredible. So many pieces of history are nestled in one (extremely long) walkable stretch. We were able to see all the memorials (Lincoln, Korean, WWII, Jefferson, etc) before venturing towards George Washington University. GW holds a special place in my family’s hearts. This is where my grandfather met my grandmother. They fell in love beneath the cherry blossoms. He asked for her hand in marriage underneath their cherry blossom tree on the National Mall. Visiting their love story was a must.
Heading towards GW was one of our best decisions. The town sits amongst the most adorable canals. If you care about aesthetic, like I do, then you will fall in love with the Georgetown canals.
As if our day wasn’t busy enough, we met up with friends at the famous Old Ebbitt Grill for their world famous crab cakes. After stuffing our faces to fuel our feet, we went across the street to the rooftop bar within The W hotel called POV. This bar overlooks the entire National Mall. I kid you not, you are drinking cocktails above the White House. Seeing the bird’s eye view of the mall at night was breathtaking. So much so, that we decided to walk the mall again, at night. I highly recommend walking the mall in both the day and night. At night, nobody is around, the statues are illuminated, and the scenery is peaceful. One of the funniest things we did was laying down on the Washington Monument with our feet up. You don’t realize how huge it is until you try it!
After crashing hard for a full night’s sleep we went on our Capitol tour. As previously mentioned, you can get your tickets through your state’s congress man or woman. We did this and the process was free and easy. The Capitol was gorgeous. Inside, there is a room with tiled floors, bordered by statues. It felt like something out of Alice in Wonderland. You could stand on one side of the room and hear everything from the other side!
As we were leaving the Capitol, we noticed a sign saying “Tunnel to the Library of Congress.” With this being our next destination, we took the tunnel. This tunnel saved us at least an hour of waiting in line and performing security checks. For me, visiting here was special. My great grandpa was a judge and because of this, my grandfather was able to study for his medical school exams in the Library of Congress! How cool are my grandparents!?
We then visited Ford’s Theater, where Abraham Lincoln was shot. Even with our tickets, the line was around the block. But we quickly realized this tour was a split tour. The first half of the tour was the theater. The second half was the home where he died. To save ourselves waiting in the line we reversed the tour and began at the home where he died. Once again, this little hack saved us at least an hour of lines. We then got a traditional performance in front of the Jefferson Memorial before syncing back up with our friends in Arlington.
We rented bikes and had a picnic at Iwo Jima Memorial. We then continued biking to the Arlington National Cemetery to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’s changing of the guards. Here, you also will find Kennedy’s grave. The changing of the guard is a must see if you go to DC.
We hopped back on our bikes and found the loveliest field of daffodils. Behind them, were the National Monuments. I kid you not, this trip could not have gone any better. It was picture perfect through and through.
We ended our bike ride at the Pentagon. The Pentagon has a 9/11 memorial outside of it with floating flowers within pools over benches. Every detail was so significant at this site. They even planted plants corresponding to the plane passenger’s ages. They are at various heights to show how old they would have been today.
It was then time to head to Baltimore for the wedding. We spend the next day exploring Baltimore which was pretty boring compared to DC. There were some cute areas with brick buildings, lamp posts lined streets, and character. However, we had to search for them. The best part of this destination was The Horse You Came In On Saloon Bar. This is the bar that Edgar Allen Poe had his last drink at before dying!
All and all, this weekend (yes, if you didn’t catch that this was all done in a weekend…it was!) was like no other. It was a quick and simple trip. We hit as many places as our tired feet would allow. We most certainly made the most of our time and money. I would highly suggest going to DC if you haven’t yet!