When I found out that I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., for a conference, I jumped at the chance. Unlike Ryan, I don’t travel much for work, so it’s more of a treat when I do. You don’t care about the conference, and I try not to talk about work on the blog (except in the vaguest of terms, as in, I have a job).
But, I actually flew out a day early to do some sightseeing on my own. It had been more than 10 years since being in D.C., and I remember (nearly) nothing. So, I decided to “do” D.C. in a day. I tried to hit lots of the highlights in a full Saturday.
This is the outline of my day in a nutshell (a Kim-style nutshell, which is really longer than a nutshell), in case anyone else has the same opportunity. While you certainly can’t do everything (there’s still so much I’d like to go back and do), you can really get a good taste of D.C. (I’ll also share more about my fun get-together with a super cool bloggy friend later, when I have the photos.)
Walk from my hotel to the trolley stop. Wait… I can’t find the trolley stop. So, I walk too far and take my first swoop around Dupont Circle, check out the shops and grab a hot tea and breakfast.
Finally find the trolley stop. I’m a little irritated that I walked past it twice and am a half hour behind, but I get over it. I bought my ticket in advance online. Hop on and get a map.
Go by the Washington National Cathedral. Gorgeous. Did you know Helen Keller was buried here? And that Darth Vader is one of the gargoyles on the top? I want to get off and take a tour, but I’m afraid of getting behind schedule so I stay on.
We drive through Georgetown. Shopping galore. Beautiful homes. But, the trolley was going too fast to get any good photos.
Find the line for the White House Garden Tour. I got my ticket in advance from my local representative. Along with about 200,000 other people.
Myself and hundreds of my best friends take a self-guided White House Garden Tour. Apparently, they only do this a few times a year. There were a ton of people, but it was still fun. Bo, the first dog was in the yard. It was strange to see the West Wing up close. And the girls’ play set.
Exit the White House gardens, walk to the Washington Monument. All tickets to the top sold out. Darn it. I ask the park ranger if there are any singles left. She pulls out a ticket for 11:30 and tells me I can get in line. SCORE! (Tip to single travelers – don’t be afraid to ask for things like this.)
Going up. What gorgeous views! I run into a couple who tells me that I have to make time to go to the Holocaust Museum. I wanted to see it, so I decide to head there next.
Walk to the Holocaust Museum. Get right in and go through the permanent exhibit. It’s a wonderful museum but so heartbreaking. It could take a whole day to see it all. Even for off-season, it’s busy. I had to rush a bit, but it was a moving experience. I would love to go back.
Grab a hot dog and water from a street vendor. Eat while I’m walking on the mall past the Smithsonian Castle and the Air and Space Museum.
Walk up the Lincoln Memorial – which is much more massive in person.
Next I walk to the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. My grandfather was a WWII vet, and the memorial is lovely. My favorite was the Korean Memorial, though. And, there were a group of vets from Iowa there.
Load back onto the trolley and head for the hotel. On the way, we pass the International Spy Museum, more Smithsonians, Chinatown, the Newseum. I wish I could stop at all of them. But, I am meeting friends for dinner near Dupont Circle and the trolley stops running at 5:30.
Arrive back in Dupont Circle. My legs feel like I just ran a marathon, but what a great day!
- The Capitol Building
- The International Spy Museum
- All the Smithsonians
- FDR Memorial
- The Newseum
- Arlington and the Changing of the Guard
- The giant pandas at the Zoo
- Shopping at Georgetown