Friday, December 20, 2013

A Long Walk Through Washington, DC

Early in November Nick and I went down to DC for a college friend's wedding, and since we don't get down there much we decided to make a long weekend of it. Since Nick went to school down there it was a bit of a homecoming for him, and for me, I got to do all the touristy things that DC has to offer. I had only been to DC twice before (once was in 6th grade) so I had a lot of catching up to do. I had an ambitious schedule planned and most of it depended on sunny weather, so needless to say I was disappointed when we woke up to pouring rain. Luckily, we did a little rescheduling, and the day turned out perfectly.

Outside the Newseum

Our first stop was the Newseum. This is a must-stop with its exhibits on the Berlin Wall and 9/11, and you get an impressive perspective. It really is amazing how they are able to relate so much of what happened to journalism.

After taking in some overcast views on the Newseum's balcony, we moved onto the National Mall. Our first stop was the National Gallery of Art. They have a helpful guide for those tourists who may only have an hour or so to spend in the museum. They also have a fun way of including social media into their exhibits where they actually encourage photographs! We were happy to take part, which is where we got this beauty:

This is the pose I would like when having my portrait done :)
On the mall...
Next up was the Museum of Natural History where we popped in and hung out with the dinosaurs. Since it was Friday, the museum was packed with kids who I can only believe were on field trips, so we did not stay in there for long. From there we walked down to American History Museum where I found my people - the inventors of biotechnology and a patent law exhibit, so I geeked out a bit.

Geeking Out
We also checked out Julia Child's kitchen and the flag that inspired the "Star Spangled Banner," both which were very cool. The flag is huge! I will say the ruby slippers and Archie Bunker's chair were a bit of a letdown. The first ladies' dresses were a lot of fun to look at. The details are pretty spectacular.

After four museums, it was time to check out the Monuments. Unfortunately the Washington Monument was covered in scaffolding as they finished some restorative work following the earthquake from a couple years ago. I guess with Bunker Hill Monument in my back yard, I wasn't too disappointed :)

With the Washington Monument
The White House

The World War II memorial is pretty large with loads to check out. I love that they pay homage to all the states and territories that fought in the War. From there we walked along the Constitution Gardens Pond to the Vietnam War Memorial.

We then headed to the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool area. Part of the reason they split the WWII memorial in half was to preserve the unobstructed view from the Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, which makes for impressive views.

On the back side of the Lincoln Memorial you can see all the way up to Arlington National Cemetary!

Our next stop was the Korean War Memorial. I must say I am not sure I even knew there was one on the Mall, however, it may have been my favorite. It's eerie and just so well done. Nick said at night it is even more impressive because of the uplighting on the statue faces and the juniper bushes make it look like they are walking through the rice paddies of Korea.

Our journey continued to the newer Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. When we first approached I was not entirely sure what I was looking at and how it related to/represented MLK.

The Approach....
The stone says "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope"
View from the Tidal Basin 
Seeing the monument from the tidal basin is totally different from the backside - a very cool monument indeed. We then continued to walk around the Tidal Basin on our way to the FDR Memorial.

View of Jefferson Memorial along the Tidal Basin
FDR and his dog Fala
I have to say, at this point it was getting close to 4PM and Nick and I were exhausted. While the day started as cold and rainy, it was hot and sunny by the end, so the sweaters we were wearing were not helping!

Luckily, as we got closer to the Jefferson Monument, a cab appeared out of a nowhere and picked us up and brought us back to the hotel. I wish we had counted the number of steps we took that day because I think we walked close to 7 to 10 miles when you take into account wandering around the museums themselves!

After this day, I feel like I accomplished a large part of DC. The great thing about many of the museums is they are free, so you don't feel like you always have to see everything in one trip to get your money's worth, which can result in a nice little sampling of a large variety of things! DC has plenty to offer, so while we did accomplish a lot there are still plenty of museums on my list to experience.

What are your favorite DC places?


  1. Looks like you had great weather! I love DC. My favorite place is the Library of Congress. The marble work in there is INSANE.

  2. I haven't been to DC in years, but I had such a great time the last time I was there. Looks like you had a wonderful trip!

  3. you beautifully captured DC! I haven't been here in ages and I have always wanted to plan a return trip!!

  4. I haven't been to DC in ages, but I think I'm going to follow your itinerary when we get a chance to get down there. You guys fit so much in! Gorgeous pictures!

  5. I've been to DC a couple of times but never really got the chance to explore. Next time I definitely want to see Julia Child's kitchen, too!

  6. Wow! There is so much more to DC than I realized! My old roommate actually moved out there for law school and I can not wait to visit him. I really want to go to the Smithsonian and the Museum of Natural History. I will have to make a detour the next time I go to the West Coast. :)

  7. Great photos! I love the museums and monuments in DC, and I love wandering Georgetown.


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