After zoning out so bad in the terminal that I almost missed my flight, managing to hop on a plane after only a 30 minute layover, and fighting off taxi drivers after struggling to drag my overstuffed duffle out through the airport doors, I had finally made it. I was in the land of freedom, Scandal and men wearing suits. Washington DC.
I was on the East Coast for the first time in my life and I am a notably West Coast kind of person. I’m not one to run for subway cars, stay up late, and I’m a real wimp when it comes to the weather. But I figured that since I would only be in the city for four days I would need to truly immerse myself into the DC type of life. With my Metro pass in tow I set off to explore the city.
So what did I do in DC?
First stop, Washington Monument. While I didn’t know the history behind this particular piece of architecture I did know that it was kind of a big deal. I also knew that I had an hour to kill before the museum that I wanted to go to opened up, so off I went.
The walk up to Washington Monument is longer than it looks but the closer you get the more you start to realize just how big it really is. After walking around the monument once or twice we ended up lying on our backs, feet up the wall, to get the best view of the magnitude of the building. We earned ourselves some strange looks from tourists and a chuckle from the guard.
After narrowing down the list of museums we wanted to go to fit our time frame. We opted for the National Museum of African American History, The Holocaust Museum and the Archives. Both the African American Museum and the Holocaust Museum are full of pretty gruesome history of the past and will take a good chunk of the day to get through. While extremely interesting and thought provoking, I left both of these places with a heavy heart.
Although I’m in no way a history buff, I ended up at the Archives after asking my uber driver what he would do if he were a tourist. He told me, “I’d go to the Archives, but the Declaration of Independence they have there is not the real one. “ Okay. Even though the jury is still out on whether or not these documents are in fact the documents, it was cool to see a piece of living history right before my eyes.
If there’s one piece of advice I can offer you about conquering the DC museum game, it is to eat beforehand or to bring food with you. Although I consider myself a pretty frugal being, I was suckered in to paying unreasonably high amounts for side salads at museum cafes throughout my entire time in DC. Just trust me on this one and make yourself a PB&J.
White marble floors, white marble man, and a pretty killer view of the rest of DC. See where Martin Luther King gave his “I Had a Dream Speech” and take a moment to think about all the history that occurred on the land beneath your feet.
Just Walk Around
Honestly one of my favorite parts of the trip was simply walking around DC. I loved seeing people wearing suits hurrying off to their appointments, street vendors selling tie dye DC t-shirts and people running down the stairs to catch the metro. One of my favorite parts of travelling s experiencing how the inhabitants of a place live. The best way to see what DC is really like is to get out into the city and to look around.
Martin Luther King Memorial
I did this on my last day in DC and it was the perfect way to ring in the trip. Take a walk by Tidal Bay at sunset, listening to the waves lapping against the wall and the sun reflect off the water. When I went to the sculpture there was almost no one else around. The lighting was just right, casting the perfect spotlight on the sculpture. It was a moment spent remembering all of this change and history that had been made in DC, and how much more will be made in the future.