By Rachel Mazzaro
A few weekends ago my housemate Clare and I took the Megabus to DC to visit some of our friends from Hope College. One of our friends was doing a semester in DC so it was very convenient that we could stay at her place for the weekend. I wanted to go to DC during my semester in Philly and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go while a couple of my friends were visiting during their spring break. I have been to DC two times before, once in eighth grade for a school trip and two summers ago when I was traveling around the US. Since I had been to DC recently, I was not too concerned about going to all the typical tourist spots and was looking forward to spending time with my friends and seeing parts of the city I had never seen before. One of the best things about going to DC is that almost everything to see is free! Although I did not see all of these places during my visit, here is a list of recommendations I have to see if you are thinking about going to DC, especially for the first time:
- The Lincoln Memorial
- Smithsonian Institution Castle
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Washington Monument
- National World War II Memorial
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- US Marine Corps War Memorial
- The White House
- The U.S. Capital
- The Library of Congress
- United States Botanic Garden
- Walk around Downtown Georgetown
We woke up early Saturday morning and spent the entire day walking around The District. We began by walking an hour from my friend’s apartment to the National Mall. It was a beautiful sunny 60 degree day so it was really nice to walk along the trails. We briefly walked around the National Mall and saw the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the many museums surrounding us such as the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. We decided that we wanted to go the Union Market which is a year-round indoor market featuring 40 local artisans. This place was definitely a food lover’s heaven! Since we were planning on having a big lunch, we all grabbed a delicious baguette from Lyon Bakery for a steal of $1.10 to tide us over. After exploring for awhile we got back on the metro, which by the way is a cool experience in itself due to the beautiful architecture within the tunnel.
We had made reservations for a restaurant called Founding Farmer which apparently is always packed because their food is that good! It is almost impossible to get a table without making a reservation. I ordered a herbed goat cheese and salmon farm bread which was absolutely delicious! My friend and I also decided we could not leave without splitting their basket of beignets. It was such a great time to catch up with my college friends from Michigan over a great meal!
Afterwards, we headed towards Embassy Row (http://dc.about.com/library/maps/blmapEmbassyRow.htm) where many of the foreign embassies are located which was something I had never seen before. The whole time I was waiting to see the Embassy of South Africa since I spent two months there this past summer. Of course, it happened to be under construction but I was happy to see it nonetheless. I made sure to get a picture with my friend who has also been to South Africa next to the Nelson Mandela statue. I really loved seeing all the beautiful architecture throughout The District and was glad I was able to see parts of DC that I had never seen before.
My friends and I decided to take a break from sight seeing and went to Cafe Citron for a drink. To my surprise, it happened to be Salsa Friday so we all got a free salsa lesson! Although I am pretty terrible at picking up choreography (my sister has all of the dance genes), it was still a lot of fun to go out dancing with my friends. I definitely recommend checking it out if you are in the area!
We wrapped up the night by going to the Jefferson Memorial which is all lit up at night. I had never even thought to see the monuments and memorials at night and have never really stayed long enough to try but it was such a great idea! Overall, it was a jam packed day filled with a lot of sight seeing and walking so all of our feet were hurting pretty bad by the end of the night. Although we were hurting, it was so great to spend the day walking around and seeing all that DC has to offer, especially since the weather was absolutely perfect!
Further recommendations after my trip:
- Walk down Embassy Row
- Go to Union Market
- Eat a meal at Founding Farmers
- See the monuments / memorials at night
- Learn how to salsa dance at Cafe Citron on their “Salsa Fridays”
Things I still would like to see:
- U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
- Smithsonian National Zoological Park
- Meridian Hill Park