In hindsight I wish we had spent more time in DC, this city is so much more than politics. In fact it was on par my favourite place on our whole trip (alongside the Grand Canyon). DC is a beautiful city, the architecture, the memorials and the gardens/park.. all worth spending days, even weeks just strolling. This blog post has taken us a while to put up, because there were so many photos we had to look through and edit! So you'll have to forgive us, we have packed it full for you!
When planning this leg of our trip I thought it would all be national monuments, and to tell you the truth there were lots, but it was so much more than we expected. We stayed in the north west, up in Shaw. I think this also made our trip, the neighborhood was buzzing with local students and had a great vibe about the place, great local eats and bars. It was so easy to jump on the metro and explore the rest of the city, without being in the center of it all.
Our first morning we booked ourselves on a free walking tour of Capitol Hill and its surrounds to get us up to scratch with American history and to give us some knowledge about DC itself. We wandered past the House and the Senate buildings, the Supreme Court, the Capitol building and most impressive of all the Thomas Jefferson Building where the Library of Congress is housed. If you want to do your own thing in DC then we would really recommend checking out the Library of Congress. The inside of the building is spectacular and very impressive; it wasn't on our radar for the short period we had in the city, but it was so worth it. As part of our tour we were guaranteed tickets on the Capitol building tour. Another must do if you're here, the tour only takes an hour and the insight you get into the statues and the history of the building is impressive.
After leaving Capitol Hill we strolled through the National Botanic Gardens and Conservatory. This is a museum with a difference; there are 12 different gardens sections within the conservatory, each section with different plants and a different environment. My favourite, the tropics! Make sure you visit the rose gardens just next door as well, they are so beautiful! Keeping in mind we were here in spring so all the gardens were in full bloom, and the smell of the roses was incredible.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Air and Space Museum and Mr. was in his element (working in aviation) we spent 5 hrs here and didn’t even get to the space side, whoops! We did however see the suit Neil Armstrong wore on his space landing and you can see the 'moon dust' still on the suit. I have to say I was very impressed, from early Wright brother’s memorabilia and not just planes, I learnt that they first started building bicycles, who knew! To military and commercial planes. I couldn't be more impressed. The interactive exhibits that teach you about flight are great, even though most were for kids, but I’m really just a big kid. Unfortunately though this was the only Smithsonian we visited, but we have to save things for next time right? If we had more time I could spend days in each one and most of all we loved that these museums are free and you can download apps for audio tours too!
We spent a morning walking through the Arlington Cemetery. Wow what beautiful grounds to remember those who have fought for the US; stopping past the JFK and Kennedy family memorial. We then spent a good hour at the Tomb of the unknown solider. I didn’t know much about this other than there was always a solider there standing guard 24hrs a day, rain, hail or shine. While watching the changing of the guard I did some research about the soldiers themselves and how hard it is to become a guard and what an honour it is to be one. We then spent the remainder of the day walking the National Mall and dropping past to see The Donald at his new house!
On our last day we spent a whole morning at the National Arboretum - only 10 minutes drive from the National Mall but it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. Definitely not in a big city, especially a power house like DC. We loved Washington; it was so much more than we thought. The green spaces made the city even more beautiful than we ever expected. If only we could have spent longer here!
Until next time…