When travelling I personally like to visit places off-season. Prices are much lower and the crowds smaller. When visiting the States a lot of people choose to see New York, LA or San Fransisco, but there are some other great cities as well. Like Chicago, Seattle or the last time I was there, Washington D.C. (oh ps. this will be a photo-bomb)
We booked tickets last week of March and had return tickets for 395,- Euro’s, crazy! a week later it would already be 590,-. End of March usually isn’t the top time to visit Maryland (and Virginia) but we encountered all seasons in just 12 days! From 29 degrees and pool-time to 4 degrees and winter jackets.
The monument checklist:
There’s the National Mall, an open area national park between Capitol hill, the Washington Monument (the Needle) and the Lincoln Memorial. It’s a strech of about 3KM from one end to another and it’s daily packed with tourists and LOTS of security. Between these landmarks lie important parts of United States’ history. It’s where thousands of people flocked to see Martin Luther King’s Speech and along the walkway are countless of musea (the Smithsonian, 6 national musea) and war memorials. I personally think for everyone who wants to know a little bit about American (and world) history this is a must see.
In close proximity is the Library of Congress (with a gorgeous oval reading room, which has been used in many films), the supreme court, the white house and if you want, you can walk up to (or take the metro) to Arlington Cemetery , the military cemetery where also the Kennedy’s have a place. It’s very pretty (especially in spring) and has great views over the city.
From capitol hill, to jefferson and george washington and the washington monument. It’s all great to see, and I can definitely recommend it as a (2) day trip, although might I add, the white house is a bit of a let down. It’s not even that grand and the American hypocrisy and security around it is a bit overwhelming. In the end, there’s nothing better than sitting on a park-bench and letting the diversity of man-kind take over, and Washington D.C. is no different. From political propaganda and awkward family photos to dressing up.
Rent a bike
Always a good way to explore a city is by bike, and in Washington you’re gonna need it. Yes the metro is easy to use, but then you’re under(the)ground so much, it’s so much nicer to cycle through the different parts. Due to its planalogical outline D.C. seems to be easy by foot, and it is! But the distances make it quite the challenge. Most area’s are bike friendly, or at least, flooding aside, we thought so. We rented beach cruiser for 10 dollars a day, but I don’t remember what company though.
Public Transportation The metro is really easy to use, and its cheap too. If you stay in an outer suburb it’s an excellent way to get around. A day pass also gives you access to buses.
Hot, hip and happening. Georgetown has its university and accompanied younger crowd. It’s got nice upcoming stores and cute little cafe’s. It’s a bit European looking and the pace is slower, but not less popular. The bakery of Georgetown cupcakes had over 70 people waiting in line, but they admittedly do like very taste. Also Jackie Kennedy (or Onassis) knew this was a good place, and she and her family had several estates in the area.
Free entrance to all musea (& governmental buildings)
The upside to the overload of governmental institutes and national musea is that they have to offer free entrance. every American has the right to learn about their heritage, well so did we! On a rainy day it’s great to hide out in some of the musea. Personal favourite was the West building of the National Gallery of Art , with contemporary works and a big cafe. It reminded me a lot of Centre de Pompidou, except here we also had free entry (wooh, dutchies went crazy!)
So next time you’re planning a trip to the USA, maybe Washington D.C. is a city worth considering.
Have a good weekend!