Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Weekend in Washington DC

To celebrate finishing my MBA (and just because), I took myself on a trip to Washington DC for Memorial Weekend. I took the trip that everyone else takes during middle school at the age of 30 … without kids.

One of my goals has been to check some US/North America destinations off my travel bucket list, so last fall I did NYC and did all the touristy things I have never had time for on business trips. And this year it was Washington DC. 

I was there for 4 days and tried to check as many DC things off my list as I could, and I think I did a pretty good job! 
  • White House (outside only … they could not “accommodate” my request for a tour …)
  • Renwick Gallery 
  • Washington Monument
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • WWII Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Tidal Basin
  • Washington Monument
  • The Mall
  • Natural History Museum
  • National Archives
  • American History Museum
  • Sculpture Garden
  • National Gallery of Art
  • Museum of American Art
  • Portrait Gallery
  • Shake Shack!!!!
  • Spy Museum
  • Capitol Building (tour)
  • Jefferson Library
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Smithsonian Castle 

Everything was great and I had a lot of fun. The only downside was the HEAT! It was so ridiculously hot and humid and full on sun the entire time. Just sweat dripping grossness. Then you would go into a museum where the AC was completely jacked up to super cold. BRRRR.

While I had a lot of fun doing all the tourisy things, some of my favorite things weren’t in the museums:
  • I stumbled on a Jazz in the Garden even Friday night at the sculpture garden. Thousands of people taking up everyone square inch of the grass, benches, foutains, etc enjoying good music live outside. It was amazing. Everyone had food, they had sangria stations so you could get pitchers for groups. Awesome. I got an ice cream and found a spot on the fountain and sat with my feet in the water taking it all in.
  • On the same night as the music noted above, I came across a movies in the park screening in a park right next to my hotel. I love movies in the park activities and ran across to the CVS and got beverages and snacks and sat down and watched Mr Smith Goes to Washington. How perfect was that movie choice?!?!
  • I did the Washington Bikeshare one day while there and had a great time biking around the mall and monuments. It was a great way to get around to some of the further out things (i.e. Jefferson Memorial) and just have some fun. 
  • On my last afternoon there I came out of a museum and it was pouring rain. So I ducked back in and bought a snazzy National Gallery of Art poncho. Once I was generally protected from the knees up and I knew my cameras and backpack were safe and dry, I had no problem walking in the rain, splashing in puddles and generally having a fun time.
  • The people watching was great! I noticed a lot more domestic US tourists versus international, thought I had a smattering of foreign languages (nothing like in NYC or LA or San Francisco though). There were also TONS (tons) of school groups there, all in matching shirts. And, since it was Memorial Weekend, there were a lot of veterans in the city and they were also visiting all the sites (particularly the war memorials). 
  • I also thoroughly enjoyed the food. I didn't go out of my way for restaurants, instead I opted for awesome food truck fare right on the Mall, Shake Shack, this awesome chain called Roti that I discovered (it's like Chipotle but with Mediterranean food!). I did treat myself to one nice dinner at a great restaurant called Founding Farmers. Great farm-to-table dishes with a fun atmosphere and great cocktails.   

Overall it was a great trip, just toooooo hot! I saw everything I wanted to see and if/when I make it back I would try and explore more of the little pockets I didn’t get to (i.e. Georgetown). But for now, I’m good. 

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