It is my opinion that everybody needs to go to Washington, DC at some point in their lifetime. Besides being our Nation’s capital, it holds an immense amount of historical information and knowledge. Beyond that, it is one of the most beautiful cities on the East Coast.
Now, being someone that grew up 30 miles outside of Boston and who was constantly visiting family in NYC this takes a lot for me to say, but it’s true: DC is an awesome city.
Even though I’m just a 7 hour car ride away, my gal pal and I decided to fly. The flights were cheap on Southwest and we wanted to maximize our time. Ronald Reagan Airport is very easy and it’s a short drive (or metro ride) away from the “downtown” area if you will.
I highly recommend everyone go in the springtime and if you can, catch the beautiful cherry blossom festival. It was an absolute dream come true to see this amazing plethora of cherry blossoms! Spring is the perfect time to go for a long weekend, even though you could spend a month in DC and probably still not do everything. Here’s what we could manage in about 4 days:
Smithsonian National Zoo:
The zoo is located in Woodley Park which happened to be right up the street from our hotel. If you are staying downtown, there is a Metro Stop right down the street from the Zoo, so it is very easy to get to!
The main attraction here has to be the pandas, but they have other highlighted animals like elephants, zebras, cheetahs, gorillas and tigers; plus a lot of cool indoor exhibits for reptiles, small mammals, and Amazonia. This is definitely a great place for kids, but also for adults too. Who doesn’t love animals?
American History Museum:
For me, this one was a no-brainer. To be in the nation’s capital where there is so much history, it was so exciting to go see more highlights from America’s past. Here, we were able to see an amazing exhibit on food- including Julia Child’s kitchen- as well as a transportation exhibit and an exhibit on the First Ladies which was a personal favorite! (All of the beautiful inauguration gowns were there *heart eyes*)
National Air & Space Museum:
This museum is so cool. It takes you through the history of flight, with different exhibits at different times of the amazing evolution of air travel. Amelia Earhart, the Wright Brothers, the Tuskegee Airmen, along with some other amazing pilots. They also had some very cool exhibits on space travel, the planets, and time and navigation. This museum was very educational, and very fun. Who doesn’t love giant planes and rocket ships hanging from the ceiling??
U.S. Botanic Garden:
Absolutely stunning. This was such a cool stop and I am so glad we decided to go in, as it wasn’t on our original list. Walking in, I was mainly just happy that the building was warm, as it was a little windy out. But they had the most beautiful gardens to walk through. There were different rooms for different climates. Watch out! Some of the rooms mist the plants every few minutes so you may get a little wet!
Tidal Basin and the CHERRY BLOSSOMS:
The tidal basin is already a beautiful location to walk around, and see the Jefferson Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. I highly suggest it. BUT WITH THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS ITS EVEN MORE AMAZING!!
The cherry blossoms are one of the most incredible sights on the East Coast. The amount of cherry trees alone is purely jaw-dropping. So if you have the flexibility and can plan your trip around the forecast for the year, you definitely should because this is not to be missed! (The peak bloom is usually only a few days, but the festival goes on for a few weeks and the cherry trees are still beautiful!)
All of the monuments and memorials in Washington DC are amazing. Unfortunately, we were not able to see all of them, but here are the ones we saw that I highly recommend:
- (Reflecting pool)
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- World War II
And of course, you must see the Capitol Building! We didn’t go inside, but we hung out on the lawn for a bit and took some pictures- it is stunning!
- Woodley Park
- DuPont Circle
This is going to sound so silly, but the metro was one of my favorite parts of this trip. We stayed in Woodley Park, which meant that we needed to take the Metro a lot, but it was SO easy! The stations were beautiful and clean, and the trains were as well! It’s very easy to navigate and definitely cheaper than ubering everywhere. You also do enough walking in DC as it is, so sometimes it’s nice to just grab the metro back. I highly recommend it!
BONUS! As some of you may know, I have celiac disease, so I eat completely gluten free. Below are a few gems I found with gluten free options in DC!
- District of Pi Pizzeria – Gluten Free Pizza!
- Wicked Waffle – Gluten Free Beligan style Waffles!
- Rise Bakery – Everything is gluten free- bagels, croissants, cookies, etc! Some things are dairy/egg free as well depending!
- Plan B Burger Bar – Gluten free burger buns!
- Rosa Mexicano – Gluten free chips/ taco shells and other options! (the guac is amazing!)
Thanks for reading! Caitlin and our dad went to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival also a few years ago! You can read her posts about it here and here!