If you’re reading this, you’re probably planing for a trip to Washington, D.C. Fair warning: I’m from California, so I can’t give you all the ins and outs. However, I like House of Cards and Parks and Recreation, so that’s close enough, right?
I just went to Washington D.C. from September 12th-September 16th and I already miss it! We spent two days traveling and three days exploring. It was my vacation before school, which just started on Wednesday (sad day) … Anyways, here is what you’ll get out of this post:
How to Prepare
The One Item You NEED
Hopefully this helps you out (and seriously, the one item is definitely a necessity).
How to Prepare
Preparation partially depends on the time of year you’re going. As I stated earlier, I went in September. The leaves were barely starting to change and it was super humid when we went. It wasn’t Florida-in-the-summer humid, but definitely a change from California. If you’re planning on being inside the majority of the time, I would suggest dresses, cardigans, and flats. Also, consider bringing a fun hat (because why not?!). Also, check out these beautiful street flowers. 🙂
However, if you’re planning on using Capital Bikeshare, bring shorts or jeans and save the dresses for dinner. I read somewhere that residents hate tourists using Capital Bikeshare. I don’t know if that’s true, but we rode them anyways! They’re nearly everywhere and a very affordable way to get around. A single trip is $2.00, 24 hours is $8.00, and three days is $17.00 per person. We bought two 24 hour ones, totaling $16.00 per person. It worked for us, but I’d suggest getting the three day membership and utilizing it fully. By the way, having a membership doesn’t guarantee you a bike. Some bikes will have a red light, meaning they cannot be ridden. (And no, don’t try to get it out anyways because it won’t let you!) All bikes may also be in use. This only happened to us once and we waited around for someone to park theirs. Additionally, be mindful of the amount of time you’re using your bike. For example, if you buy a single trip for $2.00, you have access to it from the moment you enter the code for your bike until you park it. Here’s a link to the pricing in detail.
The One Item You NEED
So, what is it?! If you’re like me, you’re a bug magnet. Bugs think you’re a flower and need to be poked and prodded and eaten alive. It’s the best. No, really, I love it …
But seriously. If you’re like me, I cannot recommend bug spray enough! In the course of five days (with only three actually outside and not in airports), I had a minimum of 10 bites, all of which itched like crazy. One bite was on my right arm and swelled to half the size of my arm, almost warranting an ER visit (which would’ve been a blast). When we were there, a lot of little black mosquitoes were everywhere. You couldn’t escape them if you were outside. (To make matters worse, I’m paranoid bugs will fly into my mouth so I feel like I can’t talk … But enough about me being weird …)
BOTTOM LINE: BRING BUG SPRAY OR BUY SOME THERE! On the other hand, Zack didn’t get any bites. He thinks he might have gotten one (ONE!), but it was hardly even itchy for him.
Now, for the part you actually care to read about! Here’s our itinerary (which I’ll expand upon a bit):
Day 2 (9:30am-9:00pm)
Wake up, get ready, leave your Airbnb (or wherever you’re staying). We loved our place! (To receive a discount, just visit this link here.)
Head to Lincoln’s Waffle Shop (Leslie Knope goes here for breakfast in season 7, episode 8!); it’s delicious!
National Museum of Natural History (minimum of a couple hours)
National Air and Space Museum
National World War II Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (LOVE the quotes here)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Day 3 (12:30pm-9:00pm)
International Spy Museum — such a cool place! Here are a few pictures from the International Spy Museum:
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Elephant & Castle (on Penn. Ave. and delicious!)
Day 4 (11:00am-9:00pm)
Bojangles (I went here as a kid and fell in love with their biscuits … It was better as a kid …)
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (very sobering, but very informative). I definitely recommend it.
National Museum of American History (for two minutes before going to …)
National Zoological Park
Le Diplomate (had to have my French cafe experience!)
Go home and cry. But remember your amazing memories …
Museum times are typically 10am-5pm (at least for the Smithsonian ones).
You can bike to the majority of places, but expect to catch a ride at some point because you’ll be on your feet all day.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a tour of the White House. If you get a chance, I hear it’s pretty cool …
Immerse yourself in the history. Personally, I’ve never loved history (and I’ve always been terrible at it). But think about it: you’ll be in an incredibly dynamic area, where history was made and history is still being made — daily. While this happens everywhere, Washington, D.C. is our nation’s capitol! HAVE FUN!
If this helps you plan your trip, let me know! If you want more tips for traveling, you can always sign up for my newsletter as well.
Have a lovely trip to Washington, D.C.!