3 Days in Washington D.C.
After spending a week and a half in Florida, my family, Alex, and I flew up to Washington D.C. to visit my sister. D.C. is the capital of the United States and holds a lot of historical and modern-day significance to the US and the world. We only spent about three days in D.C. but here are the highlights of our trip.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History was our first stop after getting off our 7 a.m. plane ride, so I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty tired walking through the museum. The SNMNH is also massive so you could spend the entire day there and still not see everything. However, the exhibits were really well done and the museum is free! The SNMNH is home to the Hope Diamond. Here’s the thing, the Hope Diamond is pretty hyped up but when I saw it, it did not live up to my expectations. It’s not that big, it’s in a necklace, and it’s blue (I was expecting a massive, clear, free-standing diamond). If anyone knows why the Hope Diamond is so impressive, leave it in the comments because I am so confused.
Tour Capitol Hill
You may be surprised to know that anyone can tour the Capitol. However, due to some connections we have in D.C., we had the opportunity to go on a private tour of the Capitol. The tour was great! We got to walk through the private tunnels underneath the Capitol that allows Senators, Representatives, and the like, to walk from meetings without actually leaving the building. We saw the old Supreme Court chambers and we even saw Mitt Romney and Tim Scott walking around (with a security detail, of course). Everyone should see where their country’s governing body works if they have the opportunity.
The National Mall is a large park near downtown D.C. between the Lincoln Memorial on the west and the United States Capitol grounds on the east, with the Washington Monument in the middle. There are so many monuments, memorials, and museums on or near the National Mall, but here are a few that we visited.
The Lincoln Memorial is a memorial built to honor President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States and the man credited with ending slavery in the US.
The Washington Monument is a memorial to President George Washington, the 1st president of the United States.
The World War II Memorial is a large memorial on the National Mall and honors those who served in WWII.
Tour the White House
Just like the Capitol, anyone can tour the White House, however, tours must be booked well in advance of your visit. My sister is an intern at the White House so she arranged our tours, but I believe tours must be arranged through your Member of Congress. The public tour of the White House only goes through the East Wing of the White House, an area that is largely unused these days. The tour is also completely self-guided so you can go at your own pace. My sister, Regan (not the White House intern) was in a wheelchair during our visit, so she got to go through the White House kitchen to use the elevator. They were cooking lunch for the president when she passed through! Because of my other’s sister’s connections in the White House, we also got a private tour of the West Wing, an area not normally open to the public, but I wrote a separate blog post about that experience.
We also got to tour the Eisenhower Executive Office Building because that is where my sister works – it’s not part of the public tour (but more about that in my West Wing blog post).
Where to stay? Watergate Hotel
We stayed at the Watergate Hotel, which is right on the Potomac River. The Watergate Hotel is famous for the Watergate scandal of 1972 to 1974. If someone can clearly and concisely explain the Watergate scandal, please do so in the comments, because I am failing. Overall, the hotel was really nice. It had a bar/restaurant and an indoor pool with a spa and sauna, but the elevators were quite confusing haha.
If you have the opportunity, visit our nation’s capital and experience the inner workings of our government first hand!