Washington D.C isn’t really somewhere I ever thought about visiting too much. I’ve been to America quite a few times before and D.C was never too high on my list. But as fate would have it my aunt has lived in Virginia for many years and it was about time that I set off on an adventure to visit her!
We spent time exploring Gettysburg and the surrounding outlet malls on our short trip which meant we had limited time in exploring Washington D.C itself. Funnily enough, I absolutely fell in love with the city while I was there!
So, what are the things you can do in Washington D.C in a day? Much more than just taking your picture outside the White House – that’s for sure!
Arlington Cemetry is actually the United States military cemetery. Technically it’s in Virginia and not D.C as far as I’m aware but we won’t get bogged down by the minor details! The cemetery was established in 1864 and spans across over 600 acres. It is one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen, with its space and design really being something to behold. Because of its huge size, I would recommend checking out this map of where to go and what places to see. I think my favourite part of the whole cemetery was the memorial amphitheater because of it’s sheer grandiose. I think I only thought of cemeteries as a place to visit after I went to Glasnevin Cemetery and this is the only one I have been to since then that has really blown me away. There is a change of the guards near the amphitheater on the hour, every hour, which is a real treat if you can time it to see that as well.
The United States Capitol which is more commonly known as the Capitol Building is home to the US Congress. Sitting on top of Capitol Hill in all it’s glory, with it’s amazing architecture. As far as I’m aware you can no longer climb up the steps but it is still a glorious building to behold. On a nice day you can sit by the water in front of the building and take in the views. This building in particular is one to note at night. The building transforms into a luminescent painting and is absolutely glorious to witness!
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is a obelisk that stands tall in the National Mall. Interestingly if you look close enough to the construction you will notice that roughly one third of the way up the colouring in the stone changes! This is due to the construction drawing to a halt for a number of reasons, one being the American Civil War! There is actually an elevator that runs the whole way up the middle, bringing you to 8 observation windows at the very top. You can find out more about this here. The reflection pool was empty when we got there which broke my heart so my aunt took us to the Constitution Gardens which gives you this amazing, unobstructed view of the monument from a different angle and the gardens are really stunning!
The Lincoln Memorial
Located at the western end of the National Mall, The Lincoln Memorial was built to commemorate the late American president Abraham Lincoln. From the Lincoln Memorial you will get that iconic view of the Washington monument and reflection pool – so it is definitely a must visit!
The White House
This is obviously a given when visiting Washington D.C right?! Well, not so much for me! I actually only briefly viewed The White House while I was in D.C because there was high security around it at the time due to a fatality outside the night previous to our trip. Honestly, I’m happier that this was the case. The plan was never to go inside but I’m sure we would have wasted time outside it if we could have. It is an iconic building, one of the most iconic in America – but with such amazing Architecture in Washington, missing this isn’t the worst thing in the world!
The National Gallery Of Art
I would highly recommend visiting the National Gallery Of Art. It is free to enter and showcases art from all different walks of life. There are two wings which are joined by a tunnel underground and an ode to the Louvre overhead as the buildings were designed by the same man, I.M Pei. One wing hosts the modern art segment while the other wing showcases a more classical style of art – both are equally as good as each other in my eyes!
The National Museum Of Natural History
This is part of the Smithsonian Institutions in Washington D.C. If you like things like animals, history or evolution then this is definitely the Museum for you! This museum has free admission and is open every day (except Christmas day) from 10am-5:30pm. I found every inch of this museum to be so enthralling and I would highly recommend popping in, even for a short visit! You will find the findings of Dinosaur skeletons, butterflies and even the hope diamond.
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington D.C., dedicated to the memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States. This memorial only takes about fifteen minutes or so to walk around and you won’t regret it! The memorial is split in three, each section representing a different term that Mr.Roosevelt served as president. In each section there are quotes from his time in office and it is almost bone chilling to read the things he said about war and poverty and how it’s so evident that we haven’t evolved to become the people that he assumed our generation would. It’s a real eye opener and definitely one of the best memorials I have ever visited!
There is so much to do in Washington D.C between sight seeing and museums. The above list are some of the activities that we managed to squeeze into the one day (thanks to the kind taxi-driving by my Aunt who lives over there!). Everything on the above list were all free to enter or see, making Washington D.C one of the most cost effective cities I have ever visited for sight seeing – something you probably would not expect for the capital of America!
Have you ever been to Washington D.C, or is it somewhere you would like to go?