Here Is Why You Must Visit Washington D.C.
One of the great things about living in the United States of America is that it is such a diverse country that in some ways each state is its own little country. In that regard, you can be an adventure traveler in your own backyard without the need of a passport! One such place that is amazing for tourism is Washington D.C. if you haven’t been there yet, you need to go, now! (or if by the time you read this it’s winter, then wait until spring or summer).
D.C. has turned into an incredible place to visit. While once marred with a horrible reputation for having the highest murder rate in the country, other crimes, and significant homelessness, this city, district, whatever you want to call it, has re-invented itself in the last 10 years. If you haven’t been here’s why you should visit!
We’ve all watched the news and seen them all over movies and TV. D.C. is replete with landmarks that you’ve been hearing about since birth so you’d might as well see them in person, right? Fortunately, they are all within walking distance which only makes it better. Start at the White House, then walk over to the Washington Monument where you can take a free guided tour. After that, stroll down a nice path to the Reflection Pool (you’ll remember this from Forrest Gump when Jenny goes running through it to get to Forrest at an anti-war demonstration). At the end of the Reflection Pool you’ll see the Lincoln Memorial which is photo-op central. Capital Hill is nearby as well – all set amidst spacious parks and scene walkways. There is no shortage of military related things to see as well, such as the Pentagon, although I heard the tour is fairly boring.
Beside the Washington Monument there is a strip of Smithsonian Museums. Amidst the unique and also historic architecture you’ll find the Hiroshima Memorial and my personal favorite, the Air and Space Museum where you can see the evolution of air and space in the USA. There are far too many attractions on this strip to list, but they are all beside one another and best of all? Most of them are absolutely free! (technically you paid for them with your tax dollars but “free” sounds better).
During its ongoing rejuvenation, D.C. has become a very youthful and vibrant city. With that movement it has transformed into a very hip and happening place for yuppies and working professionals which has brought in some amazing restaurants. One of my favorite chain restaurants in D.C. is one called Chop’t which is build your own salad place. It’s basically like a Pizza Revolution or Chipotle, but for salads and trust me – the salads are amazing – not boring or bland. The Chinatown offers some incredible choices for noodles and duck as well. Of course, at Dupont Circle and around the city you’ll find pubs all over the place which seem to be a favorite among locals. On my latest trip there I was pleasantly shocked to discover that Pret a Manger, a British grab-and-go eatery has opened as well.
Personally I don’t think a city can be considered world-class or tourist friendly unless It has an easy to use and efficient public transportation system. D.C. has exactly that. Their metro system is fast, starts early and runs late, and is easy to use. It also takes you to all of the main tourist attractions from the Smithsonian area, to the White House up to Georgetown. I recommend buying a day pass for $14.50 so you can hop on and off without thinking about it. They do charge you $2.00 for the metro card to be able to buy the pass so technically it’s $16.50 if you’re a visitor. When I asked the lady at the subway if the $2.00 for the card was refundable if we return the card, she kept repeating “the card is yours”. I quickly realized she wasn’t a logical human but a robot programmed to just give the same answer. They really should do it like London with the Oyster Card so that if you’re a tourist, you can get a refund on the cost of the card. I digress.
So there you have it! Thankfully the days of being the murder capital of the USA have been replaced with a really cool vibe, youth, and a lot of good old fashioned fun. I recommend going between May and October when the weather is more conducive to walking. And believe me – you will be walking…a lot. Enjoy!