Last weekend I found myself sitting in a revolving rooftop bar, taking in the panoramic view of Washington DC and detailing our next day’s itinerary on a cocktail napkin. With 48 hours of exploration time before flying back to reality, I was on a mission to make the most of our limited time!
(^gotta say that’s the closest I’ve been to writing an intense adventure novel)
DC is not just the capitol of our country, but a huge landmark for museums, monuments, and historical occurrences. Though there is plenty to do and see conquering the National Mall in two day is totally do-able, though not for the weak soles (feet soles, that is!).
Info worth considering before planning
- majority of the museums are Smithsonian’s which means free entry!
- said museums close at the early hour of 5:30pm
- some sites, such as the Library of Congress, are not open on Sundays
- tours of the Capitol, White House and Pentagon can be arranged but many weeks in advance
- if you are planning on traveling during the Spring Break months of March and/or April 90% of DC’s population will be made up of 8th graders! Many schools across the nation lead American Heritage field trips for their students learning about American History. I know because I was one of them once upon a time!
The DC metro is super easy to use, quite inexpensive and fairly accessible, not to mention pretty clean, too!
Itinerary (one end of the National Mall to the other, kinda)
- Library of Congress
- United States Capitol
- National Archives (you’ll find the Bill of Rights, Constitution and the Declaration of Independence here!)
- National Portrait Museum
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- the White House
- Washington Monument
- World War II Monument
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- FDR Memorial
- MLK Memorial
- Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Lincoln Memorial
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Albert Einstein Memorial
- Arlington National Cemetery (also the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Kennedy family’s burial)
Start to finish they were 12 hour days! It definitely took lots research, so we knew what exactly we wanted to cover and where, but knocking out museums that close early was the priority followed by the monuments that can be seen most hours of the day and look arguably more striking after the sun has gone down.
Of course being Spring in Washington DC we were hopeful for cherry blossoms but they remained elusive for the most part. Though the lack of flowers was made up for with cheery employees and security everywhere we went! I’ve never had so many guards greet me with good spirits and readily equip me with a map and knowledge (not to mention they’re Federal employees!). That and the plethora of doughnuts I picked up at Astro Doughnut & Fried Chicken kept me in good spirits while we logged 16 miles a day!