During my time in the U.S, I spent four days in the nations capital. The choice to go to DC was clear; it’s an obvious stop off if you’re hitting the East Coast, coupled with the fact that Guy (my best friend from university) was studying abroad for the semester at The University of Maryland (UMD), located just outside the city.
The first day was spent recovering from a sleepless overnight bus journey by lazing around in the College Park sun. It was a toasty 25°C; trust me this was welcomed with open arms after coming from a snowy Manhattan. However in my sleep deprived state, like a true Brit I, managed to burn myself before lunchtime.
That aside College Park was stunning, and was one of the best university campuses I’ve ever seen. Much like the city centre, it was super clean and everyone was really friendly.
The remaining days were left exploring the sites of DC, after a sweaty walk from Gallery Place to the nearest supermarket (which was seemingly impossible to find in the city), we settled with Starbucks. This came to become a regular occurrence over our time in Washington.
From there we lazed around outside the Whitehouse taking in the views. The Whitehouse itself was actually smaller than I imagined it would be. Nevertheless it was as white and as housey as they say. We then wandered toward the Washington Monument, which again was really quite breath taking. Followed by strolling down past the Reflecting Pool toward the Lincoln memorial.
This took us way longer than it should have, but for the right reasons. The weather was perfect and ideal for city exploration. This often led us to sitting down, putting some music on and taking in the scenery, it was blissful. So I’d say if you ever hit up Washington, visit in the warmer months, you won’t regret it.
We were visiting around the time of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and the trees were in bloom. That made our walk around Tidal Basin (a lake near the Constitution Gardens) that much nicer.
The day finished with us having possibly the best meal I’d had during my time in the U.S. It was at a restaurant called Ming’s, in Chinatown. It served authentic Chinese cuisine and all the dishes seemed really organic, I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area.
Our final days were spent doing similar things, but this time we explored other areas like the National Mall, galleries and the eagerly anticipated Capital Building, which towered the surrounding buildings. The only annoying aspect was the top dome of the building was covered in scaffolding, sadly obstructing a clear view.
This aside whole area was really quite smart and unlike New York it felt as though Washington didn’t cater to tourism in the same way, it was a place of work, you were welcome to take in the scenery as a bystander but Washington locals always had a job to do/ places to be.
Another general observation that I made about the city was the skyline. When in the city centre all the buildings seemed to stop at the same height level, however we later found out that no building in The Capital was allowed to exceed the height of the Washington Monument.
On our final day we had to catch another dreaded night bus at 2am. So to kill time during the evening we tried to find an affordable restaurant till the early hours. We were searching from around 8:30ish and for Nation’s Capital we had great trouble in doing so.
Thankfully we found a great place called &Pizza, a Washington specific pizza chain that did some of the most amazing/interesting pizzas I’ve ever had. All their recipes had an interesting twist, along with being given the option to create your own.
All items on the menu were below $10, which was a bonus! Their drink options were also on point; they had a refillable soda machine with lots of their own personal flavours e.g. cherry, fig & pear etc. Since we spent a few hours in there we ended up working our way through all the flavours and settled on mango being our personal preference.
All things considered I had an awesome time in DC, the people were friendly, the weather was amazing, the architecture was grand but above all I was pleasantly surprised by the city as a whole. My expectations were heavily exceeded. However, I would say that if you were a tourist, I wouldn’t say you’d need any more than 3-4 days to see the sights, but that’s just my opinion.
So Washington, DC, as you can probably tell, is definitely worth putting on your bucket list.
Check out my Washington Adventure on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iTpB88YbBg