I spent an extra long weekend with my Dad in our nation’s capitol, and boy what an adventure it was!
We left early in the morning for Penn Station and took Amtrak down to D.C. The train ride was smooth and pretty quick, so I definitely recommend traveling by train. It also made packing a lot easier since they are very loose with size and weight restrictions of your bags.
The trip started with some unexpected weather so to say I was packed incorrectly is an understatement. I packed a week prior, which was definitely a mistake as the forecast showed sunny skies. That meant some extra shopping for clothes, and having extra room in my bag and leniency on the train back was very nice!
Once we arrived, we hit the ground running! We stayed at a hotel that was about a 15 minute walk from the White House so we could get around easily. After grabbing a quick lunch we got on the metro to head to the Capitol Building.
There were protests and lots of tour groups, so it was an exciting time to be around.
We walked around the National Mall, saw lots of the monuments, explored the Botanical Garden, got some ice cream, and ended the day at the Lincoln Memorial. We decided not to go into any museums yet since we had a few days ahead of us to do that so just strolling around these sites was nice.
The next day we toured the White House (which you need to sign up for in advance), and I was quite honestly very disappointed. Part of my disappointment came from standing in a tsunami leading up to the tour. We were both drenched by the time we got inside and felt underwhelmed with the self-guided tour. It was nice to experience once, but I don’t think I’d do it again, and I’m not sure I’d recommend it.
Since we were exhausted, soaking wet, and disappointed with the tour, we went for a nice, long brunch afterward. While the food in D.C. overall wasn’t amazing, the Old Ebbitt Grill was great for brunch! A nice mix of comfort foods and some seafood options in a charming atmosphere.
After we ate and dried off a bit, we went museum hopping around the National Mall. Our favorite museum was the National Museum of American History. There’s everything from how we harvest our food to the evolution of advertising.
The rest of the trip was filled with more museum and monument hopping with some meals scattered in between.
If you like Spanish food or want to get a taste of it for the first time, Taberna del Alabardero is the place to go! The food was so tasty and it’s a unique dining experience.
On our last day, we toured the Capitol building, which was much nicer than the White House tour. There’s a lot more to do and see as well considering there’s the tour, museum, and the expansive building itself.
Overall, the trip was nice for spending time together and exploring a new city, but it was great to be back in NYC after a long journey!
My D.C. tips:
- Stay in a hotel, hostel, or motel closer to the museums. You won’t be visiting the White House much (in my opinion), so it’s nice to be near the sites you’ll visit most often.
- There’s really no need to take the metro to get around. Don’t buy a metro card.
- While there’s lots to do and see, I think 2-3 days in D.C. is plenty of time to do and see a lot. We ended up leaving early because we ran out of things to do.
- Pack for changing weather. That means umbrellas, sandals, etc.
- Go to the White House tour if you have time, but no need to prioritize this.