Exploring Washington DC: Travel Guide & Review

Exploring Washington DC - The Wander Guide Travel Review

Exploring Washington DC - The Wander Guide Travel Review

 

Washington DC : Travel Guide

Washington DC is one of those cities that I will go to over and over again. It’s extremely tourist friendly, there’s a plethora of fantastic museums (that are FREE!), and plenty of good restaurants and bars. I was able to visit Washington DC for the fourth time last month, and although I have been there several times I still had a blast exploring new areas. If you are planning to visit PACK YOUR WALKING SHOES! That is the best piece of advice I can give you. Kyle and I walked 10+ miles the first day we were there. I’ve visited in both the summer and winter and it gets REALLY hot and REALLY cold, so plan your attire accordingly.

Getting around is fairly easy. I would suggest purchasing a metro pass and utilizing the metro as much as possible. It’s really easy to navigate and there are stops close to everything you will want to see. TIP: Use Google Maps and select public transportation. It will tell you exactly how to get there on the metro. This is what I always do. I also like to grab one of the free maps they have a the metro station, just in case I need it. I also noticed the metro stations had a lot of workers there to help people purchase metro passes and direct them on where to go if they were confused. I felt comfortable using the metro on my own as there were plenty of tourists around.

Spending 4 Days in Washington DC

Washington DC is the perfect city for a long weekend. Typically, I hate waking up early, but it was a good idea to fly out of Knoxville at 6AM so we would have a full day ahead of us in Washington DC. The airport is located across the bridge in Arlington, VA. We stayed in the Crystal Gateway Marriott our first night, which is just a short metro stop away from the airport (I think they also had a shuttle to the hotel). We were able to check into our hotel room early and drop off our bags. Marriott hotels are usually my go to hotel, and this one had excellent service and the rooms were the same quality I expect. The hotel also connects to the Crystal City Shops, which is a mostly underground walkway and shopping area that connects to the metro. We walked around this area to get lunch and dinner and it was really enjoyable.

Day #1 – First stop of the day was the Arlington National Cemetery.

We spent at least 2 hours walking around Arlington National Cemetery. It was a really interesting place to visit. I’m not sure I would put it on the top of your list if you are visiting Washington DC for the first time, unless you’re really into that sort of thing, but it is a good place to visit at least once.

Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Inside the Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Inside the Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Memorial Amphitheater, Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Memorial Amphitheater

Memorial Amphitheater, Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Memorial Amphitheater

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Women in Military Service Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Women in Military Service Memorial

Day #1 (Continued) – Next stop was to visit the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial.

At this point I don’t think I realized how much walking was in store, but it was poor planning on my part. At least doing all of this AND the Arlington National Cemetery in the same day. THIS is what I would suggest doing in a day instead: Visit the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial. In that order. The walk from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial is very enjoyable. The National WWII Memorial and Reflecting Pool are in the middle. There are big shade trees to cool you off on your walk (it was really hot, in case you couldn’t tell). Then we walked past the Tidal Basin (nice walk) to the Jefferson Memorial. PERFECT spots for pictures. This is a must for any Washington DC visit.

Heads up on the food selection in this area: there are limited restaurants around. There were plenty of food trucks near the Washington Monument. If you’re not into that then I would suggest eating a large breakfast before you head out.

 

Flags at the Washington Monument - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Flags at the Washington Monument

Washington Monument - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Me in front of the Lincoln Memorial

WWII Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

WWII Memorial

Lincoln Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Washington Monument

Washington Monument - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Washington Monument (View from the steps at the Lincoln Memorial)

Jefferson Memorial from the Tidal Basin - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Jefferson Memorial

Tidal Basin - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Tidal Basin Walk

Tidal Basin - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Tidal Basin Walk

Jefferson Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Jefferson Memorial

Jefferson Memorial - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Jefferson Memorial

As you can imagine, we were SO HUNGRY after all of this walking. We stopped by the hotel then walked over to Good Stuff Eatery for dinner. It reminded me of Five Guys expect more of a craft burger and fries. And lots of different dipping sauces. Here’s a food picture, because I can’t help it.

Good Stuff Eatery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Good Stuff Eatery Burger and Fries (mmm!)

Day #2 – White House, National Gallery of Art, and the Air and Space Museum.

The White House is probably the most iconic building in Washington DC. It’s a little underwhelming, but you have to see it.

The White House - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

The White House

The White House - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

The White House

We ate lunch at Taylor Gourmet before traveling to the Omni Shoreham Hotel, which was our hotel for the rest of our stay. This hotel was really nice! The lobby sort of made me feel like I was in the Plaza Hotel and our room was beautiful and spacious. The area around the hotel was nice as well. Plenty of restaurants and shops in walking distance.

We visited the National Gallery of Art and the Air and Space Museum for the rest of the afternoon.

The Capitol - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

The Capitol Building

The National Gallery of Art - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the National Gallery of Art

We ate dinner at Open City (right next to our hotel). We had pizza and it was delicious. We then we back there for breakfast the next morning and it was typical diner food but really good and convenient.

Open City DC - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Pizza at the Open City Diner

Day #3 – The Smithsonian Zoo and The National Portrait Gallery.

The Smithsonian Zoo was a 10 minute walk away from the hotel so I decided to check it out. I thought it was a really nice zoo, especially considering that it is free to visit. If you have limited time on your tip to Washington DC then I would say skip the zoo because it is nothing special. However, I decided to go since I have seen most of the major DC sights already. Washington DC gets HOT in the summer. The zoo had a lot of shaded areas so it was still enjoyable on a summer afternoon.

After the zoo I hopped on the metro and headed to the National Portrait Gallery. Highly recommend! I especially enjoyed the portraits (photographs and paintings) of modern celebrities and the portraits of the Presidents.

For dinner I headed to the District Kitchen (walking distance from my hotel) and enjoyed a glass of wine, steak, and dessert. Very good food!

The Smithsonian Zoo - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Smithsonian Zoo

The Smithsonian Zoo - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Smithsonian Zoo

The Smithsonian Zoo - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Smithsonian Zoo

The Smithsonian Zoo - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Smithsonian Zoo

The National Portrait Gallery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Inside the National Portrait Gallery

Day #4 – Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and the Holocaust Museum

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is fun to visit. There’s a lot to see and a lot to do (especially for kids). Then we decided to go to something really sad afterward, The Holocaust Museum. I do recommend seeing The Holocaust Museum because it is a very moving experience. If you want to go, you need to get a free timed ticket prior to your visit due to limited space in the building.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

The Holocaust Museum - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Holocaust Museum

The Holocaust Museum - The Wander Guide - A Travel and Lifestyle Blog

Holocaust Museum

Are you planning a trip to Washington DC? Where are some places you want to go while you’re there?

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