Washington D.C.: The American Experience

Well, if I didn’t shock you with my previous post stating I had never been to Chicago, I’ll sure shock you now: until November 2011, I had never been to Washington D.C. before! What kind of childhood did I have?! I don’t know. I have been to Virginia before to visit family, but don’t have enough sight-seeing or experiences to write a full post about it, so I’ll tag Virginia in here too, just because it’s one more state that I can check off! I seriously loved D.C. and everything it had to offer. Like its slogan, it truly was the American Experience.

Fun in DC

Angela and I decided to take a weekend trip the weekend before Thanksgiving break. This was the perfect weekend to go since the weather was still warm, there weren’t a lot of tourists since they were all preparing for the holidays, and our flights and hotels were incredibly cheap because of the timing! We were able to purchase round-trip, non-stop flights from our respective cities for $99. Our hotel, the Fairfield Inn & Suites was also $130 per person. This hotel also included a free hot breakfast every morning, and free tea, coffee and cookies throughout the day. Definitely worth the money, especially because it was also in a central location and walking distance to all of the sights.

DC Through My Eyes

We got into D.C. around 3pm and headed straight to the hotel. We unpacked a bit, and then headed out to walk around the area. We walked through the downtown area, and then grabbed dinner at a fantastic coal fired pizza place, whose name is escaping me right now! We then headed down toΒ BlackFinn American Saloon where one of our good friends from high school was bartending that night. Her boyfriend is also the manager of the bar, and Three Olives Vodka was having a promotion that night, so we were able to get free drinks all night long! We made friends with a party of guys since one of their friends was celebrating a birthday, so this naturally made for a fun and entertaining night.

Crowns Courtesy of Three Olives

The next morning we hit the ground running. We toured pretty much all of D.C. I luckily turned my pedometer app on, and calculated that we walked 12 miles the entire day. We saw all of the sights, including the White House, Washington Monument, the Capital Steps, the National Mall, and went into the Newseum museum. If you are looking for an incredibly interesting, entertaining, and fun museum, I would highly recommend the Newseum. We spent a good hour and a half in here touring all of the floors and everything they had to offer. We learned about the history of the telephone, computer, and cell phones, along with the different laws and acts that were passed in relation to communications. As a Media and Communications graduate student, I completely nerded out here.

Newseum

The 9/11 exhibit and memorial wasΒ very emotional to see, so we didn’t watch the video that was part of it, because to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it. We did look at the amazing wall of newspapers from the following day reporting on the attacks from literally all over the world. It was incredible, touching, and wonderful to see. There were so many other fantastic exhibits located within the Newseum, but I will let you all find them for yourselves!

9/11 Exhibit & Others in the Newseum

Later that night we grabbed dinner with some of Angela’s family friends at Carmine’s, which, as always, was delicious and served in giant portions! After that, we stopped for drinks with some college friends who were also living in D.C. at the time, at RFD, which is an extremely fun and laid back bar providing you with the best beers! I’m not the biggest beer drinker, but the ones we tried here were all really great, and the staff was of course, incredibly knowledgeable with their recommendations, since there’s nothing I hate more than a staff member who doesn’t know what they are talking about!

Dinner and Drinks! RFD Logo Courtesy of: http://www.lovethebeer.com/about.html

We luckily found great flights for Sunday that didn’t leave until 9pm, so that left us with the entire day to sight-see some more! We were up and at ’em early again to check out the Smithsonian museums since they are all free, we had to see as many as we could. We stopped in the Museum of National History and the American Art Museum. We then walked to Eastern Market, which is a wonderful and giant flea market filled with things like crepes, to cowboy boots, to chocolates, to meet up with some of my childhood friends that moved when I was young, but who I still keep in touch with. It was the best afternoon I could ask for because for those few hours walking around the market and sharing crepes, I felt like I was back in second grade and felt so happy to be with my friends again!

Me, Jessie and Rebecca Reunited Again at Eastern Market!

After that, Angela and I still had a few hours to kill, so we went to the Botanic Gardens, which were also free, and also very educational and fun at the same time. Naturally, I was like a child smelling the different spices and flowers and looking through the different areas with fallen trees in the kids section. Hey, I was feeling nostalgic, ok?!

Fun at the Botanic Gardens

Finally, we walked back to our hotel to officially check out and head to the airport. That weekend was probably the most I’ve ever packed into a weekend, but still think about it and how much fun we had! We got to see so many old friends and see SO many historic sights that it was truly the best vacation ever! I can’t wait to get back sometime soon.

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