Guide to Washington DC

My first trip to Washington DC was in 2006 but because its one of my favorites cities in the United States, I have returned many times. Dylan's first visit to DC was in July of this year, a 2 day stopover before his big trip to Iceland. Were probably going to have to go back together, why not right? The thing is, no matter how many times I go back, Im always left in awe in the immensity of all the structures and the sheer quantity of things to do.

DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the USA. The capital is constantly being used in movies and it is where all the most important decisions in the country are made. Its always in the spotlight. There is so much to see that its nearly impossible to do everything in one quick trip or in a few days (just ask Dylan).

Washington DC has one of the easiest and best underground railway systems in the United States. It’s very easy to get wherever you need to go in DC without ever having to use a taxi or uber.You purchase the SmarTrip card at the electronic machines located next to the main machines for $10 and it has a value of $8. But, when you use a SmarTrip card versus a paper metro card you save $1 per trip. 

One of DC’s greatest qualities is its walkability. A small town at heart, you can move between neighborhoods easily if time allows for a stroll. The Metro subway system (payment determined by distance) or the bus (fares from $1.75 to $4) go around town and to nearby suburbs, and there are plenty of taxis, too. Plus, there are bicycles for rent with over 300 stations. Dylan used this many times and he says that it was great and affordable. He paid almost $2 and would ride around for 30 mins to an hour per session. All the important museums and landmarks have bicycle stations nearby. But do not forget to return your bike and within the specified time frame! This may seem obvious, but if you do not return your bike to a stand within 30 minutes of first removing it, you will begin to accrue fees. Here is a link to how to use the Capital Bikeshare system.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
— Abraham Lincoln

Most of the things in DC are free, which allows you to plan your trip inside a budget with great ease. Theres no need to spend large sums of money to visit incredible places and this is one of the greatest advantages DC has. 

It is necessary to dedicate a day or two just to visit all the museums in the National Mall. They are all accessible in the same area, but you do have to walk a lot and it can be quite tiring. If you only have a short amount of time just visit the places that you want to see the most. 

WHAT TO SEE IN THE NATIONAL MALL? 

The White House | The Washington Monument | National World War II Memorial | Thomas Jefferson Memorial | Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial | Korean War Memorial | Martin Luther King Memorial | Vietnam Veterans Memorial | DC War Memorial | Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool

Another day has to be dedicated to other museums. Even if you don't enjoy museums, these are the ones you cannot miss! Especially if they are free of charge. Thank you Smithsonian Institution.

The National Achives is a must. It contains the Declaration of Independence as well as the American Consitution. The National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum are the most visited places.

US Capitol, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Arlington Cemetery to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Some of the places on this list, have to be booked in advance; so always check before you go. For example, the interior tour of the White House can only be booked 6 months in advance and has to be done through your embassy. 

OTHER

National Zoo | Georgetown | Ford’s Theatre | Washington National Catedral | Pentagon | Holocaust Museum

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National Zoo

National Zoo

Have you been to DC or are you planning to go? What would you recommend? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.