Washington D.C. is the first US state that we have visited as a married couple. This was way, way back in 2014, and I figure out that I should start sharing my travel experiences. I like reading travel blogs, and I learn so much from them. I learn a lot when we travel. There are fun, frustrations, excitement and all mix of emotions during the travel but that’s what great about it. You discover more of yourself (and if you have better half, you discover him/her too,lol).
Since I moved to the US, I was completely a stranger on how everything works. This was a very exciting phase for me. I am going to share it from a point of view of someone who has never been in the United States.
First of all, we went there around December 20, 2014 and it was really, really cold. I will highlight the learning experiences I had so you can even prepare yourself for travel. Again, this is from a point of view from a non-US resident before. Our main tour schedule are approximately 3 days because the other 2 days are for arrival and preparing for departure.
- Washington D.C. in case you do not know is the Capital of United States. It is very much traveler-friendly so there are transits and buses that you can use in visiting places.
- You may want to get a metro pass first on a machine and choose from the selections that best apply on your situation. We chose the unlimited pass since we are staying there for five days.
- If you can also download the metro app, it would greatly help you in tracking the time of departure and arrival of trains.
- We used a bus from the airport to the metro transit. It pays to always have cash on hand because you don’t know if they always accept credit.
Since it is Christmas season, the entire city is very festive and filled with activities.
WHAT ARE THE PLACES TO SEE?
Well, Washington D.C. has lots of free places to visit. You may want to just prioritize what you want based on your interests. But these are the places we have visited, and I all enjoyed them. I like museums and anything that allows me to learn something new.
- United States Botanic Garden
- Oh this place is number 1 on my list. I chose this because I want to see Titan Arum, the largest flower but unfortunately it only blooms around July-September. This place did not disappoint me. There was an on-going exhibit when we went there. The theme are trains and the infrastructures in Washington. It is still colorful even if we visited there during winter time. I suggest checking their website if they have on-going exhibit if you plan to visit. Best of all, it is FREE.
- Library of Congress
- It is the largest library in the world. If you visit Washington, you should never miss this one. There was a line when we went there but it’s pretty manageable. No drinks are allowed. I like the ceiling because they look like the Sistine Chapel style. Best of all, you can take pictures. There’s a portion where you can’t enter which is strictly for staff and congress. That’s where I saw the huge Bible. And again, it is FREE!
- The White House
- Do I even need to explain this? Well, I was not able to come close to the White House but seeing it from afar is also good enough. But I heard, First Lady Melania Trump open portion of it for public visit so you can check that out. For now, I am happy to see the White House even just like this, lol.
- The National Tree
- If you do visit there around December, don’t miss out to take a photo opportunity on the National Tree. There are also other trees displayed there that showcase every state.
- National Gallery of Art
- This features some of the awesome Japanese artworks I have ever seen. Admission is FREE.
- International Spy Museum
- If you are more drawn on investigation type of thing. This is just in front of Smithsonian Museum. We ran out of time so I just chose Smithsonian. I like to read as much as I can when I am in museums. There is a fee to enter here. That’s why I spent most of the time in the museum in front, lol.
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
- This is where you will see different artworks from various places in the United States. It has massive collections of paintings big or small. If you are into artwork, this is a must place for you. I was told not to take pictures inside (if I remember it right). It is again FREE.
- National Archives Museum
- This is where you see the exhibits of historical records and presidential papers just like the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, etc. There are also public programs, presentations and workshops going on but depends on the time of your visit. Admission is FREE.
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarter
- For a Science enthusiast like me, this one is on top of my list. The moment I stepped in the museum, I knew this is the right place for me. However, my time isn’t enough to saturate myself on all things and information here. I mostly stayed on the planet section where I touched a portion of the moon. This place is huge! Allot half-day here. I also enjoyed the space allotted for the Wright Brothers.
- Smithsonian Zoo
- It is open 364 days a year and it is free. This is where you see their famous Panda, Bao Bao. There were not so many animals out when we went since it is winter. It was also so peaceful and quiet during our visit. The best part is we got to see Bao Bao. He’s in a deep slumber though.
- Capitol Hill
- While we were not able to enter the Capitol Hill, seeing it from a far is not bad. Of course you gotta take a selfie too.
- US Congress
- You can see where they hold meetings here. Unfortunately, I was not able to get inside. I wish I had. But the girl scout in me brought some food like protein bars and no food is allowed. My husband said just throw them. We tried to give them away but nobody wanted them. So I decided to move on to a next museum. They have a very strict security here. My heart just can’t afford to throw lots of food.
- China Town
- If you are craving for some Oriental foods, then you can pay a short visit in China town. There are various selection of restaurants and you can choose what your heart desires.
- Lincoln Memorial
- You will get to see the known landscape which is a triangular in shape. I was not able to take picture here because it was raining and temperature dropped. I was freezing already.
- Holocaust Museum
- This is one of my most unforgettable museum. The moment you walk in, you would feel the ambiance of what the museum is about. I was able to learn more about the Holocaust here that I do not even knew before. One of the things that stood out to me are the shoes of survivors. I suggest you sit down to watch the short films too. This would really give you lots of information. Taking photos is not allowed in the museum. Though admission is free, you can always donate.
- Christmas Presentation (unique experience)
- A good friend of my husband found out we are visiting Washington so they gave us free tickets to watch the show sponsored by the Marines. It is a fun Christmas show.
There are still other places on my list, but we were not able to visit them anymore. I clearly underestimated the sizes of the places and the availability of information on each museum. I suggest you pick based on your interests. It is also wise to always check the website. Plan ahead. I hope you enjoyed my list. If you are in the US or is about to visit US, you should not miss out these important places.
‘Til next time Washington! Need to go back home.