I love returning to Washington D.C. at any time of year. I spent my formative years in the suburbs near the nation’s capital. It is a beautiful city and unlike New York, which can be overwhelming to many who first visit, DC is a much smaller city, home to the US Government and many historical monuments and museums which can be easily accessed on foot. It can also be so overwhelming, with the many wonderful museums and historical sights all in one place. Here are my top 5 things to do in Washington D.C.
There are many memorial monuments to visit in Washington D.C. I managed to see most of them in one long afternoon. For any trip to the nation’s capital, there is such a wide variety of things to see. Start at Capitol Hill and walk along the Mall to the Washington Monument. Walk over to the Lincoln Memorial, while stopping by the WWII Memorial and the Reflection Pool. Near the Lincoln Memorial, is the Vietnam War, Korean War and the Martin Luther King Memorial. Further along the Tidal Basin, is the Franklin D Roosevelt and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
The oldest part of Washington D.C. and one of the most beautiful is Georgetown. Unfortunately it is also one of the most expensive. There are a whole range of boutique shops and up-market restaurants, as well as the famous De Luca’s delicatessen and the Georgetown shopping mall. Georgetown is also home to Georgetown University, one of the most prestigious universities in the United States.
Along the Tidal Basin are beautiful cherry blossoms which were a gift from Tokyo to DC. Between March and April, they come in bloom and are a magnificent sight. The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place at this time of year and there are concerts and fireworks along the mall. The exact date of the festival changes year on year, but it lasts for about 5 weeks and is a great place to take the family and enjoy the city.
I stayed with a family friend who had an apartment right on 18th street, the heart of Adams Morgan. Adams Morgan is lively part of town with many bars and clubs playing live music. There is a wide culture diversity in this neighborhood with a high proportion of Latino and Central American as well as African, Asia and Caribbean. Unfortunately, when I was over, I missed the Adams Morgan Day Festival which takes place on the second Sunday of September and is a multicultural street celebration. I can only imagine it to be a small version of London’s Notting Hill.
Until a few years ago, there was a thriving China Town in Washington D.C. Since the arrival of the Verizon Center, many of the traditional Chinese shops and restaurants were bought out. It is a much safer area to be in now but it is less authentic as many Chinese have moved out of the area. I went to one of the few remaining Chinese restaurants, (well it was actually Mongolian), called Tony Chang’s Restaurant on H St. NW just off of 7th Street in DC.
For planning a visit to the east coast of the United States, I would recommend spend at least 5 days exploring America’s capital city, then take the 3 hour train ride up to New York City for some interesting nights out and great shopping in the “city that never sleeps”.