Washington DC is a city that has been on my internal nerd bucket list for a long time. Being in New York at the time its a really easy trip south. My parents were visiting so we made a last minute, complete spur of the moment decision to head to the capital for the weekend (purely because dad lives for this history stuff.)
We got the Amtrak from Penn Station (which I snoozed and drooled on for the entire journey, photos swiftly deleted) and it only took about 3 hours from NY. Booked into the Hyatt Hotel which we got a GREAT last minute deal on and being about 5 minute walk from Capital Hill, that’s a location pretty hard to beat. It was also super close to a great Irish Pub called Pheonix Park where my dad could fill up on his spuds and Guinness. Lol. (I’m being serious).
We began our first day excursion and of course you can do in-depth tours of most of the historically buildings in DC, but only being there for the weekend, we decided it was best to see it, take a picture and soak in the fact we felt like we were in the set of House of Cards. (Dad in his element)
Capital hill is at the top of a 2 mile long parkway known as The Mall. We made our way towards the centre towards the towering Washington Monument (which once used to be the tallest building in the world!!). However, the walk seems shorter than it actually is in reality. With humidity at what felt like an all time high I was literally skipping between trees for shade looking like a crazy woman. (You can imagine my cranky pants at this stage!) I would recommend getting the metro as far as the Smithsoian Muesuem across from Washington Monument. You’re on your own from there! We then took in the World War II Memorial, stopping for snacks and being chased by cheeky squirrels. They’re everywhere so watch your lunch!
The highlight for me is the Lincoln Memorial and looking down at the reflecting pool towards the Washington Monument. To say it’s impressive is a huge understatement and I sat on the steps thinking of the famous speech made by Martin Luther King all those decades ago. And randomly Forrest Gump!! Other memorials in the area is the Vietnam And Korean War Memorials, both worth a visit. The White House is also a short distance away but be mindful that security is naturally very tight so you are quite far back from the building itself. But an absolute must when visiting the city. The moral of this story is bring good walking shoes.
The next day we made our way across the river to Arlington Cemetery by metro which is really efficient, new and safe in Washington. Dad was giddy with excitement (again) and our first point of call was John F. Kennedy burial site. He is perched on a beautiful spot overlooking the key buildings in the city surrounded by his famous speech “not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country engraved into limestone walls around him. Arlington Cemetery itself was actually a hugely moving experience.We powered on to final port of call to see the Iwo Jima Memorial. This is the huge iconic sculpture to commemorate the US Marine Corp and defo and this iconic image is defo one you have seen before.
The entire trip was genuinely outstanding and moving to learn so much of the American history and sacrifice. I feel like I only touched to surface of what Washington DC has to offer and all that I learned while I was there and can’t wait to go back and do more. It was just an amazing experience I feel I was so lucky to share with my mum & dad. I think the only thing I would change was the time of year I visited as it’s super hot in the summer, so next time il opt for a spring or autumn trip.