I am elbows deep in a digital declutter and with that comes a lot of going down memory lane. Last week, I was cleaning out my Washington D.C 2010 folder and stumbled on pictures and memories about my very first visit to D.C. I have been back several times since them, but that first visit is still my favorite of them all.
I had been living in the states for almost ten years at this point and was yet to get to D.C, so when a conference opportunity in D.C. landed in my inbox, I decided to head to the city a few days before the conference to explore the city. I flew into Washington National airport on Satuday night , took the shuttle to my hotel which was perfectly located - only about a 20 minute cab ride to the National mall. I arrived too late to see or do anything. I ordered room service and called it a night.
My Conference was scheduled to start on Tuesday Morning so I had about 48 hours to explore. There is so much to see and do in D.C. I had to narrow it down to a specific area to avoid being overwhelmed. I am a history and architectural buff so I chose the monuments and the surrounding areas as my focus. I saved other D.C. activities for another trip. [See rundown of my subsequent trip to Georgetown here].
I started my day shortly after 1 p.m. I took a cab from my hotel to the national mall. I was dropped off close to the walkway leading up to the Washington monument. I could either walk from there towards the Lincoln memorial or towards the Capitol steps. Without much thought, I began walking towards the National mall and the capitol steps. The National mall is lined with musuems and historical sites.
My first stop was at the National musum of American History, I could have spent all day here satisfying my inner history nerd. From the flag that inspired the national athem to the collection of inaugural gowns of the first ladies - including the dress Jason Wu designed for Michelle Obama for the first inuaguration (Swoon). There is much more to see, but I won't list them all so as not to ruin it for you.
My next stop was the Smithsonian office located in the Castle (an architectural favorite). Don't miss the garden in the backyard or the U.S. Botanical garden that is also located on the mall. Then, on to the National museum of Africana arts. The history captured here is overwhelming and humbling. Add to that the interior architecture and you have the making of some of my favorite things. I had a decision to make about my next stop - China town or continue along the National mall. The National Mall won. I made stops at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garde, National Museum of Natural History (perfect stop if you are traveling with kids) and the National gallery of Arts.
I stopped into most of the museums along the path to the capitol steps. At some point, I grabbed a gyro sandwich from one of the food trucks, perched myself on a bench and just people watched folks playing flag football, freesbies, picnicing, laying out in the sun. It was nice to be doing nothing. My stroll from the Washington Monument to the Capitol steps took about five hours because I made several steops along the way The experience was incredible and worth it. My only regret was not wearing a more comfortable shoes.