Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#TravelTuesday 19// 48 Hours in Washington D.C.

Happy #TravelTuesday! 
I am excited for this month's link up and to see where all your adventures have taken you recently! 
Just add your link to the bottom of this post, so that we can all travel together!

D.C. Washington Monument

This month I am sharing our trip to Washington D.C. at the beginning of June. Babe had to be in Bethesda for work for a week and we have tried numerous times for me to tack on, so that was could spend the weekend before or after exploring the city. After trying numerous times to do this on his other work travels, but never making it work timing wise, we finally just said, "the heck with making sure conditions fit perfectly." I knew I was going to have to be back for work by midday on Sunday, so we had a pretty tight window of time to explore. 

So, here is how we spent our 48 hours in D.C...

Bistro Bistro D.C.
Afterwords Cafe and Bar D.C.
Washington Monument D.C.
9:30 We landed and "learned" the Metro; and by learning the Metro we ended up going the wrong direction, I ended up getting motion sickness and we decided that we would NOT be boarding the Metro again (Praise the God Lord for Uber)! 
10:30 Check-in; we stayed at the Washington Hilton and were not originally able to check-in until sometime mid-afternoon, so we planned to just drop our luggage off; thankfully though our room was ready. We dropped our stuff and scouted out lunch spots. 
11:00 We ended up at Bistro Bistro for lunch, because CARPACCIO. Done and done! We ended up ordering a plate each and they also had some super yummy bread, so we were set and happy. We sat on the patio and chatted through plans for the day. 
12:00 Kramerbooks; y'all, it's a bookstore AND a bar (they also serve food, which I wish we had known, because it might have won out for our lunch stop)! I am constantly trying to get Babe to go into bookstores with me; I could browse for hours, he has no desire to be there, so more often than not it's like pulling teeth, but this is the best of both worlds. Definitely a great little spot to check out for any of my bookworm friends! 
12:30 Ok, so even the drinks weren't enough to really keep him there long, but given that we were in D.C. to see the sites, we left the bookstore pretty quickly and headed onward towards the White House. 

Tip: You will be walking! A LOT! This is NOT an exaggeration! 
Babe's FitBit read 12.3 miles for just the first day.
Walking, all the walking; so, make sure to have comfortable shoes! 
I brought my Chacos and my feet were very, VERY thankful! 

1:00 We peeked around the White House from outside the gates. You can submit a request with your congressman if you wish to get inside, but we didn't plan far enough in advance and really didn't want that to take up the bulk of our time anyways. 
1:30 Smithsonian National Museum of American History- So, we walked in and grabbed a map. I am looking through it and trying to figure out how I find the wooly mammoth; yes, for lovers of Night at the Museum I was looking to relive the movie. When I couldn't figure out how to find him I asked someone at the help desk, who informed me that I was actually looking for the Museum of Natural History. Knowing we were running short on time to see all the stuff we wanted to get to (everything museum wise shuts down at 5:30), we did a quick run through a few of the exhibits, just to see if there was anything the struck of fancy and headed off to find Howard (the wooly mammoth)! 
*Note: With the exception of food and drinks, most of our time in D.C. was FREE!! It's amazing having access to so many awesome museums and things to do, without worrying about the cost. While we would have loved to do some of the tours, they do cost $$ and we were also low on time. 
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History D.C.
Jazz in the Garden National Gallery of Art
2:30 Smithsonian Museum of Natural History- Yay, we found him!! The thing we LOVED so much about D.C. is that everything is free! It gives you the freedom, and grace, of showing up at the wrong museum and not having to stick around because you paid for it. So we took a little over an hour to fully explore the Natural History Museum. I think my favorite part was the live exhibits they had. I got to touch a leech and hold a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach! Babe loved strolling through reading about everything. He's much more of the historical fact learner and will tell me about anything really noteworthy, while I prefer to skip from one thing to the next, just looking, exploring and checking out the cool architecture. 
4:00 We were fading (we had a very early flight out to ensure that we would get the most out of our time) so we headed in search of coffee. Timgad Coffee was a yummy little place, situated right by the National Archive. While this hadn't been on our original "must-do" list, we figured it was better than trying to book it to get anywhere else, since my feet were already killing me. 
4:45 Smithsonian National Archive- Sometimes the surprise plans end up being some of the best! If Babe loves learning about all the historical facts and tidbits of information, I get enveloped in seeing words written down in pen, in reading people sharing their hearts on paper. I had not idea how much of this I would find in the National Archives. Sure, we got to see the Declaration of Independence, but what I could have spent hours doing was reading the letters written in hands of the men and women who have shaped our history. There was a letter written by MLK Jr. to President Roosevelt, imploring him to run for another term of Presidency, that had me in tears. I wish we had thought to spend more time there! Note: The line for the Declaration of Independence may seem long- we almost didn't get in, because I wanted to keep reading letters- but the line actually went really fast because they let in such a large group at a time, every 10 minutes or so. 
5:30 The museum will literally ferry you out as soon as it hits 5:30, so don't think you will be able to linger. We left the museum and sauntered out into the street to head towards the Memorial Mall. Well we stumbled upon this little garden and people are flocking inside, so we figured we would see what it was all about. It was Jazz Fest, a summer Jazz series that apparently the entirety of D.C. shows up for. Now that might be an exaggeration, but only slightly. It was packed, but they had sangria and local beers on tap; I am a sucker for sangria and Babe loves to try new beers, so we each grabbed a cup and found a quiet corner to sip in the grass. If you do happen to make it through and want to actually hear the music, you will need to find standing space by the stage (unless you get there super early to grab a spot). If you don't mind not being able to hear, which a lot of people don't seem to mind, you can head to the opposite side of the park and will have an easier time of finding space. Another note would be to head to the bar set up at the back end of the park, as most people will stop at the first two they see and the lines there were soooo long. We kept walking, thinking if the other line was long we would just leave, but the bar tucked behind the Pavilion Cafe was really short. 
6:15 Carousel!! Seriously, the later it got in the day (after our checklist had been set aside) the more excited I got! If I am a sucker for sangria, I am an even bigger sucker for carousels! If I find one, I have to ride it. Well, there is a carousel that sits on the lawn the sits between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. For $3 you can take a spin on the carousel, with views of all the historic American buildings in every turn! 
6:30 Next to the carousel sits the Smithsonian Castle, a super gorgeous building which houses the information center for all of the Smithsonian museums. The castle itself was closed for the day, but we strolled through the gardens enroute to the Washington Monument. Definitely a beautiful side stroll!
6:45 Washington Monument- Being the beginning of the summer the sun was still high in the sky and we took in the size of the monument with far less crowds than there would be during the day. Sure, you don't have park rangers around to tell you about everything, but we far prefer fewer people around, so it was perfect. 

Vietnam Memorial D.C.
I Have a Dream MLK Jr. Washington D.C.
Lincoln Memorial D.C.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial D.C.

7:00 The closer you get to the Lincoln Memorial the more the crowds pick up again. We stopped first at the Reflecting Pond and then moved onto the Vietnam Memorial. There is just something so somber and heart-wrenching about what you experience at the wall, at least for us. Just the expanse of names, written in stone; names forever engraved in their place in history. Maybe it's having a brother in the military, maybe its the fact that the older I get the more things really get put into perspective, but there just aren't enough words to explain that experience- or really the rest of the next hour or so our our first day there. 
7:30 We stopped at the Lincoln Memorial, where my heart still just felt this strange grip. At the top of the steps you can stand where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood to deliver his "I have a dream" speech. Just knowing the amount of history that those steps have held, to try to picture what it must have been like for him to stand in front of thousands of both supporters and protestors and pray things for our country that are, in so many ways, still being prayed for today just tugged at my heart strings. Then we walked into the Lincoln Memorial itself, where the words written on the wall can't help but overpower you. 
8:00 MLK Memorial- The sun was just beginning to dip lower when we found ourselves walking through the two large granite slabs that represent the "mountain of despair" and set our eyes on the "stone of hope", upon which MLK is chiseled out of on the opposite side. Other quotes from his speech are engraved into the granite on the back side of the wall. It is just such a humbling experience to see so much American history in one place and know the impact on our country; to ponder over both where we have been and where we are going. 

Barrel Bourbon Bar D.C.

8:30 Barrel- After all the heart thoughts of the last hour it was time for a drink (and some dinner), so we grabbed an Uber to save our tired toes! Not only did the end of the evening include one awesome meal and some killer craft cocktails, but it also had the added bonus of fun company. A friend of mine moved to D.C. for a pretty awesome job, met a boy and now lives just outside the city. We ate, drank, caught up on life and had a wonderful time! 
*Food recommendations: EVERYTHING! Seriously though, everything is scrumptious. We got the smoked brisket and the pork & veal pasta and were in hog heaven- literally! The four of us also split the cheesecake for dessert and while I typically do not like cheesecake (I know, I know! It's a texture thing!) this one was so good I had to at least down a few nibbles (especially of the crust)! 
*Dranks- Though Barrel is an aged bourbon bar I prefer gin, so I opted for the Bramble On, but had them swap the bourbon for gin and YUM! Babe went with their version of the Old Fashioned and liked it as well. Another cool note: Take enough people and you can get a 1 liter barrel of aged bourbon for Old Fashioneds for the the table! 
11:00 We finally found our way back to the hotel where we immediately passed out from sheer exhaustion! 

Baby Panda at the National Zoo
Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Jefferson Building Library of Congress
National Botanical Gardens
Smithsonian Castle

10:00 We let ourselves sleep in a bit, grabbed breakfast from the little cafe at the hotel and coffeed-up for another full day of walking. We decided to hit the zoo first and arrived around 11:00. Even though Babe was not super keen about "wasting our time" seeing some animals, I was itching to see the baby panda! Even better, that was one of the things my friend had still yet to do. They picked us up from the hotel and saved us an Uber ride! The zoo is actually a little outside the heart of the city, so it's something you really have to plan to see and was the one place we couldn't walk to. I am so glad we added this to the trip! I LOVED the pandas and the Gorilla room was awesome! Babe was actually pleasantly surprised and we both really enjoyed learning about all the conservation efforts being done to care for endangered creatures! We opted to eat lunch from the taco cart at the zoo, to save time for more exploring, and are happy to note that it is some pretty decent zoo food!!
2:30 Capitol- Though our adventure partners had to leave to make it to an event later, they were gracious enough to drive us back through the city and drop us off at the Capitol! We explored the exterior of the Capitol and the main lobby area, which includes a museum  inside. If you wish to tour the Capitol make sure you plan ahead. We would have loved to see the rotunda and get a tour, but with our short window of time, we opted not to.
3:00 Tunnels- I had heard about the tunnels that connect the buildings in D.C. and couldn't wait to walk through one. The one connecting the Capitol Lobby to the Jefferson building is the only one open for public use. Sadly, I was a little underwhelmed. Still something you should do, but do not be expecting cool, secretive looking tunnels underground. It's more of a glorified hallway. 
3:15 Library of Congress- This was, by far, my FAVORITE building! Gorgeous architecture, wonderful quotes all over the walls, and so many old books! Happy, happy heart! The only thing I was wish we had known ahead of time was that you can not get into the main reading room without a library card (can be preregistered for from here). We were only able to peer down into it from a glass-walled walkway above. Though the guard was kind enough to tell us how to get a card to use for the day, we didn't have time to go grab one (next time!). 
4:00 Botanical Gardens- Because of proximity to where we were at the time we did a quick run through of the Botanical Gardens. They are definitely gorgeous and somewhere you should check out if you love plant life! 
4:15 Smithsonian Castle- While this is mostly now used as the information headquarters for all things Smithsonian museums, you can tour the building, which looks absolutely beautiful and old and all things I LOVE to explore. Sadly, we did not know that the only tours offered were at 10 and 2. If this is something you want to get to tour, make sure you call ahead to see what times they have tours before you go. 
Smithsonian Postal Museum in D.C.
Union Station Washington D.C.
Tomate Washington D.C.
Great Beers in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. Hilton

4:45 Postal Museum- To save time we grabbed an Uber and headed to the Postal Museum. When I told people this was on my must do list, they gave me the blankest of stares. However, there was a PostSecret exhibit that I knew I wanted to see if we could. I am so glad we didn't miss it, because not only was it so cool to see an actual PostSecret postcard in full glory (not to mention just the huge amount of postcards that have been sent to Frank), but the museum itself was very cool! Babe loved seeing all the old modes of mail delivery. There is an old mail train to explore and you can take a "ride" on the Pony Express. I would have loved to go into the stamp room, but we spent so much time reading all the PostSecrets that was ran out of time. Though the exhibit ends in September, this is still a must see museum and I would go back again. 
5:45 Union Station- The Postal Museum sits right near Union Station, so we figured we would poke in. Though we hadn't planned to see that either, we were glad we didn't miss taking a look! 
6:30 Tomate- Feed yourself people! Or men, feed your ladies! Poor Babe had to deal with a very hangry wife for awhile when we couldn't find a good place to eat. Sometimes you just have to give up on trying to find a place with happy hour and find the nearest place with food. Luckily this turned out to be great! Definitely a good spot for some yummy Italian, even if their posted happy hour is only for the weekdays! 
8:00 Of course it's usually just a few steps further when you find a really hidden gem. We were heading back to the hotel, on a back street, when we stumbled across Glen's Garden Market, which had a craft beer counter and fresh made food. Babe loves trying new beer, so we stopped in for a sec. They were not only the cheapest beers we found, but also the very best! I am still working on liking beer, but was also pleasantly surprised (even if it took me longer to drink my half-pour than his full glass)! 
9:00 Drinks at the hotel- We planned to end the night with a nightcap in the hot tub. We grabbed a SUPER yummy drink from the hotel bar (their fresh muddled strawberry drink is the best) and took them up to the pool area, only to discover that what we had thought was a hot tub was actually just a fancy baby pool. Oh well, I just opted for a hot bath instead! 

Legal Seafood in the Ronald Reagan Airport

10:45 Legal Seafoods- I was supposed to leave at 9ish on Sunday morning, as I had to be back for work by 4. However, when we got to the airport we found out the plane was delayed. So he waited with me for a bit, only to discover it was delayed AGAIN! We said a quick prayer that I would make it out in time and figured why not grab a bite to eat while we waited to see what would happen. Legal Seafoods is some of the best airport food I have ever eaten. Not only do they have a pretty fun history, but they have some incredible clam chowder (and delicious sangria, I asked for mine without the flavor liquor and they were able to oblige- just mashed up fruit and wine for me please)!! Thankfully while we were eating I found out I would be boarding right around noon, making it home just in time!! 

We had a great time in D.C. exploring tons history and getting in a weeks worth of steps!
Anything else we need to do if we make it back?! 

Where have you been off to lately?! 
Link up below and let's travel together!
A Travel Blogger Link Up from Life's Sweet Words
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel post and would love to see where you have been exploring!
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest account. 
~Please leave a little love on the post directly before yours and then anywhere else you like! That way we can all grow this community together :) 
~Not many other rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add any travel related link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up.
~If sharing on IG use #LifesSweetJourney for a chance to be featured on my IG account.
~I will also be featuring my favorite post from the month before and sharing across social media. July's fave was from Becoming a Traveling Family, because I am working hard to grow my bucket list for visiting each state and don't know much at all about Illinois. Allison's trip to Starved Rock State Park, with her littles, is added to my list for sure! 


  1. The Smithsonian Zoo is my FAVORITE place in the world!!! I'm so glad you liked it!

    1. I can see why! I LOVED it! I could have stayed all day.

  2. You certainly made the most of your short time in DC. We go regularly to the area, as my husband's family is there. Rarely do we go to DC for the sights. You are reminding me of all the we are missing. Will plan to go for fun too!

    1. You need to! It was so much fun to explore. If you get to go more often I would definitely recommend spreading out the fun, but we tried to pack in as much as we could, not knowing when we would go back.

  3. I've only been to Washington DC once, and it was an 8th grade field trip. We flew over for a week and spent a lot of time trying to hit up the "major" sites...but then again, that was back in the 90s and a bunch has changed. I would love to revisit the monuments and especially see the MLK, Jr. one, since it hadn't been built yet! Now that I work full time, I'm thinking I might need to take a long weekend trip there, and your itinerary is absolutely perfect for me! Thanks for sharing!

    1. A week would be a great amount of time to really explore! Hope you get to go back soon. Seeing as an adult is such a different experience. The MLK monument was so incredible!

  4. I'm planning to visit D.C. on a weekend here soon! Your post has given me amazing ideas. :)

    1. Have such a great time!! There are so many options you really can't go wrong!

  5. Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorldAugust 9, 2017 at 6:49 PM

    Such a fun filled time! You also managed to pack in so much blue sky - it looks just lovely :)

  6. It looked like you packed in a lot in 48 hours! It's been quite a while since I've been to DC (not since 8th grade!) and I would love to go back soon, and definitely will be referring to your itinerary.

    1. 8th grade seems to be the magic time! I never got to go on a school trip there, but did visit my sister for a long weekend one summer when I was in high school and she was doing an internship there. It's definitely such a different place as an adult.

  7. So many cool photos! I haven't been to DC in a long time. Your itinerary makes me want to go back. I have not been to some of the places you present in here. #wanderfulwednesday

  8. What an amazing and detailed guide to DC! I've actually only been to DC a few times (weird since it's so close to NY), but I really loved it. I like that there were a lot of Free activities too!! Not all big cities have to suck out your bank account.

    1. Exactly! I love that there are so many great options you can do without paying a dime! Granted you will make it up in the cost of food, but I prefer to eat my money anyways lol!

  9. You are hardcore, I'm so impressed how much you covered in the time! When we visited for a family wedding a couple of years ago, we didn't manage to do a fraction of what you did, but I have some mobility issues so we have to go at a slower pace. We did love the National Museum of American History (which we mostly visited because I wanted to nose at Julia Child's kitchen!)

    1. That was pretty cool; I enjoyed seeing her kitchen too! And yeah, we did squeeze a bunch in, but my knee was reaaalllly wishing we had taken things a bit slower.

  10. DC is awesome. There were so many monuments so I missed some of them. Just gives me an excuse to visit again to check out the rest lol

    1. Haha, true! We missed quite a few as well. I feel like you would really need a whole week (or more) to be able to fully experience everything.

  11. I need another trip around to DC, I only did a day trip here and strolled around the place. This city has a lot more to offer than I first originally thought.

    1. Definitely so much to see and explore! Hope you can make it back there at some point!

  12. Oh wow! You really packed a lot into a short amount of time. Very impressive. I love that you were able to do most of these activities for free too! I haven't been to DC yet, but these museums and historical sights are calling to me now.

    1. It is SO nice that everything is free!! Granted, we made up for a lot of what we saved in eating, but I'd rather eat my money anyways lol

  13. That's quite the jam-packed itinerary! Looks like a lot of interesting history in DC

  14. Thanks for the shoutout! I haven't been to DC yet but my sister-in-law actually just wrote a post on DC for my blog while I was traveling. It was fun to read someone else's perspective, too!

    1. Of course! Loved your post! I can't wait to check out what she wrote for your blog. What a great sis-in-law :)

  15. i love d.c.! haven't spent near enough time there, can't wait to go back!

  16. I did a summer trip to DC last year; so much to see and really affordable too! I loved all the museums and the sights!

  17. How cool! My younger sister is heading to the States next year and I'm pretty sure this will be on her list. :)

  18. You've covered a lot considering you didn't have that much time. Never been and have to say, that Smithsonian museum sounds just like the place I'd visit. :)

  19. Washington DC always provides so much exploration and discovery! You look like you had a filled packed weekend! Love the Bookstore/Bar- will have to check that out next time I'm up there!!

  20. That sounds like such a fun trip! I would love to visit DC someday! Although I have a feeling I'd get pretty teary in a lot of the places.

    The picture of the panda chilling and eating bamboo is so funny!

  21. Sounds like an action packed few days! There's a lot I need to see in DC by the looks of it - and definitely The Smithsonian!

  22. Oh wow you sure did pack a lot in 48hrs! Looks like you had a great tine

  23. I got friends living in D.C. and I've been supposed to visit them for ages but still haven't made it there. I love how detailed your itinerary is and how much you managed to do in such short amount of time!

  24. I lived in DC for seven years and I dont think I did half this stuff! You sure did alot. I do love the zoo. Next time I would check out some of the cool neighborhoods, adams morgan or capital hill! there is so much to do!

  25. my cousin lives in DC and i have been meaning to go visit her....will definitely have to remember these.


Thanks for stopping by for a bit!
I love comments, they make me smile :) Hope you are having a wonderful day!