Last week my parents, sister Jordan, and grandparents, along with my boyfriend Bradley (Lord bless his heart) went to our Nation’s capitol, WASHINGTON D.C.! To say it was amazing is an understatement.
My sister planned everything out for us and she did such a fantastic job. The first night we arrived and we immediately hopped on the Metro and headed to Union Station for a night tour of all the monuments. It was breathtaking. All these historic figures, lit up like Christmas, truly beautiful.
The next day was Smithsonian day. We toured the Natural History Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the Air and Space Museum. There were so many neat things to see and do in these museums, like the Hope Diamond, a GIANT squid that was found in the deep deep ocean, and some of the most incredible photos from the 21st Nature’s Best Photography Awards.
My absolute favorite part of this day was walking around the Air and Space Museum and seeing my grandpa’s face light up at all the various war planes. You see, when he was first married to my grandmother and right after my mother was born he was a plane engineer for the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He loved getting to tell us all about the planes he worked on and was even able to show us a few of them that were hanging in the museum. I think that just goes to show that you never lose your passions for something, no matter your age.
Next up was Arlington National Cemetery. Can you say humbling? Wow. It’s fitting that I’m writing this right after Memorial Day because I was reminded of the sacrifice that those in the military make. While there, we were fortunate enough to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. The tomb reads “Here lies in honored glory and American soldier, known but to God”. It really hit home for me and I will never forget those that gave their lives to defend our freedoms.
That same day we also got to check out Georgetown. We walked along the Potomac River, got dinner at an great Thai restaurant, and took in the local sights, sounds, and tastes. Georgetown is a must for great shopping, food and Instagram photo-ops. 😉
The next day we went to the National Archives and saw the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and various historic documents that really told the history of the United States (the good and the bad). We also toured to National Gallery of Art. There were some of the most beautiful and impressive paintings and sculptures I’ve ever seen. Not even to mention the gallery itself was incredible. If you’re an art lover you have got to check this place out.
Friday, we revisited some of the monuments and visited some new ones including the Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Roosevelt Memorial. MLK Jr., FDR, and Eleanor Roosevelt are some of my absolute favorite historical figures and I was so excited to visit their memorial sites.
Additionally, we visited the Newseum. It was BY FAR my favorite part of the trip! One of the biggest exhibits the Newseum had on display was titled “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power, and Politics” and it was all about how music (particularly rock & roll) has been used over the last few decades to make a difference in the world and in our country. The exhibit covered Live Aid, Farm Aid, the recording of “We Are the World” and many more. It also had autographed memorabilia from artist such Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock Stratocaster guitar, John Lennon’s bed-in guitar, President Bill Clinton’s saxophone, Bob Dylan’s Hohner harmonica, Public Enemy’s handwritten “Fight the Power” lyrics, and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” jewelry. The Newseum was so interesting for everyone in our group so if you have a range of ages going to D.C. this is an absolute MUST. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Our final day concluded at the Capitol and the Library of Congress. I’ll admit, I doubted my sister (who is a huge bookworm) when she said we were going there. I thought “How is a library going to be fun?” But it actually was! It houses the largest library in the country and holds books that were part of Jefferson’s personal library.
*If you liked to view more photos from my trip click here*
In addition to all the wonderful sight-seeing we did in D.C., we also ATE. A LOT. And boy did we eat good! I’d go to D.C. again just to go on a food tour! So here is my list on the best restaurants we visited this trip.
Ted’s Bulletin is located near Eastern Market and offers American, vegetarian and vegan friendly, spectacular “diner food”. I use that term lightly as this is no ordinary diner food. They also serve cold, old fashioned adult milkshakes. Yes you did read that right!! The one pictured above is their White Russian and it was to die for! For our meals, my parents and grandparents had the meatloaf dinner, my sister enjoyed Ted’s Bulletin grilled cheese (which included bacon!). Bradley had the crispiest, juiciest chicken tenders and fries. I had the short rib Sammy and it was mouthwatering! It tasted like the meat of a REALLY good pot roast was taken and put on thick Texas toast served with Vermont white cheddar cheese and arugula. Oh my goodness I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Bangkok Joe’s is a Thai lounge serving up a variety of dumplings, rice dishes & cocktails in a lively, modern space. It is located in Georgetown and has some of the best Asian dishes. Above is the meal I had, the sweet and sour shrimp. It was fantastic. A few other family members had the pineapple fried rice which was literally served in half a pineapple. It almost looked too pretty to eat! Bradley had the seafood fried rice and it was jacked full of scrumptious seafood like shrimp, scallops and mussels.
Baked & Wired
This bakery is also located in Georgetown and is a short walk from Bangkok Joe’s. It’s an artsy neighborhood bakery & coffeehouse supplying espresso drinks, big cupcakes & signature granola. It has that authentic “hipster” D.C. vibe. It’s one of those coffeehouses that you wish you could sit in on a rainy day and read a good book. The two cupcakes we tried were the “Elvis Jailbird” and the “Flapjack”. The Elvis one is a banana cupcake topped with a peanut butter buttercream frosting, bacon bits and chocolate drizzle. DROOL! The flapjack one tasted like, you guessed it, a pancake! It is a maple cupcake with a syrup flavored buttercream and topped with bacon bits. Both were delicious and both I would highly recommend! If you’re in the Georgetown area, check this place out.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
Oyamel is a lively, upscale downtown spot with creative Mexican tapas & street food. It also has a lengthy cocktail & wine menu and offers amazing chips and salsa to every table. For lunch I had the camarones a la parrilla torta (the sandwich shown above) and I am still having taste memories from the shrimp. It was grilled to perfection and had this rich smokiness to it that spectacular. My dad had the chicken enchiladas and they must have been delicious because he ate them up so fast I couldn’t even snap a photo. Bradley and Jordan both had quesadillas and they both were served with a red sauce that tasted like authentic red chile sauce. They both were served in house-made tortillas and Chihuahua cheese that just melted in your mouth. This was probably my second favorite restaurant we dined at while in D.C. I would HIGHLY recommend it.
Located only 3-4 store fronts up the road from Oyamel Cocina is Pitango Gelato. Now this is a small chain of gelato stores in the D.C., Virginia, Maryland area but to this southern girl it has some of the best gelato I’ve had in the States (I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the real deal). It’s creamy and smooth and has a strong flavor in each of its flavors. I had the chocolate hazelnut and it tasted just like nutella, I was in heaven!
We The Pizza
We The Pizza serves NYC-style pizza by the slice or whole pie. Probably the best pizza I have ever had. We tried the white, the BBQ pork, the buffalo chicken, the spinach & artichoke and the pineapple ham. My favorite was the BBQ pork. So yummy. Thin crust on the bottom but the top crust is still soft and chewy.
Bradley and myself got away for date night while there and had dinner at a great restaurant in Eastern Market called Boxcar Tavern. We had drinks, appetizers, dinner and just sat and talked for what seemed like hours; it was perfect. We began with fried calamari which tasted so fresh. Bradley had wings (his favorite food) and mac & cheese. I had the nightly special, crab cake BLT. IT WAS OUTSTANDING! I also had Parmesan truffle fries which were crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. Unfortunately I was enjoying alone time with my wonderful boyfriend too much that I forget to get pictures of our delicious meals but this restaurant is a 10/10 recommendation!
If you’re in Washington D.C., make sure to check out all the historic and educational museums and exhibits that you can. But don’t forget to take your taste buds on a tour as well. Washington D.C. offers a vast variety of different cuisines that can please anyone.
What’s your favorite place to go in D.C.? Let me know in the comments below!