If you have ever traveled to a big city like New York or London, you know that there is something inexplicably magical about the energy of a big city. Us travel bugs find a thrill in the constant stimulation- both aesthetically and intellectually.
It had been a while since I had been anywhere new- long enough that I forgot that amazing feeling when you are running on adrenaline after days of taking in new experience after new experience, simply exhausted from walking EVERYWHERE and getting so little sleep, but feeling so alive.
My D.C. trip was truly a whirlwind, but I came home with a bigger worldview, and a renewed sense of hope.
I wasn’t someone who ever went to D.C. for a 5th grade class trip. My main concept of it was mainly from what I saw in the movie National Treasure or the show House of Cards. And to be honest, I probably would not have chosen to go there if I hadn’t been presented the opportunity through my work with Women’s Council of Realtors. (We went there to attend the National Association of Realtors Spring Conference).
I was incredibly surprised by how much I loved it. So, I wanted to share a few highlights, plus some thoughts on why you might consider traveling to D.C. if you have never been:
- Beautiful streets of George Town & Views at Washington Harbor
- Washington Monument & WWII Memorial
- Lincoln Memorial & Capitol at Night
- Scooting EVERYWHERE
- Hearing a Standing President Speak
George Town & Washington Harbour
George Town is an adorable neighborhood that makes you feel like you are on some kind of movie set in the 90s. Different colored houses line the brick sidewalks and trees tower overhead. It is beautiful just to walk around, check out the shops on Wisconsin Ave, or find a fun spot to eat/drink. It had me SERIOUSLY considering George Town University for a masters degree.
If you continue down Wisconsin ave, you will eventually hit the waterfront, where the views of the Potomac River and the city’s bridges are gorgeous. If you walk or scooter to the pier at Washington Harbour, the entire boardwalk is lined with amazing restaurants and bars that are POPPING. One to note was the restaurant Sequoia – whose multi-level outdoor lounge & bar has the best FROSE I have ever had.
Washington Monument & WWII Memorial
All the monuments are incredibly impressive and just beautiful. For me, the area around the Washington monument definitely stole the show. On one end you have the Lincoln Memorial, and on the other you have the World War II Memorial fountains, with the gorgeous Memorial Reflecting Pool in between. It is gorgeous during the day, but you can also walk it at night when all of the monuments are lit up. At night there are less tourists and the pool is incredibly peaceful. It is an amazing way to see the city & to reflect on the meaning behind each monument.
Lincoln & Capitol at Night
If you go, I highly recommend going to see the Lincoln Memorial at night. During the day, the monuments are super busy and there are TONS of class trips visiting them. At night, the energy is much more reverent and you don’t feel rushed or claustrophobic. You can also visit the capitol grounds at night. You might see some bats flying around the top!
IF you can find a charged scooter, this is the BEST way to see the city. It is cheaper than taking Ubers and it saves you a lot of energy and time compared to walking. Plus, it is just so freaking fun! We went all the way from our hotel, Washington Hilton, (where President Reagan was shot apparently!), to the waterfront, over to the monuments, and back again. It was a blast! It was also a super fun way to get around at night and go see all of the monuments. If you go, note that there are some restricted zones where if you end your ride there you can be fined! There are a bunch of different scooter companies, and I left D.C. with every scooter ride share app ever created downloaded onto my phone.
Hearing a Standing President Speak
I hesitated to even post about this, because there is so much controversy over the current office. My point in sharing is not about who the current president is. For me, it was a huge honor to have any standing president speak at a conference and directly address my industry. How many people get the chance to say the president spoke at their company conference? This experience was truly what took this trip over and beyond anything I could have expected.
Why You Should Consider Traveling to D.C.
Traveling allows you to pop your everyday “bubble.” But, you don’t always have to get on a $1500 round trip flight to Paris to do it. I had no idea that I could feel the depth of history plus the beauty of architecture and design I felt in Europe, right here in the US.
When I left for D.C., I was lost in my day to day routine, and feeling stuck, stressed, and overwhelmed. When I am in that place, it is really hard to look at issues going on in our country and feel there is any hope. Sometimes it is even hard to look at my own life and feel hopeful. Getting to see the history of how far both my industry and our country have come, and to feel the energy of people working hard to improve it, gave me a renewed sense of hope for the future. We still have a long way to go, but we aren’t stuck. There is a bigger picture to remember when we feel that way, and I think travel can be the anecdote. If you’re feeling stuck, it might be time for a break. Time to get out of your routine, gain a new perspective and dream again.
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