I have been blessed by having seen and experienced a lot of countries and places (though my experiences lie in Europe and Russia at the moment). Until recently, I’ve been all about seeing the exotic and far away, and have finally realized that I live in a country with tons to see. And so, for my first real travel blog post, I am writing about my recent weekend trip to our country’s capital- Washington, D.C.
Bus from NY to Washington, DC: After reading reviews and researching, I chose one of the two higher-end lines: DC2NY bus line for $40 one-way. I bought my ticket the day before I was set to leave, and I’m not sure if it was because I was leaving on a Friday, because it was Valentine’s Day weekend or because it was also a three-day weekend, but buses get full FAST.
Where To Stay: After extensive research of costs, amenities, location, etc, Brian and I stayed in the St. Gregory Luxury Hotel & Suites on M Street. This hotel fulfilled my expectations and by far exceeded them.
Dinner, Night 1: Our first night, we went out to dinner at this place called Ping Pong, a dim-sum place. I was only doing dim-sum for the second time, so we got the set menu with chicken puffs, beef and black bean puffs, shrimp rolls, crispy potato cakes (my personal favorite), dumplings, spare ribs, and various steamed tradition dim-sum. The dim-sum was good and I don’t have too much basis of comparison, but ironically me and Brian both agreed the appetizers were better than the actual dim-sum.
Activities, Day 2: On Saturday, we went to the International Spy Museum (absolutely amazing, would definitely recommend going there, especially if you’ve ever taken a criminal psychology course). Tickets are $21 a person, and when we went there was also a James Bond exhibit going on. Be prepared though, if you’re a reader like me, you will spend several hours there. Lots of facts, gadgets, mini-movies, and overall information that’s hard to process for an “average” person.
From there, we did hit some of the typical touristy locations- walked to the Capitol, saw the U.S. Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, passed by many of the Smithsonian museums, walked to the Washington Monument, and saw the Thomas Jefferson Memorial across the water when we took a break to sit down on the grass. This walk takes a while, especially if you want to stop and take pictures everywhere. My brother has been to D.C. a few times and he said that the Hop-On, Hop-Off buses are actually really informative and great if you have limited time and want to catch as much as possible.
We then proceeded to walk all the way back to the Crime and Punishment Museum (another absolutely fascinating museum, completely in line with my personality and interests) which was close to where we had begun the day. If you’re into forensics in even the slightest bit, or even just into learning about the criminal mindset, you’ll love this place for $20 a person. I recently became a huge Boardwalk Empire fan, so reading all about the prohibition era and Al Capone was the highlight for me. Again, be prepared, there are several floors to this museum. If I learned anything, it’s that covering one museum a day is better if you have time, because otherwise you’ll be drained. After an exhausting day, we went to dinner at a Texas-styled BBQ place right next to the museum, where you walk up to different stands for entrees, salads, and sides. Service wasn’t great at all, but the food wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t necessarily go there again, but after a pretty expensive weekend, we toned down one dinner.
Out on the Town, Night 2: After dinner, we met with my best friend Kris from college and his girlfriend, and went to a bar called 3rd edition, where we did some dancing to some great music, got some drinks, and had a great time catching up- great place to go with friends. We only made it out to the one bar, but there are several in the area if you’re a party animal who can keep going and going.
Sunday Breakfast in DC: After a successful trip on Saturday, Sunday morning we went for a second day in a row to Bread & Chocolate, a wonderful cafe a few blocks off from our hotel that the staff recommended- with a positively great atmosphere. Very tasty food, typically no wait, though the place seems to get packed in the mornings, great staff, and reasonable prices. Also – absolutely delicious eggs benedict.
Activities, Day 2: We finished off the day by taking the metro (which by the way, is absolutely beautiful, clean, nothing like NY, and in and of itself is something to see) and going to the Air and Space Smithsonian Museum. If you think you might even be slightly interested in this type of thing, this is the place to go- the Wright Brothers exhibits were informative and interesting, as were the Apollo and World War I & II Aviation exhibits. The gift shop was also three floors and had some interesting stuff, the coolest of which was the space food Brian got that was tasty beyond belief. We were already tired after just the 3 exhibits we saw, so again, keep in mind to pace yourself and if you have more than just a weekend, space everything out to give your mind a break.
Overall, a much more beautiful city than I even expected, and I would definitely come back and go see the Newseum, the Cheese Shop, and do so much more. You can easily spend a week here and not run out of things to do and places to see.