I recently spent a long weekend in Washington DC. It had been a while since I’d be there, but always had fond memories of the place from past visits.
Being a history nerd, who doesn’t like a place that’s filled with monuments of dead guys?
But, there are some universal truths that any traveler to DC must be alerted to, so I will give them to you here, one by one.
DC is Humid as F**K
I forgot one cardinal fact of DC, it was built on a damn swamp, which makes it humid as hell.
And this girl does not do well with humidity, not only does it make my hair frizz like crazy (and how can I combat frizz when all my gels need to be squeezed out of my bottle into one of those stupid 2 oz containers), but I get sweaty, hot and miserable.
This, besides a fear of giant bugs, has kept me away from hot spots like SE Asia.
Consistent Temperatures are for Suckers
One awesome thing about DC is that every building has AC. But you forget that it is set to ‘Arctic blast.’
Upon entering the building you feel amazing for about 5 minutes.
Then you spent the rest of the time freezing your ass off. This, of course, is great for frizz, but not quite as amazing for your internal core temperatures.
I don’t care how high fashion or runway you are, there is a lot of walking to be done in DC. I broke all my own rules and ran around like a psychopath on the first day we got there toting my extra long camera lenses and hiking all over town from one monument to the next.
Oh, did I mention I did this in flip flops?
Yea, so like an idiot by the time the first night ended the bottoms of my feet had long stopped working. I spent the rest of the trip in the sneakers I should have worn the first day, but with an extra pair of socks on for cushion.
The Metro is Great, if You Follow Directions
We decided to save money by using the Metro to get around places. Not only was it super convenient to our hotel, but we also were planning on heading to places that were easily accessible from the Metro, so it made sense.
What they don’t tell you, however, is that Metro cards are only one per person, so you each have to buy one, and use them separately to both enter AND exit the station.
After spending $25 on one Metro card to figure that out, we were well on our way, but probably could have saved ourselves some time by actually reading the directions.
The City is Beautiful at Night
Unlike a lot of other American cities, DC is almost better to witness at night. They go through a lot of trouble lighting up the monuments once the darkness hits, so it really is a truly beautiful experience to view.
I would recommend if you want to take in some of the more famous monuments to head out as dusk approaches, not only will it be cooler (temperature wise) but you will also get some amazing shots.
Of course if you have 17 blisters on the bottom of your feet because you didn’t wear sneakers, you might just miss all that nighttime stuff while you are icing your toes in the hotel room.
It Can be Done on the Cheap
What a lot of people might not realize is that most of the sites in DC are really cheap or free.
You can easily plan an entire vacation without spending much money besides eating out. And, many of the museums that require payment are still a pretty good deal.
For example, we went to the Newsuem, which at $20 was a bargain, not only because they have a ton of stuff in there (we must have spent about 5 hours), BUT the ticket also is valid for 2 days.
That 2nd day came in really handy when the weather varied between 15 minutes of oppressive heat and 15 minutes of torrential downpours our last day.
You Should See a Nats Game
Speaking of deals, you can’t find a better one than the “Belway Burger Pack” at a Nationals game. For $20 a ticket we got entrance to the park and a meal consisting of burger, fries and drink.
Not too shabby, for $20 at Fenway you can place your right foot somewhat near the stadium until you for over the other $20, then they will consider letting you in.
What I also loved about the park was the atmosphere, we found an area that had an outdoor bar set up and another that was filled with comfy patio lawn style furniture to take in the game, it quickly moved up to one of my favorite parks.
And, it’s right on the Metro.
All in all we had a great time while we were there, until of course we got to the airport and discovered our flight was 8 hours delayed due to tornado warnings, yea that is an entirely different post.