A Tourist in My Own City
As a native to Northern Virginia...
Washington, D.C. is essentially your backyard. Really the entire DC, Maryland, [Northern] Virginia area is considered one state in and of itself; ask anyone living in the DMV, and they will confirm it.
Growing up in the DC Metropolitan area definitely has its perks. For one, you're living in or 30 min away from the Nation's capital; and if you're passionate about politics, you're in the perfect place to lobby, canvass, protest, and campaign. DC is also a great place to work; whether you're interested in working for a non-profit, small business, corporate headquarters, or the government- DC has it all.
Some other perks include having free access to all of the Smithsonian Museums in DC, and having your pick of public transportation options to get there. Our Metrorail serves a population of about 6,000,000 people in the DMV, and during rush hour, you can see all 6,000,000 of them trying to elbow their way onto your cart. (Kidding)... (Sort of). But as much as we all love to complain about the overpriced metro system in the DMV and its constant delays- after taking one trip on the NYC Subway, you'll truly appreciate the cleaniness and safety of our Metrorail right here at home.
But perhaps one of the biggest perks of living near Washington DC is that you get to play tour guide of the nation's capital, when your international family members come to visit you! And that's exactly what I did for my Australian cousin Bethel, and her friend Rainbow.
The White House
No trip to DC is complete without a visit to the White House, and for us, it was our first stop! The first thing that we noticed was that the sidewalk in front of the White House was closed off to the public. We had hoped that meant President Obama was about to step outside, but unfortunately, they were only landscaping the front yard. Maybe next time Obamas!
Our next stop was the Renwick Gallery, which is less than half a block away from the White House.
The Renwick Gallery, also known as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, opened in 1972, and was named after architect James Renwick, Jr. Today, the gallery contains almost 2,000 pieces of art. and new pieces are rotated in every season.
The Washington Monument
As "Tourists" in DC, we found it completely necessary to take touristy photos at the Washington Monument. So please take note of the plethura of options available to you when visiting it!
After the White House, the Washington Monument is easily the next most recognizable structure in Washington, D.C. It was built to honor our first president, George Washington, and it stands tall at 555 ft. Until the Eiffel Tower was built, the Washington Monument was the tallest structure in the world. Today, no other building in Washington, D.C. is allowed to be built taller than it.
The Lincoln Memorial
Across the reflecting pool, opposite of the Washington Memorial, stands the Lincoln Memorial. The monument opened in 1922, and was built to honor our 16th president Abraham Lincoln. There are 58 steps on the memorial, and 87 steps from the memorial's chamber to the reflecting pool. At the time of construction, there was a total of 48 states in the U.S., and all of them can be found engraved along the top border of the building.
This is also where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to nearly 250,000 people on August 28, 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The North Wall of the monument is inscribed with Lincoln's 2nd inaugural speech, and the South Wall is inscribed with the Gettysburg address.
World War II Memorial
The World War II Memorial is the perfect area to cool down in the summer heat, picnic, and relax. The walk there is also shaded and breezy!
The WWII Memorial was opened in 2004, and was built to honor the service of 16 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces. On the outside of the memorial you will find 56 granite columns. Each column represents the unity between the 48 states back then, the District of Columbia, and the United States' 7 federal territories.
Georgetown was founded in 1751, which predates Washington D.C. by 40 years! Today it is DC's oldest, and trendiest neighborhood. Here you can find the best restaurants, bakeries, and shops- so it was an obvious stop on our tour of DC.
Good Stuff Eatery is a small burger franchise that started on Capitol Hill in 2008, and is now a popular DC favorite. Barack Obama put this restaurant on the spot after taking the White House Staff out for lunch to their Capitol Hill location in 2011. Since then, Good Stuff Eatery has added the Prez Obama Burger and the Michelle Melt to their menu, and that's exactly what Bethel and Rainbow ordered at their Georgetown location. I highly recommend their vegetarian 'shroom burgers, but since I didn't have much of an appetite that day, I just ordered Sunny's Handcut Fries with Mango Mayo sauce (it tastes so much better than it sounds), and their Soursop Hop Strawberry hand spun shake. (No, it wasn't sour, but it was delicious!)
And finally, to finish off our 2 day tour of the National Mall and Georgetown, we ended our day by picking up cupcakes from the famous Georgetown Cupcake. If you've ever watched DC Cupcakes on TLC, then you're already familiar with Georgetown Cupcake. On most days you'll be lucky to get in line at this bakery before the line trails out the door and up the street! But lucky for us, we actually got a spot indoors! These gourmet cupcakes taste just as good as they look, and they look beautiful. They sell seasonal/daily rotating flavors, and even have a couple of vegan & gluten-free options, so they'll be sure to have a flavor for everyone! Now for those of you interested in seeing what goes on behind the scenes at this bakery, get your creep game on and watch their live 24-hour cupcake cam installed at the bakery, available here on TLC's website.