What other destination would be appropriate for 4th of July week’s installment of the “Weekend Trip Idea” but our nation’s capital? Washington is doable for a weekend trip no matter where in PA you’re located. It’s a 2.5 hour ride from Lancaster and Philly and other parts of southeastern PA and a little over four hours if you’re coming from either Scranton or Pittsburgh.
There’s a ton to do in DC, and to avoid seeing everything for five minutes (like you inevitably did on your 8th or 9th grade field trip) I’d pick five or six things to try and see and explore those things in more depth. Below are my top five picks.
The National Mall is probably what most people associate DC with: it’s the grassy, monument filled outdoor space spanning from the Capital to the Lincoln Memorial, but also including a vast array of other memorials, the Smithsonian Museums, and the Washington Monument and reflecting pool synonymous with either Presidential inaugurations or Jenny and Forest Gump reuniting after his tour of Vietnam. The National Mall is impressive and walking around to see the monuments is free.
You definitely want to give yourself several hours to wander the Holocaust Museum and it might be wise to emotionally prepare yourself for the experience. That being said, the Holocaust Museum was absolutely my favorite part of my 8th Grade Field Trip to Washington and gives you so much more insight into this horrific event than any required reading of The Diary of Anne Frank ever could. If were only able to see one thing in Washington, I would recommend this hands down.
3) The Spy Museum:
I’ve never been to the Spy Museum, but it’s top of my list next time I head to DC. The history is a documentation of all the espionage that’s gone down since the birth of our nation and currently is showing exhibits on James Bond, the real story of Argo, and “Operation Spy” where you could play a spy for an hour.
Technically in Arlington, the national cemetery houses those killed in action, veterans, and Presidents as well as the tomb of the unknown soldier. It’s sobering and beautiful and reminds you of the ultimate sacrifice some make for our country.
If you’ve been following this blog at all, you’re aware that I’m a big sucker for drinking on harbors watching boats which is exactly what the Georgetown Waterfront offers. The waterfront is compromised of a large park and recreational area, has boat rentals, and a number of restaurants with outdoor seating right on the Potomac River.
*One of DC’s best attributes is that the whole city is extremely walkable. Check out this site to find a number of self guided walking tours.