Easter is an excellent time to spend a long weekend in Washington D.C. Flights are reasonably priced (domestic) and you can almost guarantee the weather. Most tourists will be schools tours also.
A four day trip to Washington D.C. can produce an action packed itinerary. After conducting some research, there is an incredible amount to things on the “to-do” list, outlined below.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is a fitting memorial to those whom made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Tours are recommended to gain a complete experience. I tagged along to a walking tour provided by ‘Washington on Foot’. My guide was excellent, informative, knowledgeable and I would recommend this option to the reader. Try make this tour early in the morning for the changing of the guard at midday.
The above picture was taken on Pennsylvania Ave. The other view from the from the front lawn is on E ST NW Street (This street provides a limited view). The view and ability to get so close is incredible from Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House is such an icon and historic building it was my first destination upon arrival.
The national mall is the hub off many of the Smithsonian Museums, regarded as some of the best museums in the world. Here is a summary of each museum I visited:
National Museum of American History – is underestimated as a museum and overdelivers. This museum really is excellent. Particular exhibitions of interest include ‘American Presidency’, ‘Star-Spangled Banner’, ‘Places of Innovation’ and ‘America on the Move’.
National Air and Space Museum – A showstopper of a museum. Awe will hit you the moment you step into this building. No one exhibition stands out in the museum, it all stands out with fond memories. It is also worth noting, the museum closes late some evenings if you want to miss the crowds.
National Gallery of Art – Standout piece of advice for the Art museum, the West building is excellent. The East building, don’t waste your time by visiting here.
National Museum of the American Indian – Start on the 4th floor (Lelawi Theater) and work your way down. The museum is ok.
National Museum of Natural History – Great for children. Expect to visit and be surrounded by school tours!
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum – Confusing layout and can be completed in a hour. There are only 2-3 exhibitions in this museum.
Beyond the Itinerary
U.S. Capitol Tour
Pre-reservation is advised but not required. I just walked in and got a ticket on the day. You will get a walking tour of the building with a tour guide. Allow for 2hrs for the tour and it is complementary. There is no one thing I can pitch from the tour, it is just a generally awesome tour!
International Spy Museum
The International Spy Museum is something that is just of particular interest to me due to my fascination with James Bond. Interesting fact, I heard that DC has the highest concentration of Spys’ than any other location globally!
This is a two floor exhibition. The third floor covers the International Spy element of ‘Covers & Legends’, ‘School for Spies’, ‘The Secret History of History’ and ‘Spies Among Us’. The exhibition follows on to the first floor with them of ‘Exquisitely Evil’ and ’21st Century’. The first floor is primarily James Bond themed.
I found this Museum to be excellent, and if you have some spare time, visit.
Old Town Alexandria
Navigate to Old Town Alexandria via the Blue or Yellow line on the Metro. En-route, it is worth stopping at the Pentagon and particular the memorial to pay respects.
Upon arrival, a free King Street Trolly picks up at the station and will drop off at the the Pier. A visit to King Street is recommended due to the great shopping experience you will encounter, an escape from the city and on a warm summers day, there is no better place!
If you are looking for a bite to eat, I would recommend Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant & Bar!
D.C. operates a great Metrorail system which can navigate you from Regan Airport to Old Town Alexandria to the Pentagon to the heart of Washington DC (National Mall) in L’Enfant Plaza. It really is an excellent service and I would recommend all transportation around the city via the Metrorail system.
I stayed at Downtown Washington Hostel, it was ok. It is in a good location. A free tram operates on the doorstep which will drop you to Union Station. I would recommend looking at an AirBnB which is close to a Metro stop.