• Melissa Lipari

A Pedacito of Washington, D.C.

Updated: Jun 19

One warm weekend in August, my boyfriend and I took a mini road trip from our homes in New Jersey to a cozy condo in Logan Circle - blocks from the heart of Washington, D.C. We had planned this trip for months, viciously searching for the best restaurants, museums, and general attractions that D.C. had to offer.


Needless to say, we were excited. I have to file this trip as one of my favorites of all time, simply because it was our first vacation together and that little weekend in D.C. was full of fun memories that will last forever.

The beautiful memorial fountain in Washington D.C.
The beautiful memorial fountain in Washington D.C.

We started our trip on a Friday morning, and after about 3 hours of driving, we arrived at our Airbnb for the week. After getting settled, we started our vacation by tackling the most exercise-inducing attraction: The National Mall. Now, I had been to D.C. before, twice actually (for a family trip and for a Lady Gaga concert when I was about 10), but I forgot how much walking is involved when checking out the national monuments. Luckily, we wore our comfiest shoes and trekked around The National Mall in 80+ weather with little shade.

Standing in front of the Washington Monument
Standing in front of the Washington Monument

The Washington Monument was stunning. I felt a new sense of appreciation for important U.S. landmarks after viewing the Reflecting Pool. Everyone was fairly quiet near the monument - it was a moment of peace and solidarity for all visitors. I was also enamored by the Lincoln Memorial, it was so much larger than I remembered.


Everyone posed for photos and tried to grab a snap of one of the most respected presidents in U.S. history, in marble form. The National Mall holds arguably the most famous monuments in D.C., so I was happy to see those memorials first. After reveling in the beauty, we hopped on some Birdie scooters and traveled to the Vietnam Memorial.


This memorial was the toughest to view due to the mass amounts of names that covered the Onix walls. It was so quiet that you could easily hear a pin drop. Everyone had come to pay their respects to the fallen soldiers of this egregious war. The silence was deafening as the wall grew, and in turn, the list of names with it. Yet, I’m happy we went to the memorial to honor those who braved their lives for this country.

Looking out over the D.C. waterway
Looking out over the D.C. waterway

That same night, we spent the evening walking around The Wharf, which is a popular dining area for travelers and locals. We enjoyed some light Mexican cuisine and tapas at Mi Vida - a glamorous restaurant that faced the gorgeous D.C. waterfront.


Later, we walked around The Wharf even further and had some dessert at an ice cream truck. The weather felt amazing near the water, instant relief from the rather humid weather that we were experiencing. Our first night was a relaxing introduction to the busy weekend ahead.

Doing a little shopping in Washington D.C.

Days two and three were our museum days, where we visited the Renwick Gallery, the International Spy Museum, and the Smithsonian. Saturday was dedicated to the smaller museums, being the Renwick Art Gallery and the International Spy Museum.


The Renwick Gallery had unique forms of art, from classic paintings to interactive exhibits. I love being surrounded by various mediums in an art museum, so I appreciated the vast collections. As for the International Spy Museum, we spent the rest of our afternoon playing investigator by solving hypothetical crimes and learning about the FBI.


The museum was probably catered to children rather than adults, but we had a lot of fun spending our second day as youngsters again, maneuvering through trap doors and performing physical tests that were supposedly required for FBI agents. For dinner, we made reservations at Sushi Gakyu - a quaint Japanese eatery with an extensive sushi menu. The sushi was extremely fresh and tasted delicious.


It was only a few blocks away from our BnB in Logan Circle for those who are interested! Afterward, we enjoyed the City Center, which was lined with shops and little cafes for coffee and desserts.

Washington D.C. has some of the world's best museums
Washington D.C. has some of the world's best museums

We kicked off our final day with one of my favorite activities: brunch! We ate at Ted’s Bulletin, a neighborhood joint with classic American favorites. It’s hard to achieve a walk-in reservation for Sunday brunch, but luckily we timed it just right and had the most amazing breakfast sandwiches.


With two D.C. locations and one in Arlington, VA, this brunch spot is definitely a D.C. staple. After finishing our breakfast, we made our way to the Smithsonian. We spent the entire day here before jetting off in the evening. It was so much fun looking at all of the exhibits and interactive activities. I hadn’t been to the Smithsonian in almost a decade, so I was excited to relive my Night at the Museum dreams.


It was quite packed, especially because of the hot weather, but we were able to see all of the exhibits in about 2 hours. It left us just enough time to stop by at a local Poke place, called Poke Works, for an early dinner before sending off to Jersey.


While our trip was certainly more on the “touristy” side of things, I had a wonderful time experiencing D.C. as an adult. They have great restaurants, museums of all variations, and I wouldn’t mind using scooters as a main form of transportation instead of walking. While there is so much history from hundreds of years ago, the city still has a very modern flair, which I love.


Any place that can give you a vintage feel while still being hip is right up my alley. I hope to return to D.C. soon since I live fairly close. I left our trip still wanting to check more attractions off my list - which I will hopefully tick off soon (post-pandemic of course).

There is so much to see and do in Washington D.C.
There is so much to see and do in Washington D.C.
Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.
Standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in D.C.
 

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