The capital of the United States is a fabulous place to visit.
The National Mall is central to the city, both geographically and culturally. Lined with world class museums and monuments you could spend days in this area alone.
From photos I always had it in my head that it was big but I didn’t quite realise how big the National Mall was.
We hired bikes to be able to see it all in a day, I think if you were to try to do it on foot, you’d struggle.
We started our bike ride at the Lincoln Memorial. A tribute to President Lincoln. Inside this Marble structure is a large statue of president sat on a large throne.
We then passed the Korean War Memorial. One of the more alternative memorials. Made of multiple statues of soldiers wading through a sea of hedge, the effect is really emotive.
Central to the Nation Mall is the Washington Monument. An obelisk that honours America’s first President.
Travelling south of the Mall we cycled round the Tidal Basin where the Franklin D Roosevelt memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial and my personal favourite, the Martin Luther King Memorial are situated.
Also located on the Basin are Paddle Boats that can be hired to enjoy a bit of summer sun and peace and tranquillity in an otherwise busy city.
Back on the Mall, we cycled east past the Smithsonian, the world’s largest collection of museums and research centres. The museums are free and are open to the public on a daily basis. They exhibit a range of subjects, from art to science and even has a zoo.
At the end of the Mall is the US Capitol Building. It was under renovation so was covered in scaffolding unfortunately.
Back along the Mall to the north there are more Smithsonian buildings. When you get back to the Washington Monument you can head north through the Ellipse, a large park, to the White House. Understandably, security is tight round here. Armed offices on the street and if you have a keen eye you can see the snipers situated on the roof.
Low flying jets also circle the city on what seems to be a continuous basis.
We stayed on the other side of the river to the Mall opposite the Iwo Jima memorial. As we were on our way to the Arlington cemetery, we were lucky enough to walk by when the Marine Corps were at band practice. An amazing display to witness and take 5 minutes time out to watch.
We then continued onto the Arlington Cemetery, a burial ground to honour those that have served in the forces.
The vastness of the cemetery is hard to describe. Everywhere you look there is row after row of perfectly aligned head stones and impeccably manicured grounds.
Located in the centre of the cemetery is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The whole place has an eerie quietness but this area particularly is silent.
Changing of the guard happens here every half hour in the summer and every hour in the winter. At night the procession is hourly.
I would definitely recommend taking some time to walk around, read some of the head stones and find Kennedy’s grave and the eternal flame.
While we were in town we visited Rasika restaurant located near Downtown and voted one of the US’s top Indian restaurants. The prices aren’t cheap but the quality and service is incredible.
After, we got a cab to nearby Georgetown. This neighbourhood is well-known for its nightlife and pub scene. Trendy shops and boutiques.
offer gourmet food, art, home decor, books, stationery, toys, electronics and more.
We headed to the waterfront to the Orange Anchor, a rum bar and seafood restaurant with outdoor seating and great views of the Potomac River. There are plenty of restaurants in this area to try, all were busy and had a great vibe.
By no means did I cover the whole of Washington DC, I probably didn’t touch 1% of it. But you have to save something for the next trip right?