Washington D.C.: Couple’s Weekend

Washington D.C.: Couple’s Weekend

Why We Were in Washington D.C.:

Our couple’s trip to Washington D.C.  was really an extension of  my solo work trip.  Work trips are a great way to subsidize your vacation funds and get a weekend away with your spouse. We only had to cover Kenny’s flight and one extra night’s hotel.  And conference hotel rates are often better than published rates, which has allowed us to stay in nicer hotels that we might not choose otherwise.

This biggest problems are coordinating your schedules and figuring out what to do with the kids. Luckily, our kids are teens now, so our college student was able to stay with her sisters. And since we know my conference dates well in advance, I can keep an eye out for good deals on flights. His roundtrip flight was about $200 from Texas. Woot!

Where We Stayed in Washington D.C.:

J.W. Marriott Washington D.C. because that was the conference hotel where I was already staying and we got a good conference rate in a great location.

Getting around Washington D.C.:

We walked a lot on this trip, in part because our hotel was conveniently located to most of the places we visited. When we were tired or dressed up we took Uber.  We could have certainly used the Metro, but since we mostly walked we didn’t bother this trip.

How we got there:

We both flew into Reagan National, about  about 15 minutes from our hotel, and used Uber to get to and from the airport.  We flew in on Southwest, which seemed to be a different terminal from most of the rest of the airport.  To find your Uber, you walk straight out the front door to the departures area.  It was pretty chaotic, but my Uber driver was great, and I found him within just just a couple of minutes.

What we did:

The Tidal Basin:

Our first free afternoon we headed toward the Mall.  We didn’t have much of a plan, but wanted to see some of the things we had missed on our last trip.  Our prior visit was in the winter, so we did not spend much time on the outdoor exhibits.

We ended up renting a paddleboat at the tidal basin. Cost $18.

This was a fun way to spend an hour and we got great views of the Jefferson Memorial from the water.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

We later walked around the entire Tidal Basin  to see the surrounding monuments up close. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial all surround the tidal basin.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

We were most impressed with the FDR memorial.  You walk a winding path through the years of America’s longest serving president, and is very peaceful, with trees and water features throughout.  It is very different from the huge stone monuments that make up the Lincoln, Jefferson, and MLK memorials. If your time is limited, I would choose the FDR memorial to visit up close.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Heading back toward the Mall after circling the tidal basin, we stopped by the Korean War Veterans Memorial, which is one of the most striking memorials in the area.

Korean War  Veterans Memorial

When we arrived, there was a ceremony going on involving North Korean soldiers.  That certainly confused us, so we asked the Park Ranger what was going on. He explained that former North Korean soldiers who had defected visited the memorial every year to give thanks for the United States’ involvement in the Korean War. You never know what you will stumble upon in Washington D.C., and the ceremony was fascinating to observe.

On the way back to our hotel, we dashed into the National Museum of American History.  It was near closing time, so no security lines (you should be prepared for long security lines at all of the most popular venues in Washington D.C.)  Fortunately, since all of the museums are free, it’s easy to pop in for an hour or so after the crowds die town if there’s a certain exhibit you just have to see.

National Museum of American History

Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers

We’d visited the National Museum of American History before but it was being renovated at the time, so we wanted to check out what we had missed.

 

This is the Smithsonian with American pop culture exhibits. You’ll feel old when you see the toys from your childhood there! We were there on the last day that Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers were on display before going in for restoration.

This museum would be one of my top choices for adults or families visiting D.C. due to its broad appeal.

 

National Postal Museum

The next day We decided to walk to the National Postal Museum because I wanted to see the PostSecret exhibit. (Note this is a temporary exhibit only available until September 2017).

This Postal Museum is near Union Station and not on the Mall, like many of the major museums.  The route we walked was not particularly scenic and some areas seemed a little sketchy, so I’d suggest taking the Metro or Uber to get there.

Despite the challenge of getting there, it was a worthwhile visit.  And because it’s much smaller and much less crowded than many of the other museums it is easy to visit in just an hour or two. This would be a good one to visit with kids–especially if you are already heading to Union Station.

The National Theatre

Our final night we went to see the touring show Fun Home at the National Theatre, which happened to be directly next to our hotel.  It was a great venue and an excellent show–in fact, one of the best I’ve seen.  Fun Home has closed on Broadway, and I highly recommend this show if it is touring near you.

What We Ate in Washington D.C.:

We had really been looking forward to Sotto, a sort of a speakeasy jazz club, and the vibe of the place was undoubtedly cool.  Unfortunately, the rest of the experience was a disappointment. Service was downright terrible, and both the food and the music were mediocre. I think the planned headliner wasn’t there and what we got was smooth elevator jazz–not really our thing.

We left disappointed and hungry and decided to wander the Logan Circle neighborhood.  We ended up at Ted’s Bulletin–a restaurant I recalled a colleague mentioning the day before.  This is a family-friendly diner serving adult milkshakes and breakfast all day. We split a breakfast plate and a milkshake and both were divine.  We got cornbread with our breakfast plate (a strange choice, I admit) and it was far and away the best cornbread I have ever had anywhere in my entire life.  I would go back just for the cornbread.

The next evening we ate at Doi Moi, another Logan Circle restaurant that I can best describe as Asian Fusion tapas.  We tried a little bit of everything, which ended up being quite a lot, and enjoyed it all. But watch out for the cashews–they are HOT!

Final Thoughts on Washington D.C.

We only had a couple of days in Washington D.C., but we managed to pack in a lot, and we had a nice mix of culture and fun. The thing we will remember the most is joining the March for Science, which happened to coincide with our trip.  The weather was rainy and miserable that day, but we got to check marching on Washington off our bucket lists.  And who better to do that with than a bunch of science nerds!

 

I am a 40-something lawyer and mom of 3 teenage girls. I love exploring new places, and when I can't be on the road, I'm planning my next trip. Over the years, I've learned a lot about how to travel in a pack of five. Our trips range from budget-friendly road trips with the family, to more luxurious trips for work, either solo or with my husband, Kenny.

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