August 2016 – We started our morning with a tour of the Capitol Building. We happened to visit at a time when the rotunda was closed, but the inside was still pretty amazing. We were given headsets and taken on a 45 minute t our then given time to explore the museum.
Following the tour, we took the tunnel to the Library of Congress. This was an ornate, amazing building, and photographs just do not do it justice. We spent a couple of hours browsing around the exhibits and rooms of this building. As an avid reader, the volume of books contained in the building was extraordinary.
After our visit to the library, we had a quick breakfast at Pete’s Diner. The service was quick and efficient, and we soon continued on our way to the Botanical Gardens. The Gardens were a bit of a disappointment simply because the building was much smaller than expected. We only spent a little time here to cool off before heading down the road to the Air & Space Museum. Being the hottest day of our visit, the museum was crowded and difficult to navigate due to strollers. We spent a couple of hours browsing around the exhibits then made our way to the Museum of Natural History.
Since it was getting late and we were long past hungry, we decided to eat at the cafe instead the museum in order to get out of the heat (instead of buying food from a vendor and eating in the direct sunlight). I do not recommend the cafe. We spent about $25 for chicken fingers (some of which were not cooked thoroughly), and we encountered rude cashier who told us they did not have such a thing as water cups (even though there is a tab at the soda machine for just water). We had to pay $4 for a cup in order to get water from the fountain.
After lunch, we continued through the packed museum. I have grown increasingly bored with museums since seeing more wildlife and having more adventures outside. Museums are also usually filled with chaotic children and strollers that parents like to push over people’s heels. So, we went through the museum in a couple of hours and left. The hope diamond was one of the highlights of the museum, but it was packed as well.
Next, we stopped by the National Archives Building, where we were able to see several major US documents. The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence are housed in this building. Although pictures were not allowed in the building, it was definitely a bucket list checkoff and a surreal moment as US citizens.
After the Archives Building, we visited the Smithsonian Institute. It had a few interesting rooms but closed fairly soon after we entered, so we had just enough time to cool off in the A/C before having to leave again. We walked to the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials then visited the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Since we were pretty exhausted from all the walking on this trip, we decided to walk our last mile back to the hotel, picking up Subway for dinner on the way, and spent the rest of the night enjoying some wine and cable tv.
DC was a very interesting, historical place to visit that I recommend to all US citizens (as well as those visiting our country). If visiting in the summer, however, be prepared for heat/humidity and bugs (especially in the evenings). I was surprised at just how hot/humid it was considering it was several states north of my home.