Last weekend, Clay and I travelled to Washington, DC for a short trip, leaving on Thursday morning and returned on Sunday.
This was our first time flying on JetBlue Airlines, and we plan to fly with them again, as our flight was much better than other airlines. You get one free checked bag, which is really neat even though we didn’t need a checked bag for this trip. The flight from Charleston to DC is only a little over an hour, the plane has TVs with DirecTV on them (bring headphones), and you get free sodas and snacks. Animal crackers are always a win.
We stayed at the Sheraton Suites in Alexandria, VA, for the weekend and took the Metro into Washington DC each day. The hotel had a shuttle to take us to and from the airport and Metro station at the airport, and this was great because we did tons of walking in the city. It is also a short walk from Old Town Alexandria.
After we checked in and rested awhile, we went to lunch at Chart House with Clay’s boss, Ted (the company is based out of the Washington, DC area). Chart House in Alexandria has a beautiful view of the Potomac river, even if it was a bit cloudy and rainy that day. I had the salmon for lunch and it was delicious, probably some of the best salmon I’ve had because it wasn’t too salty.
After lunch, Clay and I went to Tyson’s Corner Center mall to walk around and shop. We hung out at the candy store, Christmas store, and I went into the American Girl shop. I loved American Girl dolls when I was a kid, but since we didn’t have stores for it back then, I had to visit as an adult. I didn’t stay long or buy anything- it was slightly weird being a 20something female in a doll store with no children…
We took the Metro from Tyson’s back to Old Town Alexandria, where we ate dinner and shopped on King Street. I loved how the main street in Old Town Alexandria is named King Street because one of the main streets in Downtown Charleston is also King Street. We had dinner at an Irish Tavern restaurant.
On Friday, we visited the National Zoo, which was a lot of fun even though we had to wait forever to get in. The National Zoo and the San Diego Zoo are the only zoos in the U.S. with panda bears, and I was excited to see the pandas (they hid in a tree and Clay never spotted them). The otters were pretty fun too, and they had a petting zoo with farm animals. Lots of the animals were hiding or asleep, but the petting zoo animals really liked people.
We had lunch at the Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan. You paid a flat price for the falafel sandwich, which you could top any way you liked. The restaurant was divey, offbeat, and fun, and the falafel was tasty and cheap too.
We also took the Metro to the National Mall, where we walked to all the monuments and took pictures. Between the National Zoo, Adams Morgan, and the National Mall, we probably walked about 10 miles. I was glad most of the monuments had benches and water fountains around because it was pretty warm outside.
Most of the attractions in Washington are walkable and free, and while metro stops are located near them, I was really glad Clay and I are both able to walk around easily because it might be tough for someone older like my parents or someone who’s mobility impaired.
Saturday was spent entirely in museums, and we visited three- the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Air and Space Museum, and the Newseum.
The Newseum is a museum of journalism and communication, and is one of the few museums that costs. We got free passes since the last weekend of September is the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live weekend, but I would have paid to see the exhibits- especially the Ground Zero exhibit and pieces of the Berlin Wall. We also saw a 4-D movie that was pretty fun.
The outside of the Newseum has daily newspapers from every state in the U.S. The South Carolina newspaper featured is The State from Columbia, SC.
The Berlin Wall- you could take a picture by it, and there was a smaller piece you could touch.
These are newspapers from September 12, 2001.
If you visit Washington DC, and decide to visit the Newseum, go early in your trip because you pay one price and can get in the museum for two days.
Our feet and legs were super tired from walking inside the museums and between museums, so we stayed in on Saturday night to watch the South Carolina vs. Missouri game. We ate delicious Thai food that we had delivered, but unfortunately, the game didn’t go our way (this football season isn’t going well for us). Once the game ended, we got a good night’s sleep before flying back to Charleston the next day.
Clay and I had a great Fall getaway, and while I hesitate to call it a vacation since we were only away for three full days. I really want to visit DC again or maybe run a race there someday. We probably should’ve researched a bit more because we spent a decent amount of time on this trip trying to decide what to do, but at least we know which museums and monuments to visit next time. I wish we could’ve stayed longer.