Over spring break, my family and I took a two-day trip to Washington D.C. — the capital of the United States.
The entire city was interesting to look at— it was full of Smithsonian museums, governmental structures, and monuments that gave it a distinct style of architecture I’ve never seen before outside of pictures.
The centerpoint of the city was the Washington Monument. The district doesn’t allow buildings to obstruct people’s view of the all-recognizable pillar, so it could be clearly seen from many different areas of the city, defining the horizon.
Additionally, in order to not obstruct people’s view of the monument, buildings are rather short— giving off an interesting, distinct vibe. Along with the National Mall (a series of open fields in the center of the city), the short architecture gave the center of the city a clear and uncluttered feeling.
The city was incredibly walkable, and throughout my trip, we walked almost everywhere we went. It was nice to walk instead of driving everywhere all the time, and it made the trip more interesting as it was easy to get to all the landmarks my family and I wanted to visit.
What we did in D.C.
We were able to do quite a lot given our two-day time constraint, leaving at five AM on Thursday and returning sometime after twelve AM Saturday morning.
During our tour of the city, we were able to:
- Go on a tour of the Capitol Building
- Visit most of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum (Including their massive geological collection)
- Ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument
- Visit the Lincoln Memorial
- Visit the United States Botanic Garden
- Go on a Big Bus bus tour that showcased and narrated around some of the prominent places and landmarks of the city
- View the original United States Constitution (and Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence) at the National Archives Museum
Our Tour of the The Capitol Building
My family and I were lucky to get a tour of the Capitol Building, allowing us to go inside the landmark that houses the legislative branch of the American government.
During our tour of the building, we did not go into the actual Senate and House chambers where Senators and Representatives do business. However, our tour guide did lead us around some of the famous and historic areas of the building.
In the main rotunda under the giant dome, there’s a large number of historic paintings many would recognize, including Declaration of Independence. Additionally, the Frieze of American History curls around the room, depicting multiple events in American history up to the flying of the Wright brothers.
In another room called “The Crypt”, our tour guide told us that under the room we were in was a tomb meant for George Washington himself when he died. However, at this point in time, he is buried at his home in Mount Vernon.
The tour was quite informative, and really highlighted the history of the Capitol building.
The Washington Monument
A picture I took of the Washington Monument, with the Capitol Building in the background. The two squares on the triangular tip of the monument are windows tourists can look through when they visit. (Photo courtesy of Blase Harriss)
The Washington Monument is, of course, the ginormous stone pillar that sits at the heart of Washington D.C.– which, inside, contains an elevator to the top and a small gallery displaying the history of the monument.
After going through monument security and the vault-like door that separates the inside of the monument from the outside, we went up 600 feet in the elevator and arrived at the top level.
The views from the top windows are incredible– as the Washington Monument is taller than almost everything else in the city, I could clearly see many of its major landmarks. I could see the Capitol building, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, the Pentagon, the Smithsonian museums, and the White House all at once– all of them were visible from the top level of the Washington Monument.
After we completed our incredible journey, my family and I went to our hotel, packed our bags, and headed home after a quick venture to IKEA. I had never been to one before, and found it extremely interesting. However, after that was over, we went through the around four hour drive home and eventually landed in our driveway after 12 AM Saturday morning.
Though I was tired and glad to be home after the trip, Washington D.C. was an incredible place to visit over Spring break.
Hi, I’m Blase. I like playing video games and running in my free time, and I have two cats.