Four Days in Washington D. C.

In April we had the experience of a lifetime in Washington D. C. It was an incredible time filled with many first including D (our sons) first time out of the state (not counting the cruise) and his first time on a plane. If you have read any of my previous travel posts I typically just like to give a brief overview of the sites, food, etc. but in this case I wanted to break it down day by day. There is so much to see in Washington DC and we barely scratched the surface of what it was to offer! Plus, I wanted to talk about our triumphs and fails of D’s first big getaway.

Day 1 – Friday

On Friday morning we took a flight bright and early at 7 am. When I booked this flight I was thinking of my pre-kids travel life where I like to maximize my amount of time at a destination. D did alright when we first woke him up at 5 am, but the flight was rough and I could tell he was very tired all day. I won’t be making that mistake again. After arriving in DC, we took the metro to our hotel, dropped everything off, and then headed up to the Capitol Building. We used the metro the entire time in DC, sometimes it was hard finding an elevator for the stroller, but in general it was a very convenient way to get around. And our carseat hating son got to live his best city life. Our hotel was very reasonably priced and just a short 30 minute metro ride from all the main attractions.

The group tour of the Capitol Building was in short…chaotic. There is no organization, just a bunch of tours happening at the same time and it gets extremely crowded. We also had a very large group (40-50 people) so it was hard to keep everyone together. It was not the best way to start the trip but the good news is everything after that went considerably better!

Day 2 – Saturday

Our second day involved lots and lots of walking! We started with a tour at Ford’s Theater which included a 30 minute play telling the story about the night when Lincoln died, but D was acting up the first 5 minutes so we immediately dipped and headed off to see the Smithsonian museums. All of the museums are free, but because Air and Space is so popular, you have to reserve a time slot online beforehand.

We also got to spot some of the Kwanzan cherry blossoms, and some of the Cherry Blossom Parade. Kwanzan blossoms are a darker shade of pink and bloom a few weeks later than the initial cherry blossoms. There aren’t too many of them around, but they were so beautiful! I feel really lucky that we happened to be here the week that they were blooming.

We ended the day with a delicious dinner at Founding Farmers and sunset views of the White House.

Day 3 – Sunday

This day was spent exploring Tidal Basin and the National Mall. Monuments that we visited include:

  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial (pictured)
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam War Veterans Memorial (pictured)
  • World War II Memorial (pictured)
  • Washington Monument (pictured 4 times)

The weather was much warmer this day but it was still breezy! This trip was somewhat difficult to pack for because our first couple days the weather was in the 50s and our last two days the highs were in the 80s.

D insisted on ‘pushing’ his stroller everywhere and actually walked the entirety of Tidal Basin!

Day 4 – Monday

Monday was a very special day and the reason for our trip to DC. My husband’s uncle (on his father’s side) was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War and during a mission went MIA. His crash site was eventually found but actual remains were never recovered. If interested, you can read more about him here. We were able to attend a memorial service for him at Arlington Cemetery.

The ceremony was very moving. Most of my husband’s family was there and we are honored that my brother in-law was able to make this event occur to commemorate my husband’s uncle in this way.

That afternoon we returned to Arlington Cemetery to view more of the grounds, including the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. Despite the amazing weather that morning, in the afternoon it we got caught in a downpour and actually got hailed on! Luckily it passed quickly and we got to enjoy more of the beautiful grounds.

In the evening we had dinner with family and explored downtown Alexandria, VA which is where our hotel was located. It is a charming town!

The next afternoon was our flight home. It was scheduled during our son’s nap time and he did end up napping most of the flight which was great! However, I still don’t think we will be flying with him again any time soon.

We loved visiting DC and will definitely return. Next time I want to explore more of the Georgetown area.

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