Click here for Part One: Boston
Click here for Part Two: NYC
The final stop on our spur-of-the-moment New England under $500 vacation was Washington D.C. As we rode our second leg of the Megabus from NYC to DC, the views were spectacular, both out of New York and into DC.
On the way down, we hit up our Priceline Name Your Price options on Hotels. I ended up getting REALLY sick our first night in Boston, and I was absolutely warn out physically from all the walking. So…we needed to stay within a short walk from all of the sites that we wanted to see (basically everything you want to see in DC is at the National Mall). This would mean a little pricier hotel, but we thought we would give it a shot at $99 for a 4 star hotel. Lucky us, the hotel that picked us up was a 5 star hotel only 2 blocks from the National Mall galleries. One of the nicest hotels I’ve ever walked inside. I had to stop outside and fix myself up before walking in!
Most everything in DC is free, so we were able to spend a little more on the hotel and food. After arriving, we spent the afternoon in the national archives looking up family heritage and walking around the national mall. Dinner was at a local brew house trying new a new beer or two and sharing some apps. We felt like locals for the first time during our trip.
DC was clean, and not overly crowded, and filled with young professionals buzzing around. During our time we took advantage of the free, and wonderful museums, and we were glad we saved this place for last. Ice skating in Mid March in the middle of the National Sculpture Garden was pretty picturesque.
The Smithsonian American History museum was my favorite museum I’ve ever visited. The Smithsonian Natural History museum quite honestly put the one in NYC to shame, and the Aerospace museum was a lot of fun.
One of the highlights of our trip worth noting was the free National Zoo, a short metro ride from town. It was free, open, and in a beautiful part of town. It was almost unbelievable how you could almost accidentally end up inside this amazing zoo. The exhibits back up to the public sidewalks extruding from cute neighborhood town homes and university flats. While in New York, we went to the Bronx Zoo, and we preferred the size and atmosphere of the National Zoo. And who wouldn’t love a free zoo?! There were limited crowds, too.
The metro has to be one of the nicest in the world. Okay, I haven’t traveled the globe by metro, but it blows the NY subway, Jersey train, Dallas Dart, and Boston Metro out of the water. It was clean, comfortable, easy, not overly crowded, and surprisingly airy and open. It’s almost what I would view the Capitol of Panem having as a transportation system. The self-serve kiosks were also more user friendly than any we had seen.
We were disappointed to have to leave DC, but we took a Super Shuttle to Dulles airport at 5am and headed back to Texas. Tip: although Dulles is a little farther out (about 25 minute drive), it seems to be the cheaper option to fly in and out of. We used a supershuttle that picked us up from our hotel and took us to Dulles for about $25.
We even caught a glimpse of the Presidential Convoy:
- Don’t be afraid of the DC Metro. We found it clean, easy to navigate, and comfortable. We only used it to get out to the Zoo and back, and one other time, but I would recommend it.
- The DC Metro has raised their prices. You get what you pay for. Comparatively speaking, they are a little more pricey than Boston and NYC.
- Prepare to walk…a lot. If you add up the walking to each museum around the National Mall, to the Lincoln and WWII Memorials, the Capital Building, and inside each museum, you are likely to hit upwards of 6-10 miles a day in walking.
- Plan for at least 3 days. We are fast walkers and we rarely take “relaxation breaks”. We were only able to fit in the Aerospace museum, national archives,Smithsonian natural history museum (about 1/2 of it) and the American History museum in the 2 days we were there. We walked to the Lincoln Memorial and up to the Capital steps and past the Washington Memorial. Places we missed: The Cherry Blossoms (we were about a month early for their April bloom season), the American Indian Museum, Smithsonian Castle, Smithsonian Art and Industries, National Gallery of Art, and the Science museum (just to name a few).