Washington DC: Exploring the Popular Spots of the Capital
If you are going on a trip to Washington DC, it is a big no-no not to see the famous White House and the US Capitol. So today, I will be blogging about the top tourist spots that every tourist MUST visit in Washington DC.
Before we go to the main event, I also want to share how we got to all these beautiful tourist spots in just 2 days and a half. Not by foot for sure. There are a lot of Hop on, hop off buses to choose from in DC that will take you to all popular tourist spots. Below are the list of the top 4 Hop on, Hop off tour buses in DC.
1. Old Town Trolley Tours
2. DC Trails
3. Big Bus Tours
4. City Sights DC
We chose Big Bus Tours because they have more buses and an organized route. If you just want a 1-Day Tour, you can chose Classic Patriot for US$39.00, while the 2-Day Tour which is the Deluxe tour that includes Madame Tussauds and Night Tour will cost you US$62.10. We chose the latter for us to see everything that DC has to offer, but believe me 2 days is not enough if you want to make the most out of your DC Tour. We were not able to visit all the Museums or stroll around Georgetown aside from visiting the famous Georgetown Cupcake (which I will be blogging separately). Those are the things that I will look forward to if in case we visit Washington DC again.
Arlington National Cemetery
First thing, the Arlington National Cemetery is not in Washington DC, but in Arlington, Virginia. Since it is included in the Washington DC tour bus route, I decided to include it in this Washington DC blog.
Arlington National Cemetery contains the remains of more than 400,000 fallen soldiers and veterans during World War I, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Civil War. This 624 acres of historic land holds an estimated 27 – 30 funeral services a day. Burial in Arlington is limited to active, retired and former members of the armed forces, Medal of Honor recipients, high-ranking federal government officials and their dependents.
Sits on a hill overlooking the cemetery is the Arlington House which is now called Robert E. Lee Memorial. It was previously a residence of Robert E. Lee and wife Mary Anna Randolph Custis, grand daughter of George Washington who inherited the estate. It was abandoned by the Lees during the Civil War and were taken over by the federal government and later become a burial site for Civil War soldiers.
Notable people buried in Arlington National Cemetery are the Kennedy’s; President John F. Kennedy, wife Jacqueline Kennedy, and brothers Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy, President William Howard Taft, General George C. Marshall and a lot more.
Behind me is the Women in Military Service for America Memorial or WIMSA Memorial. It honors women who have served in the United States Armed Forces, established by the U.S. federal government.
Washington Union Station
Upon arrival, we didn’t realize that we’ve already reached our first tourist destination. Olive and I are too exhausted to appreciate it the first time due to long drive from Montreal to Washington DC. We went there 2 days later and that’s when everything come to focus. This Beaux-Arts national historic landmark with its neoclassical architectural design is made of white granite and marble, has barrel-vaulted ceilings and stone inscriptions.
Union Station is not only a center for transportation but also a shopping mall where you will find 130 stores featuring men’s and women’s fashion, jewelry, decorative arts, games and toys and a lot more. The Food Court has variety of inexpensive meal from different cuisines.
Just in front of the Union Station is the Columbus Circle, looking massive and mighty.
United States Capitol
One of the most beautiful structure in Washington DC sits graciously atop Capitol Hill is the US Capitol where all important matters about the nation is happening. Home of the United States Congress but is also a tourist attraction visited by millions of people every year.
I feel like I’m in Rome.
We booked a tour in the US Capitol but Olive and I did not make it on time because of the unfamiliar route. It took us a long time to commute from Alexandria to DC and we underestimate the time.
If you want to book a tour for US Capitol please click here.
The White House
White House as everyone know is the most famous house in the world where the most powerful person lives. Built in 1792, the White House is one of the oldest public buildings in DC. All American President’s lived in this house except George Washington (US first President). He chose the site and the design of the White House, but unfortunately he did not had the opportunity to live there. These shots were taken on the President’s Front Yard or the North Lawn.
With my travel buddy Olive in front of the White House.
This the South Lawn view where most gatherings are being held such as the annual Easter Egg Roll. We were not able to get close because it was muddy.
You can also book a White house tour, but make sure to do it months and months ahead. I remembered booking our tour around June or July last year and we were not able to get a slot because it was already full and our trip was last October. Imagine? Booking ahead means atleast 4 – 6 months before your tour date.
Requesting for a tour in the White House was not an easy breezy one either. Unlike US Capitol tour where you can just book online, White House tour is different, you need to get in touch with the Member of Congress to get a schedule. When I sent my request the first time, they did not reply right away so I followed up with another request 2 weeks after and that’s when they told me the bad news that the date I chose was fully booked
For more information about the White House Tour, visit the White House website here.
This is not the end of my Washington DC tour yet, but I am ending this blog with a happy dance near the US flag!
Top, Sunglasses and Shoes: H&M
Skirt: Forever 21
Bag: Michael Kors