I just returned from 5 days in Washington DC. I was there on photography business but also squeezed in a little sightseeing. We stayed near the Capital so took a night time stroll to check it out after our plane landed. Sadly the Capitol building was under construction which we later found out was a DC trend. It was still a good sight to see and I felt very American in that moment.
We tried to hit up as many of the tourist attractions as possible in our short time there. Of course, we did most of this on foot since we had such fantastic weather. Tromping around the city allowed me to notice all the amazing architecture which led us to the National Building Museum.
The National Building Museum is hosting an interactive art installation called The Beach. It is monochromatic ball pit experience. It sounds weird but was one of the most hilarious moments of my life. After waiting an hour in line we entered the ocean made of all white plastic balls. It is surprisingly deeper than expected and I found myself often times completely submerged and giggling uncontrollably - like a child. Speaking of, the installation was jam packed with people of all ages. From babies to 80 something grandmas with nothing poking out of "the sea" but their white haired heads. Everyone was having fun! It's a must see if you are in the area.
Next up were the Smithsonian museums. We went to the National Museum of Natural History, Sculptor Garden and the National Air and Space Museum. These were both on opposite sides of the National Mall. I must say both had some interesting parts like the true to life mammal exhibit and the flight simulator where we practiced "barrel rolls". Sadly, though, we did encounter a few under construction areas. The National Mall and the elephant at the National History were under construction too. We also saw the hope diamond along with some other precious jewels. I was very inspired by the entire gems and minerals exhibit. It was hard to believe that all of these colors and shapes came from our earth. Creative inspiration really is all around (and below) us!
Later we visited some of the National monuments; the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Statues and the WWII Fountain. It's hard to fully grasp what each of these places represents but I know I felt very grateful to stand before them and thankful for the freedoms I have as an American which were paid with the lives of brave men and women.
The weather was so nice that we took a rest on the lawn next to the Washington Monument and listened to a band play while watching intramural dodge ball tournaments. The sun set and, again, I was reminded of freedom.
On our last day of sight seeing we drove through vibrant Chinatown to have the best Nutella coffee at Compass Coffee just a few blocks away. Later we toured the National Gallery of Art. This is one of the few places I have specific memories of from when I was last here on an 8th grade school trip. I think it was the first time I had seen art at this magnitude and probably my first gallery visit. I just remember thinking, I could stay here all day. I was 13 years old and now 28 years later I felt the same way. So we stayed all day.
Ignore that previous picture. I was pretend modeling.
We spent our evening near the Potomac River. where we ate some of the best food of our lives at Farmers Fishers Bakers. Yes, that is yellow cake with a thing layer of chocolate icing in a bowl of chocolate sauce.
After dinner we hit the stores in the quaint, but busy Georgetown. It's a great historic village but with tons of awesome shops. Once we had meandered through most of the stores we grabbed a cup of coffee and headed back to our hotel.
We could have easily spent whole week here and still not have seen it all. Next time I want go to the National Botanical Garden, the Library of Congress and explore more of Georgetown. Make sure you check out my Instagram and Perioscope (@laurenathalia) for more about the trip and some crazy behind the scenes. had an amazing trip and I highly recommend it! Until next time DC!
Have camera, will travel.
- Lauren Athalia