The Saturday City: Washington D.C.

By Nomadic Matt | Published April 18th, 2009

the capital Washington DCToday I realized that it has been about two months since I last did a Saturday city. I like the series, even if it doesn’t draw a lot of comments. It’s a good way for me to remember all those places I’ve been.  I thought there would be no better way to re-launch this series than by highlighting the capital of the United States. It’s not because I’m some super ardent patriot but because Obama has been in the news a lot lately.

I’ve been to Washington D.C. many times. When I was kid, my family used to drive down to Florida to visit my grandmother. We always stopped to see relatives in New Jersey and then would usually swing by D.C. to visit some of sites.  When I was in college, I used to live right outside the city so I often went into sight see and enjoy the nightlife.  In 2006, when I set off to drive cross country, I stopped in D.C. to see it with adult eyes.

D.C. is an interesting place. The city is a mix of wealth and poverty. While the members of congress and those who attend to them spend lots of money, much of the city is quite poor and very dangerous.  You just don’t go to certain parts of the city. It has a reputation for being on the most violent cities in America. However, mixed in with that is a big student population that keeps the city lively, tons of tourists visiting from all over the world, and huge amounts of museums and historic sites to visit. It’s certainly a city with extremes.

the white house Washington DC

I like D.C. for two reasons: the historic sites and the food.  If you really want to learn about America, there is no better place to do it than the capital. Here you have all the major places of government, monuments to presidents and heroes past, the Smithsonian museums, and a plethora of other museums to visit.  The Smithsonian has dozens of museums covering every topic that you can visit. I particularly love the American History and Natural History.  The Holocaust museum is both wonderful and heart wrenching at the same time- wonderful because it is so well done and heart wrenching because, well, it’s the holocaust.

korean monument Washington DC

Additionally, call me a geek but I love the monuments too. The Jefferson and Lincoln monuments are by far my favorite.  The monument to FDR is great and often goes unnoticed but it has a lovely fountain, beautiful statues, great quotes, and a Japanese garden nearby (which is sort of ironic don’t you think?).  The Vietnam memorial is haunting. The Washington Mall is great to relax on. Overall, D.C. is just a great city to wander around in, especially if you are a history geek like myself.

the capitol building in Washington DC

The other reason I like D.C. is because of the great food. Maybe I am just lucky but I always seem to find great restaurants here. Last time I was there I had great Mexican food. In college, I found this great Italian place in Georgetown. I found this cool fondue place near GWU.  Maybe it is all the embassies and the mix of people who live here but D.C. has incredible dining. There is every kind of food imaginable thanks to all the foreign offices in the city. D.C is a culinary delight because no one wants to declare a trade war on a stomach full of bad food.

Overall, I love passing through Washington. It’s a fun city, there is always something to do, food to eat, and the Smithsonian never gets old. If you are going to the states, stop here. Sightseeing around will give you a rich and deep knowledge of American history, our founding, our culture, and our government. Maybe you’ll even spot Obama.  There’s always hope.

comments 5 Comments

what a great idea for a series! i love dc as well, i’ve been there a thousand times. I love the monuments, the mall, and everyday there is a new and wonderful place to eat. i also love to drive out to arlington!

NP

Been to DC a few years back and I loved it! Great article!

I’ve never been there. I love your describing of it. It must have been very interesting to come back and see it with adult eyes!

I spotted Obama once. It was awesome. Looking forward to your visit in June!

I love this series. We just went to DC on spring break and we love the city! We definitely want to go back there again. There are so many things to do and see that we haven’t yet done on this trip.

-Amy @ The Q Family

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