24 Hours in Washington DC
27,000 steps (in heels) later and I'm back home in NYC.
I think our 20's are definitely the years where we should travel in inconvenient shoes at irregular hours on an insufficient amount of sleep.
Twenty-four hours may not seem like enough time for a trip, but with a little planning and a lot of willpower, I managed to have a blast in DC. The food is incredible, the buildings are beautiful and the people - specifically my gracious host and dear friend, Sarah - are super cool.
I booked a Greyhound bus for O and myself for a 3 AM departure from NYC Saturday morning. Ambitious, I know, but walking by an empty Times Square made the 1 AM wake-up time totally worth it.
We arrived at Union Station shortly after 8 AM and grabbed a quick bite at Einstein Bros. Bagels. This was my first mistake.
DC Lesson #1:
When you go to DC, EAT LOCAL.
However, I traveled to DC to do more than eat, so I navigated to Sarah's place - she lives in this neat neighborhood filled with dozens of narrow townhouses in assorted colors - dropped our bags, and caught a ride to the National Mall.
We spent too much, but not nearly enough, time at the Capitol building where we took a picture with a Capitol police officer, explored the Exhibition hall, and I picked up a pocket-sized Constitution of the United States - before heading out into the frigid weather to explore the rest of the monuments.
DC Lesson #2:
Rent a bike at the National Mall.
We made it halfway, to the Washington monument, before taking a short detour to the White House. Spoiler alert: It's really small. Another spoiler: It's difficult to get a good shot here, because TONS of people flock to this spot for photo ops and protests. Maybe that last part isn't much of a surprise, but their presence made the moment much less movie-like.
Maybe it was the temperature, maybe it was the fact that I was already pushing 20,000 steps for the day - next time I'll listen to the locals and use one of the many bikes lining the Mall - but we decided to wrap up and head over to Union Market for lunch with Sarah. I'll hollatcha next time Lincoln.
The market was packed with people and some of the most interesting, delicious smells I've ever encountered. The three of us split foods from three different restaurants and wandered between the bakeries, bars and grocers. I had turmeric rice with braised lamb and polished off the cornucopia of Ethiopian flavors with a simple vanilla macaroon.
If you’re ever in DC, GO to Union Market. Thank me later.
Since our dinner reservation wasn’t until 6:30 PM, and since we didn’t have a second stomach, we decided to walk off lunch at the Library of Congress.
IT WAS BEAUTIFUL, but aside from those for sale at the library shop, there was not a single book in sight without a library card. We took advantage of the beautiful backdrops before heading home for a quick refresh. A couple of New Girl episodes later, we left for Espita Mezcalaria, where the food was innovative and the drinks were expensive.
DC Lesson #3:
Pregame with drinks before you go out.
Seriously, you can save yourself the money and reinvest in an Uber driver. I think the unspoken rule of all travel is to arrange for transportation when you’re out getting your vacation self on for the world to see.
It may have been the shortest vacation possible, but I was determined to make it count. Our Washington D.C. grand finale: Decades - a bar that advances or regresses in time with every floor you ascend.
We found our home in the 2000’s floor, where we danced to all the hits from our embarrassingly millennial childhood.
A Greyhound bus dropped us back in NYC Sunday afternoon, where Times Square, and my new life as I know it, returned to normal.
Where should I explore next? Stay tuned. ✌️