Why You Need to Visit Washington, D.C.

Entering the District of Columbia in the middle of August is strange: it’s got a weird, jungle-type vibe mixed with some sort of generic American suburb. There are modern apartments down the street from ramshackle houses. Drive another couple of blocks and you might be in the middle of what feels like a smaller Redwood Forest. Yeah, it’s weird, but welcome to “The Swamp.”

If there is one thing you should note before visiting the area, it’s that there are two faces to this coin. “Washington” is what you’ve seen on TV — aerial shots of the White House with its manicured lawns, impressive monuments, professional shots of Capitol Hill with famed politicians walking its streets — and then there is D.C., Washington’s less-well-off twin. Washington is in AP Calculus, while D.C. is chilling in art class putting murals all over the walls. The cultural difference and the general atmosphere is clear, but there’s plenty to discover in each area all the same.

While Washington plays stage to the news channel’s political drama, D.C. is a hopping cultural hub packed with global flavors and exciting nightlife. For any young person in their 20s or 30s, this major city is the perfect place to be to explore career, social life, and self-growth at the same time.

Whether you’re going to live or just to visit, any trip to D.C. would be incomplete without a stop at the National Mall and, obviously, the monuments it gives a home to. Walk up to the Washington Monument, and you will have a new sense for the word ‘small.’ It would be an understatement to call the 555-foot structure baffling.   Look across towards the long reflecting pool and see the Lincoln Memorial at the other end of the Mall, dimly glowing at night and constantly crowded with tourists (but don’t worry, it’s okay to be one too).

Don’t skip over the World War II Memorial, either. It’s located conveniently between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, so it’s pretty hard to miss — and is definitively refreshing to wade in on a hot summer’s day. Most striking, however, are the feelings of sacrifice, loyalty, and fearlessness that reverberate throughout the memorial, a job well done by the designers and a message well-received by its visitors.

Of course, the pinnacle of college life is finding anything that’s free, and in Washington’s case, that would be museums. The Smithsonian’s collection of museums is free, along with the Holocaust Memorial Museum, National Gallery of Art, Renwick Gallery, Botanical Gardens and Zoos. For a place built on a swamp, D.C. really knows how to clean up.

Finally, any trip or day out is probably going to make you hungry. Stop by the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl (where the Presidents are known to sometimes pay a visit), and then grab dessert at the popular Baked and Wired cupcake and coffee shop.

With its gorgeous green parks, free museums, stunning monuments, and incredible global tastes, D.C. is not a place you will want to miss. Beyond the tourism, however, lie generations of history waiting to be explored. D.C. was the first city to have a majority African-American population in America, is home to the oldest Fish market in the United States, has the largest library in the entire world, and much more. You can’t lose — even if you visit at night, the tour around the monuments will be even more beautifully lit and far less crowded.

Don’t miss out on history… it’s still being written.

 

 

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