I had the luxury of spending one week jaunting around the nation’s capital, getting my learn on, accumulating miles and sweat stains, and reuniting with some of my favorite people. Washington DC is an overwhelming city, with so many museum and monuments and such a diverse collection of cafés and restaurants I don’t know how even the people who live there have seen it all. I’ve decided to dedicate a separate blog post on the museums within and around the capital, click here to check that out!
A disclaimer, if you will. I didn’t dedicate my entire week to sightseeing and calories, the initial purpose behind me traveling to DC for a week was to surprise a friend for her birthday and reunite with some more. If you don’t have a week to spend in DC, I’ve made a simpler weekend guide to how to spend three days in the city, where I’ve just mushed my itinerary together to highlight to highlights in less time.
If one week is too long, and you are looking for a shorter itinerary? Check out my WEEKEND ITINERARY to the Nation’s Captial 🇺🇸
One Week Itinerary:
Day One: Natural History Museum, National Archives
Day Two: More walking. Ford’s Theatre, Post Office, Trump Hotel, International Trade Center, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Dupont Circle, Indian food
Day Three: Pennsylvania Ave (Eisenhower Executive Building, the White House, US Department of Treasury, Department of Justice, Newseum, food & food, stroll through Georgetown, nightly walk to Lincoln Memorial & Korean and WWII Memorial
Day Four: U St. Newseum, Air & Space Museum, Virginia & a birthday surprise
Day Five: Birthday Celebration
Day Six: All day brunchin’
Day Seven: Back to the other Washington ✈️
With so many museums & monuments to explore in Washington DC, it can be daunting and overwhelming trying to visit everything. First of all, you aren’t going to be able to visit everything (unless you live there); but if you are looking for something to help you navigate which museums you should spend your time learning and exploring check out my Guide to the Musume & Monuments of Washington DC.
Remember while exploring all that Washington DC has to offer and learn, remember to stay curious and soak up that knowledge like a sponge!
DAY ONE: Land. Nap. Caffeine.
Natural History Museum (link post) was the museum I was most excited about. I mean they have dinosaur 🦖 bones and microbes 🦠. My nerdy senses were going off and I just wanted to read everything and watch every video. The deep, dark ocean is terrifying & the tiniest tiniest tiniest living things can cause the most chaos.
Wander down The National Mall. The National Archives of the United States of America. Declaration of Independence. Constitution of the United States. Bill of Rights. Digital Vaults. You aren’t allowed to take photos (obviously) so I took a self in the bathroom (and almost got locked in then probably arrested). The museum hosts a variety of exhibits throughout the year. While I was there, I was presented with the knowledge of the Vietnam War. It was exceptionally put on. Educational and moving.
Admission is FREE. No photography. Open: 8:45am – 5:45pm Monday through Friday.
I highly recommend going in the last hour because there was NO ONE there. It was me, two other tourists and three guards staring through the thick, protected class of some of the most important documents of our history. Security even forgot to check the bathroom I was taking selfies in after closing time. So I was the LAST person out.
Wandered to Dani with some fiery beverages at Archipelago and an authentic Thai meal.
DAY TWO: More Museums
Started the day with a donut. Because I love donuts 🍩 . And just zigzagged my way through the streets.
An exhibit dedicated to Abraham Lincoln, from the start of his presidency to his arrival and death at the Ford’s Theatre that fateful night. Across from the theatre is the Petersen House, where tailor William Peterson offered his first-floor bedroom as the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, who died the next morning.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
“…in 1922 the New York Times wrote, “It is, perhaps, a fact that among modern American no one has had more books devoted to the multifarious phases of his career and personality than Abraham Lincoln.” Eighty years later, this is still true. There are over 15,000 books about Lincoln currently in print – with more being written every day. The last word about 16th president will never be written, if only because each generation creates its own Lincoln”
Post Office Department
Trump Hotel & Ben Franklin, and a glimpse of the Washington Monument
Ronald Regan Building & International Trade Center
Library of Congress & WWI and American Baseball Exhibit & Thomas Jefferson’s Library:
The Library of Congress was one of the most detailed and exquisite libraries I have ever seen. I couldn’t stop looking at the ceiling, the walls, the railings, the floors, the smallest sections were so intricately designed.
The Supreme Court
Free to the public. Monday thru Friday 9am- 4:30pm. Upon entrance, you will in awe of the neoclassical structure and intense marble. Learning about the history of the court and what happens inside the walls of the highest judiciary authority, with over 7,000 requests to hear cases and only hearing about 80 each year.
“The Judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court”
Spotted the White House a few times
Russell Senate Office is one of the oldest of the United States Senate office buildings. Beaux-Arts architectural style building commenced construction in 1903 under Edward Clark and opened in 1909. Inside the Senate office, one can find (if you have clearance and access) a number of Senator’s offices and some committee offices (such as Small Business & Entrepreneurship or Armed Services).
Wandered through Dupont Circle, ate Indian food with intoxicated flavors.
DAY THREE: More Museums, Georgetown & Monuments
Sydney arrives. I slept in, I was exhausted from yesterday and I really like sleep.
Caffeinate. Because “first coffee, then the world” then more real good coffee. Let the walking commence.
Eisenhower Executive Building is basically a building for a majority of the office for the White House staff. Construction began in 1871 with a French-influenced architectural style, the building was designed for the State, War and Navy Departments. Today it serves as office space for White House staff (including “Executive Office of the Present, Office of the VP, Office of Management and Budget, the Secretary of War Suite, the National Security Council, and the Truman Bowling Alley”) and is considered a National Historic Landmark.
Stroll down Pennsylvania Ave. Wave at the White House. You can schedule a visit to go and tour the inside of the White House, but it must be done in advance and cleared with your state legislature because it requires a background check.
US Department of Treasury is everything money-related. Manages Federal finances by collecting taxes, manages the currency and enforces tax laws. American’s your tax dollars are going in there 💰 🏦 . Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury is boosted in the front.
Washington Monument & the front of the White House
The Washington Monument is a tribute to the United States’ first president, George Washington. It’s a 555-foot tall marble obelisk that towers over the city of DC. Can you go up it? As of now, it is closed until spring 2019 while they modernize the elevator and increase safety regulations.
Ran inside the Trump Hotel, tried to go up the elevator but couldn’t. Selfie.
Department of Justice most commonly known as the DOJ. At the DOJ, they are in charge of “enforcing federal laws, seeking just punishment for the guilty, and ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice.”
Newseum – a museum about all about media & journalism through the ages, around the world and the future of; its seven floors and takes you on an adventure through every field of media & journalism. Your tickets are worthy for two days of exploration. We went an hour before closing, conquered two floors and decided to begin our day tomorrow exploring the rest.
“Journalism is the first rough draft of history” Philip Graham
“if it makes you laugh, if it makes you cry, if it rips out your heart, that’s a good picture” Eddie Adams
Pre-dinner snack: pretzels 🥨 and beer 🍻
Reunited with Shelby in Georgetown for dinner & ice cream and a jaunt through the old cobblestoned town.
Ended the nights marveling at a few iconic memorials. The Lincoln Memorial was built in honor of our 16th president: Abraham Lincoln. It is located at the western end of the National Mall and looms over the Reflecting Pool. Stand directly in front of the 190ft long and 119 ft wide marble, surrounded by 36 columns (one for each state at the time) is the 19 ft tall statue of the man himself; President Abraham Lincoln and … 🤞 secretly hope Lincoln springs to life to whisper wise words of wisdom that echo through the marble walls. The memorial is open 24 hours, but try and catch it at night when it lights up the whole radius. Walk through the Korean War Memorial & World War Two Memorial, honors the millions of men & women that served in the armed forces and the sacrifice of the millions.
“In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”
DAY FOUR: Newseum & Museum & A Surprise Dinner
Started the day with donuts 🍩 & coffee ☕️ . Jumped on the DC Metro and headed toward U St. to find the infamous: Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Our second day inside Newseum. I won’t bombard with you the hundreds of photos I couldn’t stop taking, being blown away by every aspect of the way we portray words, the news, truth, exposure throughout the years.
National Air and Space Museum, an ode to the space exploration and tribute to how far we’ve come in the realm of flight. Everything from Amelia Airhart, the Wright Brothers, the Devinci style aircraft’s, Apollo 11, Sally Rider, a planetarium and the future of outer space exploration. You can also find an IMAX theatre playing a variety of captivating movies/documentaries. Check the website to see which are playing during your visit. Free admission, open every day from 10am- 5:30pm.
Smithsonian Institution Building
Basically where you should start your Smithsonian journey. Learn about how the Smithsonian’s grew into one of the largest collections of knowledge in the world. Get a map and advice from the volunteers who have lived & worked in or near the Smithsonian’s for a long time.
Joe & the Juice has been a place on my bucket list FOREVER. Coffee & a strange health shot 🤤 💪 Metro-ed to Virginia. Surprise birthday dinner for Katy!
DAY FIVE: Celebrate!
Reunited at LAST. We spent our day just hanging out together. Went out on town to celebrate Katy’s birthday, and ate & drank our way around DC.
DAY SIX: Brunchin’ & packing
All day brunch with a few of your favorite people and tacos. What more could you ask for?
DAY SEVEN: Goodbye
very. very. Early flight back to the other Washington: Seattle.
So it wasn’t exactly a jam-packed itinerary filled with all things Washington DC. But, I was able to see a lot of the capital, 🇺🇸🏛 bring to life my 9th-grade history textbook and celebrate life with some close friends.
Have you been to Washington DC? What was your favorite museum or monuments or cafe or restaurant? I would love to hear your stories! Or what I missed that I HAVE to go back and see!
Until next time DC ✌🏽
Seven days too long? Looking for a shorter itinerary? Check out my WEEKEND ITINERARY to the Nation’s Captial 🇺🇸