I love having visitors come to Washington, D.C. because it gives me a perfect excuse to be a tourist in my own town. It can be difficult to appreciate where you live on a day-to-day basis because we become so accustomed to the usual sights and sounds of our everyday lives. But when someone comes to visit you, it provides a chance to see your town, city, whatever, through their eyes. I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful place and I love having the time to appreciate the little things that I often overlook.
My cousin was in town for a few days this past week. One chilly morning, we decided to wake up bright and early and hit the monuments by bike. We rented the Capital Bikeshare bikes to view the monuments more efficiently than walking. If you haven’t tried them, I definitely recommend renting these bikes if you want to ride around D.C. or Arlington and don’t have your own bike. They are inexpensive and convenient because you can return your bike to any docking station, and they are all over the city. It’s about a four-mile span to see all the monuments when starting around the Smithsonian area, which is the closest metro station to the monument area of the city. It’s a great workout too!
On our ride we saw most of the major landmarks in D.C. We passed around the Mall and the “Pencil” Monument, the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, MLK Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, FDR Memorial, and the Smithsonian Castle and museums. It was a beautiful route, and since it was so early we didn’t have to battle many tourists which made the ride very pleasant.
Wherever you live, there is always something new to explore. I often dream of faraway places and exotic trips, which is important, but it is also important to be a tourist wherever you are. Traveling isn’t something you can do all the time, at least for most people. So I recommend exploring wherever you are. There are so many free events in D.C., new neighborhoods to walk through, coffeeshops to try, etc. It’s even fun to revisit places you have been. See things through fresh eyes and a new perspective. I think the word “tourist” gets a bad rap. The name conjures images of confused people with dorky clothes, fanny packs, maps all over the place, and stopping to take a picture of ev.er.y.thing. But I think being a “tourist” is a great thing! Tourists are exploratory, seek out new experiences, capture special moments, and appreciate even the smallest things. A new restaurant, a cobblestone street, a unique accent. These are traits we should incorporate into our lives more frequently. Look up at the architecture around you, not down at your phone. Notice new changes in your city. Try new things. And enjoy the present.
In the evenings we hit many different areas of the city: Chinatown, Penn Quarter, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Adams Morgan. It was St. Paddy’s Day, so we had fun watching (and making fun of) all the people in the city dressed in crazy costumes and acting wild. In future posts, I will be creating city guides for Washington, D.C. and London, since those are the two cities I have spent the most time in. I hope to cover different neighborhoods and attractions in each of those cities, so stay tuned!
I hope everyone is having a great end to their week. I can’t believe it, but I only have 10 days until my Ireland trip!
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