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WASHINGTON, D.C.

What to See in the Nation's Capital

Jefferson+and+Washington+Memorials
Jefferson and Washington Memorials

Jefferson and Washington Memorials

Hannah Faulkner

Hannah Faulkner

Jefferson and Washington Memorials

Hannah Faulkner, Editor-in-Chief

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The nation’s capital is home to everything from the hub of governmental activity in the United States to quirky cupcake lounges. Washington, D.C. is unique in that the city does not  belong to a specific state, but is also not quite an independent body of its own. That sort of middle ground makes for an amazing vibe on each side of the Potomac.

Washington, D.C.’s reputation is based almost solely on its downtown district in the heart of the city. A short ten-minute drive can take a traveler from the likes of the Treasury Department to the

Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building

Hannah Faulkner
Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building

Smithsonian, to Capitol Hill. It’s fascinating, truly, to be in such close proximity to the very departments and institutions that govern the nation. I suggest driving through the downtown district in the morning hours as the city is awakening and getting ready for the day. By doing this, you will be able to see the streams of monochrome suits and dresses hastily moving from one place to the next. Visiting downtown D.C. during the morning hours feels much like being a fly on the wall in a room of chaotic productivity, and in this way, you can really feel the city. In regards to the people of downtown D.C., one of the most intriguing aspects that sets apart the city from others  across the United States is the blend of leaders from different sectors. It is completely normal to be walking down the street and see a congresswoman, military brass from not only the United States but countries around the world, and departmental leaders. I admit it was a bit daunting at first to be in close quarters with uniformed personnel and national leaders- but that is what makes Washington, D.C. distinct.

White House

Hannah Faulkner
White House

Washingtonian architecture, particularly in the downtown district, is heavy and commands a certain authority in comparison to average American cities. There is not much height to downtown, and the city’s skyline is governed almost exclusively by Capitol Hill.

After a morning drive through downtown, it is mandatory sightseeing to visit the National Mall. If you have a single ounce of doubt in visiting the mall- tuck it away. The National Mall begins at the Lincoln Memorial and stretches for about two miles to the Washington Monument then to the grounds of Capitol Hill. It is in your best interest to pack walking shoes- you do not want to miss an inch of what the National Mall has to offer (some personal favorites are the reflecting pond, and the war memorials). It is an easy and leisurely walk, but make sure you catch D.C. on a good weather day with few tourists. A good time to visit is during the spring or fall on a weekday during work hours, with care to dodge school holiday windows.

The real lifeblood of Washington, D.C. comes as you emerge outward from the heart of the downtown district. This is where the picturesque scenery that the East Coast is known for comes into play. Immediately in the outskirts of downtown lies the Jefferson Memorial, which in  my opinion, should be mandatory sightseeing as well. If you thought that you wouldn’t come to D.C. and not take away more patriotism than you already have, then you haven’t seen the Jefferson Memorial. From merely an

Jefferson and Washington Memorials

Hannah Faulkner
Jefferson and Washington Memorials

artistic and architectural standpoint, the Jefferson Memorial is well done and completely aesthetically pleasing. The steps set the stage for a dramatic entrance, and the Jefferson sculpture is crafted with precision and care. Now, I’ve taken US History, and I know some of the more gritty details of the United States’ dear third president. But standing in the open rotunda with Jefferson’s eloquent writings inscribed on the walls is moving. I caught myself in a moment of reflection, as I know the other visitors did as well.

Extending further out from the downtown district is the amiable Georgetown district. The Georgetown district is a less-urban part of D.C. that is home to Georgetown University. This district has a cozy city square home to quirky cupcake lounges and charming lobster joints. I highly recommending paying a visit to the Georgetown location of Luke’s Lobster. This restaurant boasts only six or seven items on the menu, all reasonably priced in regards to lobster rolls and clam chowder. Luke’s Lobster is small and cozy, so make sure you come during a less busy hour to ensure you get a table. After lunch, a

Healy Hall at Georgetown University

Hannah Faulkner
Healy Hall at Georgetown University

visit to the Georgetown district is not complete without paying a visit to Georgetown Cupcake, and of course, Georgetown University. Georgetown Cupcake is a nationally renowned cupcake bakery with fresh batches of unique flavors daily. Buy a cupcake and sit next to the window to get a great look at the shops that intermingle with foreign embassies and the beautiful Francis Scott Key Park. A short ten to fifteen minute walk from Georgetown Cupcake will lead to the classic campus of Georgetown University. This university has been around since the signing of the constitution in 1789 with renowned programs in international affairs, law, and public policy. Healy Hall is the cornerstone of Georgetown’s architecture and campus- a sight not to miss.

A trip to Washington D.C. allows for you to see the center of government, history, and culture of the United States- a sight definitely not to miss.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C.