I can not believe I have lived in the Fredericksburg area for two years now, and have only visited downtown Washington DC one time so far.
2020 was supposed to be the year of fun getaways and travel; after all the work we put into the house in 2019. But since COVID 19 has crippled life as we know it, we choose to stay safe at home.
Back in 2019, we had that one Saturday on a cold March day, where we made our way downtown Washington DC.
Of course, we did not get to see everything during that short amount of time, but it was a refreshing day trip.
We drove and parked the car in Alexandria. Then, we took the metro to downtown. We had a walking tour pre-booked, which to me, is always the best way to explore and get to know a new city.
After the tour, which gave us plenty of background information about D.C., we opted to explore the National Mall ourselves.
The National Mall is a national park that pays tribute to American ancestors and heroes. We opted for the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the National World War II Memorial.
I can say that it was a very touching experience to explore the history of these different memorials and get to know more about their backgrounds. Washington, DC, did a tremendous job bringing history to life here. I had the feeling of being in the middle of it all and felt very impressed by the actions of the people displayed here.
There are many more memorials in this area, and if you have the time, I highly recommend spending it here.
Besides the memorials, Washington DC has so much more to offer. The Smithsonian (immensely saddened I have not made it there yet), the Museum of African American History and Culture, the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, and many more.
So I am sure there is something for everyone’s taste when visiting.
Of course, we also saw the Washington Monument and the infamous reflection pool, and the White House.
It was a freezing day, so we decided to cut the day in downtown Washington DC short and head back to oldtown Alexandria for some late lunch and window shopping.
We took the metro back and sat down at Hank’s Oyster Bar Old Town, a seafood restaurant right on the main downtown shopping street called King Street.
We stayed for a while, warmed up, had an excellent lunch, and sipped on some delicious cocktails.
Afterward, we walked down King Street and stopped in many of the little boutique shops. Alexandria is a very quaint, but hip town right in front of the gates of Washington DC. It offers a stark contrast to the significant monuments in downtown DC. Alexandria feels very homey, but I would think that spending time here during the more touristy season in summer and fall can get crowded very fast.
Alexandria is more my pace. I love cozy, smaller towns, instead of enormous city buildings that cover the streets in the shade.
We walked down the street towards the waterfront and enjoyed the views from here.
I remember I felt super exhausted that afternoon. I do not know if it was the cocktails or just all that cold air.
We then took the free King Street trolley back towards our car and drove back home. Of course, not without a 30-minute traffic jam, which turned a 60-minute car ride into a 90-minute endeavor.
Depending on your time and taste, I highly recommend splitting a day in D.C. into two parts. Spending time learning about its history and culture, but also enjoying shopping and dining.
I highly recommend Alexandria as part of your stop in the area. As mentioned before, Alexandria is the complete opposite of downtown DC. It gives you a refreshing feel of a different America and lets you explore a more quaint taste of everyday life here in the United States.