So I am home from my EXTENDED birthday weekend in Washington D.C. to celebrate my 37th birthday with my husband, parents, sister and brother-in-law We had lots of fun, walked miles and miles and saw a lot while there.
Here are my highlights and recommendations from the trip. This trip was budget friendly from the beginning because we had one free flight with Southwest so for me and my husband to fly directly from Dallas to Reagan Airport it cost us $187! Love good deals!!
Our hotel, 4* Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, I booked though Priceline. I use Priceline to book about 85% of my hotels when we travel. I love using Priceline because I am not as picky about where I stay, but I do like to pick my area and star ratings and Priceline allows for that. We paid $142 a night which is not bad because we were right down the street from The Capitol (see picture below) and within walking distance to the mall. The Hyatt Regency was very accommodating to our needs and requests. They even sent wine and a cheese/cracker plate to my room for my birthday. A very nice and thoughtful surprise. This hotel gets good reviews from me.
Here is a list of the places we visited in D.C., which were all FREE, and i recommend are:
National Air and Space Museum – history of planes from the beginning to present and space travel.
Smithsonian Visitor Center – not a lot in this one but a very cool building that looks like a castle, in one room is a glimpse of what you will see in each Smithsonian museum.
The Capitol – make a reservation online if possible to avoid waiting in the long lines to sign up for a tour time. The tour takes about an hour and is a great tour. And the video before the tour was a great 13 minute video about the history of the Capitol, unexpected but a GREAT video.
The Library of Congress – not on our original list but recommended by our Capitol tour guide and worth the visit if you have time. Very beautiful building with so much to look at inside. There is an observation area behind glass to look into the library where some of the books are housed. Be careful of the steps to the observation area, I fell down and sprained my ankle.
Natural History Museum – this one is the largest of the museums, so allow for extra time in this one, a lot to see here.
The White House – disappointed to not be able to get a great view of this because of fencing they had up from the Inauguration. It is smaller than I expected but still impressive.
Holocaust Museum – very different from all of the other museums, very quiet. To see what they went through and hear stories from survivors made this one a difficult museum to go through.
American History Museum – some sections of each floor are under construction but there is still a lot to see in this museum. My favorite part of this museum is the original American Flag is preserved here. I could have spent an hour looking at it.
It was recommended to see the monuments at night if possible so one night after dinner we decided to do that. We started at the Lincoln Memorial and walked to the Washington Monument. One word for seeing them at night…breathtaking. Along that stretch you will see the following:
Vietnam War Memorial
Korean War Memorial
All of these Memorials are worth a visit even if you go during the day, and again all FREE. It was very humbling to see the war memorials and to see all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
We kept it pretty simple for breakfast and lunches. We ate breakfast every morning at the West Wing Cafe which was just across the street from the hotel. Great breakfast sandwiches and for me and my husband to eat it cost about $20. They also have lunch sandwich options for about the same cost and they don’t go easy on the portions of meat! Also they have salads and sushi options. We did try the museum cafe’s as well but it was way over priced in my opinion. I got 3 chicken stripes, fries and a coke and it cost me $15. But I guess you are paying for the convenience to eat while walking around a museum. So if you can, eat before you go into the museums. I did see on Saturday food trucks were lining the streets near the Washington Monument. I didn’t notice them there during the week though.
The restaurants we ate at for dinner were very good and not too over priced, about $15-$20 a plate.
The Alibi – close to our hotel and a hidden gem, not on the main road. This was a British tavern restaurant with the restaurant favorite being Fish ’n’ chips. I didn’t get it but several people at my table did and it was recommended. I am not a fish person so I got a chicken BBQ sandwich that was very good.
Lauriol Plaza – this was near Du Pont and looks to be a local favorite cantina. Crowded on the weekends so I would recommend trying to make a reservation but worth the wait if you do not. Great mexican food and drinks.
Thunder Burger – this restaurant is in Georgetown and has so many burger choices, they do have other options but are known for their burgers.
One random thing we did go see while in Georgetown was the Exorcist stairs. And we went at night! I climbed them, with a sprained ankle, and they are very steep and intimidating. Worth a visit if in the Georgetown area.
If you want to do some shopping while in D.C. Georgetown is a good place to do that. They have shopping for every budget on one street.
I had a lot of fun in D.C. celebrating my birthday and it was a great budget friendly trip to a place that I hadn’t been before. If you have any questions please feel free to email me or leave a comment.