D.C. Days: The Capital in Under 48 Hours



A big problem about catching the travel bug is being 22 and broke. A quick-fix solution for this is to keep your trips short and sweet. This sparked the two-day trip to Washington D.C. my boyfriend Nick and I took this fall. Luckily, we live within driving distance (about two and a half hours), which of course saves tons on travel costs! We got there on a Saturday morning and left by Sunday night, but had a awesome, activity packed two days in the nation’s capital.

After sitting in traffic most of the morning I finally got into D.C. and met Nick (who was coming from school in Virginia) at The MadHatter. The restaurant was unsurprisingly decked out in all things Alice in Wonderland, but in an almost subtle way that wasn’t completely overwhelming. I didn’t feel like I was in Disneyland; instead there was an assortment of portraits and memorabilia of Alice and the gang along the wood-paneled walls, which I absolutely loved!

After a waffle-filled and lovely brunch, we headed over to the hotel to check in. We found an affordable hotel about a half-hour outside of the city in Herndon, Virginia. The Westin Washington Dulles Airport Hotel was perfect for our stay. It was absolutely gorgeous and gave us a completely comfortable stay for the night. Not to mention, they offered fantastic breakfast selection with room service, including fresh Starbucks beverages! If we were to ever go again, we would definitely book the same hotel.

After we checked-in and got all our stuff situated in the room, it was nearly dusk so we headed back out to D.C. After we found parking, we walked around the National Mall a little before our dinner reservation. Seeing the White House and Memorial lit up at night was pretty spectacular, but didn’t make for the best pictures. Here is one we did manage to get of the Capitol Building lit up.IMG_5611

We had dinner at Washington’s oldest saloon, The Old Ebbitt Grill. It was founded in 1856 and has had many presidential visitors since then, including Presidents McKinley, Grant, Andrew Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt. Aside from the astounding history the Ebbitt had to offer, it most importantly had amazing food! The crab and artichoke dip was awesome as was the Shrimp Capellini we both ate for our main course. We were lucky to have had a reservation set, because we saw numerous couples leaving due to a long wait time. So if you’re interested in heading over to The Old Ebbitt Grill, I suggest calling ahead! IMG_5614

The next day, we spent the day sight-seeing and doing all the touristy stuff you’re supposed to do when you’re in the nation’s capital. IMG_4883

The National Mall is filled with free monuments and museums to check out. We started at the Lincoln memorial, got a quick photo-op in front of the Washington Monument and went on our way exploring the National Mall. We saw the Vietnam Memorial, the memorial to the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, the World War II Memorial, and spent a good amount of time in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Travel Museum. The Smithsonian Gardens were absolutely stunning to walk through and we couldn’t have picked a more gorgeous day to be outside walking around.

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The one thing that took up more time than we initially imagined was finding parking! We used this website to help us find the cheapest available parking, but it still took a chunk out of our days. We saw a lot in our quick trip to D.C. and had a great time exploring somewhere new without breaking the bank. We didn’t have the time to check out Georgetown which we definitely wanted to, so we will certainly be back! IMG_4887

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8 thoughts on “D.C. Days: The Capital in Under 48 Hours”

  • OMG! Erin, I congratulate you for driving in the city. As a Washingtonian, I don’t even drive in the city. Next time you visit I recommend heading off the beaten path (i.e. Dumbarton House, Hillwood Museum and Gardens, Logan Circle, Donovan House – Awesome, Eastern Market, a Saturday must.) Anyway, I could go on.

    Anyway, it looks and sounds like you had a great time. And there is a lot to do and see on a minimal budget.

    Erica stopping by from Blogging 201.

    • Ah thanks for the tips! A few of those things actually were on our to-do list, but since we spent so much time driving around and finding parking that first day, we had to squish in most of our sight seeing into day two, so we had to squeeze out a lot of those other places on our itinerary. Next time I go in, I’ll definitely remember these places! It’s such a great city and being within driving distance, I really should head down more often.

      • Oh sweet. I used to work a couple of blocks from the White House and would go there for lunch for a bit a reality check. Next time save yourself the headache and take metro in. But then again metro can be sketchy on the weekends, so in reality you may have found parking faster than it would have taken you on metro. LOL.

  • Nice! I lived in DC for many years and was car-less 🙂 DC has so much to do for free! I would always tell friends to just bring money for food and booze – the museums and parks are free. Old Ebbitt is great – loved the lobster nights they do! ($25.96 for a Maine lobster!). Safe travels 🙂

  • Isn’t it awesome how much we can manage to see in such a short space of time? I also work the 8-5 daily grind and squeeze in trips on the weekend, and I’m usually left stunned at how much I was able to do without feeling overwhelmed and rushed. I went to DC once when I was in the 8th grade for a school trip and it left such a huge impression on my mind, that I ended up majoring in History. Isn’t it awesome how travel can influence our lives in ways we don’t foresee?


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