How to Do Washington DC in 2 Days

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Washington D.C. is one of the most fascinating cities to visit in America. It’s so full of history and patriotism. Plus, it has a ton of free museums and attractions. So it’s really an affordable trip.

I’ve visited our nation’s Capitol three times: once as a 5th grader with my class, once on a family trip in the 7th grade and this last time on our way to New York for Thanksgiving. Since this last trip was just a pit stop, we only had 2 days to cram in all of the things on our to-do list.

Here’s how we did it:

Day One:

We drove up Saturday from Knoxville, Tennessee and arrived just in time to tour one Smithsonian Museum. The choice was easy… Air and Space Museum. In two hours, we were able to make it through the entire museum, but probably not as thoroughly as we would have liked.

Air and Space Museum

Since most of the attractions close at 6 PM, we decided to head to our hotel in Arlington – Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge which was only $120 per night. Before we made our way across the Potomac, we drove through downtown DC to see the capital and a few sights at night like the Jefferson Memorial and the National Mall.

The hotel was in a great location and within walking distance from Heavy Seas Alehouse where we chose to eat dinner. It was a quaint restaurant with good burgers and great bear.

Heavy Seas Alehouse

After dinner, we stopped by a two-story Target (the first one I had ever seen) to pick up a few items. It was also within walking distance. Then, we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day Two:

We started the day early with breakfast at the top of our hotel. The view was breathtaking and had an unbelievable view of the Potomac River. Breakfast was delicious and the service was phenomenal!

Breakfast from the Holiday Inn Rosslyn

Instead of driving and trying to find a place to park, we ended up buying a one-day metro card pass and went into the heart of the nation’s capitol.

We started off with a tour of the monuments – Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, World War II and the Washington Monument (but didn’t go up). We stopped at a cart selling Washington apparel to load up on winter weather gear as we had no idea it was going to be so chilly with the wind.

Lincoln Memorial

Next, the four of us hit up the American History Museum to see Wendy’s shoes from The Wizard of Oz, the Star Spangled Banner and numerous other historic exhibits. It took us about two hours to go through the entire museum and then decided to head over to the Natural History Museum where we grabbed some lunch from the cafeteria.

American History Museum

After another two hours in the Natural History Museum, we met up with my cousin Amy from Baltimore at the National Gallery of Art. We hit the highlights, but didn’t get to see everything.

Then, ran over to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution. There were a few lines for these as it was later in the day and they only allow so many people up there to view them.

As dinner time rolled around, we took the subway to Old Town Alexandria and ate at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub. The atmosphere was so fun and the food was amazing! Our table had bangers and mash, shepherds pie and burgers.

Old Town Alexandria

After dinner, we hailed a taxi back to the metro station (all the walking had injured the bottom of my foot) and headed to the hotel. My boyfriend, Amy and I spent some time in the hotel lobby to catch up and hang out. Then, we called up a cot for Amy and hit the sack for an early start in the morning.

Day Three:

We woke up early and checked out of the hotel. Then, headed back into the city for some more sightseeing where we drove by the White House and Embassy Row.

Then, we made a visit to the National Zoo. Since there was barely anyone there, we were able to make it through the zoo in less than two hours.

National Zoo

By noon, we were on our way to Baltimore to drop my cousin off and do a little sightseeing before heading to the Big Apple!

I hope you enjoy your trip to Washington DC and get to see everything you want! Leave me some feedback on other attractions you visited.


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