Though I have lived here all my life and traveled to a number of places, I still haven’t been to D.C. (what?!!) So my family and I decided to remedy that and take a road trip to America’s Capital this past April. It would be for an extended weekend (four to five days), and I knew that I wouldn’t even begin to scratch the surface on visiting everything DC had to offer. However, we will make an effort to make a dent!
Pro Tip: The White House, the Capital Building, the Pentagon, and the Supreme Court offer tours by staff or volunteers. Some of them are arranged through your local Congress Representative or through the website. When I looked into getting tours four months before our trip, there were none available (already booked?). We did manage to get a tour of the Capital Building weeks before our trip after placing our names on standby with Tammy Duckworth’s office. That being said, if you know for certain that you will be wanting to tour any of these places, look into them ASAP!
We decided to drive there, which is about 12 hours one way. Our first day, we drove halfway and stopped in Toledo, OH. BTW, I really like the rest stops on the Ohio Turnpike over Indiana and Pennsylvania (at least on the route we took).
The next day, we completed the journey. We did this because we had an AirBnB reservation – our FIRST AirBnB reservation ever – and we had to get the key from them OR the lockbox. I didn’t want to chance having to get the key from them at a late hour.
Usually I am able to get a decent price on hotel rooms, but in the DC area, the hotel rooms were running at least $200/night. I decided to try AirBnB for our trip. For five days, for a 1BR apartment with parking, with taxes and cleaning charges, it was $550.
Anyway, we arrived in the area through Virginia. We were still early for check-in, so we decided to stop at Arlington Cemetery first. Some of the oldest resting places there date back to before the Civil War.
We then headed to our AirBnB to rest for the night. We were in an area called Columbia Heights. I noticed a couple of Greek (ie Fraternity/Sorority) houses on our drive up 11th Street. I then found out we were near Howard University. I did a quick Wiki search on them and found out this: Howard University originally opened shortly after the Civil War, originally to be a theological seminary for African-American Clergymen. Now, it offers a diverse array of undergraduate programs and graduate programs (ie Business, Education, Law, Medicine, Nursing, etc). Also, they had produced Fulbright Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, Truman Scholars, Pickering Fellows and a Marshall Scholar. In 2015 it ranked in the top 75 in the Bloomberg Businessweek college rankings. It also produces the most black doctorate recipients of any university.
In other words, there are a lot of smart people at Howard University! Kudos!
We have only been in the area for a few hours and I’m already learning a lot!
For dinner, we ate at a nearby restaurant called “The Coupe” and it was recommended to us by our AirBnB hosts.
Getting back to our AirBnB, our apartment was spotless (thanks to the professional cleaning service they hire) and the hosts were very thorough and accessible. If you are ever in the D.C. area, and don’t mind a short commute, look up Host Alper under “Cozy 1BD apt steps away from metro with parking.”