Washington, District of Columbia

One word to describe the city: Power
Cost per person: $247
Kilometers driven: 1823 km (if you don’t count the part where we got lost getting out of the city and drove around for an hour…)
Hours spent: 72
Attractions/Sights: Click here for detailed list
Rating: 12 out of 12
Ideal visitor: Anyone with an interest in anything ever

It’s like Washington DC was made for a #12in12 trip. Once you get to the city, basically everything is free. At least, everything touristy. Since we knew going in that DC was going to have a lot to offer nerd-types intellectuals like us, we decided to splurge and actually spend some money on a hotel. That meant we got two and a half days to pack in as much site-seeing as humanly possible. Also, we convinced another friend to come with us on the trip, so costs were pretty low.

It felt like we didn’t stop walking for the entire trip (except for when we were biking), and even still at the end of 2.5 days it was like we’d barely made a dent in all the free stuff to do/see. Pro tip for getting around DC: make use of the bike share. It’s a cheap, easy way to get between all the sites (otherwise you’ll be walking for like…ever) and you get to stay outside. It’s faster than walking and trust us, if you try to walk everywhere, you’ll be all

Most of our trip was centered on the National Mall. Stretching from the United States Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall is a treasure trove of political sites and Smithsonian museums. We could spend hours telling you about every monument and museum we went to, but you should probably just experience it all for yourself. However, there were a few memorials that stick out.

The Lincoln Memorial is visually iconic. You know the one. A larger-than-life Abraham Lincoln sits and looks out at the Capitol. What really hit us as this memorial, though, wasn’t the hugeness of the statue. It was the speeches carved into the walls. I don’t know if President Lincoln wrote his own speeches, but whoever penned those masterpieces managed to send shivers down our spines 150 years later. And I’m not just talking about the rightfully famous Gettysburg address. His second inaugural speech is also there:

Lincoln's Second Inaugral

I mean, COME ON.

Another emotionally-packed moment for us was visiting the World War II memorial. It’s a beautifully and powerfully constructed memorial, and if that wasn’t enough, while we were there a bus of veterans also arrived. There was something so moving in seeing these men and women who had served valiantly to protect freedom, especially when standing at a monument dedicated to them and others they knew who had served.

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“The Price of Freedom” Each star marks 100 American lives lost

Aside from the weight of history, there is an overwhelming amount of information and interesting things to see and do. Other highlights included the Air and Space Museum,

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Emily, Liz and the Wright Brothers

Emily, Liz and the Wright Brothers

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the Library of Congress,

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the Holocaust Museum, walking through Georgetown, the US Capitol

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and the National Zoo.

Let’s take a second and talk about the zoo. First of all, it’s free because it’s part of the Smithsonians. Which is crazy and awesome. Second of all, there are PANDAS and they are adorbz.

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Third of all, we biked there and it is at the top of a seriously big hill. Be warned, fellow travellers. The bike ride there took us almost an hour and the bike ride back took a mere 20 minutes.

Long story short, with so many free attractions in DC, this is a place to visit for anyone. If you still think it’s not a trip for you, well…

Couldn’t have said it any better myself, President Bartlet.

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