I could think of one hundred reasons why I love D.C., but I’ve consolidated them into five major ones:
1. Everything is free
Well, almost. As taxpayers, we earn our visits to National Museums and Galleries, and I intend to take advantage of that any and every chance I get. As a vacation destination, it really doesn’t get much better than D.C. Where else can you go and not pay for admission to everything you want to do and see? Even if you (somehow) find museums and galleries boring, the city offers beautiful scenery, with neoclassical architecture inspired by Greek and Roman styles. The smooth white stone everything seems to be made of makes sunsets here something of a dream. I can’t forget to mention that D.C. at night is spectacular. Visiting the FDR Memorial in the evening, gently lit by accent lights and fountains, is the perfect viewing spot for a D.C. skyline. The panoramic picture seen across the Tidal Basin starts with the Washington Monument in the distance, met on the opposite side by the illuminated Jefferson Memorial, and it is breathtaking.
2. There is so much to do
Too much, really. You never have enough time to get through everything in one trip. I wish I lived there just so I would never be bored, in addition to many, many other reasons. It’s a great place for families, students, adults, and anyone looking to broaden their horizons. When you’re downtown, you can literally walk anywhere you want to go, including art galleries, various museums, monuments, government buildings, and all of the unique restaurants in the area. If walking isn’t your thing, they have an awesome bicycle renting system as well as the metro that runs to all the popular stops. I should probably add an additional number for the food, but I’ll stick it in here. There are too many interesting restaurants and food trucks to choose from; the tricky part is deciding on one! Sadly, one thing I have yet to do in D.C. is attend the Cherry Blossom Festival, or even see the trees in bloom as I’ve only been in January through April. I can’t imagine the photos do them justice, so I’ll be back to check out the Festival and stroll through West Potomac Park amidst the pink canopy.
3. The nostalgia is insane
For me, Washington D.C. is a very special and magical place—not as magical as Disney World, but it might be a close second. My first visit was on my eighth grade trip, when I fell in love with this city. My friends and I met a couple of Irish boys, one of whom I have remained very close friends with. My second time was another school trip my junior year of high school after our hometown was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I was with the best friends I ever had, and we made incredible new memories at the same sights and spots. It even started snowing as we left the Museum of Natural History. My third and most recent visit was with my boyfriend of seven years, who I have begged every year to go to D.C. This was by far my favorite visit, not confined to a teacher’s itinerary, and with someone very special. We went to all of my favorite places I remembered going, as well as many new places, thus strengthening my bond to our capital city. We also met up with my Irish friend who happened to be staying nearby, making for a ten-year reunion in the very place we first met.
4. It’s a big city for people who don’t like big cities.
Like me. I prefer to stay outside of cities and around nature. I do not like crowded places. I visited New York once, and that was enough for me. I grew up in New Orleans, and although it is less populated and bigger in size compared to D.C., it seems busier and more crowded to me, and the idea of living near the city stresses me out. When I think metropolis, I think congested, polluted, and dangerous. Washington D.C. is not those things to me. It is the cleanest city I have yet to visit, and I did not find the amount of people overwhelming, even in the busier areas. I don’t know how the crime is within the city, but compared to being in downtown New Orleans, I felt incredibly safe at all times. There are also beautiful areas around the city, particularly Rock Creek Park. We passed through here for the first time on my last trip as we headed to the National Zoo, and I fell in love. It’s part of the National Park Service, and it is beautiful. I am dying to see it in the Fall—guess I’ll just have to plan another trip!
5. You will be proud to be an American
No, really. The country’s capital has been designed to exude American patriotism. It’s all around you, and you cannot escape it. You’ll soon be sporting star-spangled attire and humming the National Anthem. Don’t even try to resist it. The American History Museum, the Capitol building, the White house, the monuments and memorials all reminding you of what it took to build this country. The most powerful and my personal favorite place to visit is Arlington National Cemetery. Just a short drive across the Arlington Memorial Bridge—also a great view of the city—is this peaceful resting place for so very many of our nation’s heroes. Breathtaking and emotional fall short of describing the vast stretch of gravestones, reminders of the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. You will be left speechless. It is a beautiful place in which I absolutely recommend everyone spend some time to reflect and appreciate the privileges we have in this country. Oh, say, can you—see, I’m feeling patriotic just thinking about it. Washington D.C. does that to you, and it won’t be long before you catch yourself planning your hypothetical trip back a week later. What? Everyone does that, right?
by Gabie Bacques