D.C. Destinations

D.C. Destinations

After living and working in the nation's capital for an entire semester, I thought I would share some advice on what to see and how to make the most of your Washington, D.C. experience. The capital can be a bit overwhelming and trying to balance a social life and professional development can be frustrating. I would often stumble as I attempted to finish homework, go to work, and hang out with the other Washington Center students. Hopefully, this summarizes everything I wish I knew during my first few weeks in D.C.



I won't bore you with a list of every attraction D.C. has to offer. You can pick up any tourist handbook and get better information about each individual museum or monument. Instead, I'll try and briefly summarize my experience with these places and why I feel like it is important to get out and explore!

The obvious number one destination is the National Mall. I found that it is quite busy no matter the weather, and it is constantly brimming with some sort of activity. Visit it as often as you can! I've stumbled across terrific street performers, festivals, and even pillow fights on my way to and from the various monuments and museums. There's plenty of room for any outdoor activity you can imagine. From protests to random concerts, the National Mall serves as a great weekend activity. I was surprised, even towards the end of the program, how little many of the students used this awesome greenspace.


Awesome views and monuments are available on the Mall!

The Smithsonian Museums are another obvious choice for D.C. residents. You get to see so much cultural and historic heritage FOR FREE! Even the zoo belongs to this publicly funded institute, so you can see all the pandas you want for no charge. If you have any free time and are interested in history, technology, cultural relics or art, visit as frequently as you can. The exhibits are constantly changing and you get to see world famous relics. The semester will end quicker than you think and you'll be rushing to see the last few museums!


Utilize these places! You can spend an entire day and still not see everything!


The cultural relics are very fun to explore!


A great way to get to know people and explore is to actually get out of the apartment. I've wasted a few weekends staring at the television, and it's easy to get into a monotonous routine. There are plenty of places to get to know your fellow students and coworkers. Make a point to visit places like Dupont Circle, H Street, and even Chinatown. There are famous clubs and bars in these areas and even some hole-in-the-wall local flavors. It was especially interesting to eat at the various international restaurants with my new international friends. My Korean friend would show us delicious traditional meals at a Korean restaurant, and my Mexican friends would help guide us through the menu at authentic Mexican restaurants.


There are so many places to visit close by the apartments in NoMa. You could spend a while at Union Market or the Eastern Market. If you find yourself in northwest D.C., make a point to visit Rock Creek Park. I would obviously suggest visiting it, but the park is one of the biggest and oldest urban parks. The city can sometimes get old, and Rock Creek Park makes you feel transplanted to the middle of the woods.


Just keep exploring if you find yourself in D.C. I keep trying to remember awesome places to visit, and honestly, there's too much to write in a single blog post. A single weekend spent walking around town has always shown me something different. Don't be afraid to explore the metro and make friends! It's much more fun to experience D.C. with other people!

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