Cost Of Trip: <$431
Train Ticket: $125
If you live on the East coast, travelling to D.C. is one of the easiest things to do because you can arrive there via Amtrak! I absolutely love riding the train. You can take up to 2 bags and 2 personal items for free (heck yeah!). The seats are so spacious and comfortable and it’s sooooooo easy to just lay back and take a nap. There’s also always a handy dandy little dining cart on each train in case you get the munchies. HOWEVER, this is supposed to be a cost effective trip so I suggest you bring your own snacks.
I recommend staying at the Courtyard by Marriott. It’s located right in Downtown D.C., has a decent rating and is definitely one of the cheapest options. You should be allowed to check in at 18 if you booked online, but just in case I would make sure you have a parent who could call to back you up if you run into a bitchy concierge (we’re all just trying to have a good time now aren’t we?). Also, microwave upon request? Request that fucking microwave. Stock yourself up on a bowl, spoon, oatmeal, peanut butter, and ramen noodles and BAM, you have you breakfast and dinners. Not to mention, if you’re splitting this hotel with a friend this price will be halved to $118!
Woah, woah, woah. Only one lunch to pay for and it’s going to be $30? Well, I can promise you, you will not find a single cheap place to eat in D.C.. You’re guaranteed to pay at least $15 dollars for your meal. But the rest is in case you get hungry while you’re out and just really feeling a cool desert you see downtown. Better safe than sorry!
I personally don’t really buy souvenirs, but I did splurge on a book from a bookstore I listed down below. So the $20 is just for anything cool you might see there and wish you could buy. However, I wouldn’t go looking to spend money. If you see something cool: awesome, if you don’t: don’t worry about it! Less is more! As a general rule of thumb, I tend to only buy things that I know will be useful to me later, not a piece of junk that I’ll have to lug around in the future.
You. Will. Not. Survive. If you don’t take the Metro. D.C. is enormous and you will wear out
and waste so much time if you opt to walk everywhere and skip the Metro. Not to mention, the Metro is a part of the D.C. experience. I will tell you that the Metro has multiple lines distinguished by colors, and there is a map at each station for all of these lines outlining all of their stops. However, you will not be able to hear the stops once you’re on the metro so at each stop you need to look outside for the sign that tells you where you’re at, and fast, because you’ll only have about a split second to get off that car before the doors close. Miss your stop? No big deal, the Metro only charges you from your start to end point. So just get off at the next time, wait for the line going in the opposite direction and backtrack to your stop. Also a handy note: if you type your destination into Google Maps on your phone, it will tell you what line to get on and what stop to get off at.
Metro how to:
- Enter the station and buy a metro card and add money to it at the pay stations.
- Approach those stands that look like the ones you see at amusement parks where they have to scan your finger before the gate opens for you to pass
- Lay your metro card on top of the sensor until the gate opens
- Go down the escalator and wait/get on your train
- Get off at your stop, back up the escalator, and scan your card at the sensor again (make note of how much money is left on your card, the sensor will tell you!)
Planning your day: FREE
The best fucking part about D.C. is that virtually everything is FREE!! So, you only have about a day and half to spend in D.C., you’re going to have to make you choices wisely. Research what museums they have there beforehand. You can conquer at most 2 to 3 museums a day. Additionally, the monument walk talks almost an entire day in itself. I personally opted for 2 museums, skipped the monument walk, and saw the White House in my one day of exploring.
Places I went and what I thought:
Politics and Prose: An awesome, awesome book store! The best part of this store is when you walk downstairs. First of all, the clearance shelves are down here, where a multitude of books are priced very reasonably. Second of all, there is a bomb ass café that has the most liberal feel I have ever experienced. This place seems to be where all the Einstein’s go to write in their notebooks, and the highly educated to debate about politics.
National Gallery of Art: Very, very cool if you are in to art and art history. However, if you’re not an art person then don’t waste your time when you could be doing something you’d enjoy more. There is tons and tons to see here and I recommend you immediately proceed up the stairs when you enter because I wasted the majority of the time I had to spend here on the first floor and it ended up being the least interesting section of the museum!
National Museum of the American Indian: This was an extremely cool museum to experience! You are basically following a twisting route that tells you the stories and beliefs of many different native American tribes on the American continent! Seeing their beliefs on treatment of land has gotten me very interested in environmental ethics.
White House: There was construction going on so we were about a hundred feet further away than usual and had to peak at it through holes in a fence, BOO. However, it’s always fun to get to see the house the president lives in. Just imagine, when you go, Trump might be laying in bed picking his nose. We also got to witness a protestor outside the fence with a sign that contained pictures of his two children (one white and one colored), with the words: “If the presidency won’t respect my entire family, then my family can’t respect the presidency.” A wise moment to think on.
Rock Creek Park: The morning before my train left, my sister and I went on a short hiking trip to Rock Creek Park and I highly recommend that anyone who travels to D.C. visit this park. The hike was very interactive (lots of mild rock climbing and creek crossing), and the views were astounding! It is astonishing to realize what beautiful, quiet things are able to hide in the crevices of such a robust and bustling city.