Tag Archives: Nationals Stadium

Top Ten Things to do in Washington DC: Part Two

IMG_7218 copy_edited-1Picking up where we last left off, here’s the second half of our top ten list! Just seven months after our trip… ha.

1. Arlington National Cemetery

There really aren’t words to describe how majestic and somber Arlington National Cemetery is. It’s only a ten-minute drive from the crowds at the National Mall, and yet it feels so quiet and peaceful at Arlington that I would have guessed we were an hour outside of the city. It’s nothing short of a humbling experience to walk along the endless rows of gravestones, honoring all of the brave men and women who have served our country. From a distance, the white gravestones almost look like domino pieces, too many to count or really process. But then you get closer to each stone and read the names of those buried there, and it all becomes much more real. These were the people who served our country as early as the 1860s, as well as their loved ones buried alongside of them. To give you a sense of just how large Arlington is, it covers about 620 acres and over 400,000 veterans have been buried there. As we walked around the grounds, Chip and I talked about how everyone should make a trip to Arlington at some point in their lives. You really don’t get a sense for how lucky you are to have so much freedom until you’re surrounded by the reminder of what that freedom costs.

We visited the grave site of President John F. Kennedy, which overlooks the cityscape of Washington D.C. It’s a fitting view to see the monuments in the background as you read excerpts from Kennedy’s most famous speeches. We also spent quite a bit of time at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was almost hypnotizing watching the changing of the guard and observing how stoic they are as they march back and forth before the tomb. There were a few wreath-laying ceremonies while we were there, and a small rain storm couldn’t keep the crowds from watching. And yes, we did get the chills and a lump in the back of our throat every time they played Taps.

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Arlington National Cemetery

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Arlington National Cemetery

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Arlington National Cemetery

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Arlington National Cemetery

2. Nationals baseball game

It’s no secret Chip and I love baseball. He grew up playing it through our freshman year at Trinity; I grew up watching it and spent my springs at my brother’s games from the time he was five years old until I left for college. Our dog is named Wrigley. We love October and getting to watch the World Series every year. So when we were planning our trip to DC, we knew we wanted to catch a Nationals game. I was even more excited when I saw they would be playing the New York Mets, a team I used to cheer for a long time ago, mainly out of spite to the New York Yankees. My favorite Met, David Wright, is still on the team and we were able to watch him hit a homerun early on in the game, right after Chip made some snarky comment about Wright being overpaid. A little bit of poetic justice, if you ask me. Towards the end of the game, we got to watch a fellow Calallen Wildcat would be pitching to close the game out for the Mets.

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3. National Gallery of Art

For those who haven’t visited the National Gallery of Art, humor me real quick. Picture however large you think this museum is. Got it? Now triple it. Even that probably isn’t close to the size of this museum. We weren’t able to get through it all, I can’t imagine how long it would take to see everything and give it the time it deserves. We were blown away by the amount of incredible work in the National Gallery of Art. Local residents really are lucky to have access to such renown work, it still blows my mind that all of the Smithsonian museums do not charge admission fees.

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Quick nap at the National Gallery of Art

4. Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum was the first Smithsonian we visited and it set the bar pretty high for the rest of the trip. There is a lot of history packed into this museum with models and historical pieces displayed everywhere. As an example, Charles Lindbergh’s The Spirit of St. Louis greets you as soon as you walk into the museum. Y’all, that Charles Lindbergh must have been either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. You could not pay me to ride in that small plane from San Antonio to Boerne, I cannot believe it flew across the Atlantic. Other highlights include the Apollo 11 Command Module “Columbia,” the 1909 Wright Military Flyer, Amelia Earheart’s Lockheed Vega 5B, military planes from each war, and much more.

One of my favorite exhibits was on Charles and Anne Lindbergh. I recently read The Aviator’s Wife and found all of the pictures and stories extremely interesting. I have to admit, I had always heard about Charles’ accomplishments despite Anne being alongside of him for much of those record-setting trips. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about her story, both the good and the bad.

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5. National Archives

You can’t make a visit to DC without spending some time in the National Archives. Only at the National Archives can you see the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. I’m sure we can all recite bits and pieces of these thanks to our history classes, but there’s something really inspiring and humbling about reading the original handwritten copies of each of these documents. While admission is free (how great is that?), you can reserve your tickets online for $1.50 so you don’t have to wait outside in line for a long time. This came in handy for us since we visited on a rainy day. Don’t bother trying to break the “no pictures allowed” rule; we saw some people escorted out of the museum for trying to sneak a couple pictures on their phones. And as random as it sounds, I highly recommend their gift shop. It was one of the best we visited during the whole trip and was a perfect place for a few souvenirs, including our Uncle Sam nutcracker.

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We fell in love with DC during our almost week-long trip there and hope to be back again soon!