Whether it's your 30-day grace period, or you have some vacation time, there are lots of ways to experience the United States during your au pair year in America. This series will give you a head start on things to do and things to see in some of the most popular cities in the U.S.
Washington D.C. is the capital city of the United States of America. Located between Maryland and Virginia, it's not actually a state, but a Federal District. This status means it doesn't have congressmen or a senator, which is why the license plates read "Taxation Without Representation". The political awareness in this town is high, but that doesn't stop residents from having fun and treating visitors like you to some pretty amazing sights!
Top Three Things to Experience in Washington DC:
1. Visit The Tidal Basin: Outside of the White House, one of the most well-known images of Washington D.C. is the blooming cherry blossom trees that line the basin. But even after the seasonal bloom has ended, the Tidal Basin is a place with lots of paths to explore, places to enjoy a picnic or places to people-watch. It's also adjacent to many of the historic memorials in town including The Jefferson Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the George Mason Memorial to name just a few.
2. Explore a few Museums: There's nothing quite like the sense of history experienced in the nation's capital. When you hear people refer to the "National Mall" they don't mean a shopping center, but a huge area in front of the U.S. Capitol building and the surrounding museums. The Smithsonian is the grouping of all the museum complexes across the city (and the National Zoo). Your best bet is to visit the website and see which museums align with your interest, there are the National History Museum, African Art Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The best part about the Smithsonian is that the majority of the museums are FREE!
3. Hang out in Georgetown. There are actually a ton of neighborhoods in the Washington D.C. area that are fun to hang out in - but if you're an au pair with limited time, try Georgetown first. There are tons of shops to visit, lots of delicious food (including a world famous cupcake shop), and a fun vibe that also lends itself to a great nightlife.
What to Eat: This city loves to wine and dine, so if you're looking for something sophisticated you'll find it in almost any neighborhood. Craving Ethiopian? Visit Adams Morgan. For top chefs, try Capitol Hill. If you want an eclectic mix of almost everything, try the U-Street Corridor. Whatever your agenda, please stop by Ben's Chili Bowl. Even the President eats there!
When To Visit: It depends on your preference! DC can get hot and humid in the Summertime, so 90-degree temperatures are pretty average. The winters are a little milder than other Northeastern cities, but temperatures can still drop into the teens. If you don't like extremes, you'll likely be most comfortable in the Spring or Fall.
Nearest Cities: You can drive or take the Amtrak North to reach Philadelphia in about 2.5 hours. New York City is about 4 hours away by car or train.
Nearest Airports: There are three regional airports: National Airport (DCA) is right in the city, Dulles Airport is about 30 minutes outside of the city in Virginia and Baltimore Washington International (BWI) is slightly over an hour away. Public transportation makes it very easy to travel into the city after flying into any of these airports.
'"D.C. was one of my favorite places to visit. It's a super walkable city and there's so much to see! And so many neighborhoods to explore." Joanne
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