Washington D.C. overnight

Even though Washington D.C. is the capital of USA, many people (especially Americans) advised me not to go there. Washington D.C. apparently does not have the best reputation (it was called the murder capital in the 90’s due to a high rate of crime and violence). But since I was only a five hour bus ride away, I decided to make a short visit to the country’s capital. Because you never know when I’ll be back on the continent!

I used the same bus company that I traveled to Boston with, Megabus. Megabus offers cheap tickets to several cities in USA and Canada. I bought the tickets last minute, so the round trip from New York set me back $42.

Washington is mostly known for its vast array of monuments, museums, embassies and government buildings. The most important sights are located around this park called National Mall.
Washington D.C. is mostly known for its vast array of monuments, museums, embassies and government buildings. The most important sights are located around this park called the National Mall.
The Capitol, the seat of United States Congress, is situated at the eastern end of the National Mall.
The Capitol, the seat of United States Congress, is situated at the eastern end of the National Mall.
There are dozens of museums in Washington D.C. and most of them are free. My first stop was the National Gallery of Art. The museum was really big (a bit too big for my liking) with famous paintings from artist such as Monet and Rembrandt.
There are dozens of museums in Washington D.C. and most of them are free. My first stop was the National Gallery of Art. The museum was really big (a bit too big for my liking) with famous paintings from artist such as Monet and Rembrandt.

After walking around the National Gallery of Art for a couple of hours and barely seeing half of it, I checked in to my hostel, International House of Washington. One night in six bed dorm cost $22.

My hostel from outside. Many buildings further away from the National Mall area were quite run down.
My hostel from outside. Many buildings outside the National Mall area are quite run down.

In the evening I returned to the National Mall. The Smithsonian Museums close already at 5.30 pm, so I took the opportunity to look at famous buildings and monuments instead.

The WWII Memorial and Washinton Monument are reflected in the 600 m long Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
The WWII Memorial and Washinton Monument are reflected in the 600 m long Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
At the other end of the pool, a massive monument has been erected to honour Abraham Lincoln. A big statue of America's 16th presidents sit inside the monument.
At the other end of the pool, a massive monument has been erected to honour Abraham Lincoln. A big statue of America’s 16th president sits inside the monument.
On my second day, I visited the Hirshorn Sculpture Garden, prior to heading to the Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian Museums don't open until 10 am so I had a chance to take in the fresh autumn air.
On my second day, I visited the Hirshorn Sculpture Garden, prior to heading to the Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian Museums don’t open until 10 am so I had a chance to take in the fresh autumn air.
The Air and Space Museum is the most visited museum in the USA. I'm not surprised! The exhibits are interactive and very captivating.
The Air and Space Museum is the most visited museum in the USA. I’m not surprised! The exhibits are interactive and very captivating.
You can even touch a piece of the moon!
You can even touch a piece of the moon!
Besides interesting items on display - such as space food - there is a very nice planetarium that you can visit for a fee. Entry to the museum itself is free.
In addition to interesting items on display – such as space food – there is a very nice planetarium that you can visit for a fee. Entry to the museum itself is free.
Besides exhibitions about space, many rooms explain the mechanics and inventions of flying.
Besides exhibitions about space, there are many rooms dedicated to explaining the mechanics and inventions of flying.

I was going to visit some other museum as well, but the Air and Space museum was so interesting that I spent four hours there! So unfortunately I didn’t have time for any more sightseeing in Washington D.C. before my bus back to New York was leaving.

Washington D.C. is a good city for anyone who likes museums! In addition to the 19 free Smithsonian Museums, there are several other museums dedicated to topics such as news or espionage. The museums are really big, so I would recommend focusing on one or two per day.

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