A low cost Washington DC holiday is possible, you just need to know where to look. Washington DC has the reputation of a boring capital city – but it is far from it! As soon as I stepped off the Capitol Limited and arrived in the city I felt at home! I don’t know why but it just felt like the perfect place to be. The streets were clean, wide and straight and there were trees everywhere.
The underground network looked great and the stations were simply amazing with their cement/concrete architecture. Most people were friendly and staying there was not very expensive. The city architecture was really unique as well, so I really had nothing to complain about. It would be amazing to have the opportunity to live there one day.
Read the previous part of this series about my day in Chicago
By the time it was time to board the Capitol Limited in Chicago to Washington DC I was completely exhausted. The train journey took 18 hours, mainly overnight. I slept in the dining car where I could stretch my legs out on the seat. I have written a separate post about the Capitol Limited train journey here. The train arrived in DC around 11AM on Sunday. My hostel was in Takoma, one of the districts in the city.
The Hilltop Hostel in Takoma
Hilltop Hostel is a lovely, private hostel in a Victorian home dating back to 1891. The building has lots of charm and character and is on the DC register of historic buildings. Unfortunately I only booked three nights because I thought DC would be a boring place! How could I get it so wrong! Everyone in the hostel was super friendly and sociable and I had the best parties there on any backpacking holiday. Watch the video below to see it for yourself!
Most of the downtown area looks stunning with world class architecture. If you don’t have the money to visit all the museums, it is enough to look at the buildings from the outside. There are also plenty of monuments in the various parks free of charge.
Some of my favourite buildings were along the Mall. I remember walking past the bureau of the Radio Free Europe dreaming about one day working there. I actually nearly got a placement there because my International Journalism lecturer, Mr Loory recommended me to the editor-in-chief at the radio. Unfortunately Stuart did not know I was only in my second year and I had not graduated, so I had to refuse with a really heavy heart. Anyway, I went around town by bus and using the underground as well. I would totally recommend a visit to Washington for everyone.
On my first day I walked around the Mall, visited the usual tourist attractions as well as the White House and the Capitol Building. The Abraham Lincoln Memorial was stunning and the statue inside was enormous. The obelisk at the center of the park looked great, dominating the entire area. Then of course there are the various Smithsonian Museums and a myriad of other museums in the nearby vicinity.
The George Washington Masonic Monument
Another monument which is worth seeing is the George Washington Memorial in Alexandria in Virginia. The monument is a short train ride from downtown but a visit is very rewarding. Read my full post about the monument here.
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