a monumental day

On Friday, I went to downtown DC to explore the National Mall.  I had actually been planning on spending Saturday and Sunday sightseeing, but 1. the metro is under track construction and the Metrocenter stop is closed all weekend and 2. we were only at work for an hour, leaving me done and already in the area at 10am.  So I rode with work friend Melissa to Foggy Bottom, got off, and wandered down 23rd Street to the Lincoln Memorial, with the intention of working my way east towards the Capital.

I am a pretty big history nerd, so I consider myself extremely lucky to have so much history essentially in my backyard.  I literally have no fewer than 50 museums at my very fingertips, providing me with seemingly endless weekend entertainment.  I hope that I never take the history I have in this city for granted, as so many people probably do, because it is staggering how many fate-changing decisions for our nation were (and continue to be) made here in DC.

In case you have never opened a history book in your life, here are some amateur photos I snapped of the sights that I saw.


Lincoln Memorial



Hello, Mr. President

Washington Monument & WWII Memorial



National Museum of American History*


*This museum was AWESOME.  If you at all enjoy museums, this one is a must-visit.  They have a phenomenal exhibit on First Ladies and their Inaugural Ball gowns, and it was the magical link that united the political and fashionable pieces of my heart.  There is also a whole wing on pop culture, which offers enough childhood gems to keep even the most whiny anti-museum kid satisfied.  A (very) few snippets of what I saw here:


Thomas Jefferson's personal writing desk


TJ founded my alma mater, which makes him kind of a badass.  I guess he’s also famous for writing the Declaration of Independence, giving us Louisiana etc., and being an agricultural genius.


Mrs. Obama's to-die-for Jimmy Choo's. Hello, Lover.



Hillary, is that you?!


Seeing an impossibly young picture of Hillary Clinton makes a trip to this museum ENTIRELY worth it.


original Simba mask in The Lion King broadway show


The Lion King on Broadway might actually be the best show in the world.  It’s score/soundtrack is UNREAL– some of the songs are the most listened to ones on my iPod (and I’m 22 years old).  This mask took me right back to the part in the show when all the “animals” come walking down the aisle, which made me want to jump and celebrate the Circle of Life right with them.

[Excuse my rambling…back to the sights.]


Capitol Building



So now you know roughly what I saw on my Explore DC mission.  But what did I really see?  These monuments are amazing, but I had a significantly better time observing every thing (and everyone) else that was around on a sunny Friday.  It’s unbelievable the things you can find if you actually stop and look for them.  Here are the things (and people) I found particularly interesting as I meandered along.


The Gettysburg Address


Have you ever really READ the Gettysburg Address??  Like, gotten past the first six words?  Read it here (http://www.gettysburgaddress.com/HTMLS/ga.html); you might be surprised at how something written 150 years ago is still so politically and emotionally relevant today.


War Veterans


These men were all so adorable– I wanted to give each one of them a huge hug and thank them for the tremendous service they have done for our country.




This couple literally STOOD IN MY WAY as I was leaving Mr. Lincoln, begging me to take a picture with them.  (At least I think that’s what they were saying– I do not speak Chinese).  At first I thought they meant “take a picture of us,” but the woman GRABBED me (owww!) and made me stand next to her.  Then her husband stood next to me too (he was shorter than me) while his wife took the picture.  So bizarre.  The wife told me that I was “verrry beautifullll” so I left with less hard feelings than when I started.  But beware!!  These guys don’t mess around.



Gestures that made me sad...



Gestures that made me want to cry...



Gestures that did make me cry.


Be ready for this if you go to the Vietnam Memorial.  The wall itself is so sobering that it doesn’t take much to bring tears to your eyes.  This picture of a soldier with his brother made me weep for a time where war will be a thing of the past, remembered only by the very oldest generations.


High School science experiments


These students were testing the cleanliness of the water in the reflecting pool.  Judging by the looks of it,

I don’t think they got very good results.  CLEAN UP YOUR TRASH, AMERICA!!!


People with questionable educations fumbling with basic technology


I  literally watched this guy try to turn on his camera for no less than 6 minutes.  Maybe he should have gone to a different university.  Also, his child had a mullet.  I am not making that up just because of our college rivalry.  HIS CHILD HAD A MULLET.  So this man spent 6 minutes turning on his camera to take a picture of his mullet-headed son.  COME ON.


Segway Tours


There has GOT to be a better way to get around than using Segways.  First of all, YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS.  Second of all, YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS!


Children feeding the squirrels


At first I thought this was really cute.  (I have a soft spot for squirrels).  Then, I watched in growing horror as the squirrel actually took the food from the boy!!!  WHAT?!?!?!  How has society gotten to the point where we are unknowingly taming wild animals??  Are squirrels going infect the human race with rabies and then take over the world?!  You have been warned.


So you can see that my Friday was jam-packed with some phenomenal sightseeing.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time, and am thinking of wandering around again tomorrow.  I hope I have given you potential tourists a little different perspective on Washington’s National Mall– maybe one a little less glamorous, but undoubtedly more entertaining, than what you would find in a brochure.  I’ve had a great weekend, and really hope that you have as well.


One Response

  1. Oh I love the first lady dress display! That is one of the few parts of the museum that my 8th grade self chose to remember.

    On a totally terrifying note: Dan can PET squirrels. As if they are dogs…or evil plotting geniuses. If Dan can capitalize on his talent, then I’m all for the squirrel takeover.

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