Over the weekend, I made a road trip down to Washington D.C. in order to attend an event and to visit some friends who live in the area. After breakfast with friends, I was dropped off at the metro station for a ride in to downtown. If you've never ridden the Washington Metro, it really is one of the best looking metro's in the world, at least in my eyes. Not to say that the trains are good looking, they aren't, the trains are old and show their age. Stations are a whole other story though.
Metro stations in downtown Washington D.C. are something you never see in underground stations anywhere else in the world... they're big and open. WMATA, the operators of the DC Metro, seem to have nailed an aesthetic that makes the system inviting from the get go. Washington D.C. is the first public transit I was ever introduced to, and I wonder if I would have received it so well if that start had been someplace else like New York City.
After getting off the subway at the Federal Triangle, I made my way through the city. A helpful hint to those riding the Orange, Blue and Silver line as tourists. Smithsonian Station is one of the most popular for any tourists, getting off at Federal Triangle puts you close to where you want to be, but is much less crowded. This tip is similar for the Yellow and Green lines, L'Enfant Station or the Federal Archives are better choices if you want to avoid crowds.
As I made my way to the Lincoln Memorial, I was quickly reminded of why Washington D.C. still managed to rank as my all time favorite city, even amidst all of the places I've been in the world. What is it that so captivates me with D.C.? There are a number of things that I find very appealing about Washington, and it isn't just one thing that continues to draw me back, it's the combination, that seems to be unique.
First off is the architecture of downtown D.C. with large stone buildings that not only give a fairly uniform feel to the city, but also has an interesting mix of modern and old styles. Buildings seem to meld the beauty of ancient Greece but somehow bring it into modern times, and rarely are any buildings in bad shape. Granted, much of the city center is government buildings, which explains the upkeep and uniform nature of buildings, but it really creates a warm feel the moment you step off the train. That stone architecture even makes its way into those beautiful metro stations and all flows so well into one another.
The other major factor for me is the mall. Those who haven't been to Washington must realize how amazing the parks of D.C. are. The mall flows into the Capitol and Washington Monument. Washington Monument flows to the Lincoln Memorial into the war memorials into Jefferson's Monument, into so much more. Still the mall is what draws my attention.
Snug in between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument, is the Smithsonian Museums. This area, referred to as the mall, houses a mecca of sorts for me. I love museums, and D.C. has everything from Art, to Science and Botanical Gardens to American History... this is a place I adore and continues to draw me back time after time. No place else in the world have I ever been able to see so many museums and walk past them all in a very short period of time.
When you combine all of the aspects of Washington D.C. there is no way that this incredible city would be ousted by any other in the world. For me, there is no other place I'd like to spend an entire week just walking around, more than D.C. If you haven't ever visited, put it on your list and make sure you get there sooner rather than later.