We woke up bright and early the next morning, ready to get our fill of DC! Walking outside was strange though...the streets were completely empty. No cars, no people, no noise. Granted, it was a Saturday, but I still expected to see a bit of city hustle and bustle. Nope, it was weirdly, absolutely dead. Since it was a (federal) holiday weekend, I guess the entire city had just completely cleared out. Still, it was strange to be walking around a large city in broad daylight with absolutely nobody in sight. Felt kind of post-apocalyptic and eerie.
We headed for the National Mall, but arrived before any of the museums had even opened. So we putzed around trying to find some breakfast and eventually stumbled upon a small café inside the Smithsonian Information Center. It was surrounded by gorgeous gardens and looked like a castle. I collected pamplets for all of the spots we wanted to visit and we made a tentative plan. Did you know all the museums are free here? My kind of city.
The earliest museum to open was the Freer Gallery, which was right next door, so we figured why not pop in. It was rather small, especially compared to most of the museums along the mall, and we were able to see most of the art on display fairly quickly.
Next stop was the Natural History Museum directly across the way. It was much more kid-geared than we expected, but still some fun things for adults as well. I liked watching the scientists working in the fossil lab.
Disappointingly, didn't have time to make it next door to the National Museum of American History to see Dorothy Gale's ruby slippers or the original Star Spangled Banner or Thomas Edison's lightbulb from 1879.
But at least we caught some sweet boob action.
As we made our way off the mall toward the National Archives Building, we passed through a really neat park with some interesting tree sculptures and French subway station replicas. There was also a cute little kids skating rink and an adorable outdoor café that wasn't open yet. Gorgeous little pocket of the city.
No cameras allowed inside the National Archives. Security was crazy tight, had to go through multiple checks and a metal detector. The Charters of Freedom (Declaration, Constitution, Bill of Rights) were kept in a large rotunda (with little direction as to how visitors should view them, so there were lots of punk little kids cutting in and out of line), kept dark and cool. It was incredibly interesting to stand directly in front of these pieces of history that helped to shape our country's path and you've heard so much about but given little thought to the actual piece of paper and how it's preserved.
Our tummies were grumbling at this point and we happened past a Carmine's. Heck, let's be super tourists. Spaghetti and meatballs for two at the bar, please. Only thing we paid for all day. I love D.C.
We met up with Sophia and some friends of hers at the National Portrait Gallery. It's huge and there was no way we'd be able to see it all in the two short hours we had before our next tour stop was scheduled, so we stuck to the hall of America’s Presidents.
And then it was off to our TOUR OF THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!