Weekend Drive to Washington DC and Arlington – Free Museums and Iconic Memorials!

Iwo Jima Memorial Arlington Washington

Its another weekend in USA so Kate and I decided to head to Washington DC this time round. Kate started to plan the trip, how to get there, things to do and things to bring along. As we started to plan, we realised that there are so many attractions and things to do in Washington DC!

So the plan was to drive towards Washington DC using the trusty GPS that we got for a steal (only $150 for a Garmin) while stopping at Arlington (to see the Iwo Jima Memorial aka Marine Corps War Memorial) along the way. We would be parking our car at the Union Station and walk ing towards the National Mall where we would see all the prominent and significant memorials such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, Veterans Memorial as well as the World War 2 (WW2) Memorial.

We set off early in the morning about 6am and took the I-95 (Interstate Freeway) towards Washington DC. We even got to catch the sunrise…

Sunrise along the way to Washington DC
Sunrise along the way to Washington DC

Shots of I-95 on route to Washington DC
Shots of I-95 on route to Washington DC

 Arlington

The first thing we saw when we arrived (about 9am) in Arlington was this…

The Iwo Jima Memorial aka Marine Corps War Memorial
The Iwo Jima Memorial aka Marine Corps War Memorial

We drove around the Memorial twice and on the second time, some people left after their morning exercise and we were able to have a spot in the carpark.

The memorial was modelled after an iconic photo taken during the battle of Iwo Jima where marines and sailors raised the American flag…see the stunning resemblance!

The Photo taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima
The Photo taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima

Reverse View of the Marine Corps War Memorial aka Iwo Jima Memoria
Reverse View of the Marine Corps War Memorial aka Iwo Jima Memorial

We also got to see another structure. The Netherlands Carillon.

Netherlands Carillon - Arlington
Netherlands Carillon – Arlington

The Netherlands Carillon was a gift from the people of Netherlands to the people of USA in appreciation for the support they had during the World War 2 (WW2). It has 50 bells on it. Kate and I wanted to venture further but the door was locked and we were unable to enter the structure. From there, we pushed on and drove to Washington DC!

Washington DC

The view from the freeway as we closed in on Washington DC…

The Washington Memorial and Capitol Building
The Washington Memorial and Capitol Building

As planned, we parked at the Union station for about 5 hours for $15.

The Union Station Washington DC
The Union Station Washington DC

Ample Parking Lots at the Union Station Washington DC
Ample Parking Lots at the Union Station Washington DC

We missed the turn into the Union Station on the first time as it was a really obscured corner on the right side. After a U-turn, we made it into the parking lots! Yay! So do watch out for it if you are parking there…

Inside the Union Station Washington DC
Inside the Union Station Washington DC

Another View of the Union Station Washington DC
Another View of the Union Station Washington DC

As we walked towards the National Mall, we were awed by the Capitol Building

Capitol Building Washington DC
Capitol Building Washington DC

The building exuberated awe and prestige as many tourists snapped photos of it. The Capitol is where the United States Congress meet.

View of the National Mall from the Capitol
View of the National Mall from the Capitol

Our objective was to walk all the way from Capitol to Lincoln memorial (past the Washington Memorial and Museums). Along the way, we stopped at various museums, not only because ALL MUSEUMS IN WASHINGTON WAS FREE!, but also because it was SO HOT! Almost 40 degrees celcius! We practically had to go into the museums to cool off!

Hence, our first stop was the Air and Space Museum where we caught all the really cool life-size / actual exhibits!

Exhibits at Air and Space Museum
Exhibits at Air and Space Museum

More Exhibits at the Air and Space Museum
More Exhibits at the Air and Space Museum

The Wright Brother's Wrightplane
The Wright Brother’s Wrightplane

There was a whole exhibit depicting how the brothers were ridiculed and how they overcome the odds to make their dreams of flight come true.

More Exhibitis at the Air and Space Museum
More Exhibitis at the Air and Space Museum

After cooling down and having learnt that the space race was actually between the German Scientists caught by Russians and Americans, we headed out back into the scorching heat. Along the way, we saw more amazing sculptures…

The Sculpture Garden Washington DC
The Sculpture Garden Washington DC

Steel Sculpture Washington DC
Steel Sculpture Washington DC

Grant Statue with Calvary Group aka Grant Memorial
Grant Statue with Calvary Group aka Grant Memorial during US Civil War

Smithsonian Museum
Smithsonian Museum

Another view of the Smithsonian Museum
Another view of the Smithsonian Museum

Before long, we were at the Washington Memorial and we took a shot from there to depict the distance we have left to cover before we reached the Lincoln Memorial

View of the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Memorial
View of the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Memorial

Venturing on, we came to the National World War 2 Memorial which is located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Memorial (which means we are near the home stretch!) The World War 2 (WW2) Memorial was dedicated to the veterans and people of the USA during the WW2 period. It has 56 pillars (each inscribed with a state of USA as well as the colonies) and a fountain right in the centre of it.

The Fountain at the WW2 Memorial
The Fountain at the WW2 Memorial

Pillars of the WW2 Memorial
Pillars of the WW2 Memorial

Kate and I saw many people dipping into the pool and kids playing in the water to cool off in the heat of the summer. Walking pass the reflective pool (where Jackie Chan landed in Rush Hour), we finally got to the steps of this iconic structure…

Lincoln Memorial Washington DC
Lincoln Memorial Washington DC

It was here where we cannot tahan (take it) anymore when we finally succumbed and bought a cooled can of pepsi for $1.5! We garnered our last ounce of strength to master the steps (so many of them!) and we were finally rewarded with a look at the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial Washington DC
Lincoln Memorial Washington DC

It was a magical moment because we finally came face to face with the iconic statue that we have seen so many times in movies (national treasure, night at the museum, planet of the apes etc). We also took a picture at the top of the steps, basically to tell ourselves that we now have to venture back again!

View of the National Mall from Lincoln Memorial
View of the National Mall from Lincoln Memorial

On the way back, we took a glimpse at the White House and entered the National Museum of American History for a well deserved break…

The White House from a distance - Washington DC
The White House from a distance – Washington DC

Long Queue outside the National Museum of American History
Long Queue outside the National Museum of American History

Of course what Kate wanted to see was Julia Child’s Kitchen after watching the movie Julie and Julia. Her kitchen just as it was…

Julia Child's Kitchen , National Museum of American History - Washington DC
Julia Child’s Kitchen , National Museum of American History – Washington DC

A poster depicting the pots and pans of Julia Child
A poster depicting the pots and pans of Julia Child

Of course, my favourite museum was this…the National Museum of Natural History (Night at the Museum!)

The National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History

Here we caught several huge exhibits such as the

Whale at the National Museum of Natural History - Washington DC
Whale at the National Museum of Natural History – Washington DC

Elephant at the National Museum of Natural History - Washington DC
Elephant at the National Museum of Natural History – Washington DC

as well as this ridiculously long squid…

Ridiculously Long and Huge Squid at the National Museum of Natural History - Washington DC
Ridiculously Long and Huge Squid at the National Museum of Natural History – Washington DC

How can we forget the iconic T-Rex?

Iconic T-Rex from Night at the Museum
Iconic T-Rex from Night at the Museum

Before we left, we made a point to visit Ebenezers Cafe because it serves coffee with a cause! Actually, it does community outreach programmes through the profits at the cafe and is a short walk from the Union Station

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Ebenezers Cafe Washington DC

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Cosy interior of Ebenezers Cafe – Washington DC

Kate and I also enjoyed a short walk (havent we had enough?) around the quaint district near the cafe…

Quaint District in Washington DC
Quaint District in Washington DC

The buildings looked colonial yet has a modern twist and the neighbourhood was really clean and covered with greenery.

On the way back, Kate was really good to me in that she continued to supply me with neck massages, sweets (to keep me awake) as well as tidbits and drinks when I was hungry or thirsty :)

Overall, there are so many attractions and things to do in Washington DC! DC is an excellent place to visit. We’ve got to see so many iconic structures and sculptures as well as the on-scene locations of so many Hollywood movies. Best of all, ALL MUSEUMS were FREE! If you have yet to visit DC, make it a point to visit and you will enjoy the sights and sounds that this city has to offer!

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This entry was posted in Air and Space Museum, Arlington, Capitol, Ebenezers Cafe, Grant Memorial, holiday, Iwo Jima Memorial aka Marine Corps Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, National World War 2 Memorial, Netherlands Carillon, Places of Interest, Reflecting Pool, Smithsonian Museum, Tips for Travelling, travel, Travel Blog, Travel Tips, USA, vacation, Washington DC, Washington Memorial, White House and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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