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For three years in a row I spent a week around my birthday in Washington, D.C. I explored the National Mall and visited several monuments, visited the Smithsonian Museums, found some great local places to eat, and hiked miles and miles. Each year I found something different to do and some new neighborhood to explore. I have no doubt if I only spent a week a year in D.C. it would take me a lifetime to see it all!
Here are some of my favorite photos from my three years’ of exploring the nation’s capital. I hope to return again some day (I’ll be skipping D.C. in 2016) and continue my quest to visit all the monuments and memorials!
The United States Capitol Building lights up nicely when the warm sunrise first hits the gothic style architecture. Of course you have to get up early to see this.
On my birthday my first time to Washington, D.C. I fulfilled a childhood wish: I spent half the day at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Here I got to see a recreation of the Wright Brothers plane that not only made history, but changed the course of history.
After visiting The National Zoo I learned the technical term for a group of otters is a “romp”. No kidding.
If you look closely you can see the faint outline of a tripod on top of the White House. As I was setting up this photo using a telephoto lens for depth compression I noticed a secret service agent on the top of the building looking through some massive binoculars right at me. I waved.
The Basin provides a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially during the hot and humid summer months.
The cavernous Jefferson Memorial is one of the largest and most beautiful monuments in the city.
It’s easy to forget that Washington, D.C. is actually a big city and not just host to the White House and a tourist destination. This view of the United States Capitol Building between two large office buildings, looking out across The Basin, really resonated with me.
The monuments and memorials aren’t always meant to be strictly for entertainment or a great place to capture a selfie. This depiction of the Great Depression reminds us horrible things have happened in the past, and we shouldn’t forget lest we repeat.
The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most-visited monuments in D.C. I waited for hours to be able to get this photo without someone walking in front of my camera.
On my birthday the second year I visited D.C. I got to fulfill another childhood wish: see a space shuttle in person. Yeah, I’ll admit I got emotional standing this close to a spacecraft I so desperately wanted to fly aboard when I was a teen. I still have my Space Shuttle Crew Operations Manual.
Outside the United States Botanical Garden are several gardens and paths to get you warmed up for the journey inside.
I wonder what will happen when those trees grow a few more feet and hit the glass ceiling? I hope they just expand the top of the United States Botanical Garden cause I don’t wanna see these trees go away.
The Washington Monument is basically the center point of all the activity on The National Mall, standing tall as an anchor to the city. But getting a unique photo of this monument is difficult. I won’t tell you where I captured this photo!
The years’ long renovation and repair work on Union Station is almost complete, and the beautiful architecture is finally on full display again.
One of the last photos I captured during my last visit (August 2015) was at the U.S. National Arboretum. These trees were on display at the National Bonzai and Penjing Museum beside the visitors center.
About the Author
My greatest passion will always be photography, but my first was writing. I began a career as a travel photographer in 2009 and began writing a travel blog in 2015. I now focus on writing road trip itineraries, destination guides, and where to find the best local coffee. For me, road trips are not just a career or a passion, they are a way of life.