The second full day of our Fall Break in Washington, D.C., started with a disappointing visit to Smithsonian’s National Zoo. During my college trip to D.C., we went to the zoo and I loved it. This time, however, it was extremely overcrowded and the animals didn’t seem to be out and enjoying their habitats. We walked through in an hour and were all three ready to move on.
After lunch at Cactus Cantina, we walked over to Washington National Cathedral for a tour—one of the trip highlights for me. I had previously visited cathedrals in Europe, but never before in the United States. I’m not sure if Brandon and Emma loved it as much as I did, but I could have easily stayed longer to listen to the choir rehearsing for their performance that evening.
There are so many incredible museums in D.C., and it was hard to narrow down a couple to visit on this trip. All of the Smithsonians are free, and I chose the National Museum of American History as our first stop. Some of my favorite highlights included:
- The Star-Spangled Banner
- Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers
- Abraham Lincoln’s Top Hat
- Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Gown
After a couple of hours of American history, we walked to the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum for the rest of the afternoon. I was really excited to show Brandon and Emma one of my favorite pieces, Electronic Superhighway, and we all enjoyed the presidential portraits.
We let Emma choose the final meal of the trip, a tradition I think would be fun to continue on future trips. She selected Italian, so I Googled several different Italian restaurants in D.C. and let her pick her favorite. Carmine’s was the winner, and was a delicious meal. They serve everything family style, and the entrees are enormous. Our lasagna could have easily fed 4+ people. We also ordered an outlandish dessert, though none of us could eat more than a few bites after filling up on lasagna!
After dinner, we took our final Metro ride back to our Airbnb and relaxed for the rest of the evening before driving back to North Carolina the next morning.
I went into our Washington, D.C., trip with no expectations, interested to discover what a trip with a pre-teen would be like. I can’t speak for Brandon or Emma, but I think the trip was a great success. There’s so much to do and see in the city that we could easily spend Fall Break in Washington D.C. four more times! But, I think we enjoyed a good mix of activities during this trip.
On a future trip to Washington, D.C., I’d love to visit more of the Smithsonians and select another guided tour (maybe on a Segway?). It would also be fun to visit the city in the spring to see the famous cherry blossoms.
On a future trip with Emma, I’d love to go to New York City to see a show on Broadway. She’s also dying to go to Universal Studios Orlando, so a Florida trip might be in our future.