Washington DC itinerary

DC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited Violet

When our friends Dave and Micah moved to DC, we knew we were going to have to visit!  In college, Dave was Devin’s roommate and Micah was in my Special Education cohort.  I ended up setting them up on a blind date after about half a year of persistence; I knew they’d be perfect for each other and have the cutest kids… and now they are married and they do!  They were kind enough to let us come and visit us for their first Christmas without family for 7 days, but then we started laughing because both of them separately invited us to stay longer and we ended up being there for New Years too!

What ensued was loads of cooking, playing with toys, sight seeing, and basically staying up until 3 AM most nights playing strategy board games.  We laughed until we cried several times, talked about all things church, and seriously wanted to take their kids home at the end!  It was fabulous catching up and I sure do hope that the next time one of us ends up moving that we can be a lot closer to each other!

DC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited Violet

What surprised us most about DC was how everything was pretty much free to visit; this wasn’t something we were expecting AT ALL and it made DC a very cheap vacation for us!  We had so much fun hanging out with our friends that we didn’t spend a ton of time sight seeing, but it was very eye opening for us to realize that we need to museum ourselves out before we have small children in our home.  

One of my favorite memories from the trip was being in one of the museums on Christmas Eve when it closed and the security guards and random strangers began hugging each other and wishing each other Merry Christmas.  It honestly made me start tearing up right there because that is what the holiday is really about.  

 Here are the places we visited:

  • National Archives
  • Smithsonian Natural History museum
  • Smithsonian American History museum
  • National Gallery of Art
  • Smithsonian Museums of Asian Art
  • The Holocaust Museum
  • The Washington Monument
  • The World War 2 Memorial
  • The Smithsonian Castle

Honestly, my favorite place we toured was the Holocaust museum because the way they simulated things made everything very real.  I also really enjoyed the Smithsonian American History museum as it had a rather extensive railroad exhibit and my grandfather was a railroad mechanic.

Our list of places to see next time:

  • Arlington Cemetery
  • The Botanical Gardens
  • Smithsonian Air and Space museum
  • The White House
  • The Vietnam Memorial
  • The Korean War Memorial
  • The Lincoln Memorial

DC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | via The Spirited VioletDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | Stay gold AutumnDC travel itinerary: our trip to DC to visit friends + all of the details of places we visited! | Stay gold Autumn

We owe a big thanks to Micah, Dave, and their two sweet kids for allowing us to crash their Christmas and New Years; they even allowed us in their family tradition of acting out the nativity (traditionally, the wise men get to have a more fun costume in their family so you can guess what I am by looking at my head 😉 ).   We were also able to meet up with friends from high school: Tyson and Brianna with their two sweet kids, Samantha (a blog friend of a few years), as well as my cousin Jamie who had just moved to the DC area that week!  

Beyond that, we came home so inspired by our friends and how they juggle church, parenthood, daily routines, and work.  We began re-evaluating a lot of the ways we spend time and set up a lot more spiritual goals for our family.  This holiday was a huge favorite in our books and we’re grateful to our friends for letting us crash their holidays!

Have you ever spent a holiday with friends?

  • This looks like such a fun trip! We went to DC several times when we lived in NC and there is so much to do, you could go 50 times and still never see it all!

    • That’s exactly how I felt!! There became a point that we were so full of museum info that we like “okay, let’s just not museum for a little while.” These are words I never thought I would think!

    • I would really love to see Washington DC. It’s definitely on my very long list of places to visit in the US.

      • I know how you feel, I feel like my list is growing by the day!

  • So nice of them! They have adorable kids too. I’ve lived in the DC area, but don’t ever remember it being that cheap, my mom moved us away from it becuase it was so expensive for her to live there. But she loved living there it was just too much for her. They are such amazing things that are in DC and you’ll never run out of things to do.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

    • It was cheap because the museums were free, but not cheap if we lived there. The rent there was absolutely crazy, but since we were staying with friends and buying groceries and cooking together it ended up being very affordable since all of the museum entrances were free! I was so impressed with how much there was to do!!

  • This looks like so much fun. I have wanted to visit D.C. since I was a little girl.

    • You should definitely do it! There are a lot of family friendly places in the free museums and loads of places to walk! 🙂

  • You should check out the Renwick gallery too. It just reopened and it’s really pretty. Quick museum to visit too.

    • Thank you!! We will have to check that out! 🙂

  • I love visiting DC! Haven’t gone for a year or two!

    • I would love any suggestions for restaurants or fun places if you didn’t see them on my list! 🙂

  • Rachel G

    I’d love to go visit someday! How cool that you have friends in the area. I’ve always heard that the museums are incredible, especially considering that they are free! Sounds like my kind of trip!

    • I was shocked that they were free! I’ve never been to so many places for free before and it definitely helped us enjoy our vacation a lot more!

  • How fun to visit friends for the holidays! I’ve been to D.C. once, but my husband has never been and I would love to go with him someday! When I went before we were there for only two days and crammed a ton in, a lot of things you did, and some things you weren’t able to do. Arlington Cemetery is really neat to visit, it has a very peaceful, reverent feeling. The Air and Space Museum was probably my favorite on the National Mall, and Ford’s Theater was a neat piece of history too!

    • We were there for a week and a half and still didn’t see half of the things we wanted. We were touring with young children and didn’t throw ourselves into it everyday, but it is amazing how many things there are. I’m really looking forward to our next trip to check out Arlington Cemetery and Devin really wants to see The Air and Space museum! I will have to check out Ford’s theater!

  • Oh, DC! I haven’t been since my 8th grade class trip when we took a bus from Illinois. My husband and I have been talking about going back once our kids are older. I love that you were able to stay with friends. What a great way to spend the holidays. 🙂

    • Devin took a trip to DC from Arizona in the 8th grade too, fun! I hadn’t been since I was a baby. I imagine your children will love that kind of trip!

  • Love your photos! Looks like you had a great trip. DC is great this time of year!

    • It was a great trip and I’m glad we were able to go! It was crazy because with the weather changes it was so warm that some of the cherry trees were in bloom!

  • Thanks so much for sharing your trip! It was so delightful to see these pictures as I lived in DC for about 4 years! Your pictures brought back lots of fun and precious memories!!

    • That’s amazing that you lived there for four years. I imagine you feel similar to DC as I do to Utah (where I lived for 5)- it always brings back sweet memories too!

  • We used to live in DC and loved it! Looks like your trip was great! If you ever go back, check out Old Town in Alexandria, VA. It’s sooooo cute and amazing restaurants!

    • We will have to check out Old Town Alexandria. It sounds like DC is one of those places we could go a million times and never see everything. It is really amazing!

  • I love DC! I hven’t been in a LONG time, but really want to take my kids when they get a bit older.

    • They will absolutely love it! I was so impressed with all of the different historic exhibits!

  • You’re right – they do have super cute kids! I can’t wait to visit DC with my boys. Looks like you had a great time!

    • I don’t have nieces or nephews so it was such a treat to hang out with their little ones and get to know them!

  • Sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I’ve never spent a holiday traveling to be with friends, but I think I would love that. I remember going to the holocaust museum when I was younger and it really impacted me… there is so much history to learn on the east coast and I just love the feel of it there, glad you had a good trip!

    • We could go to museums for days and never have gone to half of the ones there- it is truly crazy!! I’m a big WW2 buff and I’ve read tons of books, but the simulations in the Holocaust Museum (like the shoes) made everything so real.

  • The Holocaust Museum is amazing! Pretty emotional for sure. I love DC. We may be headed there for spring break!

    • We loved DC and we can’t wait to go back! You’ll have to give us some suggestions of places to visit!

  • Wonderful pictures of your travels to Washington DC. I remember traveling there years ago, so full of history!

    • It was such a great opportunity to go there and see some more history!! Thanks for your sweet comment!