My husband, Matthew, surprised me last year on fall break with a spontaneous trip to D.C. We love to travel, and this was a place that we had both always wanted to see. Our middle school always takes an eighth grade trip (individually paid), but neither of us had went, so it was exciting to get to experience it as a vacation together.
The nation’s capital is about a ten hour drive from where we live, and yes, we did drive there. Being that it was a spontaneous trip, and flying can be expensive, driving was our cheapest option. We listened to our favorite Panic! At the Disco Pandora station all the way there, so we were well entertained.
Researching Beforehand is a Must!
Our goal when we travel is to experience as much as we can without spending a fortune. Essentially, we want the most bang for our buck. Matthew is awesome at planning trips because of the way he researches prices and deals. We ended up staying at two different hotels during our three-day, four-night stay because it was cheaper than staying at one hotel. He also found a fair-priced parking garage for our car to stay in (since there is no public parking). Not getting a parking spot for your car before the trip would be a nightmare since it’s first come-first serve, and there really is nowhere to park! Also, a lot of the major attractions can only be accessed on roads that cars can’t be on.
The first hotel we stayed at was right outside of D.C., which made it cheaper. We arrived there late Tuesday night, so it was really just for us to sleep and get prepared for our first day in D.C. The next morning, the traffic in D.C. was pretty thick, but not terrible. There was a heavy fog that morning, which made the surroundings look a little eerie, but the sun broke through quickly and revealed buildings with beautiful architecture. There are a lot of older buildings with aged charm and craftsmanship, and it really is what you would expect to see in the nation’s capital.
After leaving our car in a parking garage, we took our luggage (check out the rolling luggage we use here) and hit the streets in search of our hotel. Actually, our micro hotel. A micro hotel is exactly what it sounds like; a hotel with small rooms. The rooms are made to be efficient, giving you everything you need and nothing of what you don’t need. The rooms average 125 – 250 square feet and contain a bedroom, closet, and bathroom. The building and lobby are designed beautifully and really reflect the character of D.C. The staff was also very friendly and helpful. We had arrived before our check-in time (since we were trying to fit in as much as we possibly could during our stay) and the staff was able to let us into our room early so that we wouldn’t have to roll our luggage with us everywhere! They made sure that we had everything we needed and even explained the backstory behind the hotel.
While we waited for our room to be ready, they told us about their onsite dining. The hotel contains a pizza shop called &pizza. You get to choose your toppings and sauce to make any kind of crazy combination that you like, and it turns out amazing! We decided to try the Pineapple Jack pizza. It was made like a Hawaiian pizza, and it was absolutely delicious. After that, we were led to our buzz room, which is what they call some of the rooms at Hive. The room was bright and airy, spotless, and comfortable. It had a nice contemporary design that made it feel fresh and relaxing. The bathroom even included honey scented soaps and shampoos to go with the “hive” theme.
Hotel Hive is Highly Recommended
I highly recommend staying at Hotel Hive when you go to D.C. The price is great, the staff is wonderful, and the rooms are perfect for people just wanting a place to sleep since they’ll be touring during the day. It’s close to a lot of major attractions and shopping areas, and it’s set amidst George Washington University’s beautiful campus, so it doesn’t feel too busy. You also can feel comfortable walking the sidewalks knowing that college students take the same stroll everyday. It’s a great hotel for a vacation!
The Best Prices Around
There are so many things to see and do in D.C., and the best part is, almost everything is free! The Smithsonian Zoo and almost every museum, government building, and memorial is completely free of charge. This makes it a perfect vacation spot for a family because of how affordable, educational, and entertaining it is. That really does check a lot of boxes! Here is a short list of some things you won’t want to miss seeing while on vacation in D.C.
1. The White House
If you don’t see the White House while in D.C., did you really even go at all? While getting an inside tour of the White House does require a request from a member of congress in your state, it’s free to view the White House from the outside. If you would like to get a free public tour, make sure you submit a request to your congressman well in advance of your trip.
2. The National Mall
The National Mall is a more than 2 mile stretch of land containing well-known monuments and memorials. You can see the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the Reflective Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and many more landmarks that are important to our nation. The whole area is landscaped beautifully with tree-lined walkways, lush grass, and spouting fountains.
3. Smithsonian Museums
There are multiple museums and galleries within the Smithsonian Institution in D.C., and each one is filled to the brim with interesting artifacts and pieces of art. While we went to many of them, some of my favorites were the American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of American History.
4. Smithsonian National Zoo
I was blown away by the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. They have so many different kinds of animals to see, and the layout is beautiful. We spent a long time walking around because of how much there is! Everything is easy to see and natural looking, and the animals look genuinely happy and content with their surroundings.
5. Federalist Pig
Think you’ve had the best barbecue in your life? Think again. Federalist Pig is a BBQ shack located in the Adams Morgan area of D.C. that serves BBQ sandwiches, platters, and tasty sides. While it may not be what you would consider an attraction, it’s definitely a place you don’t want to miss out on.
Their BBQ is so tender, juicy, and packed with flavor that you don’t even need to add any sauce to it (but their sauces are pretty amazing, too). My husband and I got a platter with two meats and two sides to share, and then he also got a BBQ sandwich. Let me tell you, the brisket and pork spare ribs are out of this world. I would go back to D.C. for their food alone!
One Last Vacation Tip
Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes! We averaged around 25,000 steps a day according to my husband’s Fitbit. However, there’s plenty of Uber and Lyft drivers if you need them. All of the walking was totally worth it though. Our vacation in D.C. was filled with amazing and unforgettable memories. If you have any questions when you decide to make this your next vacation spot, feel free to ask me!