It’s that time of the semester again! Of course Philly is filled with endless activities and suburban main streets dot the map around campus, but what about taking the train or bus a little longer than the normal 12 minute ride to Center City. What about taking a day trip to explore the nation’s capital? It may seem like a lengthy and extensive trip but did you know SJU is a quick and easy 2 hours away from countless free museums and exciting adventures in Washington, D.C.? Feeling overwhelmed on what you can fit into a 10 hour day? We already mapped out your schedule below!
Catch either a bus or train from 30th Street to start the day! Amtrak offers student discounts and fare savers if you have a date in mind. Hopping on the train is the quickest way to get to Union Station but if you are looking to save some money, definitely plan a little bit in advance and book a MegaBus ticket for as low as $1. Another option is Uber, its a bit more expensive but if you get a few friends to go the cost will decrease.
Depending on your choice of transportation, you will arrive in D.C. anywhere between this time slot. When you arrive into Union Station, transfer to the WMATA Metro located on the lower level to catch a Red Line train bound for Shady Grove. Make sure you purchase a SmartTrip Card from the machine (it’s cheaper than their determined day pass option). A few short stops away is Gallery Place- Chinatown. This metro stop is filled with quick and easy restaurants including some not available in Philadelphia. Some D.C. favorites are Cava, the Mediterranean Chipotle, and Nandos, a step up from Chick Fil A.
Get ready to walk off all those calories! Take the same Red Line metro bound for Shady Grove a few more stops to Farragut North. From this station, you can begin your adventure around the monuments and the National Mall. First, walk to the White House and around towards the Washington Monument. Once at the mall, it’s up to you to decide what museums and monuments to visit. The best thing? The Smithsonian’s and monuments are free to visit! Here are a few of our favorites:
- Lincoln Memorial: It’s worth the walk, trust us. Sitting on the steps of this monument grants you both a panoramic view of the National Mall as well as Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac. Fun Fact: where the steps change color is the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke.
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: This Instagram worthy museum can easily take a few hours to go through. Each exhibit is a different and abstract concept that will leave you thinking of it for days. A D.C. favorite? Definitely the Belief + Doubt exhibit. This loud installation covers every inch of the room with intriguing phrases and questions.
- Smithsonians: The great thing about exploring all the museums and monuments? They’re all centrally located within walking distance from each other. The Smithsonian’s specifically are all located across and next to each other around the National Mall. Check out any of these museums for a journey through American History, Natural History, Air and Space history and so much more!
Time flies when you’re exploring the Mall! It’s easy to stay around that area to grab a bite to eat for dinner or if you want to check out a different part of the District, a quick Uber ride to the Georgetown section of the city is a great idea. From the National Mall, you can hop in an Uber ride to the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue for at most $8. Once in Georgetown, there are amazing restaurants around each corner! A few highly recommended spots are Thunder Burger, Clyde’s, and Filomena. After dinner, don’t forget to check out the numerous cupcake and dessert shops that sweeten up Georgetown! Georgetown Cupcake, from the popular TLC show is worth the occasional line. Try special flavors that are different everyday or classics like birthday cake and salted caramel! Some other amazing cupcake options include Baked and Wired and Sprinkles, both located on or just off M Street!
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get back to Union Station. Depending on where you end your adventurous day, an Uber or Lyft may be the best choice (especially if you followed our Georgetown example!). Obviously, make sure you give yourself enough time seeing as D.C. traffic is always unpredictable. Once back in Union Station, be sure to stop by some cafes and grab some snacks for the road and get comfortable for your journey back to Hawk Hill!
We always talk about Philadelphia being our classroom outside of the classroom but what if that learning location spreads a little further away from the nest