How to see Washington D.C. in a single day!!

I want to begin by saying, DON’T! Do not leave just a single day for Washington D.C.! Of course, if you’re like us and driving across country and only have one day, you can see a ton of D.C. in a single day! How you ask? BIKING IT! We actually got this super plan from a good friend and awesome cop back in Brooklyn. By the way, he gave us tons of great ideas for our trip, so make sure you are always listening when you’re getting ready to go somewhere new! People have stories about their own travels and LOVE to share them! I mean after all, you didn’t really go somewhere if you didn’t make an instagram post or tell at least 10 people about the “little hole in the wall” restaurant where you may or may not have contracted food poisoning from the BEST MEAL EVER.

Getting There

Day 3 of our road trip and we were off to a great, smooth start! Just kidding! We bummed a night’s sleep at our great friend Morgan’s in New Jersey, got up super early (meaning 6am) and hit the road!  But anyone who knows us, knows that Nick cannot ever in a million years drive without his sunglasses, much less drive while having no idea where they are in our very packed jeep.  Fast forward 1 hour, unpacking the car 3 times, and 5 frantic phone calls to Morgan to check her bedroom; the sunglasses were tucked in the folded down soft top of our jeep! Finally, we were back on the Garden State Parkway, flying south  and Morgs could go back to sleep! (ProTip: It’s only 3.5 hours from MetLife to Washington D.C.! Who woulda thunk it?!)

1 gas station stop, Nick getting swindled into giving a guy $20  because he “ran out of gas” leaving the Six Flags amusement park at 11am….. & some very scary speeding signs in our country’s capital, we had made it!

We arrived around noon and parked at Theodore Roosevelt Island, just across the Potomac River! We chose to park here because we didn’t have to pay and apparently they’re pretty lenient with how long you park there as long as you aren’t parking overnight! (We parked there well over 5 hours and had no tickets!) Immediately envious of the kayakers and boaters rafting down the Potomac, I wanted to melt in the 92 degree humidity, a stark contrast to the 43 degrees it was two mornings ago at Acadia!

The Bike Route

First Stop Arlington National Cemetery!

D.C. was super bike friendly, like crazy convenient to get anywhere and Arlington Cemetery was first on our list! Clearly you cannot ride your bike through the cemetery, so we just parked on the bike racks outside and headed into the visitor center to grab a map for some exploring on our own! You can get tours and whatnot if you’re feeling incapable of reading a map, but we were on a tight schedule and happen to enjoy our own sense of direction so we opted out of that situation. Besides, who wants to sit on a sweaty tram in D.C. humidity whilst venturing through one of our nation’s most intimate memorials? Count us out of that. I just have to say that Arlington Cemetery is sooooo beautiful and worth every single step you will take there!

JFK’s Eternal Flame Memorial

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1956.

Memorial Amphitheater

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This amphitheater is right outside of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and we happened to be in D.C. right after 4 marines were killed in Chattanooga, TN during a senseless shooting. It was extremely sobering to witness hundreds of people paying their respects at these sites as well as at the Marine Corps Memorial on the other side of the cemetery.

Women in Military Service for America

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Marine Corps War Memorial 

DCIM100GOPROGOPR2005.This memorial was quite possibly the hardest memorial to find in all of Arlington National Cemetery, probably because NEWSFLASH – It isn’t in Arlington National Cemetery, well not exactly anyways! Probably not news to a lot of people but literally we walked all of the cemetery twice in order to find this memorial(maybe this is where those tours really come in handy or a GPS on a smartphone that we both neglected to bother with at the time) Finally, we had found it with lots of help from anyone we could ask and stalking the tour groups who were clearly on there way somewhere!) It’s location is about a mile from the Arlington National Cemetery entrance. (Green Dot – MCM)

arlingotn natl

2nd Stop, We Cross The Potomac!

I wish there was a soundtrack that could be playing in the background, thinking 1700’s music? Maybe some horses running, cannons sounding, you know like The Patriot soundtrack on Bose speakers blasting as you cross the river into a  mall of monuments.  That is until I realized there was no railing on this bike path hugging the river and I became suddenly thankful that I wasn’t distracted by the sounds of cannons. I was left wondering how many bikers before had taken the plunge into the Potomac and whether or not one of us would be the next.

Biking the Potomac.Take note of the rail-less pathway and the low hanging tree trunk.

Biking through downtown D.C. was comical to say the least, between tourists, every suit wearing person known to mankind, cobblestone roads, and restricted areas we really are lucky to still have clear records, not be sued by a hit and run, and to not have been knocked out cold by a taxi driver. We’ve added some pictures of our favorite stops along the way!

Washington “Mini”ment

Washington Monument.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Our Tax $’s at Work (Capitol Building)

Capitol Building

Honestly, our Faberite

Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

The bike paths are really easy to follow and can be tailored to your preferences. So bike away and snap as many pics as your memory card will hold as you take in our nation’s capital!

Important Notice

You may have noticed that there is no mention of the White House on this post. That’s because Nick and I forgot about it until we were already en route to a soft bed at Jennifer’s house! Go figures, word on the street as that you basically can’t see it because of a fence anyways. Next time, white house, next time!

Don’t forget as you visit the Capital: 

  • Georgetown exists and is apparently a foodie haven! (We wouldn’t know because we melted into a chipotle burrito at our earliest convenience after biking our lives away for the day)
  • If you choose to bike around D.C.:please do not forget a little bike bag with an extra inner tube and hand pump
  • Water! Lots of water! Seriously, it was soo hot and without water or Rehydrate, we would have gleefully biked into the Potomac and sank to the bottom!
  • Don’t leave your sunglasses on the roof of the car (You won’t have sunglasses anymore)
  • Your National Passport Book to get your stamps! (I know, I know, you don’t know what that is- Ask Jason Hartman, he gifted ours to us!)
  • There are a million museums and places of interest that we didn’t get to visit because we had a time constraint, give yourself more than a day for exploring!