Tips and Tricks for visiting Washington D.C.

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Don’t you just wish some times you had a few tips and tricks up your sleeve when visiting a new place?

When to go

In an unusual backwards fashion, weekdays are actually the most expensive time for hotel bookings due to business goin’ down in the city. So that means weekends are a cheaper option and ideal for most looking to get away.

Taxi or Metro

Both forms of transport are strangely expensive which is ironic coming from me since I recently paid $10 for a bag of grapes in New York but we can travel anywhere for only $2.50 anytime, any day. The DC metro will charge two different rates for any given trip, depending on the time of day, peak or off peak. In addition to that you are also charge for the distance travelled.

Taxis are also quite pricey considering the distance they are covering. In the end it depends on how many people you are travelling with. Most of the time it made more sense to spend $12 on a taxi ride than the same price on metro tickets for four people.

Lincoln by Night

One of the liveliest nighttime spots in DC might surprise you. Many visitors use their days walking from monument to monument but the way to see the Lincoln Memorial is from dusk to nightfall. As you walk along the pool between the Lincoln and Washington Monuments you gradually see the reflection come to light with a purple and pink colored sky as the backdrop. After seeing it like this, daytime will seem mediocre.

Georgetown Cupcakes are NOT overrated

Not one to usually follow the crowed and hit up all the tourist spots, when there is a cupcake on the agenda all that goes out the window. We managed to make it in the shop just before an influx of people arrived. I selected no less than 6 flavors to share among four, with the intention to save some for later. Lets just say we walked (I mean rolled) out empty handed. Since most cupcakes are icing heavy these days, try slicing off the bottom half of the cake and plopping it on top like a sandwich. This is the perfect cupcake to icing ratio. I highly recommend the Lemon Blossom and Red Velvet.

Smithsonian – Plural

Many are under the impression that the Smithsonian Institution is one big museum. They are actually are group of museums and research centers run by the Government. And the best part? They are free to all. There are seventeen museums that run along the National Mall including the National Air and Space, Natural History and American History Museums.

Unless you are David Attenborough, getting up and close to some of the worlds most beautiful butterflies is rare but at the National History Museum you can pay $6 to enter the Butterfly pavilion.

Arlington Cemetery

Not one to usually plan movements to a tee I would suggest timing this one out. Every hour on the hour there is a Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any weather. I am also not one to take ‘tours’ but seeing as the cemetery is quite expansive I was forced to get on the tour bus for $9. They leave every 20 minutes from the entry and have three stops including the John F. Kennedy gravesite, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Arlington House. So here’s the tip; if you are planning to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony on the hour, don’t rock up at 11:40 expecting to buy a ticket for the bus. Allow time, as you may have to wait up to 20 minutes just to get on the bus. In retrospect the bus tour was very informative and worthwhile as you see certain things you may not get to on foot.

Steph_profHerstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.

Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.

Connect with her on the web, Facebook and Twitter.

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