Washington DC is one city I wouldn’t recommend a manic depressive hang out in for several reasons;
1. Washington is full of sites dedicated to those who’ve been enslaved, killed, or died in genocide; victims of racism; or leaders who were shot, tortured, murdered or killed.
2. The traffic is horrific enough to make you want to blow your head off with a semi automatic.
3. The people are obsessed with running and are über fit and just as passionate about things that make you dream about sitting in traffic with that semi automatic
4. If a site is not dedicated to slavery or mass killings, it’s dedicated to espionage or an actual murder site; you will see a van with a destroyed bloodied foetus with ‘murder’ written on it – a perfect backdrop for lunch next to the Hot Dog stand – everyone will have something to say, or the site is Congress where human liberties are aborted daily and no one is saying anything.
But if you love a bit of history, this hipster infused town is the place to be. Here are my top 6 recommendations to check out. I would recommend (depending on your level of historical/museum interest) 2-3 days in Washington D.C to be able to see most of the things you will have on your list.
The International Spy Museum – James Bond’s Aston Martin from Goldfinger was enough to peak my attention. Note the line on Saturday was a good 2 hour wait. Get there earlier or do this first on weekends. Entry is around $19.
Georgetown – This suburb is a shoppers delight with Banana Republic, Gap, Jonathan Adler, antiques and boutiques, salons and one of my favourites: Serendpity3. Shops in this historical section of Washington DC are spread across various streets in this historic neighbourhood and lead down to the water’s edge.
United States Botanical Garden – This garden is a tranquil and beautiful escape from the squares of concrete jungle that is Washington DC
Crime Museum – Forensic workshops, law enforcement, and history of crime.
The National Zoo – I add this one because most cities will charge you $25+ entrance fees but this zoo is free as part of the Smithsonian museum. All Smithsonian museums are free. (Take the free Green Trolley from The Hilton to get there, this trolley will take you to the National Cathedral as well)
The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel – an interesting stop either for lunch or if you are cashed up enough, to stay. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover used to lunch here daily at the Town & Country, Monica Lewinsky had her tryst with President Clinton, President Harry Truman stayed here while renovations happened in the Whitehouse, Hilary Clinton introduced Barack Obama here in 2008 to her Democratic Party and Eliot Spitzer was caught with prostitutes here which led to his resignation.
What NOT to do:
The traffic in Washington is pretty horrific. I do often use guided tours and did so in Washington DC. Rather than being convenient and informative, it was a complete waste of money ($45) The traffic was so bad (and the driver informed me it is always like this on a Saturday) I ended up spending my whole day waiting on buses and in traffic. I recommend to wait until you get there to decide to do this tour, these hop on hop off buses are busy and are not as well organised as they are in places like London. The Old Town Trolley past me far more often than the company I went with and they are from what I understand, the only hop on hop off in Washington with personalised commentary. The city has its own buses that are cheap. Perhaps use those and remember they need exact change. Just a warning!