road trip - visiting dc with sunlight after rain

Hello! My name is Sarah from Sunlight After Rain

All my life I've been a city girl.
I've known ever since my Mom took me to NYC for the first time when I was 8.
 I remember looking around in awe at the bright lights, the larger-than-life billboards, and the buildings stacked on top of one another.
I couldn't believe how many people there were and how fast everything was moving.
I knew then and there that it was my kind of world.
One of my favorite pictures that I have found of NYC - it describes everything I love about it perfectly. 

For the next ten years, I told everyone I was going to live in the NYC for college.
I worked hard in school to get good grades, I was constantly participating in extracurriculars, and I volunteered all the time.
I was determined to be the best - because then NYU couldn't possibly reject me...
Anytime motivation just wasn't striking me enough to write my paper or finish my math homework, I just pictured in my head the cute breakfast I would soon be eating in a little bistro in Greenwich village, or the history book I would be studying in Central Park. 

When it came time to apply for colleges, however, it turned out that NYU was just not in my price range.
I was crestfallen - how could I possibly enjoy college if I wasn't in NYC? 
Halfheartedly, I applied to seven other schools, and I eventually accepted admission to one right on the edge of DC.

My parents tried their hardest to show me how awesome DC was, but I refused to listen.
For the first three semesters of college, I did everything but go into the city.
I visited friends at other colleges, I went home, I went to Baltimore, I went to Virginia.
My heart was sold to NYC - I couldn't betray it by falling in love with DC! 

During this semester though, my curiosities got the best of me. 
Hesitantly, I ventured into the city with a few friends of mine.
I had been there before, but never in this capacity. 
I took the blinders off and really looked around the city. 
It's a whole different world in DC.
The people are slower, the city is more spread out, the cars are nicer.
This isn't to say I don't love NYC still - but DC, you've got me hooked as well.
In the last two weeks alone, I've been to DC on 6 different occasions.
Why, you ask?
Well, that's a good question...

Let's start with the metro - DC's primary transportation system.
It is seriously one of the most reliable things I have ever traveled on.
It's almost always on time, and it is everywhere.
(And, I mean everywhere. The other day I got lost, so I just walked a few blocks and found another station. So easy and convenient!)

I know this is cheesy to rant and rave about transportation, but I love it.
It goes from my school to DC in less than 20 minutes. 
I use it to go everywhere - it's more accessible than some of the busses my campus uses.
With it, you can get to some of the coolest places in the city.

I know what you're thinking:
"DC! That means monuments, museums and the White House."

Sure, I've visited my share of monuments and museums.
But, those get so boring after a while.
Don't get me wrong - I love the pride demonstrated in our nation's capital.
But, I am a 20-year-old girl: There is only so much I can take of museums!

One of my favorite places in DC is Chinatown/Metro Center.
While there are some great chinese restaurants down here 
(My favorite is Chinatown Garden on H St. NW)
But, the best part of this part of town is the shopping!
Here, there is everything you could ever want within a few blocks.
In one trip, you can get bags full of stuff from H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and American Apparel.
It's one of the calmest places I have found to shop in the city, and it's just so convenient.
My second favorite place in DC is Georgetown.
Yes, the place made famous by cupcakes of the same name
While I recommend you stop by the bakery at least once (they're really good cupcakes - I promise)
That's definitely not the best part of this sleepy little neighborhood.
Within one trip, you're in a 'suburban town' complete with shopping, food and even one of the cutest neighborhoods I have ever found.
I'm determined to own a house here one day....
(I mean, seriously - how cute are they?!)
I'm not all about shopping - I promise.
There is some good food in DC. 

One of my favorite places to go is Ben's Chili Bowl.
Ben's has been around since the 50s, and is frequently visited by people like Bill Cosby and Chris Tucker.
Even Obama eats there!
It is a place full of delicious chili, half-smokes, burgers and fries. 
This greasy spoon is a must-visit for anyone in DC - as it is not only iconic, but delicious!
Some days (usually when I get paid...) I love going to the fancier restaurants of DC.
One of my favorites is Founding Fathers (on Pennsylvania Avenue NW).
This restaurant's food is to die for
Everything is made from freshly farmed foods from all over the country - no preservatives or 'extra stuff in your food - just food the way Mother Nature intended it to be! 
I'm vehemently against doing touristy things - I've seen them all a thousand times.
However, the one museum I go to over and over again is the National Museum of American History.
One of the most fascinating pieces of our history is contained in that building.
You can see the Star Spangled Banner,
Oscar the Grouch,
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 
and my favorite:
Dorothy's primary Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz.
One of my favorite things to 'find' throughout the city are the PandaMania pandas.
PandaMania is a sculpture exhibit that was placed in DC in 2004. 
After that, some key pandas were placed around the city. 
They're just adorable! 
I love that they were inspired by one of my absolute favorite parts of the city:
These two are my favorite animals to visit at the (free!) National Zoo! 
The zoo is almost always packed, but it is such a beautiful place to walk through.
It is filled with animals from all over the world, and they are so fun to watch and interact with.
I can't count how many times my friends and I have just spent a day wandering around and looking at the animals here :) 
However, if I had to pick a favorite time of the year in DC, it would have to be the Cherry Blossom festival.
The city is just full of color and the potomac river shines with a beautiful shade of pink that you can't find elsewhere...
But, you know what the one annual thing I would never, ever miss in DC?
The 4th of July fireworks. 
Nothing can beat celebrating the birth of our nation, in our nation's capitol...
pictures via: 1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|14|15|16|17|18


  1. What an interesting post! I think I learned more about Sarah from this post, than her actual blog :)
    It's funny - I am actually terrified to live in a big city! (I think Omaha, Nebraska is big enough!)

    I have visited DC for a trip in high school and metro transit system freaked me out! You have to get on those metro buses so fast or they will literally close on you! : / (Ah!)

    The convenience thing does sound nice, but I honestly couldn't imagine living anywhere that is bigger than Omaha - it's so fun to hear people's experiences and likes/dislikes.

    I love both these blogs!
    Wonderful guest post ♥

  2. wow! it's like going on a trip with her. great photos :) thanks for sharing!

    much love,

  3. such a great post, I was really stubborn about liking new places after I left home but now I'm so glad that I learnt to accept other places.

    I lvoe the pandas, my home city had elephants that were similar at one point but I never got to see them :/

  4. Such a beautiful blog! I'm a NYC girl myself, but my grandparents live in DC and I LOVE that wonderful city. You're right, it's a totally different feel, but it has such charm.

    And the pandas? My husband might be a little obsessed. We've gone to see them every year around Thanksgiving.

    I'll be back!

    Stopping by from Following the Walkers


  5. Thanks for letting me share! Can't wait to hear about your trip!

  6. Sarah seems like a stellar girl! I loved that she worked hard for her dream to go to NYU...but i totally understand the money situation. And I'm glad she has come to love DC!! All of those photos are gorgeous! Someday I'd LOVE to visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival like she mentioned. and 4th of July at the capital would be epic! :)

  7. PS - Lindsay hope you're having fun on your trip! I have no doubt you'll have great stories and lovely photos of your adventures :)

  8. Wow...this actually makes me really want to take a trip to the USA. i've never been one of those people who really want to go there before but looking at this - it just seems so different from the UK and I wanna be there :D