How to Optimize Your Time in D.C.

5 Helpful Tips To Make The Most Out Of A Day In D.C.

Here's some important things to keep in mind when trying to optimize your time in the Nation's capital.

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With more than 22 million visitors in 2017, it's safe to say that D.C. is a great place for tourists to sightsee, explore, have fun, and learn about all the Nation's capitol has to offer. These tips are great guides for how to navigate this amazing city and really get the most out of going to D.C.

Plan your transportation beforehand.

Public Transit in D.C.

This map of the D.C. Metrorail is available in all Metro Stations when planning out your trip.

DC Metro Map

Traveling via the D.C. Metro system is a great (and cheap!) option for people who are somewhat familiar with the layout of the city. However, don't fret! Riding the metro isn't as confusing as the map might make it seem, and it's a quick way to get from point A to point B for a few dollars. I would recommended a Metrorail Pocket Guide, which tells you which Metro Station is closest to the most popular points of interest in the District. Also, using websites like Trip Planner will tell you how to get around DC using public transit.

A few things to note about the metro are:

- Certain times of day are more expensive (peak times) a certain stations than others (off peak times), often by a few cents more.

- If you aren't traveling on a weekday, be aware that weekends are typically for maintenance which could lead to delays in your trip.

- STAND ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ESCALATOR. Please, for your own sake, adhere to the right side. Busy Metro Riders WILL bombard you if you occupy the left side of the escalator and happen to be in their way.

- If you're riding Metro to and from a popular event in which the Metro will receive many riders, it's best to put enough fare on your card to get back aboard metro to avoid long fare lines at the conclusion of the event.

Good food doesn't always have to be expensive.

Food Trucks in D.C.


L'Enfant Plaza has a bustling food truck scene during lunch times on weekdays with diverse food and great prices.

Food Trucks in D.C.

One thing about the District to note is its incredible diversity. This diversity is reflected is a food truck scene that is second to none, where you can find everything from Turkish food to Tex-Mex all on the same street. You may hear a lot about the extremely good, but arguably overpriced food joints that D.C. has to offer, like Shake Shack (where one sandwich can cost upwards of $8) and Milk Bar (where a small ice cream is $7). While these places offer pretty good bites, the vast amounts of food trucks offer unbelievable meals and outstanding portions for half the price of the alternatives.

My favorite place to eat when I'm in D.C. during the week are the food trucks outside the L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station, which is smack-dab in the middle of 5 different Metro lines (So if you're traveling via Metro, see if you'll be passing through!). I recall getting an amazing deal of $8 for 3 humungous tacos, which I personalized from the food truck's comprehensive menu of options. Lunch time will never be the same after you experience this.

D.C. has much to offer in many different neighborhoods.

D.C. Neighborhoods

It's often easiest (and cheapest) to stay within a certain vicinity and do events in proximal neighborhoods.

D.C. Neighborhood Map

Although D.C. is only 61 miles of land in its entirety, it can be pretty expansive to those who are unfamiliar. Within its 8 different wards, D.C. is divided into many different neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have many different attractions in particular, such as Georgetown with its Federal-style architecture and beautiful view of the Potomac River, or Woodley Park with its urban hiking and biking trails.

For the sake of ease (and money), I would recommend checking out what attractions are popular or intriguing at the specific neighborhood (or surrounding 'hoods) that you are going to. This will help ensure that you're not planning to do events in neighborhoods with a great distance in between and will save you some dollars in transportation from attraction to attraction.

Some of the coolest exhibits are seasonal.

Temporary Exhibit at Hirshhorn

Not all exhibits are permanent, like this LEGO one by Ai WeiWei, that was at the Hirshhorn from July 2017 to January 2018.

Ai WeiWei Trace Exhibit

Not everything is there to stay in the District! Often times, exhibits at museums, sculptures in public spaces, and bigger events like festivals and celebrations are only happening for a short amount of time. If something sparks your interest and you want to be sure not to miss it, a quick Google search should yield the duration of the exhibit or event so you can be aware of how long you have to see it until something leaves the District.

However, this is perhaps one of the best things about the District! Frequently, museums (like my favorite art museum, the Hirshhorn) have collections that change every few months, so there's always something new to see!

Bring your camera & wear a cute outfit!

Instagrams in D.C.

You can never go wrong with a cute outfit and a beautiful city as your backdrop.

Instagram in D.C.

How can I write about D.C. without mentioning all the amazing Instagram-worty photo ops? D.C. is practically brimming with ideal photo locations and amazing scenery! Whether you're pretending to pinch the top of the Washington Monument, imitating Dr. Martin Luther King's power stance, or sitting at the foot of Abe Lincoln, you don't want to be the one to miss an opportunity to strike a pose. For those especially seasoned photographers, you'll definitely want to bring your camera to snap amazing photographs of some of the most beautiful and historically influential architecture.

It's best to dress comfortably, as it's very typical to be doing lots of walking while in the District. However, a well-fitting jacket and swapping those sweatpants for a nice pair of jeans will definitely go a long way in getting those well deserved Instagram likes.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Don't Be Afraid of Changing Your College Plan

It really isn't THAT bad...

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I can't claim to have any deep wisdom on life, but I at least have some good experience with a highly turbulent college career. I started as a game design major in a tech college in Rochester, NY, transferred to a college in Texas, and now I'm an English major at CofC.

My college life has been something of a roller coaster.

But I regret none of it. Maybe it would have been easier to stick to the track I was on initially, but I would never have been fully satisfied with it. Now I've finally found my place and, even though it may have taken a lot of shifting around, it was undoubtedly worthwhile.

I don't mean to say that everyone who is slightly dissatisfied with their major should transfer all over the country and change their major(I had to sacrifice the ability to get a minor because of the path I took, so I wouldn't recommend it to most people). I just believe that if you find yourself not liking the classes that are vital to your major or if you can't find a place at your current college, then changing your major or transferring isn't as horrible as you might imagine.

When I started college I was completely confident in what I wanted to do and what my future would look like. I thought it would be ridiculous for someone to stray from their initial path. That idea led to me deciding to transfer later than was smart.

I think everyone should know that having to change your plans for the future, sometimes in dramatic ways, isn't a bad thing. No matter how scary transferring and changing majors can seem, many people have done it before you and many will after, you aren't alone.

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