9 Things You Should Do In D.C. Whether You're A First-Timer Or A Washingtonian

9 Things You Should Do In D.C. Whether You're A First-Timer Or A Washingtonian

Washington D.C is full of amazing things to experience!



1. Visit The International Spy Museum

Once inside this interactive , you will be sucked into a secretive world of an international spy!. You will be given a new identity complete with a new name, age, and occupation. As you traverse through this one-of-a-kind museum, you will find out if you have what it takes to be a true spy! This museum is fun for the whole family.

2. Chinatown

Washington D.C's Chinatown is compact but beautiful. Chinatown features beautiful artwork all around the area that is vibrant and picture worthy. Chinatown also has lots of restaurants to visit that have Asian quinine as it's focal point. Chinatown also has small shops scattered everywhere with unique items for sale.

3. Maison Kayser 

Maison Kayser is a beautiful French restaurant with a charming vibe. This restaurant features a beautiful grand and white color scheme with windows that expand out into D.C. While eating at Maison Kayser, you will hear beautiful French songs being played all over the restaurant. Accompanying the charming and cozy atmosphere of this restaurant is the wonderful food being served. When receiving the menu at first glance, everything will appear to be in French; but don't worry, because the English translations are directly below each item on the menu.

I recommend the french toast. The french toast is super fluffy and served with a cup of fresh fruit. Our waiter was extremely nice to us and even gave us two free desserts on the house! We received a chocolate croissant and mini pistachio financiers. The financiers were delicious and were actually my favorite thing I ate while in D.C.

4. Ford's Theater

If you are a history buff, you will love the Ford's Theater! It is an amazing piece of history. It's free to walk around, but you have to pay to see a play.

5. The Museum of Natural History

Yep, this museum was the one from "Night at the Museum!" Attend this museum with friends and family and have a scavenger hunt to find exhibits shown in the movie. This museum is huge, so good luck!

This museum has something interesting for everyone. Whether you're interested in biology, evolution, animals or butterflies, this an amazing museum.

Did I mention the museum has a butterfly pavilion? For an extra fee, you can walk with the butterflies in this enclosed exhibit. It's within a sealed chamber with groups of 15 entering at once. Once you are inside the 80-degree chamber, you will see beautiful flowers and live butterflies all around you. If you're lucky, one might even land in your head!

6. Shopping

There so many stores in D.C. Take your pick!

7. The National Portrait Gallery

This museum is beautiful. It features art from all around the world. This museum is expansive and will take a lot of time to explore it all. Be on the look out for new attractions because this museum is always being updated. This is also where Michelle Obama and Barack Obama's portraits are located!

8. Matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro

Get the melt in your mouth brownie! I promise it's amazing.

10. Visit parks (and food trucks!)

If you are anything like me, then you like to eat. Going to parks is a good way to find local food trucks. Try your luck and see what trucks you can find!

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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As An Original Northeasterner, I Grew To Love The South And You Can, Too

Where the tea is sweet, and the accents are sweeter.


I'm not Southern-born. I'll come right out and say it. I was born in Connecticut and moved to Atlanta when I was 9 years old. I didn't know a single thing about the South, so I came without any expectations. When I got here, I remember that the very first thing I saw was a Waffle House. I thought it was so rare to see whatever a waffle house was but little did I know there was a WaHo (how southerners refer to Waffle House) every two miles down the street.

There is such a thing as "southern hospitality," and it's very pleasant for a newcomer to see. Southerners are raised with such a refreshing sense of politeness, and their accents are beautifully unique. It brings a smile to my face when I hear a southern accent because it's such a strong accent and one of my favorites. They answer your questions with "Yes, ma'am" or "No, ma'am" in the most respectful tone. I remember feeling so grown and empowered just because I got called ma'am. Southerners' vocabulary and phrases really have its ways of integrating into your own vernacular.

Before I came to Georgia, I never really said words like "Y'all" and "Fixin' to" but it's definitely in much of what I say now. I can tell when I go back up north to visit family that some of what I say may sound a little off because the dialect is very different. I find no shame in it, though, and neither should any southerner.

The weather in the South isn't so bad, in my opinion. Sure, there is very high humidity, but after living here for 10+ years, you learn how to deal with it. However, there's nothing like the summer thunderstorms. I love stormy, rainy weather and it rains quite often in the south, so when my birthday in July rolls around, I look forward to seeing that rain. It's the most peaceful weather to me and inspires me to write even more.

I could go on and on about the amazing fried foods here or the iconic yet insane Atlanta traffic, but those aren't what make me love the South. The people of the south are so different from up north but in the best ways. Everyone is so expressive and creative, as well as their own unique self. Southerners aren't the shaming kinds of people, but instead the kind who embrace who you are from the start. There's a fierce loyalty and a strong sense of appreciation that is just unmatched by any other place. No matter where I go, I always find comfort in knowing that I'll be coming back to this place I'm proud to call home.

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