Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Washington, D.C. Monuments at Night

My favorite organized tour of Washington, D.C. is the Old Town Trolley tour of the monuments at night. Advertised as a three hour tour, it sounds frightening (Gilligan's Island anyone?) and terribly long, but I assure you the time flies by. When you are visiting DC in the middle of the hot and humid summer (with temperatures reaching 100 degrees on some afternoons), which most tourists prefer, then you will want to save lugging yourself from monument to monument across the National Mall for the cooler evenings. Trust me.

The tour starts and ends at Union Station. I recommend showing up at least an hour early so you can get a good look around the station. The powerful classical architecture, grand colonnades and interior spaces shouldn't be missed. You might even recognize a few spots from issue one of The Magazine. While inside grab a sandwich and a drink for the trip (you can't eat, drink, or smoke on the trolley but if you want something along the way, options are very limited as are restrooms). Also bring a sweater as it can get cold driving around with the windows down.

Once on board you will be whisked away past the Capitol Building and National Mall on your way to see the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, FDR Memorial, MLK Memorial, and last but not least, the White House. The monuments seem even more grand with dramatic lighting in the evening. They look like they are glowing. While driving from place to place the drive acts as your guide, giving you useful historical facts and stories. I've been on the tour twice and each time the order we stopped was different, which is especially nice for the local going multiple times with out of town guests.

After the tour it's fun to talk about which monument you like best, mine is the Korean War Memorial. What's yours?

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