Many visitors to NYC also visit Washington DC. However, most (admittedly, including myself) never bother to visit Washington’s satellite towns, most notably Bethesda and Georgetown.
We stayed an entire weekend with friends who live on the outskirts of DC. Saturday morning the five of us – four adults and a two-year-old – mounted our bikes and took the beautiful Little Falls trail to downtown Bethesda. It has the charm of a small town, with no chain stores (except for a Barnes & Noble book store, but that’s ok) or chain restaurants in sight. There’s a little promenade area with outdoor restaurants, and lots of neighborhood-y stores, the kind of which you don’t find in NYC.
One exception, though – we came across an abnormally long line for a cupcake shop, which you’d expect in front of Magnolia bakery in the city. We found out that that bakery is featured in a bakery reality show (yes, there is such a thing) on the TLC channel.
Georgetown is a college town, which means that the crowd is younger, hipper and louder. More like the Village or SOHO in NYC.
Next morning we set our sites on DC. Again on our bikes, we rode about 8 km along the Potomac River to the National Mall – the park bounded by the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Museums and many other ‘nationals’, with the White House just a stone’s throw away. In the heart of the Mall is the Washington Memorial. The sight of the towering obelisk from the foot of the Capitol, reflected in the reflection pool, is astounding, no matter how many times you’ve visited.
The best way to get around DC, if you’re up to it, is by bike. Renting a car is a burden, since parking is very limited in the city center. There’s a double decker, hop-on, hop-off bus, which is very convenient, but you miss out on whatever’s between the tourist sites (and you might miss Sasha and Malia on the way home from school). There are many bike rental places around town, and the prices range from $15 a day to $25, depending on how close you are to the National Mall. You can take your bike on the Metro, if you’re staying in the outskirts of town. There are also guided bike tours of DC, which sounds like lots of fun.
Posted by Eyal