For Spring Break, a quick trip to New York City and the District of Colombia was in order.
In New York (skyline, right), I spent time traveling on the subway, being an embarrassing tourist and discovering new hidden hot spots.
Within the first couple hours in the city, I purchased a Metro Card, which is essential to traveling within Manhattan. Traveling by taxi can be time consuming because of traffic and can also be expensive. A subway ride is $2.75 compared to $10 plus per taxi ride.
After figuring out transportation, I visited Times Square on the first night, followed by Central Park and a Broadway show the next.
There are multiple options to get cheaper tickets to see a broadway show. Rush tickets are sold the morning of the show and are given to the first customers in line.
The tickets are usually at least 50 percent off during rush. Box offices open for rush at 9 or 10 a.m., depending on the theater. Tickets are not sold online.
There are also lotteries which provide the option to get tickets even cheaper. Lottery tickets are around $30 per ticket and take place two and a half hours before the nightly show. Groups of one or two people line up to put their name in the lottery.
Depending on the show, about 20 tickets are chosen for each night and those individuals are responsible for having cash to buy the tickets on the spot.
Student discounts and cancellation tickets are other ways to get around paying the full price.
After 6 more days traveling around Staten Island, Brooklyn and the East Village, I hopped on a bus to D.C.
A bus or train can be taken to get to D.C. from New York. The train is more expensive and stops often on the route. The bus is cheaper but can get stuck in traffic. I bought my ticket the day before I left and the Amtrak ticket was $84 and a Bolt Bus ticket was $11, so I went with the bus ride.
Once in D.C., I checked into my hostel and started exploring the city. I stayed in a hostel that was two blocks from Union Station and was walking distance to the National Mall.
The National Mall includes the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument and all of the Smithsonian’s, except the zoo. The museums and monuments are free and extremely packed with people, so plan accordingly.
My highlights of the National Mall included going to the National Archives, the Washington Monument and the Capital Building.
The National Archives house the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution along with the Bill of Rights. There is high security in this building and photos are strictly prohibited. Be prepared to wait in line to see the documents at least 30 minutes and take the restrictions seriously, there are video cameras in every corner.
The Washington Monument was special because it looks over a reflecting pool and is surrounded by American flags around the entire pavilion . To go inside the monument, tickets need to be reserved 2 hours before the tour. Going to the monument to get a ticket before starting another monument tour provides the opportunity to see most everything in a day.
The Capitol Building is simple because contacting your Congressman allows for a private tour. My current congressman is Denny Heck, and his office set up a private tour of the building for me which was different than the general public tour. The building has high security and surrounded with armed guards, bringing only the essentials can cut down on the security check time to get into the building.
To end the trip, I flew back to SeaTac out of the Dulles International Airport. Be aware that the Reagan International Airport is 15 minutes out of D.C., while the Dulles International is around 50 minutes away.