A Sunday in Washington DC

After seeing so many movies where Washington features prominently, almost like a silent character, we weren't sure what to expect when we decided to visit. Would the city be like on screen? Would it be friendly? Comfortable? Genuine? Yes to all the above!

Sunday, Sunday

Kid playing at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. Let me reassure you that mommy and daddy had a change of clothes at the ready!
Kid playing at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. Let me reassure you that mommy and daddy had a change of clothes at the ready! | Source
Corner of Dumbarton St and 30th St, Georgetown on a Sunday
Corner of Dumbarton St and 30th St, Georgetown on a Sunday | Source

Washington is a surprisingly friendly city, of a fair size to get to know in up to a week, where a visitor will find all the famous sights that feature in every other movie, together with an endless list of free attractions, excellent customer service in all venues, and enough mystique to make one feel like they are somewhere special.

I've written other articles about the Sunday experience when you're abroad, because I think touring a city on Sunday is one of the best ways to get a feel for the genuine thing. You'll see neighborhoods sleepy until brunch time, you'll see folks decked out to the nines for church or family events, or any type of event for that matter, you'll see families out with kids, couples, groups of friends just strolling around…

To quote myself, there is none of the daily grind, none of the hurries, everyone is out and about at leisure. In short, Sundays generally paint a different view of a city from what you'd find in the tourist guides –or in the movies, indeed.

Sunday Route in Washington DC

We visited the three highlighted areas, from left to right!  Goergetown, the National Mall and dinner around 7th Srteet
We visited the three highlighted areas, from left to right! Goergetown, the National Mall and dinner around 7th Srteet | Source

10:30 Georgetown

About 15 minute walk from the Foggy Bottom metro station to the neuralgic center of Georgetown.
About 15 minute walk from the Foggy Bottom metro station to the neuralgic center of Georgetown. | Source
Wisconsin Ave, just north of M Street
Wisconsin Ave, just north of M Street | Source
Wisconsin Ave and N Street, still sleepy!
Wisconsin Ave and N Street, still sleepy! | Source

We took the metro to Foggy Bottom –got to dig that name for a subway station, which is about a 15 minute walk to the center of Georgetown.

That's a nice and comfortable stroll that you won't be able to avoid, unless you decide to arrive via taxi or bus, because there isn't a metro station in the neighborhood.

This upper class, intellectual quarter, pride themselves in not having a metro station. Apparently this fact qualifies them as "set apart" from the rest of the city, an island of quiet, peace and chic in an otherwise busy and varied city.

The epicenter of Georgetown is M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, with stress on Wisconsin as the central hot spot with door to door fashion stores, bars, restaurants, and an endless supply of Sunday dwellers.


On M St and Wisconsin Ave there are two ideal routes to explore, first down to the Potomac river, and after that up to Dumbarton Street and the vicinity.

Water fountain just past the crossing at Water St, which you can see from Wisconsin Ave.
Water fountain just past the crossing at Water St, which you can see from Wisconsin Ave. | Source

Georgetown Waterfront Park

We turned left to go visit the Georgetown Waterfront Park by the Potomac first.

On our way down we stopped by Paul to get a to-go brunch. Place was packed, let me tell you, but service was efficient and we were soon going down to the river.

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If a city is best visited on a Sunday, then the epitome of a Sunday in the city is a park, any park – and I will refer to this later as well in our tour around the National Mall.

Any expanse of grass will be packed with folks picnicking, playing ball, sunbathing, some even fishing on the river!

Most of us out and about did have our brunch with us to sit down and enjoy while people watching, chatting, and generally lazing around.

Peaceful streets around Dumbarton. Quaint, classy, and everything that goes with it!
Peaceful streets around Dumbarton. Quaint, classy, and everything that goes with it! | Source
Is this magnificent or what? Wouldn't mind living around here!
Is this magnificent or what? Wouldn't mind living around here! | Source

Georgetown up Wisconsin Ave

After the stroll around the Waterfront, we took Wisconsin Avenue up again and back to M street. Then the sightseeing and strolling took a different hue, with all the nice stores and the general foot traffic and Sunday atmosphere.

On Wisconsin and Dumbarton Street we made a right and started the lane and alley enjoyment.

Boy, is that a cute and quaint and classy neighborhood. Very much worth the 30 or 45 minute stroll around the laid back Sunday ambiance of a very well preserved historic district.

At around 13:00 we picked our way back to Foggy Bottom metro station, and we had an extra perk for our Sunday experience: It was Graduation Day for what looked like a good number of colleges around George Washington University.

Graduates and families were all over the place, and the atmosphere was so festive that we couldn't help but stop and gawk in numerous occasions.

14:00 Washington Mall Tour - Segway City Tours

Depicted in image is the full route you will take with your 3 hour Mall tour.
Depicted in image is the full route you will take with your 3 hour Mall tour. | Source

First things First

A 3 hour tour of the National Mall is USD 75$ apiece. This is very fairly priced in my opinion, all things considered –training, length of the tour, quality of service, the fact that you are in effect renting a motorized vehicle, and most importantly, the fact that such a vehicle will allow you a 100% tour of the Mall in less than 3 hours, which is impossible to think off if you're on foot –boy, is the Mall huge! So I'm hoping your budget will allow you to enjoy this original and tremendously fun way to experience a different "Sunday stroll"!

To quote my own review in Tripadvisor, we chose City Segway Tours because we saw excellent reviews on the web, and let me tell you they are all very true.

But the real turning point for us to pick a segway tour was the fact that in 3 hours one could have loads of fun navigating an immense National Mall on a day where people are out and about.

We decided this would be a very uncomplicated way to enjoy all the sights without missing a beat. We were right!

Capitol on May 18th 2014, still equipped with the garden tent used in the Law Enforcement Memorial Week event.
Capitol on May 18th 2014, still equipped with the garden tent used in the Law Enforcement Memorial Week event. | Source

The 20 Dollar Bill Anecdote

The first stop of the City Segway tour is between Lafayette Square and The White House. Our super friendly guide asked someone in the group for a 20 dollar bill and then proceeded to explain the cutest anecdote: The face of the 20$ bill shows Jackson, whose equestrian statue sits smack in the middle of Lafayette Square. The back side of the bill shows The White House. Consequently when you stand in that spot you can consider yourself in the middle of a 20 dollar bill! HE! But that's not all, at all!

Go grab a 20 dollar bill and check out the lawn depicted there. Apparently, the Dept of Treasury and the gardeners at The White House are quite obsessive about maintaining the lawn just as depicted in the bill. We were told that if a tree falls or a plant gets sick and needs extra trimming, the 20 dollar bill backside will be redesigned to fit the true White House image. Dig that!

Smithsonian Castle on the left, Washington Monument front and center. Whatever I caught while riding the segway! Plus you can see the Sunday atmosphere!
Smithsonian Castle on the left, Washington Monument front and center. Whatever I caught while riding the segway! Plus you can see the Sunday atmosphere! | Source

Allow me to deviate a moment from my Sunday quest recount to comment on my Segway experience. The City Tours staff are nice to boot, from minute one to the very end of the tour. The way they customize the commentary for the historic locations were we stopped by is a real treat, fun and full of anecdotes that do have a historic significance, but are mostly there to entertain and make you oh and ah and laugh and enjoy the ride even more, if that's possible.

The National Mall

The highlights of the Mall are impossible to list unless we make a whole Washington DC history guide, on a guide of the history of the Union, indeed!

You'll stop by the White House, the Navy Memorial, which is in front of the US National Archives where the Declaration of Independence is safely guarded, pass by the Newseum, stop again by the Capitol, pass by the many Smithsonian museums around the Mall, stop by the Smithsonian Castle, on to the Washington monument, the WWII Memorial, pass by the Reflecting Pool and stop by the Lincoln Memorial.

Really and seriously all the sights that one ought to catch at the Mall. Which means this is a very convenient option if you're short on time in the city, too.

This is one beautiful image, in my humble opinion, not the one I would have liked to accompany my "The Mall, a National Park" commentary, but one of the photos I could take while off the segway!
This is one beautiful image, in my humble opinion, not the one I would have liked to accompany my "The Mall, a National Park" commentary, but one of the photos I could take while off the segway! | Source
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the Union. On his right, the engraving of the Gettysburg Address. On his left, the engraving of his reelection Inaugural Address.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the Union. On his right, the engraving of the Gettysburg Address. On his left, the engraving of his reelection Inaugural Address. | Source

The Mall, a Huge National Park

But what I want to stop on and comment a bit is the ONE sight that made all the impact with me in my Sunday quest:

The endless fields of grass that were sprinkled all over with Sunday dwellers playing Frisbee, ball, football, picnicking, kids running around, folks cycling and jogging, complete with the food carts serving all sorts of –AHEM— delicacies, and benches under the endless rows of trees to just sit and enjoy.

I do believe this is the most people out and about I've seen together on a park (yes, yes, it's a public park!) on any given spring day in the USA.

For those of you who're now frowning and thinking I have got to go to Strawberry Fields on Central Park, NYC, or perhaps the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco – think again. Been there, done that, just perhaps I wasn't lucky to visit on such a glorious spring Sunday!


View of Crowd at 1963 March on Washington National Mall by the Reflecting Pool
View of Crowd at 1963 March on Washington National Mall by the Reflecting Pool | Source

Besides, there is a moment of recent history that I have carved in my mind, much as the Gettysburg Address is engraved at the Lincoln Memorial, and can't quite dissociate from the Mall and the Reflecting Pool that perhaps makes this park a tad more special than others I've visited. I have a dream, anyone?

Speaking of indelible history, I took a few minutes to read, for the nth time, the unique and everlasting Gettysburg Address engraved at the Lincoln Memorial.

Gettysburg Address engraved at the Lincoln Memorial. Probably one of the best public addresses ever.
Gettysburg Address engraved at the Lincoln Memorial. Probably one of the best public addresses ever. | Source

18:30 Diner at Legal Sea Foods

Front of the Legal Sea Foods Bar, on 7th Street NE, and G Street.
Front of the Legal Sea Foods Bar, on 7th Street NE, and G Street. | Source
A marker704 7th St NW Washington, DC 20001 -
704 7th Street Northwest, Washington D. C., Distrito de Columbia 20001, EE. UU.
[get directions]

Curio!

In the Foggy Bottom metro station we met the Capitol tour guide that took us around the Capitol visit! Would you believe it? Honest to goodness, it's true! Seems like all the movies in the world won't make Washington stop being a charming city!

So back at home base in the City Segway Tours, we picked our way back Foggy Bottom metro station to take either the Blue or Orange line, whichever came first, in the general direction of 7th Street NE, for that is where Legal Sea Foods bar and restaurant is located, pretty much at the corner of G Street.

That is around the corner of the National Portrait Gallery, which deserves and will probably get an article of its own.

This is a cup, we had a bowl -- but it was just as delicious, in looks and taste, indeed!
This is a cup, we had a bowl -- but it was just as delicious, in looks and taste, indeed! | Source
We didn't add these to our chowder. Didn't save them for the photo either....but I saw the photo op just when we were paying up and leaving!
We didn't add these to our chowder. Didn't save them for the photo either....but I saw the photo op just when we were paying up and leaving! | Source

Legal Sea Foods

At any rate, we specifically visited the Legal Sea Foods on account of their much acclaimed New England Classic Clam Chowder and, ahem, on account of it looking like a deliciously chic venue.

Ladies and gents, both are true! The classic chowder was really and truly great, and the ambience and general décor of the place did very much meet the expectations.

Being a Sunday like it was, and a Graduation Day Sunday to boot as well, the place was nearly full, both the bar and the restaurant. Perhaps on a regular Sunday –sans Graduation, the place would have been less packed, but I'm fairly certain the atmosphere would have been just as charming.

Staff was friendly, quick and efficient and they didn't rip us off at all – very fairly priced. It was a perfect end to our Sunday adventure.

20:30 Lincoln Memorial by Dusk – Evening Closure

By the time we left the Legal Sea Foods we were totally knocked off. Totally. So what did we do? We got on a taxi to Lincoln Memorial to be there by dusk. Worth it, I say. I almost couldn't walk past my hotel door later that evening, but I surely enjoyed the dusk sights of the Memorial and the Mall, here is just a token photo.

Worth the sight at dusk. Probably even better later at night. We just couln't stand upright after a whole Sunday out and about!
Worth the sight at dusk. Probably even better later at night. We just couln't stand upright after a whole Sunday out and about! | Source
Waterfront Park, where a fisherman is attempting a capture right then and there!
Waterfront Park, where a fisherman is attempting a capture right then and there! | Source

Yes, It's Got to be a Sunday

Perhaps you wonder whether you can do this tour any other day of the week. Wonder no more, you can!

However, you will not catch the atmosphere that you would on a Sunday, most especially on Georgetown or the National Mall. You can visit the same joints and sights, but I doubt you will feel like you're part of it, because there is nothing quite like a Sunday in the city.

© 2014 Elena.

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10 comments

Edward J. Palumbo profile image

Edward J. Palumbo 2 years ago from Tualatin, OR

Well written with good photo support! Thank you for a fine Hub!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 2 years ago from Madrid Author

Thanks, Edward!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

I have to agree with you, to see DC as a tourist, Sunday is the best time to do that. I have spent a lot of time there and your hub is a wonderful tour guide. Your photos are fantastic and add so much to this article. Thanks for the tour and maps - you make our capital city look marvelous.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 2 years ago from Madrid Author

Hi Suzette! It's not that I "make it look" marvelous, it *is* quite marvelous without my help already :D But I much appreciate your comment and praise, so thanks for that and for reading!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

Elena, you are so right. It is beautiful and your photos attest to that. I didn't mean to infer otherwise. A great hub on this Memorial Day.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 2 years ago from Madrid Author

Sure, Suzzette! I got you, I was just acting funny :D Enjoy the rest of your long weekend!


mbgphoto profile image

mbgphoto 2 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

I enjoyed seeing Washington DC through your writing and photos!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 2 years ago from Madrid Author

Cheers, mbgphoto! Glad you took a nice tour :)


Sylvestermouse profile image

Sylvestermouse 2 years ago from United States

What a beautiful page to visit! Mary Beth, mbgphoto, shared the link to this page this morning on Review This and I am so very glad she did so . A great way to start the day!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 2 years ago from Madrid Author

Sylvestermouse, thank you for saying so! If you like to live vicariously, I've got other Sunday adventures for you to take a virtual trip :)

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