Oh friends! This trip was a DREAM. Literally never wanted to wake up (although I also was exhausted by the end of this trip— so much so that I slept in my car for an hour at a rest stop 1.5 hours away from home). I really fell in love with DC. Low key trying to decide if I want to move there now. (semi-no joking.) Of course, this may all change when I visit NYC for the first time but for now… I really do think Washington DC is both the capitol city of our nation & my heart.


I flew into Baltimore (BWI) from Minneapolis. But how can you complain about the extra drive time with $160 round trip tickets through Southwest!? Add on $57 for parking at the airport and $50 for gas… maybe it would have been just as expensive to fly out of Des Moines. But I got to catch up with my sweet friend Anna soooo that was worth it. :)


After a quick lunch and shower at Shelby’s apartment, we took the train into the city. I love the metro! It’s always fun to people watch or just take a quick lil’ nap. Our first errand of choice of course was coffee & sugar. Namely, stopping by the original Georgetown Cupcakes! It was a first for both of us & we splurged and split three cupcakes. The lemon cheesecake was my fav but you can’t deny the cleverness of the cherry blossom cupcake per the season!


Above: we wandered into the Georgetown Anthropologie. I DIE AGAIN. (You’ll sense this theme. More angelic than hellish, thankfully.) It was SOOOO HUGE. 3 stories and everything you could imagine—including BHLDN, their wedding dress line. Future husband, I’ll be planning a trip out to DC to dress shop someday. ;)

Below: we moseyed down to the Potomac and watched rowing teams practice while sipping coffee and soaking up sun rays. Wonderful wonderful way to spend a Monday.


One of my memories from my family’s trip in 9th grade to this city was, of course, the JFK Center. If you know my dad, he made sure this item held a spot on our agenda! It’s gorgeous and the view from the terrace is to die for. Sadly, we couldn’t get out there so… #nexttrip


Magnolia trees are almost as magical as cherry trees. The ISU Magnolia stole my heart in 2015 and hearing about a park full of these pinkish blooms made our itinerary for sure. Then we walked towards GWU’s campus for dinner at Tonic. If you go, get the Totchos!!


Our final evening activity? Walking to the National Mall for sunset and the lighting of the monuments. If you thought the monuments were gorgeous during the day, wait until you see them at sunset … and then again under the stars! They are inspiring, sobering, and enchanting.




Sunrise portraits meant setting alarms for 5am and leaving by 5:40 to drive into the city. We made good time, and found a decent metered parking spot around the Tidal Basin, just by the restrooms at the FDR memorial (if you’re looking to drive & park during the cherry blossom festival!).


Again: magical. I’ll wear this word out, but it’s true. I sure hope Heaven is full of cherry blossoms, quiet rippling waters, and marble. And perpetual sunrise! ‘Cuz this was just the most perfect moment of my memory.


After a picnic breakfast, we wandered down the Mall. I found the national Archives and prentended to either be Dora the Explorer or Nicholas Cage. You decide.


Did you know all the Smithsonian Museums are FREE!? I definitely did not remember that. So we took advantage of a few — my first picks were the art buildings. Duh.


Did you really visit Washington DC if you don’t re-enact Leslie Knope and April Ludgate in front of the US Capitol building!? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can view the clip here.


After lunch at Fuel Pizza, Shelby & I walked to the National Museum of American History for a quick stroll through the First Ladies exhibit. I swore that my family had visited this one, but apparently it was closed when we vacationed here in 2007. Oops. Aaaand we ended our afternoon sitting on a bench in the Museum of Natural History watching Netflix and resting our poor feet. 9 miles for two days is a lot, my friends.

If you have two days in Washington DC, and aren’t there to photograph but just to sightsee, here is my suggested list of activities!

Day One:
-Grab coffee & breakfast at your hotel or Grace Street in Georgetown
-Tour the Capitol building… then walk through the botanical garden next door!
-Tour the American Indian museum and eat lunch here— I hear it is amazing!
-Explore more museums of the Smithsonian! (My suggestion? Hit up the NGA buildings or the Air & Space Museum)
-Walk through the National Archives, then dine at Elephant & Castle for dinner
-Stick around the Mall for sunset and watch the monuments light up!

Day Two:
-Visit the Jefferson Memorial & tidal basin area at sunrise
-Hit up another Smithsonian museum- they open at 10am! (I suggest starting with the American or Natural History museums, and without a doubt, the new African American museum)
-Tired of museums? Go visit Arlington National Cemetery for some quiet reflection outdoors.
-You’ll be pretty tired at this point, so stop in to the Kennedy Center for a free concert, and great views of the city and the Potomac River
-Grab dinner at the Founding Father’s DC — a farm to table restaurant, with fresh eats and innovative drinks.