Playing Tourist in Your Home Town. Chapter One: The Capitol.

As a wanderlust, this year has been hard. Why? Well, for a variety of reasons money is tighter than usual and i am in no position to travel overseas and visit the places i dream of seeing. While U.S. trips could be possible they are a bit of a challenge right now, too.

Lucky for me, i am a glass-is-half-full kind of person. Living in the Nation’s Capital also has some advantages. There are TONS of free (and inexpensive) things to do here. I’ve come realize when you live somewhere you forget how much your own city has to offer. So, to stave off my wanderlust we’ve been playing tourist, checking out sites and interesting things i never knew existed in DC.

Our first adventure: a tour of the U.S. Capitol. You can contact your Representative or Senator for a personal tour. Everyone i know gets rejected or they have to sign-up six months in advance. That seems lame to me. After a little research, i discovered that you can book a tour yourself. It’s really quite easy, just click here and follow the steps.

When i signed up for the tour, i had no expectations. Actually, i thought the tour would probably kill some time on a Saturday morning and that would be it.

Surprise! Capitol tours are very well-organized, informative and fun! If you are a local or a tourist, i highly recommend it.

After seeing a 20 minute film that is fun, but not necessarily memorable, guides take you to the Capitol rotunda, the original Senate, the catacombs and the original Supreme Court Chambers. Unfortunately, i didn’t bring my camera and my iPhone photos are crap. The one I could salvage, is actually my favorite. It’s the real “city center” of Washington DC.

If you plan to take a our, i recommend off-peak times of the year. I selected a tour in mid-September on a Saturday morning. Although it stunk getting up early, there were no lines and the total number of people in my tour was 30. I recommend bringing a few bucks for postcards at the gift shop. Some of the artwork is too hard to photograph and i’ve always found postcards to good mementos.

For those of you who have never played tourist, i highly recommend it. It’s important to keep your sense of humor and let go of your expectations. Just enjoy the adventure. No, i wasn’t off in Bali, but i had a lot of fun. I actually wish i had considered this when i lived in NYC.

Oh, always charge your phone. No matter what Apple says, iPhones are not cameras.

Author: Judi Kennedy

Wanderlust. A professional aunt, fitness enthusiast, dog owner and avid reader the rest of the time.

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