Two Little Known Things You Should Know before Going to Washington D.C.

My husband and I recently traveled to Washington, D.C. for the first time.  In a one-mile stretch known as the National Mall you will see the Lincoln Memorial situated on the west end and the United States Capitol on the east end.  In between is the Reflective Pool, Washington’s Monument and The White House, among other memorials and museums.

While we had planned to visit many of the memorials and sites in D.C., there were two things we didn’t know when we arrived that I would like to share to make your trip to D.C. a little easier.

Thing to Know #1

The Metro is the public transportation system that runs below ground and above ground in the greater D.C. area and it costs to ride.  It does not take you to the National Mall area.  The free (yes, free) Red Circulator Bus does take you all around the mall.  It makes a continuous loop all day around the mall every ten minutes and makes stops for people to get off and on. 

Thing to Know #2

My husband I didn’t know that finding food would be hard to find in the mall area.  There are a few scattered ice cream vendors and some of the museums have snack bars, but that is it.  Someone finally told us to take the free Red Circulator Bus to the Columbus Circle stop at Union Station (see map below).  Inside Union Station is a large variety of (about 40) fast food places to eat including a Chick-Fil-A, Johnny Rocket’s and McDonald’s.  Here is a link to the food directory in Union Station .  Source 

Knowing both of these facts about D.C. will help your trip more enjoyable and take some of the stress about navigating the many memorials and museums in Washington D.C.

A view of the Reflective Pool and Washington’s Monument in the National Mall

Union Station, a working train station, with food courts on the main level and lower level. Image Source
Snapshot of part of the Free Red Line Bus route (hollow red line route) that circulates the Mall area every ten minutes.