During the last weekend of October, I embarked on an adventure to Washington, D.C. with one primary mission: to run the popular Marine Corps Marathon. This trip turned into a memorable exploration of the nation’s capital, filled with historic landmarks, culinary delights, and some time with friends. Here’s a recap of my journey.
Dinner at Ethiopic: Only a few hours after touching down in D.C., I had a delightful dinner at Ethiopic, an Ethiopian restaurant. Sharing this experience with my friends Azad and Donya, who had recently moved to the city, set the perfect tone for the days ahead.
Race Number Pickup at the Gaylord: A runner’s journey begins with the collection of their race number. The Marine Corps Marathon had us heading to the impressive Gaylord National Hall & Convention Center, where the excitement was palpable.
National Archives: My thirst for history led me to the National Archives, where I gazed in awe at the Declaration of Independence. The sight of this monumental historical document in faded ink on oversized parchment was truly captivating.
The White House: Of course, a visit to D.C. wouldn’t be complete without a stop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There were no protestors or Biden in sight.
Spanish Cuisine at Jaleo: Chinatown welcomed me with the promise of authentic Spanish cuisine. Dining at Jaleo was a highlight, with its tantalizing flavors and vibrant atmosphere. I first discovered it while riding by it on a Capitol Bikeshare bicycle, doing a double-take when I heard music by popular Spanish singer Ana Mena.
Biking Adventures: I explored the city using Capitol Bikeshare, including a scenic one-hour ride around the National Mall. Along the way, I took in the stunning sights of the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Monument, and the grandeur of the Lincoln Monument.
National Museum Hopping: My curious side led me to the Natural History Museum, where I immersed myself in displays of rocks, the Earth, and intriguing animal bones. However, the American History Museum interested me more with exhibits on electronic inventions, famous Americans, and an immersive experience.
First Electric Scooter Ride: I decided to try something new and hopped on an electric scooter provided by Spin. It was convenient, but I soon realized it cost just as much as a taxi. For example, a 24-minute journey cost $16, whereas a 1-hour ride using Capital Bikeshare was only $4. Lesson learned!
Carbo-Loading at Nostro Cocina: To prepare for the marathon, I indulged in a hearty Italian meal at Nostra Cocina. The perfect way to fuel up for the race.
The Marine Corps Marathon: Race day had arrived, and I set out to conquer the Marine Corps Marathon. Since it only included 16 miles within D.C., I added extra kilometers before and after the race, ensuring I covered at least 42.2 kilometers within the District of Columbia. Most of these extra kilometers were completed in the scenic National Mall.
Football Fun at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern: After the marathon, I joined Manuel, Carlos, and Azad at the Broncos-friendly Penn Quarter Sports Tavern to catch the Broncos-Chiefs and Bengals-Niners football games. The Broncos’ surprising win and the Niners’ unexpected loss added a thrilling sports twist to the weekend.
Vietnamese Delights at Pho 79: No trip to D.C. is complete without savoring some Vietnamese food. I visited Pho 79 not once, but twice, for some delectable noodles.
My extended weekend in Washington, D.C. unfolded as an exciting fusion of history, culinary delights, exploration, and cherished moments with friends. While it served as a reminder of the aspects that would make me hesitant to ever live in such a bustling city—the ceaseless blaring of sirens and horns, the traffic congestion, the high cost of living, and the enormous crowds—I still relished the adventure through the heart of the nation’s capital. Until our paths cross again, D.C.!