Hear It From Locals

JOIN ME IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MAGGIE MCKNEELY FROM WASHINGTON, DC !

 

Maggie McKneely is a 20-something politico, working on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. When she is not trying to convince people to vote for pieces of legislation, she is off looking for adventure! Being immersed in politics 24/7 can drive anyone crazy, so in order to stay sane (and get a breath of fresh, non-Swampy air), she travels as often as she can.  Exploring is a passion of hers – exploring the world, her backyard of DC and Virginia, the dark corners of her closet she hasn’t looked at in awhile. She believes adventure can be found just about anywhere!  

 

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Which is the best month to visit Washington and why ?

Washington, DC can be visited year-round. But the shoulder seasons, Fall and Spring, are the best. The summer months can get extremely hot and humid, and winter can be pretty uncomfortable too.

One of the most famous times to visit DC is during the Cherry Blossom Festival, which happens when the city’s cherry blossoms are in bloom. This usually happens between March and April, but bloom time depends on a lot of different factors, so it’s almost impossible to predict. If you’re in town then, consider yourself lucky!

 

Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Washington city ?

DC’s metro system is fairly reliable and safe, if you stick to the main areas of downtown. Uber and Lyft are also very popular modes of transportation. Rental bikes, such as Lime bikes, are becoming increasingly popular as well!

 

What are the top 3 must visit places in Washington?

U.S. Capitol: arguably the most powerful building in the world, this is where the United States Congress meets. Its open Monday-Saturday for public tours and admission is free. But I recommend making reservations ahead of time if you visit during the busy summer months because it’s a very popular place! If you’re a US citizen, you can get a personal tour through your Congressman’s office, which I definitely recommend doing. You’ll get to see things that aren’t on the public tour, and you won’t be stuck with all of the crowds.

 

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United States Capitol in Washington DC

 

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: the Smithsonian has a number of museums in town, but the most popular by far is the Air and Space Museum. It houses one of the original space shuttles, the Wright Brothers’ plane, and a number of other important pieces of flight history. It’s a super cool and fun museum, and it’s free!

 

The National Mall: On one end of the Mall is the Lincoln Memorial, and on the other end is the U.S. Capitol. In between are a number of other famous landmarks, such as the Washington Monument, the White House, and the Vietnam Memorial. Be sure to walk down the Mall during your time in DC!

 

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Washington Monument near the National Mall

Which is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Washington?

July 4th, America’s Independence Day, is a big deal in DC. Which makes sense, since July 4th is when America officially became its own country and Washington, DC is the capital city of the US! There’s a concert on the mall that’s broadcast on live television, followed by a fireworks show.

 

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Washington, DC, Fireworks on 4th of July

 

Christmas is probably the most popular holiday. The National Christmas Tree stands in front of the White House and is lit up for the whole month of December every year. Handel’s Messiah is performed at the National Cathedral and is always an amazing event. There are a number of events going on in town throughout the whole season!

 

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Christmas at the White House

 

Which is the most happening area in Washington and why?

That depends on what you’re interested in !

For high-end shopping and dining, Georgetown is the place to be. Brands such as Prada, Gucci, and Brooks Brothers all have stores here. Several of DC’s top-rated restaurants are also here, such as Fiola Mare. Georgetown is also near the Kennedy Center, the best place in DC to watch a play or opera or concert. 

 

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John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts

 

Navy Yard is DC’s newest neighborhood, with most restaurants and bars opening their doors in the past two years. This place is located on the banks of the Anacostia River and just a few blocks from Nationals Park, home of DC’s baseball team. One of the country’s only urban wineries is here (DC Winery), and the best ice cream parlor in town, Ice Cream Jubilee, is right next door.

The neighborhood with a little bit of everything for everyone is Logan Circle. One of the best beer bars in the entire country is here, Churchkey, as well as the best French restaurant, Le Diplomate. It seems like there’s a new restaurant opening every month, and all of them are good!

 

Where can one find amazing street food in Washington ?

To be honest, DC doesn’t have much of a street food scene. There are plenty of food trucks that cater to government employees who run out of their offices for a quick bite on their lunch break, but you won’t find any street food unique to DC.

 

Where should one head to for affordable shopping ?

DC is not known for affordable shopping. There are several shopping districts, such as City Center and Georgetown, but they are, for the most part, high end and swanky. For affordable clothes shopping, head across the Potomac River to Arlington, where you’ll find the Pentagon City Mall.

For more of a farmer’s market-type vibe, check out Eastern Market, near Capitol Hill. Lots of local craftsmen and farmers are here on weekends, showcasing their wares!

 

Which is the most loved local food in Washington, both sweet and savoury?

The United States is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, and DC exemplifies that. You can find good examples of just about every type of cuisine that you want in the city. But there are a few homegrown DC eateries that you definitely need to check out.

Since its open in 1856, Old Ebbitt Grill has been a DC tradition. Just a few blocks from the White House, nearly every President since the Civil War has eaten here, along with a lengthy list of other famous dignitaries and celebrities.

If you’re craving barbeque, look no further than The Federalist Pig. Their spice-crusted brisket and beef short ribs are absolutely drool-worthy.

For dessert, DC has a thing for cupcakes. Georgetown Cupcakes is famous because it once had a TV show on Food Network. The line is usually 2 hours long. But just across the street is Baked and Wired, and if you ask a local, they’ll most likely tell you that Baked and Wired has better cupcakes. And you won’t have to wait in long as long.

 

Which side of the road does Washington drive on ? Is it cycle friendly ?

We drive on the right side of the road (remember, we ditched Britain and their left-side of the road nonsense!) And for the most part, the city is bike friendly.

 

Would you recommend any popular local apps to tourists for transport, food and hidden gems in Washington ?

If you plan on using the metro, download Metro Map, which just ensures you always have the metro map available to you. If you plan on driving and parking in the city, definitely download SpotHero

 

IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING TO WASHINGTON DC OR WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT MAGGIE MCKNEELY’S TRAVEL ADVENTURES BE SURE TO FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM/FACEBOOK/TWITTER

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