Last April I was given the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. with my best gal pals from my organization at school. We attended ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day where we were able to connect with dentists and dental students from across the nation as well as learn how to lobby for important issues dentistry is facing today! We were the only undergraduate pre-dental students that attended the conference and we got a lot of recognition for it which was really exciting! Although this trip was strictly for school, we managed to arrive a day early so that we had enough time to squeeze in fun and explore the city. Oh! Forgot to mention, our little Texas hearts were freezing! April in south Texas is usually a good 90 degrees, whereas here it was 40 degrees with the sun out. Anyway, here is a little recap of how our trip went!
Day 1: Travel and Explore
The trip started with me waking up at 3 in the morning; this was probably the worst part of the whole experience! I headed to the airport where I met the rest of my pals. Upon landing in D.C. we were immediately greeted by an American Flag as we walked through the airport which is something that always takes my breath away. It reminds me how lucky I am to live in the best country in the world.
From there, looking for a cab or uber to accommodate 9 of us and our luggage seemed impossible so we decided to purchase metro cards and use that as our mode of transportation throughout the trip. Imagine seeing 9 college students running through terminals with suitcases! We looked so out of place but it was so much fun! I think getting a metro card was probably one of the best decisions we made. In the long run its so much cheaper than ordering cabs and you can use the same card the next time you go visit!
Once we finally waddled our feet and luggage to the hotel, we checked into our rooms, unpacked, changed, and wasted no time looking for food to start off our mini vacation. The hotel we stayed at was really nice, great service, comfortable beds and close to everything we wanted to do. I’ll link the hotel here:
Hotel: The Wink Washington D.C. 1143 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
We walked out of the hotel in search of food and found an asian restaurant across the street. We each ordered our own meal not knowing how much food it was going to be. We put all our plates into the center of the table and ate family style like the good friends we are! Everything was AMAZING! My mouth is watering just looking at this picture. The service was not the greatest, but the food was delicious!
Restaurant: Meiwah 1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
After indulging Chinese cuisine we headed out sight seeing. We took the metro to the National Mall where we got to see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the World War II memorial. Cherry blossoms also populated this area which took my breath away. Its not wonder that travelers from around the world come to DC to experience the beauty of these trees. I wrote a blog post sharing my experience seeing the Cherry Blossoms.
Pictures don’t do these monuments justice and the fact that all these places are free is so awesome! My favorite monument that I go to see would have to be the Lincoln Memorial. It looks so small far away and just gets bigger and bigger the closer you get to it! I felt like a shrimp!
A lot of the Smithsonian Museums are also located in this area. We didn’t have enough time to go to them on Day 1 but I wish we could have gone to the Holocaust Museum. That is supposed to be one of the best ones to go see so I’ll have to go back to Washington to just to experience it.
Monuments: National Mall and Memorial Parks
Day 2: More exploring
The next morning we slept in (AKA we did’t eat breakfast). We scurried to the metro and made our way down to Georgetown! Home of cute historic looking buildings, a bunch of shops and most importantly GEORGETOWN CUPCAKES!! We got to the bakery before they opened only to see a long line of eager individuals wanting to satisfy their morning sweet tooth just like we were. I instantly got hit with a whiff of sugary goodness as I walked inside the crowded shop.
Georgetown Cupcakes had so many flavors to choose from but I finally settled on Lavender Earl Gray (sounds weird but sooooo delicious) and Cherry Blossom. I believe these might be seasonal flavors so if you go in the Spring time they might be available. All I know is that these were some really nice tasting cupcakes.
Bakery: Georgetown Cupcakes 3301 M Street NW (corner of 33rd & M) Washington, DC 20007
Next on the agenda was a quick stop at Ladurée. A french pastry shop popular for their macarons. I wrote a blog post on my Laudurée adventure you can check it out here:
Bakery: Ladurée 3060 M. Street NW 20007 – Washington D.C
Afterwards we went and ate lunch at Johnny Rockets in Georgetown and headed back to downtown Washington DC in an Uber to continue our adventure. To this day I have no idea what building is pictured in the next two images below but I thought it was really pretty. It had a castle feel to it.
We stopped at the White House to take pictures and boy, I can’t even imagine what it’s like living in there! It’s gorgeous! I think if I had the option I would stand there for about an hour to just stare at it. However, with all the tourists and protestors I don’t think that would be possible.
Attraction: The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500
On our journey to the Air and Space Museum we stopped to take pictures outside the Smithsonian Castle.
Smithsonian Castle 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW Washington, DC
Air and Space Museum Independence Ave at 6th Street, SW Washington, DC 20560
Once we got back from our touristy adventures we headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for the welcome event at our conference. This was the night were they held a social for us to mingle with other attendees and eat finger foods. ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day was held at the JW Marriott. On the way to the event we got out of the metro and bumped into these gorgeous flowers located at the Ronald Reagan Building. I naturally had to stop and take a picture of them.
Day 3: Lobby
Finally, the conference we traveled all this way for was here. We scheduled an uber the night before to pick us up in the morning to avoid all the ruckus we would have faced taking the metro. On the agenda this day we had breakfast, we got a briefing on the issues that were to be lobbied, and we learned tips and tricks to lobbying. All of this took place in the main conference room. Attendees were separated by states and of course Texas had one of the biggest groups! (Yeehaw). We were also the only state that had a pre-dental group attend which was something we were really proud of.
After the briefing of each topic the floor was open to questions and comments. We were then grouped into small teams for lunch in conference rooms. During this time we divided up the issues, talked strategy and got assigned to a specific congressmen. Once lunch was over we went back to the main hall and listened to several speakers. Lobbying was to occur the following day, however the congressman than my team was assigned to was only available on this day so we left the conference early and headed to the capitol. We didn’t get to go inside, we were in one of the buildings close to it but I got to see it which was exciting nonetheless.
When we were done lobbying we met the rest of our pals for dinner at &pizza. We looked it up on Yelp (my favorite app) and decided we would give it a shot. Its basically like a Subway for Pizza. The pizza joint isn’t big, I suggest if you give this place a shot, you go with less people or take it to go. I thought it was pretty good nonetheless.
Restaurant: &pizza 1005 E St NW, Washington DC 20004
Day 4: Last Day
The last day of our trip came too soon. We walked towards the conference with luggage in tow and saw the sun rising behind the U.S. Capitol, a beautiful sight. We had breakfast and everyone broke into their groups to go out and lobby.
Since my friend and I had already done it the day before, we changed out of our fancy clothes and sat at Starbucks to do homework while we waited for the rest of our friends. I had an exam the next day in one of my classes so I was cramming. I got this really cute crew sweatshirt at one of the souvenir shops and let me tell you, its probably one of my favorite ones.
Lunch time came around and our friends weren’t back yet so we decided to go on a little adventure to see the Lincoln Book Tower. It is so TALL! Wasn’t on our agenda but it was something really cool to see.
Attraction: Lincoln Book Tower
We made a reservation at a ramen restaurant and it was delicious! I got the vegetarian ramen dish with tofu! Our group of friends is always up for eating ramen in new places! It wouldn’t be a gal pal trip without it!
Restaurant: Umaya 733 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
After lunch we went back to the hotel where the conference was held, grabbed our luggage and headed back to the metro. We made it to the airport and got on our flight home!
Being able to go to Washington D.C. my last semester of undergrad with some of my closest friends was one of the best experiences of my life. Getting to explore somewhere new and make memories that will last a lifetime is something I am so grateful for.
I definitely would want to go back and visit D.C. again. Next time I go I would want to see more museums and maybe get a tour of the White House and the Capitol.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you made it this far I commend you (I know it was long). I know there is so much more to D.C. than what I shared today, if you have any recommendations for the next time I go, leave them down below!