When you work in Washington, DC, it can be jarring to take a day off, even if it’s for a federal holiday.
It can be tempting to catch up on the things you need to: laundry, grocery shopping, the latest episode of The Mindy Project, but it’s also important to remember that you live in Washington, DC! Take advantage of where you are, and try to make the most of your day off.
Try not to sleep in, especially if your day off is during the week–it’ll throw off your sleep schedule and you’ll waste your day! Okay…sleep in a little bit. But still set an alarm. Stop and get breakfast somewhere you’ve never been before; Alexandria and Georgetown are full of diverse shops and are only a metro ride away. (And you won’t even have to deal with slower weekend metro service!)
Explore the city and make an adventure of your day! You’ll never know what comic book store or cupcake shop you’ll stumble across while you’re wandering. Eat food that doesn’t come from a food truck or cafeteria. Whenever I have a day off, even if it’s a Saturday, I try to do one thing that a tourist would do. I’ve visited the White House for a tour of the fall gardens, I’ve been to a 4D show in the Newseum (well worth the admission price), I’ve walked to the Lincoln Memorial at night, and I’ve scoured the city for cherry blossom soap.
For example, November 11th is Veteran’s Day, which this year happened to fall on a Wednesday:
8:15 Alarm goes off
8:30 Actually wake up to alarm this time after snoozing
8:34 Receive text from suitemate asking why you aren’t up yet
9:00 Leave for Arlington National Cemetery
9:42 Arrive at entrance of Arlington National Cemetery and realize what a great decision this was
10:11 Take selfies with the American flags handed to you by volunteers
10:12 Ask the people behind you if they’re willing to take a picture of you because you lucked into amazing seats that put you only ten rows in front of the stage (everything is marble and exquisite)
11:00 Star spangled banner, wreath lying ceremony, moment of silence
11:16 Vice President Joe Biden arrives (gasp, hit your friend to tell them the vice president and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, are present, take as many zoomed in pictures as you can)
11:18 President Barack Obama arrives (record to remind yourself this really happened)
11:20 Recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the Vice President and President of the United States (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
11:39 Record the address you’ll read about on Instagram (@whitehouse) and in the news for the next day and a half (commit to recording even past the eight minute mark)
12:16 Walk back to the Visitors Center, reflecting on the millions of men and women who have served to protect us and our freedoms, enabling you to even walk here in this moment
1:27 Stop at Astro for a Creme Brulee donut and chicken tenders (have a bite of your friends’ maple bacon and raspberry passionfruit donuts as well)
2:20 Window shop in Georgetown (vow to
come back when you have a salary)
2:35 Order a raspberry lemon cupcake and a latte from Baked and Wired (best cupcakes in the city)
2:56 Stumble across Lush, buy everyone you can think of presents
3:40 Continue window shopping, but avoid going into stores where you know you can’t afford anything (unless they have candles)
4:11 Take pictures of giant Georgetown gingerbread house display
4:23 Order some macarons to take home for dinner, head back home
6:00 Start watching Frozen with your roommates and your macarons
Try to go to bed early because you’ve been walking around all day and need to be well-rested for work in the morning, end up talking with your roommate and going to sleep after 11 anyway.
When you work in DC, you deserve a day every now and then to relax and appreciate where you are and what you do every day. Commit to making the most of your day, and it’ll pay off.
National Farmers Union
Washington, D.C. – Fall 2015