The United States Supreme Court Building

My son Evan and I have just came off an amazing mother/son bonding trip in Washington DC. He recently turned 16 and will be on the lookout for colleges next summer. I thought it would be the perfect moment to spend some quality time together before he heads out of the house in a couple of years. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he will be an adult soon. Read on the see all the wonderful sights and experiences we had.

Where We Stayed – The Hamilton Hotel

I chose for us to stay here because it’s right in downtown DC and has a Metro stop very close by. For the most part, we got around town with the Metro with exception to a couple of Uber rides. The hotel room had a nice city view and was very cozy. The only complaint I had was the dusty minibar but all in all, it was comfortable. The staff was extremely friendly and the attached Starbucks was a bonus.

Private Tour of the US Capitol

This probably was mine and Evan’s favorite part of the trip. I had read that you can email your local representative to possibly receive a tour of the Capitol or White House. Because I was late to the game with emailing, I didn’t think we would hear back but we got contacted about a week before giving us a date and time for our Capitol Tour. We arrived at 9AM to Peter Roskam’s office to receive our tour and wouldn’t you know it that the intern who was giving the tour just graduated from Evan’s school!

Before we left to see and learn the ins and outs of the Capitol, we got to check out our representative’s office which was filled with lots of important artifacts and maps from his time as a representative. Evan even got to sit at his desk.

My son at State of Illinois Representative's Desk

The Capitol is a magnificent building tons of interesting history. The icing on the cake after we finished was that we received passes to visit the House and Senate galleries. We visited both on the last day and got to experience the opening prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, and a speech from Mitch McConnell in the Senate chamber. So cool to see our government at work!

The United States Capitol

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and National Museum of African American History and Culture

Both of these museums were extraordinary but very somber in tone. I highly recommend both of them but make sure you plan ahead to get timed entry tickets. I knew about the Holocaust but had no idea about the events that lead up to this terrible time in our history. Seeing how the Jews were treated was so painful to witness but it must be shared with everyone. I still can’t get over the amount of how many people were massacred. The prayer room at the end was extremely beautiful. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a must!

United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum

The African American Museum is completely opposite on the way it’s set up compared to the Holocaust Museum. It is all underground and you work your way up. There is a section where you learn about Emmett Till who was a fellow Chicagoan that was murdered in 1955 in Mississippi when he was 14 for supposedly whistling at a white woman. It moved me to tears when I saw his coffin and heard his mom speak of that time. There is a contemplation room with a unique water feature where you can think about all you have seen on the main floor of the museum.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Washington DC Memorials

We went to almost every single memorial – the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans War Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the National World War II Memorial. I highly recommend seeing the Abraham Lincoln Memorial at night with it’s beautiful view of the Washington Monument. Evan and I enjoyed the World War II Memorial the most because of it’s grandeur. What made it extra special was that there were some World War II vets from Chicago who received a special ceremony which we caught the end of. We even spoke to one of them and we thanked him for his service.

Washington DC Memorials

World War II National Memorial in Washington, DC

Other Favorite Places to Visit

Two other notable places we visited were the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the United States Botanic Garden. I wanted to see the portraits of President Obama and Michelle Obama in person and I was not disappointed. They were stunning. I also enjoyed seeing the rest of the presidents’ portraits which are featured in chronological order all the way to President Obama. It’s a great way to learn about each one and what made their presidency unique.

Mother/Son bonding trip in DC

Doing this trip with my oldest son was so rewarding because we connected on so many levels.  He’s a bright young man that has a promising future! I hope to bring my younger son here when he turns 16 as well.  If you have any questions about visiting DC and want some suggestions, feel free to reach out and ask.

Happy Wednesday! Linking up with Posh Classy Mom, Curly Crafty Mom, Elegance and Mommyhood, and Jersey Girl Texan Heart.