I grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC. And yes, I have been up the Washington Monument and spent many a field trip at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. But you never really see the sights of a city when you live there. It’s only when you return as a tourist, as I did last fall, that you see the glory of a place.
For example, when I was a teenager and could hop a metro downtown with my friends to the zoo, I did not appreciate that in Washington DC all of the government buildings and institutions are free. Yes, free! Now that I have lived elsewhere in the country, I’m amazed by all that you can do for free in Washington DC. From monuments to museums to the halls of government, you can easily fill a week of activities without spending a dime. Sadly, the same is not true for food and lodging, but hey – you can’t win them all.