Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 4th Weekend in DC

There are pros and cons to living so close to a major city.  Living in a suburb of the Nation's Capital is flat out awesome on a patriotic holiday.  We had family visiting from out of town, so we decided to spend the weekend of Independence Day being hometown tourists.  

On the 4th we headed to the pentagon to watch the fireworks launched at the mall.  Here's why- we were able to get there without going through the traffic-heavy city center and we still had a fantastic view.  Another plus was that we were far back enough that the fireworks were a bit quieter.  Having made the trek with small children, the last thing we wanted was to be camped out on a lawn in the middle of thousands of people with a baby meltdown happening.  I am happy [thrilled] that everyone genuinely enjoyed watching without incident.  Plus, it was the most mild weather I've ever witnessed here in July.  Just gorgeous out.  Such a perfect night.  We took an obligatory awful family photo, because you know how we do.

Saturday morning (the 5th) we got up and out early to enjoy more of the fantastic weather at one of our favorite hometown spots- The National Harbor.  We come here often, but hadn't gotten a chance to ride the new Capital Wheel yet and wanted to this time.  

The Capital Wheel is a 180 ft tall observation wheel located at the National Harbor.  From your 8 person glass climate-controlled gondola, you can see the both the US Capital and the Washington Monument.  

You also have a fantastic view of the Harbor of course, including The Awakening, shops, boat slips, and Gaylord Hotel.

I was actually a little worried that the kids' excitement would turn into fear as we were about to board, but they were totally fine. At one point Dominic did say (while smiling) that it was a "little scary", but they loved it.  I felt more comfortable inside than I thought I would too.  I think because it is totally enclosed with bench seating and such a smooth ride, you feel super secure.  The ride is slow and safe for everyone, and is wheelchair accessible.  This really is an enjoyable attraction for the whole family.

In our gondola we had four adults (my husband, his parents, and myself) along with all three of our children.  As you can see, there was plenty of room.  We weren't squished at all.  The inside was very clean and the A/C was cool.  The price of admission is affordable ($15 for an adult ticket) and reasonable for the ride which lasted about 15 minutes.  I want to say we went around four times.  An absolute must-do if you are visiting the area.  The view is something you will not get anywhere else in the city because DC has a very low profile.  

All planes coming into Reagan National have this view!  Neat, right?

After we exited our gondola with smiles plastered to our faces, we purchased our commemorative photo that was taken on the way in.  The very friendly photographer managed to get all of us in one photo!  

We finished our day off with a bit of shopping, lunch at Harrington's Irish Pub, ice cream at Ben and Jerry's, and a couple carousel rides.  

We had such a fantastic weekend enjoying family and one of our favorite DC locations.  

Disclosure- my family was provided admission to The Capital Wheel.  All opinions and photos are my own.  I am truly grateful as we had a wonderful time and I know you will too!

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