Day 2 – Museums & Seafood in D.C.

We started our day with breakfast at a cafe nearby, Emissary before lyfting to National Gallery of Art.

I got the smashed avocado toast with a fried egg. Mint mojito coffee not pictured.

The last time we were in D.C. we didn’t get the chance to go to the East building of the National Gallery of Art so that was the first first stop. I absolutely LOVE the lobby of the building.

I probably spent more time taking pictures of the lobby than looking at art in the gallery. Here’s the rest of pictures I took before we walked over to United States Botanic Garden.

Jacqueline looking at two Georgia O’Keefe paintings.

Art on the roof

The tunnel that connects the east and west wing.

It was around 1ish when we got to the Botanic Garden and boy was it hot. The walk took around 10 minutes but the sun was scorching hot. We didn’t stop sweating when we got there – it was a greenhouse so it felt extra humid! The flowers and plants were worth sweating for though!

Love the hidden dinosaurs in the primal plant section!

A room full of art in the Botanic Garden!

We wanted to visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but the long was too long. We didn’t want to spend time waiting in the scorching heat, especially since it’s our only full day in D.C. and there’s still so much for us to see! We ended up stopping by the Hirshhorn Museum cause we saw a Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin right outside of it.

Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin

I’m glad I got to see it since we didn’t get the chance in Tokyo and I missed the exhibit when it was in New York. The Hirishhorn Museum was relatively small so we breezed through it pretty quick.

The original plan was visiting the ARTECHOUSE, but we kept getting sidetracked. We passed by the Smithsonian Institution and I had to stop to get a picture of the garden. It was just too photogenic to pass on.

Smithsonian Institution and the Enid A. Haupt Garden

We stopped by one of the galleries (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery) nearby to escape from humidity and we got lucky with this work of art.

Terminal by Subodh Gupta

Right after we left this gallery, we heard roaring thunder and saw dark clouds coming our way so we decided to go somewhere closer instead – the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

We ran into these two cuties before we got to the museum!

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History was massive. We only went to a couple of exhibits and decided to get late lunch/early dinner since we haven’t eaten since breakfast. It’s been 6 hours!

We took a Lyft to Navy Yards to grab dinner at Whaley’s and wow. Navy Yards reminds me of a mix Seaport and Dumbo In New York. I could see myself living in Navy Yards if I had to move to D.C.

Whaley’s when you walk in!

We started with raw oysters and drinks and finished off with a light entree.

We wanted to explore more of Navy Yard before heading back but unfortunately, it started pouring. We took cover at a Philz Coffee, got mint mojitos and spent a hour relaxing after being on our feet for most of the day.

The last time I got this was in San Francisco!

After feeling well rested, we took a Lyft back to the hotel. Once we got in the car, the storm caught up and it was raining hard. Not only did we get lucky escaping the heavy rain, our Lyft driver was great and since it was a Lyft line we got to “tour” around Georgetown before getting off.

I’m glad we got to do almost everything we wanted to do before it started raining. Overall a successful short trip and we still have two stops before the drive back to NYC tomorrow!

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3 Tips for Planning a Trip to Japan

Over the past two months, I have been asked numerous times about my recommendations for Japan, my itinerary and if I had any tips to share. It turns out that a lot of my friends are planning to visit Japan this year! I thought it would be a great idea to share a couple of tips and advice based on my experience planning for the trip.

1. Get a JR Pass (Japan Rail Pass) to travel around Japan.

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My JR Pass

If you plan on visiting multiple cities in Japan, I highly recommend getting a JR Pass. You might be hesitant to get one because of how pricey it is, but it’s worth it. A 7 day JR Pass cost roughly the same as a round trip ticket from Tokyo to Osaka/or Kyoto. You pretty much break even and you get to use the pass on all JR lines (subway/rail) and the JR Narita Express (from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station). Since I was in Japan for 2 weeks, I opted for the 14 day JR Pass and used it visit Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. I definitely took full advantage of the pass and you should too if you’re planning to visiting other cities: https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/jr-pass (Note: if you’re planning to get it, make sure you order it before you get to Japan because they will mail you the documents you need to pick up the pass when you get to Japan.)

2. Rent Pocket Wifi and stay connected 24/7 so you can share your adventures on Instagram and Snapchat in real time (jk but not really). 

It was honestly one of the best investments for the trip. I was able to use Google maps, look up/research spots on the go and start this blog on my train ride to Osaka. It comes with a portable charger as well and it’ll only cost you ~$6/day, which is a bargain.

This was the pocket WiFi I rented from Japan-wireless.com. Picture above is from their site as well.

3. Save some room in your luggage for souvenirs if you’re staying in hotels.

If you’re staying in hotels, you will get get basic toiletries – toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lotion, slippers and some places will even provide razors and body sponges (loofahs). I packed travel size toiletries that I didn’t even touch – aside from my contact lens solution.

Bonus tip: If you’re planning to visit the Ghibli Museum, make sure you buy tickets in advance (more than a month in advance). 

You can’t buy the tickets at the museum, you can only get them online or at a Lawson convenience store in Japan. The tickets only go on sale during a certain time each month and you learn more about it here: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/ticket-information/ I wish I knew about this when I was planning my trip – I wasn’t able to get tickets a month before my trip and when I was in Japan.

If you want to read and learn more about my adventure in Japan you can find all my blog posts here:

What tips or advice do you have for someone planning a trip to Japan? Feel free to share them in the comments!