By: Patricja Okuniewska
By now, I’m sure that most of you are sick of seeing your friends’ annual photos of them posing in front of the cherry blossoms. Trust me, you’re not alone.
As many of you know, as soon as a peep of the signature cherry blossom pink is spotted in D.C., natives and tourists alike flock to the city to take a slew of photos (selfies included) of the remarkable trees. Naturally, this creates a mass of people in the streets of downtown D.C. at all times—a sight that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in this city. I agree that the cherry blossoms are a remarkable feature of our city, but what people underestimate is how beautiful all of Washington D.C. is during the spring. The weather is (usually) perfect and the flowers bloom everywhere—not just near the Tidal Basin. While the excessive amounts of people wandering around trying to take in all the sights— in just a matter of days—may deter you from wanting to leave your dorm room (totally understandable), do not be afraid to venture to lesser-known territories. While most of the notoriously famous places in downtown D.C will be packed these days, I have come up with a list of other scenic locations where you and your friends can take great photos without worrying too much about large crowds. Want to take some great photos and not deal with hordes of people? Then you’re in luck!
The first place worth visiting (at any time of the year, really) is Old Town Alexandria, Virginia which has a beautiful, scenic waterfront perfect for taking pictures. You’ll be able to see the Washington Monument and National Harbor across the water and simply by walking along, you’ll find a great place to stop and enjoy the view! And the water isn’t the only thing Old Town has got going for itself—the cozy, quaint architecture of the entire town makes it a perfect destination for friends and couples alike. For great photos, you can stop on one of the cobblestone streets and strike a pose. And for some adorable couple pics, be sure to stop by the Wilkes Street Tunnel, a 19th century railroad structure that has a naturally beautiful frame and amazing lighting during the day. To get to Old Town Alexandria, hop on the GUTS bus to the Rossyln metro station, and take the blue line all the way down to King Street.
The next photo-friendly location is Rawlins Park and it is right on GW’s campus in Foggy Bottom. To take a nice break from studying, take a walk down M Street (or the Circulator towards Union Station) to this relaxing spot to escape the stresses of Georgetown’s campus. The park has a small garden, a beautiful fountain, and a lining of cherry blossom trees. The beauty of Rawlins Park is that it is rarely crowded and a perfect place to go if you want to spend some time sitting around enjoying nature before heading back out into the hustle and bustle of city life or the tense atmosphere of Lau.
The Heurich House Castle Garden is located near DuPont Circle, and is open to the public Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. To get here, simply hop on the GUTS bus to DuPont Circle or take the D6 bus just outside the front gates. Although it is private property, the garden is always filled with people (especially kids!) enjoying the natural and the quaint feeling of the location. The Heurich House is often a place of private photography shoots for weddings and the like, so rest assured, there are definitely some beautiful photo opportunities to be captured here. There are wonderful trees during the spring that look just as great on camera as the cherry blossoms do, and don’t forget to check out the fountain set in the middle of a gorgeous stone path!
The last photo-worthy location is right near campus—Dumbarton Oaks! The large estate has a selection of gorgeous gardens adorned with a variety of flowers, and even some cherry blossom trees! Although there is a regular admission fee of $10 to the gardens, it is just $5 for students, and the price is worth the experience. You can spend a lot of time walking around and enjoying the views, and on a nice day, you definitely won’t regret it. To avoid large crowds here, it is best to go during the week. If you want to bask in the nice weather, take a stroll, or shoot some great photos, get off campus and go to Dumbarton Oaks. Trust me, when finals stress rolls around, you’ll want to be able to get out and relax in such a beautiful spot.
In these last few weeks of the semester, before many of us leave the beauty Washington D.C. in the spring, go out and enjoy these various spots—and don’t forget your camera!