East Coast Trip Do-Over?

By Isabella Brady

As COVID-19 restrictions lighten, an increasing number of travel opportunities are materializing–just in time for summer! Unfortunately, the pandemic indefinitely canceled many vacations, one being the renowned 8th grade East Coast trip. However, the opportunity is not lost! This summer might be the perfect opportunity to travel with classmates or family and invent a personalized East Coast trip. Pre-quarantine, my parents gave us an East Coast trip for Christmas; they bought the plane tickets and my brother and I planned it–now it is one of my favorite trips of all time. Here are some awesome destinations and travel tips (from a real itinerary!) for anyone planning on visiting New York City and/or Washington D.C.

Washington D.C.

Monuments and Memorials:

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Vietnam War memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Washington Monument

Jefferson Memorial

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial–my personal favorite, especially well lit and beautiful to see at night

World War II Memorial

U.S. Air Force Memorial

Some of the best things in life are free, Smithsonian museums are both! Whether you want to spend a few hours or the whole day, these museums hold some of the best collections in the world and are all within walking distance of each other.

Smithsonian Institution Offices

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

National Museum of American History

National Gallery of Art

Arts and Industries Building

Here are some other great attractions my family and I enjoyed visiting:

Ford’s Theater–a bit ominous, however, houses a very detailed museum

Arlington Cemetery

Mount Vernon 

The U.S. Capitol

The White House

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives–be prepared to handover your purse, jackets, phones and any loose items before entering either one of these famous spaces

Dining Favorites (great for food allergy options)

Legal Sea Foods $$$

The Old Ebbitt Grill $$

Next time…(Even more ideas!)



The Pentagon

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African Art

National Museum of the American Indian

Archives of American Art Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery

National Museum of Asian Art

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

The National Zoo

International Spy Museum

And much, much more!

The ‘Inbetween’:

Many people are tempted to use a rental car to travel between NYC and D.C. …to put it plainly: don’t. Rental cars are a headache in New York City and trying to navigate new highways after a very fun (but admittedly tiring) few days can be a lot of unnecessary stress. I recommend kicking back and enjoying the beautiful scenery and spacious seating of a comfortable train ride. Using Amtrak, this is only $21 per person and about 3.5 hours —ample time to read a book, scroll Tik Tok or take a nap. Another plus, experience some historic train stations and have the option to stop through Philadelphia.

New York City:

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Ellis Island & Statue of Liberty–take a tour inside the symbol of America and one of the first immigration centers

Wall Street–take a selfie with the Bull!

Trinity Church–See the graves of Alexander Hamilton, Eliza Hamilton and Angelica Schuyler

The Empire State Building–See Manhattan from above

9/11 Museum and Memorial–Heartbreaking, but a very moving destination

The New World Trade Center

Central Park

The Guggenheim–Beautiful, interactive architecture and amazing artwork!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (“The Met”)–See everything from rare Tiffany windows to ancient mummies

Mean Girls–see a show on Broadway!

Times Square 

M&M’s New York 

Hershey’s Factory New York–touristy, but fun to see if you visit Times Square

The Flatiron Building

Ride in a NY Yellow taxi cab 

Ride the subway–one of the most affordable and entertaining ways to experience the city, also subway stations often have some talented street performers and live music

Dining Favorites (great for food allergy options)

Carmine’s Italian Restaurant $$

Tips: Need a reservation, formal and a bit noisy at rush times. In the theatre district–a good option right before an evening show.

Shake Shack $

Tips: Chain restaurants might be the way to go in NYC depending on budget, plus great if you’re on the go.

A La Mode Shoppe $

Tips: If you have allergies (like myself) this is a must see! This single location shop has nut free and gluten free ice cream and other treats at reasonable prices! For once, you can taste and choose anything your heart desires!

Next time… (even more ideas!)

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

Greenwich Village


Coney Island

The Bronx


And much, much more!