Item Number 2 on my Senior Year Bucket List- getting off at each stop on the Red Line of the DC Metro. Why would someone want to do this? As I wrote in my previous post, taking the metro is an inevitable part of living in the city. It is the quickest (that’s debatable) and most affordable (also debatable) way to get around DC and surrounding parts of Virginia and Maryland. Over the past three years, I’ve spent countless hours commuting on the metro, but I always get off at the same stops. It’s gotten to the point where I can get on the metro, put in my headphones and doze off for awhile, change lines if I have to, and reach my destination without really thinking about it. I decided that needs to change, and getting off at new stops could open my eyes to places in DC I’ve never seen.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY: THE DC METRO
Before getting into the details of my journey on the Red Line, the DC Metro transportation system needs to be discussed. Commuters usually either say 1 or 2 things about the metro. The textbook, politically correct view of the metro is that it’s a safe, clean, and reliable source of transportation. In comparison to the subway in New York or the T in Boston, the DC metro reminds me of a monorail in Disney. It is always so clean, in part thanks to the no eating or drinking rules posted in every car and every station. Without the metro, traffic would be even more of a nightmare and nearly impossible to get around the city.
The more common view of our transportation system is best described through the popular blog “UNSUCK DC METRO.” (http://unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com/) While I do rely on the metro to get around the city, often times I’d rather walk or avoid it completely. There are always delays, track maintenance is an every day occurrence, and it’s often unbearably hot to the point where I wish I had on summer clothes in 30 degree weather. The Red Line, as I learned today, is no exception to this rule!
I began my journey on the Red Line at Metro Center in the heart of DC. In true DC Metro fashion, there was a 20 minute delay for the next train due to track maintenance. I would normally start blasting “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen through my headphones, a tribute to the fact that I will be late for something thanks to the metro. However, my goal was to try out new things with no time constraints, so I started chatting with a group of students from American (wearing AU sweatshirts). I told them about my bucket list and how I wanted to get off at all the stops on the red line. They thought it was a fantastic idea, and they even gave me some tips about things to see at stops close to AU. After 20 minutes, the metro finally came and I shoved my way into the car and onwards to my next destination!
Instead of recounting my experiences at each stop, I figured I would share my top two!
TENLEYTOWN/AU: Even though this is the stop for American University, I walked out onto a crowded Wisconsin Avenue. It was not what I anticipated: there were tons of restaurants, bars, and shops. The students from AU told me to go to Z-Burger for a Caramel Apple Shake, and it definitely lived up to their recommendation. After getting my shake, I realized I was so close to the CBS TV studio where I worked at over the summer, and that one of the things I meant to do was finally visit the National Cathedral, only a short walk away. Using the power of technology (couldn’t live without my iPhone), I pulled up walking directions to the Cathedral and spent a half an hour walking around the beautiful grounds. It was nice to be out of the crowded part of the city and spend some quiet time.
WOODLEY PARK/ZOO: The Woodley Park Metro is located extremely close to the Smithsonian National Zoo. While I’ve been to the zoo once before, I had never taken the metro there! It was a pretty sunny day, so before leaving, I brought running clothes with me. The zoo hosts a half marathon every year, and I decided I’d check out the course if I took the metro there. I put all my belongings in a locker and started jogging around the trails. I’m definitely going to be entering the race this year, because not only was the course beautiful, but I got to run right around the animal viewing areas! I didn’t have my camera with me to take pictures at this point, but I’m sure the lions and tigers were extremely entertained as I did laps around the outside of their huge mountain.
Although it was an exhausting day, I’m happy I rode the Red Line and got a look at each of the stops. Many of the stops outside of the city were just huge parking lots with no attractions, but it was still an experience! I’m happy to say I can check this off my bucket list, and some of the places I saw at the Tenleytown Metro Station will be featured on my Bucket List in some way! That’s the only hint I’m giving for now, but stay tuned to see what I cross off the list next