Leaving town is great, but don't forget about your backyard

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I love living in D.C. I was born here, raised in Virginia, went to school here and stayed here after graduation.

Tourists get a bad rep here – sometimes with good reason – but I completely understand the wide-eyed looks in their faces when they step into Union Station for the first time. D.C. is beautiful.

It's easy to take the sites in D.C. for granted when you're constantly caught in the bubble of Washington. One of my favorite things to do is walk through D.C. on a weekend night, without any plans or directions. I usually end up strolling the National Mall, watching the sun set over the National Monument. I'll wander down to the wharf and get a crab cake sandwich and a mix. I'll wander through Chinatown, listening to guys beat on buckets or drum pads, or watch. I'll stroll up to Logan Circle and watch toddlers wobble alongside their parents and dogs chasing after squirrels.

I've spent the last few years adding stamps to my passport and collecting memories. But one of the best things about traveling, to me, is returning home. I never get tired of looking at the Washington Monument during landing at DCA airport, or pulling into Union Station on the Amtrak. It feels new to me every time, like it did six years ago.

Sound off: What's your favorite spot to relax in D.C.?