Washington Monument, Washington D.C.

Cracking Codes in Washington D.C.

I cannot resist a challenge or puzzle that needs to be solved. Yes, I am a huge dork at times and can be super competitive, but I couldn’t have been more excited to win a quest from Urban Quest for solving one of their Friday puzzles on Facebook. I mean, how can you go wrong combining travel and puzzles/challenges? Maybe that’s why I love The Amazing Race and one of my favorite childhood movies was The Chipmunk Adventure. Plus, winning the quest came at a perfect time for us as we were heading to Washington, D.C. in a couple of weeks, and this is a location where a quest is offered.

Washington Monument, Washington D.C.

An Urban Quest challenge is basically a scavenger hunt around a city. You receive directions that lead you to a starting point, and as you work through the challenge, you answer questions which then, in turn, guide you to a new location. All of the answers you collect along the way then get used to determine your ending point by giving you a password to unlock your final location, which is a restaurant. You are able to schedule a reservation for a restaurant when you activate your request, but if you chose not to make a reservation, you can opt out. The restaurants are broken into categories, like American, Indian, Thai and so on, and a price range is given for each. If you chose to make a reservation, it is set up for 2 hours after the start time you select, which should give you more than enough time to complete the entire quest–we completed our quest in an hour and we took a couple stops along the way as well. The quests give you the amount of ground you will cover walking, in our case it was just over two miles, so bring your walking shoes. The quests are designed at 3 levels, easy, medium and hard. We did the National Mall quest, which was rated easy–this was the only option available for Washington, D.C., but other cities have multiple options. This quest would be a great way to get children involved and interested in history if even for a couple hours.

Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial, Washington D.C.

Our ending point was a restaurant called Founding Farmers, but unfortunately we decided to forego our reservation because we changed our plans and did not complete the quest at our “scheduled” time. We did, however, walk by this restaurant the previous evening before we knew it would be our final destination, and it looked like a great restaurant. One advantage of these quests is even if you schedule your start time, you can complete the quest at your leisure, and there are no rules. You can take pit stops, use your phone to help with answers to the questions, or anything else you decide.

Korean War Vetrans Memorial, Washington D.C.

National World War II Memorial, Washington D.C.

It is a fun way to see different areas of a city that you might otherwise miss, and you may even learn a thing or two because it actually gets you involved in a specific area and, in our case, the history and meaning of the various monuments. Micah wasn’t too sure about the quest when I brought the idea up, he thought it sounded a little boring and too much work, but we both had much more fun completing the quest than we expected–he actually enjoyed the process and said he would be willing do one again. I would love to share more details about the actual quest, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone if they decide to complete the same one! The pictures in this post may or may not have been along the path of the scavenger hunt 😉