View Full Version : This time...IF you were planning a trip to Washington DC...

molly in cr
04-08-2011, 08:26 AM
Now we are exploring a trip to DC. What are the MUST sees and does anyone know of an inexpensive place to stay? We're probably looking at 3 days there.

Elysa Mac
04-08-2011, 09:00 AM
We are also planning a DC trip and hubby is planning on us staying in one of the outlying areas at a hotel right by a subway station. That will be cheaper and then we can just catch the subway into DC to do the museums, etc. I think we are going to stay in Fairfax? I'll double check with the hubs.

One lesser known museum that he wants us to do as he has done it on a business trip and loved it is the Spy Museum. It isn't free and it is a bit pricey but he says it is worth it.

Jennifer in VA
04-08-2011, 09:06 AM
Elysa - when are you coming to D.C.? Fairfax is not that far! We live a few miles from the Springfield, VA end of the Blue Metro Line.

Not sure where to stay or what to do. I've lived outside of D.C. so long that it has become something to avoid as opposed to going and visiting.

If I were to go visit, I'd want to see the big Monuments (Washington, Jefferson, & Lincoln). There's an arboritum, too I believe. Tons of museums, but would want to research, on-line before coming so that I could try to figure out what to miss and not miss.

Elysa Mac
04-08-2011, 09:30 AM
Oops...it is actually ARLINGTON that we are staying in. Just talked to hubby and there is a Hampton Inn right on King Street. A trolley runs by it and we can catch that to the harbor where there is a ferry? water taxi? Something like that. Anyway, there is a water vehicle we can ride in across to DC.

And Jennifer, I will message you when we are going. But us being in Arlington might put us too far away.

04-08-2011, 10:05 AM
Must see (imo):

Smithsonian (pick one or two of the museums that would appeal most to you; if you want a snack break the Museum of the American Indian has the best & most unique food)

Monuments (can take a nighttime tour that will drop you at various monuments; my favorites are the Korean War Memorial [near the Lincoln Memorial], FDR's Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial)

Mt. Vernon (if you can get there -- if you don't have a car, you will have to get there by bus tour or a boat)

If you have time, get your photo in front of the White House, Capitol, and Washington Monument

Other options (if you want something a little different):

If you want a city view but can't get tickets for the Washington Monument, go to the Old Post Office Tower (http://www.nps.gov/opot/planyourvisit/index.htm). Great view, much less hassle as far as crowds, etc...

If you are major Star Wars fans, there is a Darth Vader gargoyle on the National Cathedral (http://www.nationalcathedral.org/about/darthVader.shtml). There are actually many very neat gargolyes there & it is fun to take a picnic & binoculars. (There is a book in the gift shop that shows the gargoyles & talks about them.) We were lucky in that a super helpful Cathedral employee saw us, came out & gave us a personal tour, pointing out all sorts of neat things.

Go on a mule-pulled canal boat ride on the C&O canal (http://www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit/publicboatrides.htm). You even get to go through a lock. (Doing this at the Georgetown location is pretty close to downtown D.C.)

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm (http://www.1771.org/) is pretty neat too.

Christi in VA
04-08-2011, 12:12 PM
You must put a shout-out for those of us who can get into the DC area, so that we can meet up. Elysa!, Molly! --and anyone else who might come this way. We are always open to taking a field trip!

I second the Native American museum and their food. We loooved it!!!

Rachel Jane
04-08-2011, 12:19 PM

04-08-2011, 12:55 PM
We were just in DC, as my ds lives in Alexandria. This time we went to Ford's Theater and Lincoln's summer cottage, and toured the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Other places we have really liked:
~ tour of the capital bldg.
~ Mount Vernon
~ Native American Museum
~ American History Museum
~ Monuments tour

Jen in SC
04-08-2011, 03:42 PM
We'll be there soon too! I want to know when you're all gonna be there! :D

Michelle B.
04-08-2011, 04:00 PM
We went to mt vernon on the transit system (buses) WARNING the bus does not take the train tokens!!!!! We went to the museum of crime and punishment and it was neat!!! They film america's most wanted there.

You might want to order tickets to Washington monument VERY early!!! OR be prepared to stand in line EARLY!!! DH went on an am run and stood in line with TONS of tour guides.

Aquarium was small.

Kendall in GA
04-08-2011, 06:52 PM
Oops...it is actually ARLINGTON that we are staying in. Just talked to hubby and there is a Hampton Inn right on King Street.

Good choice...You'll be a hop, skip & a jump from the District. :)

molly in cr
04-09-2011, 09:19 AM
We'll be there soon too! I want to know when you're all gonna be there! :D

We'll be there sometime in May (crossing fingers). In our family you just have to get used to things changing daily. ;)

Kendall in GA
04-09-2011, 01:58 PM
Here's a good, FREE walking tour: http://www.dcbyfoot.com/.

Be sure to grab a bite to eat at Ben's: http://www.benschilibowl.com/ordereze/default.aspx.

Here are a few things I didn't see listed:

Library of Congress Tour
Union Station ~ You can grab a bite to eat and check out the nearby Postal Museum
Holocaust Museum ~ The children's section is neat.

IMO, it's hard to go wrong with any of the museums in D.C. There's so much to see and do!! Wear comfy shoes, carry a water bottle and a map and you're good to go!! The METRO is your friend...Ditch having a car and hit the streets.

I went to college in D.C. and LOVE it! I try to get back as often as I can....Have fun!! :)

Jen in SC
04-09-2011, 02:32 PM
We'll be there sometime in May (crossing fingers). In our family you just have to get used to things changing daily. ;)

Late May/Early June for us. :)

Elysa Mac
04-09-2011, 03:06 PM
Good choice...You'll be a hop, skip & a jump from the District. :)

Thanks for that confirmation, Kendall. I'll be on my own much of the time while hubby is in meetings so I want ease of travel with the 7 kids. Praise God that three of them are teenagers and reliable, good ones at that.:)

04-09-2011, 09:06 PM
We'll be in DC (well, Maryland right near DC) for the week of June 13th for National History Day!

04-10-2011, 07:14 AM
If you're only going to be here a few days and have never been before I think the must sees are the monuments and the Smithsonian. Which Smithosonian musuems depends on your own interests and how old your kids are and how much your family likes to do in a day.

I love the Natural History Musuem, it's my personal favorite. We recently went to Air and Space which is very popular (and crowded) and that was much more fun and interesting than I remembered. American History is newly renovated and has a ton of stuff to see. The National Gallery is also amazing. I'm less impressed with the exhibits in the American Indian Musuem but second or third the recommendation to eat there. We typically eat there when we go to the Mall. It's next door to Air and Space so good so if you are doing Air and Space you could easily go over there after for lunch. The food is expensive, but not more so than any of the other museum cafeterias and much much better. I've also recently eaten at the National Gallery cafeteria and it was ok, better than I remembered with more options.

For where to stay I typically recommend finding a hotel somewhere on the Orange line in Virginia. I don't have a specific place but locations would be Ballston, Clarendon, Courthouse, Rosslyn. Ballston has a big mall and several hotels. There are Metro stops at each of those and each have become in their own way fun neighborhoods. Lots of restuarants, shops, etc. If you stayed anywhere along there I could give you a lot of recs on where to eat cheaply. And if it's a Sunday you'd be near my church and could come visit. :)

For other places to see:
the Zoo: We love it, you can take the Metro, it's free. Asia trail and new Elephant Walk are especially great.
Renwick Gallery: Craft musuem near the White House. Free.
Newsuem: Not free. Interesting exhibits on journalism and politics. As a warning some of the photos exhibited are very disturbing (good to see and remember but would be inappropriate for kids). Those exhibits are easy to avoid though if you want to go to the rest of the musuem.

Not near the mall but within walking distance of each other:
American Potrait Gallery/American Art Museum- Free. Great courtyard in between two museums with a little cafe.
National Building Musuem: Free, wonderful space. Currently they have a fun Lego exhitbit with lego buildings of famous world architecture.
Spy Museum: Really cool. Not free.

Kendall in GA
04-10-2011, 06:58 PM
For other places to see:
the Zoo: We love it, you can take the Metro, it's free.


Laura F
04-10-2011, 09:01 PM
Just wanted to add that Fridays seem to be popular field trip days for local school systems. We recently visited Museum of American History on a Friday, and it was nuts on every floor. The National Gallery, however, was very calm and uncluttered.