First of all, I really appreciate all your advice and helpful tips.
And I am trying hard to become a more realistic person traveling with a wife and two little kids so I googled and tried to narrow down the list.
In doing so, I found out that Newport, RI can be a great addition after visits to busy cities like DC and New York. I like big cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles but at the same time, I like visiting Lake Tahoe kinda places for beautiful scenery and relax without too many crowds.
So I'm doing DC, New York and Rhode Island.
Under here, I have list of things my family wants to visit but please remember that for example like museums. There are so many but we will pick only one just to feel what it's like seeing masterpieces in person. So out of National Gallery of Art, DC, The Met, NY, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia and Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, we're visiting only one place. It can be the last one cuz instead of being in such famous and giant museum with so many people, we might be better off with rather small and less crowded museum. I may be wrong. Anyway, that's my concept of planning my trip. Same thing with zoos. We have Bronx zoo, NY, National Zoological Park, DC and Roger Williams Park Zoo, RI. I feel like visiting the last one with less crowd and we're not planning spending the whole day at the zoo or museums. Maybe half day at the most. So even if the list is long and ambitious, I will pick only one within the same category.
DC: 2-3 days
- National Gallery of Art
- Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool(In most of these memorials, we might stay there for like 10 mins to see them in person and to take a picture)
- Jefferson Memorial
- National Mall
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum(maybe spending a half day)
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History(Don't know if this is the one with many dinosuar skeleton exhibits like in the movies. Or the one in NY might be the one. We'll pick one)
- Tidal Basin
- National Zoological Park
- White House
- Korean War Veterans Memorial
- FBI(just driving by to see the building in person and photo shoot op)
- Pentagon(same as FBI, not spending long time)
- Georgetown(shopping and people watching, couple hours so)
- Alexandria(same as Georgetown)
New York: 3-4 days
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Central Park
- Ferry Rides to Staten Island or Governors Island (just to get closer to the Statue of Liberty and spend some time if we go to Governors Island. But, we can skip this ferry ride entirely if the lines are too long considering our limited time)
- Top of the Rock (visit there 1 hour before sunset to spend a couple hours up there)
- Empire State building (just to check the lobby and photo op)
- Brooklyn Bridge (wanna be in that specific street or avenue to take a picture of that famous bridge in the background)
- Grand Central Terminal (just to check or skip it)
- The High Line
- 9/11 Memorial
- West Village and Midtown(I don't know if I'm right, the neighborhood in Gossip Girl)
- Greenwich village
- Chrysler building
- Flatiron building
- Times Square at night time.
- Fifth Avenue (including FAO)
- New York Stock Exchange (Bull statue)
- Meatpacking district
- Battery Park
Lot of places I have here are for just seeing it person and to feel what it's like being in there. Not spending too much time in one place. And if some of the places are hard to reach using Metro, we might save those places for last and drive by just to see them in person. And might skip entirely if we don't have time.
Philadelphia: skip entirely or half or one full day at the most
- Liberty Bell
- Philadelphia Museum of Art (if we decided to visit this one instead of other museums)
- Independence Hall
- Reading Terminal Market(maybe for lunch)
Rhode Island: 2-3 days
- Roger Williams Park Zoo
- Brown University
- Roger Williams Park
- All those great mansions (The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rough Point so on)
- Ocean Drive
- Cliff Walk
- Castle Hill Lighthouse
- Brenton Point State Park
to see changing leaves colors and make our drive a loop instead of going back and forth if we have time on the way from or to Dulles international to catch our flight. I read Best America's Fall Food Festivals and National Apple Harvest Festival seems intriguing but if it's too crowded and such a pain getting there, No. Anyone know good local farmer's market that opens once a week where there are good food and pony ride for kids, something like that. That might be good for kids.
For people reading my 4th thread, I have a family of four with my wife and 8 year old and less than 2 year old kids. My flight arrives in Dulles on Oct 1 at around 4:30 pm and leaves from Dulles on Oct 13 8 am. I can't change my flights and I already paid for rental vehicle so I have take my SUV wherever I go even if I'm leaving in a garage in New York or DC no matter what.
Thank you again for all your help and advice.
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