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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report Labor Day Weekend in DC

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A long Labor Day weekend in Washington was nice, but not enough. We visited friends, so no hotel recommendation this time. They live in a Washington suburb, so it took us about 1 hour (drive + metro) to get into the city each day.

We got there Friday night, to maximize the available time. Coming from NYC (first trip to DC), we were impressed by I-95: wide, well marked and maintained, and not a lot of traffic.

Saturday, we had reservations for the Capitol tour (which was very interesting and enjoyable) at 10:40. I don’t think we actually needed reservations, the line was not long at that time. Lunch at the Capitol’s cafeteria – was ok, not bad really, and fast, which was what we needed. From there, via the tunnel, to the Library of Congress; loved that building. We could’ve spent the entire day there, there is so much to see.

Late afternoon, because we had a little more time left, we stopped for about an hour at the Archives. The bus driver that took us from LOC to the Archives was the nicest and most patient bus driver ever. Thank you! There was a long line to get into the Archives, but it moved fast and we only went to the Rotunda, where the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution are. We did not have time for more, so we need to go back some day.

Sunday, the Museum of American History , the Museum of Natural History (just to see the gems and the Hope Diamond), and then a leisurely walk to the Washington Monument . While there, we saw the presidential helicopter (I think) landing at the White House, escorted by other 2 helicopters. Great picture op :)

We had a slice of pizza for dinner at the Union Station, then the Tourmobile night tour – a highlight of our DC visit. The monuments are amazing!

The first stop (25 min) is at the Jefferson Memorial – although it was not quite dark at the time to appreciate the lights, the sunset was very nice. The next stop, another 25 min at the FDR Memorial, then 45 min for Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam Memorials, then a last 25-30 minutes to the WWII Memorial. Wish we had more time at each stop, but it was a great tour anyway. Be warned, this is a fairly fast paced tour – the walking distance from the bus to each monument is long enough, and several elderly people chose to stay on the bus and only see the monuments from a distance. The entire tour lasted about 3 ½ hrs, so by 10:30 we were back at Union Station.

Other tings that we liked in DC: restaurants, metro, museums and generally, public areas are not as chilled as in NYC. You can actually enjoy whatever you’re doing there without a sweater. Metro is sooooo clean (although, we did see a rat there, too). No graffiti, carpeted floors, cushion seats on the trains, and no crowds. Oh, and most museums are free, and weather was perfect.

What we didn’t like: the distances are very long, and metro stations not as frequent as we would’ve liked. The other thing that did not impress us, and I understand, this is such a personal opinion, is the style of the buildings. They are all massive, same greek/roman style, with huge columns, and little personality. The city seems cold, distant and impersonal, although that might be because we did not have enough time to discover other areas…

But overall, we liked DC, and will go back someday.

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