Day Trip to DC

Old Apr 8th, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Day Trip to DC

I am taking a daytrip to DC next week. I have been down there before, but haven't really visited anything. I am going to take metro. What would you suggest to visit? I would like to stick to the free atractions. I think just about everything is free except the International Spy Museum. Are all the smithsonian museums free? Also, where is a good place for a cheap lunch? Any good places in Chinatown? Which metro station is close to everything? I am planning on checking the mall/chinatown area. I have already been to Georgetown and Alexandria. Also, is Washington DC walking friendly?
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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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I've attached a link to the Metro Map that hopefully will help you. It would depend on your decision as to what you want to visit, but we've always used the Smithsonian stop. The Smithsonian Musuem bldgs are free. It depends on whether or not you want to see all of the exhibits and how much time you spend in each, but we have been able to make it through the 3 main bldgs in a day. We love walking around the D.C. area, but I have no knowledge as to how close it is to Chinatown. We also like to visit the Holocaust Museum, the National Art Museum and the National Zoo. These are free as well. Hope this helps.

http://www.wmata.com/metrorail/systemmap.cfm
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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 12:57 PM
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The closest Metro stop to Chinarown is Gallery Place; the closest to the Smithsonian is Smithsonian.

You could actually walk from some of the Smithsonian buildings on Constitution Avenue to Chinatown if you wanted to.
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Old Apr 8th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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All Smithsonian museums are free, as is the National Gallery.

If you're thinking of visiting the Spy Museum, it's 2 blocks south of Chinatown. Sorry I can't really recommend a place to eat there as I've never eaten there. The stop would be Gallery Place on the Yellow/Green/Red line.

As for a cheap lunch, there's Fuddruckers and Five Brothers for burgers near Chinatown. I like going to Les Halles, although that may not be cheap. What is your budget for a cheap lunch? There are also plenty of places in the Old Post Office (think pizza, fast food Chinese, Indian), or the Ronald Reagan International Center at the Federal Triangle stop.

The Mall is within walking distance from Chinatown. Check out the Smithsonian's website at http://www.si.edu and their maps at http://www.si.edu/visit/maps.htm
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 07:26 PM
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The Smithsonial Metro station is NOT always the best/closest location for a Smithsonian museum ... there are several different Smithsonians, and it depends upon which you are visiting for the closest Metro station ... for example the Native Indian museum best served by Federal SW or L'Enfant Plaza. I think the Smithsonian website advises you on best stop.

Near Chinatown is the National Building Museum - which suggests but does not enfouce a $5 donation, and with it's changing exhibits and the beautiful building it is makes it a stop for me on each visit to DC.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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If you want to maximize your time in the Smithsonian museums, I'd bite the bullet and eat in one of them. Not great food but convenient. Chinatown is about a 10-15 minute walk from the Constitution Avenue side of the Smithsonian (near 7th St.) so you could do Chinese food if you want.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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If you're going to eat at the Smithsonian museums, here's a link to look at. Avoid Air and Space where it's only fast food.

http://www.si.edu/dining/default.htm

If eating in a museum is what you'll think you'll end up doing, the National Gallery is another place to go. Here's their link http://www.nga.gov/ginfo/cafes.shtm

Enjoy.

Oh, and yes, I feel DC is walking friendly. Just make sure you have a pair of comfortable walking shoes/sneakers. The pebbles across the Mall are real hard on dress shoes.
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 05:15 AM
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Is Chinatown only a 10 minute walk from the smithsonian station?
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 05:42 AM
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If it's really only a daytrip, then I think you need to really plan your trip thoroughly. For example, I recently went to the American History Museum, and while we are VERY quick museum-goers and many exhibits were closed, it still took 3 hours. At 3 hours in one museum, you might not get to many. You should decide if you want to see a few of the museums 80-90% or more museums for a select group of exhibits at each. The American History museum will be closing at Labor Day for a 2-year overhaul (which I believe is very much needed).

There are tons of restaurants off Pennsylvania Ave and higher (a couple blocks off the mall). There is a nice food court in the Reagan Building, if you want cheap. If you want better food, there's Les Halles (French, up to $25/pp for lunch) and Chef Geoff's (American and variety (delicious!), up to $20-25 at lunch) on/near Penn Ave about even with the American History Museum, and Jaleo (wonderful tapas), Rosa Mexicana (upscale Mexican), Clydes (American), between the Mall and Chinatown, near the MCI Center. You could walk from the Mall to Chinatown in about 10-15, depending on where you are.

This time of year, with the thousands of tourists, DC is very walking friendly (and VERY car unfriendly). If you want to take Metro between further points, that can help too.

Wear sneakers, and make sure to leave time to look around the Monuments and the Mall. Right now, the outdoor spaces in DC are more beautiful than the insides of the museums.
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