DC Itinerary - comments or suggestions

Old Feb 23rd, 2008, 05:37 AM
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DC Itinerary - comments or suggestions

Background: 2 single Aussie females in our early 30s. This is part of a 4 week trip to the US. We will arrive from Boston and depart to NYC. We have 5 nights and 4.5 days in DC from Aug 15th. I haven’t yet decided which day to do each itinerary on, but will have to match it to opening times, especially as we will be there across the weekend.

We are staying at the Residence Inn, Pentagon City and will be using public transport to get around. My friend and I have different interests and may have varying itineraries, so I am just concentrating on mine for now. I have interests in history, photography, some art, architecture and shopping.

(P) is for priority interest. Other things can be dropped if not enough time.

1 Day (out of town):

- (P) Mount Vernon (via Metro & public bus)
- (P) Old Town Alexandria - one of my guide books suggests a 90 minute walk.
- (P) Torpedo Factory in OTA

2 Days (The Mall and surrounds):

(keep in mind I usually only spend an hour or so in each museum and just see what interests me most)

- Bureau of E&P - Visitor Center only (I like looking in museum giftshops)
- (P) Arthur M Sackler Gallery – primarily for photography
- (P) Hirshhorn Museum – primarily for photography and drawings
- National Air & Space Museum – gift shop only
- (P) The Library of Congress – hopefully to do a tour
- (P) The Capitol Building – outside view only
- National Gallery of Art
- Newseum
- National Archives
- American Art Museum
- National Portrait Gallery
- Ford’s Theater – outside, photo opp only
- FBI Building – outside, photo opp only
- Old Post Office & Clock Tower
- (P) National Museum of American History (if it’s open by then)
- The White House Visitor’s Center
- (P) The White House – outside, photo opp only
- Renwick Gallery
- (P) Corcoran Gallery of Art – Impressionists and photography

1 Day:

- Arlington Cemetery - including Tomb of the Unknowns, Changing of the Guard, JFK eternal flame, Arlington House, RE Lee Museum
- Georgetown – One of my guide books suggests a 90 minute walk.

1 Evening (haven’t decided which evening yet):

- DC The Lights Tour by OnBoard DC Tours (formerly Party Shuttle). This stops at the memorials, White House and Capitol Building.

This leaves me with the last day. Our domestic flight to NYC departs Reagan at 6.30pm. We will need to return to the hotel in Pentagon City to collect our bags with enough time to be at the airport (can anyone suggest what time we would need to leave the hotel for the airport?). This will give us a good half day for sightseeing. Possibilities include:

- finishing off sights from the “Mall and surrounds” days above if 2 days is not enough
- the Zoo
- Du Pont Circle / Embassy Row area
- I could possibly move Arlington Cemetery to this half day and combine the Zoo or Du Pont Circle area with Georgetown area as they are closer together.

I'd appreciate any comments, suggestion or feedback on whether this is a doable itinerary, especially the Mall and Surrounds days.
speckles is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2008, 09:52 AM
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I'd add the National Cathedral to the Zoo/Embassy Row day as it is out the same direction and the windows are amazing!
You might also check out the Spy Museum - it was a fun 2-3 hours.
Also - if you are in DC over a Friday night, check the website for the Natural History Museum and see if they have the Jazz Cafe scheduled for when you are there. It was also fun.
We recently did the "go back to the hotel and collect the bags" thing - we were staying in Arlington - 1 or 2 Metro stops past Pentagon City....we left the hotel 2 hours prior to our flight and had a gracious plenty of time...the airport is within 1-2 stops of your station. You will have ample opportunity to gauge it yourself as you travel into/out of the city thruout your time there.
While in Arlington - be sure to see Christ Church - it is a wonderful Episcopal church from the 1700's - Robert E Lee was baptised there and Geo & Martha were members...
The torpedo factory is in actuality a conglomerate of artists' studios - an interesting walk-thru but not a whole lot to it. You will be able to find some great seafood tho in the historic parts of Alex.
The Library of Congress was great - check on-line to determine what times the (free) tours are given - it is worth the effort to go thru it with a docent.
Also check out the Phillips Collection - located out by Dupont Circle - a private art museum that was wonderful. They are open on Thursday nights (check dates) which helps free up some days, as most of the museums, etc close at 5:00 pm.
If you like hamburgers, find one of the Five Guys places - located thruout town - awesome hamburgers and fries!
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Old Feb 27th, 2008, 03:45 PM
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I think your itinerary is doable. Just keep in mind that in August it will be hot and humid, so make sure to drink plenty of water!

The trip to Mount Vernon from Pentagon City will take you about an hour, depending on bus timing (www.wmata.com).

The main part of Old Town Alexandria is about 1 mile (~1.6 km) from the King Street metro station, but there are buses.
cerise is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2008, 04:32 PM
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If u havent already, be sure to check out the thread on Best Tips for DC.

Personally I don't find Alexandria and the Torpedo Factory particularly interesting. I'd go to Mt Vernon and then head back into the city or perhaps do the
1 Day:
- Arlington Cemetery - including Tomb of the Unknowns, Changing of the Guard, JFK eternal flame, Arlington House, RE Lee Museum
- Georgetown – One of my guide books suggests a 90 minute walk. What does the tour in Georgetown involve? There are some interesting buildings and gardens but other than that lots of shopping.
yestravel is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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If you like museum gift shops, you may want to consider a stop at the National Building Museum...great gift shop.

If you decided to "do" the National Cathedral, you might want to consider walking a few blocks North on Wisconsin Aveue to Two Amys Pizza. Two Amys serves excellent Neopolitan style pizza.

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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 08:24 AM
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Viewing the upstairs of the Holocaust Museum could be a 1/2 day thing but just walking in and viewing the downstairs, including Daniel's Story and the Hall of Remembrance doesn't take long at all. It is next door to Printing and Engraving. As for Printing and Engraving (The Mint) pretty boring.

Newseum opens by April.

Madame Tussaud's is a waste of time and ultra expensive.

Spy Museum is interesting. Near restuarant - Jaleo's (tapas)

A great place to eat is the cafe at the Portrait Gallery.

If you were to be there in September the Hist + Tech Musuem would be reopened. Also the new Oceans exhibit in Natural History opens in September
jnathan is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2008, 08:43 AM
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I can never remember which corner of the mall this is in, but my very favorite art installation is the outdoor area (near the National Portrait Gallery?) -- not the Hirschhorn sculpture garden, although I like that too -- that has all kinds of 3-dimensional whimsical art works - Calder, Oldenburg, and the like. I hope someone will chime in with where it is!
Old Feb 28th, 2008, 09:22 AM
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dmlove, you are thinking of the National Gallery of Art's sculpture garden, at the corner of 7th and Constitution. It is across 7th street from the NGA west building and opposite the National Archive on Const.
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Speckles, now that you have directions (thanks kayd), don't miss it!!
Old Feb 28th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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1) dont skip the holocaust museum. its depressing, but one of the most moving experiences I have ever had.

2) The inside of fords theater is much more interesting than one would expect. The short presentation given by the park folks about the night of the assassination was great. It was a surprise highlight from my past dc trips.

3) Didn't see the vietnam wall memorial specifically on your list - but don't miss it. very moving.

Definitely don't go on the FBI building tour. Very lame IMO.
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Old Feb 28th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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We actually loved the FBI, but it doesn't matter, because to my knowledge, they haven't given tours since 9/11.
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 01:48 AM
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Hi all. Thanks for the suggestions.

Yestravel, yes I have checked out the Best Tips for DC thread.

I don't think I really have time to add anything much to my itinerary, especially the days in the Mall area. I'm not interested in the Spy Museum or Holocaust Museum, but I think my friend will visit them. I've been to Dachau in Germany (very somber experience) and also think visiting a Holocaust museum in the US is somewhat akin to visiting a US Civil War museum in France - it would seem a little out of place.

Jnathan, I'm not intending visiting the Bureau of E&P, just the shop in the visitor center.

Dmlove and kayd, I'll add the sculpture garden to my list.

Gofrank150, my friend is interested in seeing inside Ford's Theater, but when I checked the website it is closed for renovation. I'll be visiting the memorials on a night bustour to save time in the day for other activities. And the FBI tour is also closed as dmlove states.

speckles is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 02:03 AM
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Yestravel, the 90 minute walk through Georgetown outlined in my guidebook covers the following:

Start at Wisconsin & S St and head east. It snakes its way around past:
- Dumbarton Oaks
- Tudor Place
- Montrose Park
- Oak Hill Cemetery
- Evermay
- Dumbarton House
- Mt Zion Cemetery
- Mt Zion Church
- former house of Jackie Kennedy
- St John's Episcopal Church
- Smith Row
- The Kennedy's home
- Cox's Row
- Georgetown Uni
- Francis Scott Key Park
- Cady's Alley
- Dean & DeLuca
- Georgetown Park
- C & O Canal
- Washington Harbor
- Old Stone House
speckles is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2008, 05:48 AM
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The gardens at Dumbarton Oaks, Tudor Place, and the Old Stone House are all closed on Mondays.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2008, 12:49 PM
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Nice tour in Georgetown.. assume its self-guided? Georgetown Park is a shopping Mall and Dean and Delucca right next tour is a speciality grocery store. Gardens could be nice if open on the day you'll be doing the tour and the architecture should be interesting combined with the history.
I think someone already warned u about the possbility of high humidity in August, so dress lightly.
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