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DC - room booked. So much to see in 6 days. Help?

DC - room booked. So much to see in 6 days. Help?

Feb 12th, 2007, 05:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,336
DC - room booked. So much to see in 6 days. Help?

We'll be at the Tabard Inn for 6 nights during the middle of May.

I just spent another couple of hours reading posts and other people's itineraries but I'm not making much headway with my own. It's our 1st visit and we have so many things we hope to see/do. I'll try to give some absolutes and then maybe you can guide me through this maze.

I taught Picture Memory to a group of 4th graders for 3 years - and all the pictures came from the National Gallery so that is - of course - a must. Probably a full day there - maybe culminating with Jazz in the Garden? Lots of cafes - where is the best? (I know that's subjective, but you can give YOUR opinion!)

So many museums. How can we choose. Rate your favs?

Have to see the main monuments, Vietnam is a must in this category.

We love books, history,gardens, cooking, quirky places, unusual restaurants - hate chains - don't mind walking. We aren't shoppers and can miss all the government things this trip..

We will leave by train for NYC - what is the best way to get there from the Tabard?

If you were limited to 2 things to see/do in Washingon, What would they be?

Thanks....... I'll be back with more erratic questions.
Brahmama is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 12:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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We find the easiest way to get around a new town is to take the Old Town trolley.You can get on/off all day and the driver is a very good guide.The next days can then be used for the things you really want to explore in depth.Tickets can be bought via Internet and are cheaper this way.Paul
tovarich is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 05:06 AM
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If you like gardens and history, I recommend getting tickets to tour Hillwood, which is the Marjorie Merriweather Post estate http://www.hillwoodmuseum.org/.
You'll have to take a cab from the Tabard, but it is not too far. Another great place in the spring is Dumbarton Oaks http://www.doaks.org/.

With respect to getting from the Tabard to Union Station, the easiest way is by Metro. Just walk over the Dupont Circle stop and hop on the red line in the direction of Silver Spring/Glenmont and get off right at Union Station.
Ruff is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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We were in D.C.for the dedication of the WWII Monument and were very impressed with it (long overdue), as well as FDR's, Lincoln, and especially the Korean (my husband is a vet).

We went to Mt. Vernon by boat one day. The trip on the Potomac was pleasant and thought our tour was great.

Loved the National Gallery and even though you're not shoppers, the museum stores are very impressive.

We went to both Air/Space museums. The Holocaust Museum is very moving, as was our visit at Arlington Cemetery.

Would suggest taking in plays at the Kennedy Center and/or Ford Theatre. We did both and were glad we did.

Kind of corny but fun was our tour with the DC Ducks. We had a good guide and in addition to some silliness did get some interesting facts and info about the city. We also did the hop on/off bus noted by a previous poster.

Union Station is impressive. You might want to allow some time to look around before you take your train.
Giovanna is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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excellent suggestion about the bus. We will certainly do that. I"m sure I can find it under Old Town.

Thanks for the garden info and also the way to get to the train!

Museum shopping we enjoy! I was referring more to fashion shopping when I said we were't shoppers. I will certainly check that out. Did you happen to eat at the National Gallery?

Did you go on a tour to see the monuments (those are the ones we want to see also) or just stroll by them when you were in the area? Just thinking of the Lincoln Memorial is awesome.

I will definitely check out the plays at the Kennedy and Ford Theatre.

I can't believe I left out music when I was giving our priorities. I have degrees in music, I taught music and I'm still performing music in a limited way!

I need to do some searches for Washington Itineraries and see what pops up. This is harder than Europe.

Brahmama is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 01:43 PM
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You must see the monuments during the day AND then go see the Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam at night if possible. It is awesome!

If you want to go to the top of the Washington Monument (I recommend it)...order your tickets in advance! They are timed tickets so it is easy to do. You can find the website under the National Parks website.

Best view and great place for lunch? The rooftop patio at Hotel Washington.

The capital is beautiful too. You can do a short tour of the inside - again tickets in advance.

One last "land mark"...for lunch...Ben's Chili Bowl. Has been there for YEARS and is absolutely the best chili dog and chili fries you will ever taste. It is an experience in itself!!!

A really nice dinner...Fogo de Chao...or the Occidental gril....

I have lived here for just over 4 years...and there are so many things to do! You'll be back!

cwojo99 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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Best advice: Check with your Congressman or Senator's office. They can provide you with tours, info, etc. The only way to see the White House these days is with a group, but you can usually get in a group through their office.
Secret tip: When you are on Capitol Hill. Eat at the Montpelier Room on the top floor of the Madison Library--just behind and to the north of the Capitol Building.
Finally, make an A,B, C list of your priorities. On your next trip, you may get to "B"!
Vera is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:27 PM
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Brahmama: Yes, we had lunch at the National Gallery before we started touring galleries. It wasn't really the quality I expect in museum cafes but it was okay. More of a "food fair" than a sit down and be waited on sort of arrangement. Lots of choices of different kinds of food though.

We just went to the monuments on our own, walked from the WWII to Lincoln at the other end of the reflecting pool and saw the Korean at dusk. It was incredible, with the life-size figures trudging along with some light reflecting on them. They really came alive and your heart ached for them because of what they were going through.

Here are some websites that might help:

http://www.wmata.com/ (DC Metro)

I didn't check to see if these are still fresh, so forgive me if they're not.

Let me know if I can help further.

Giovanna is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 08:23 PM
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Some of my favorite things in DC are:
seeing the monuments (which we have done on our own) but also seeing them lit at night, which was just breathtaking - esp the Lincoln Memorial which I could just stand and look at lit at night until my family elbows me to move on

The Holocaust Musuem (you can get your tickets ahead of time online)

The Library of Congress; for the amazing marble columns, mosaics, staircases, beauty of the building - even if only to walk through for an hour

standing on the steps of the Supreme Court bldng even if you don't go inside

Washington National Cathedral - gorgeous building to walk in - and if you like music, they have impressive concerts, carillons, choral presentations which all take my breath away - their concert events are listed on their web page -

Tomb of the Unknowns

Enjoying an evening meal at Georgia Browns

escargot is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 03:27 AM
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For music, the Kennedy Center has free concerts every evening I believe. Usually around 6.
RuthMc is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:23 AM
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With respect to museum food, go to the Museum of the American Indian, which is a little like a food court, but very good and unusual food.

For live music, check out the Birchmere Web site. Also, look at the WPAS site (Washington Performing Arts Society) to see what concerts they are presenting when you are here.

Food at the Hotel Washington isn't anything special, but being on the rooftop patio IS.

I've never much liked Georgia Brown's; DC Coast, which is nearby, I think is much better -- just my opinion. Also, Ten Pehn (at 1000 Pennsylvania Ave.) is good. Also, for a very DC experience--aside from Ben's Chili Bowl which is great--go to Mama Ayesha's on Calvert. Also, one of our favorite, local spots is Polly's on U Street -- a bar with an excellent kitchen. I don't think they are open for lunch. But, for lunch, Love Cafe on 15th and U St. is good.
Ruff is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Brahmama. You'll find it under www.oldtowntrolley.com Have fun Paul
tovarich is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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For plant lovers, the BOtanical Gardens are a MUST see. On the side of the mall near the capitol. I would avoid the Natural History and American History musuems--they are generally so crowded that it is hard to appreciate what you are trying to see. I echo the plusses for the National Gallery. Have at least one dinner at the Tabard Inn--it is the MOST romantic place to eat in DC. If you don't mind the metro, you might want to visit Arlington National Cemetary--it is quietly awe-inspiring and has a lot of history.
carolyna is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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The Smithsonian museum of American History is closed for renovations.
Anonymous is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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With all due respect and I do love the idea of the Tabard...I thought it was a dump. Our tub was so small you could not turn around in it and it was slimey. I would never stay there again. The price of the rooms is not cheap either and for that cost you could stay at a far better place in Dupont Circle: The Inn at Dupont.

I rarely make such strong comments on lodging but you still have time to try and book another hotel.

The Bar at the Tabard is a wonderful experience and would suggest that for your trip.
PamSF is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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We took the Monuments by Moonlight tour last March. There was a light fog when we go to the Korean War Memorial. That was incredibly eerie and a moving experience. We came back during the day to take pictures as the fog would bounce the light from our camera flash and wash out the pictures.
rm_mn is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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Thanks for the websites. I blush to say that I haven't checked them out yet. But I will.
Thanks for mentioning the National Cathedral. That is a must and I'd forgotten to add it anywhere. Also, good to know about the Library of Congress. And the Tombs of the Unknown. (Which are where?)
I will definitely check out the concerts at the Kennedy Center! Thanks for mentioning this.
So sorry you had such a rotten experience at the Tabard. I have read dozens of reviews and the great majority have enjoyed it. I hope we will be part of that majority! We will certainly spend time at the Bar - thanks for mentioning that.
I'm still trying to find a Tour of the Monuments - both for day and night. Do you have a website?

Thanks to all. I'm beginning to come up with a rough itinerary and will post it when it's decent.

Brahmama is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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So many museums. How can we choose. Rate your favs?
The National Gallery of Art is world class - plan at least 1/2 day there. Other don't miss art museums include hirshhorn.si.edu/ , http://www.corcoran.org (Don't miss the Modernism show!), americanart.si.edu/ , and http://www.phillipscollection.org

We love books, history,gardens, cooking, quirky places, unusual restaurants - hate chains - don't mind walking. We aren't shoppers and can miss all the government things this trip.
I could give pages on this, maybe later...

We will leave by train for NYC - what is the best way to get there from the Tabard?
Walk 3 blocks to the Dupont Circle Metro station and take the Red Line to Union Station to catch your Amtrak train.

If you were limited to 2 things to see/do in Washington, What would they be?

1) A day at the National Gallery of Art 2) A night out on U st.
bardo1 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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The statements about "quirky things" and "we aren't shoppers, and can miss the government things" brought to mind a list of (relatively) off-the beaten path things I wrote out for another poster. For a 1st time visit, you will probably have your hands full with seeing the main monuments, but just in case any of this may appeal to your particular interests, I've copied it below:

What I can offer are some suggestions for for ways to see Washington that are slightly off-the-beaten path; whether any of them become "must sees" for you will depend in large part upon your particular interests.

-- The "not as popular" museums -- There are so many museums in Washington that very few people will ever see them all. Even if you think you have already "done" the Mall, look again at your map--have you been to the Freer Gallery? The Library of Congress? (the guided tour of the latter is particularly informative). Then there are the museums that are actually quite close to the Mall, but just far enough away that they land on fewer itineraries: the National Building Museum, the American Textile Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Phillips Collection could all be put in this category. The Anacostia Community Museum and Udvar-Hazy Annex of the Air & Space museum are both part of the Smithsonian but located outside the downtown area. Then there are a number of museum/garden combinations in what used to be the private residences of some of Washington's famous and or wealthy citizens: Dubarton Oaks, Hillwood Museum and Gardens, and the Woodrow Wilson House are a few that come to mind.

--Outdoor spaces: U.S. Botanic Gardens (small gem right on the Mall, but often overlooked); U.S. Arboretum (much bigger space, check the website to see what will be in bloom during your visit--you might be there during azalea time); Rock Creek park for hiking, biking or horseback riding; East Potomac Park to see cherry blossoms (if the time is right) in a setting less crowded than the tidal basin. For the sake of completeness, I will also mention Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in this category, though you will be there too early to see their famous waterlilies in bloom.

-- Explore one or more of DC's residential neighborhoods: there are self-guided "Neighborhood Heritage Trails" that can help you do this here: http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/inf...nformation.htm The Historic Preservation Office has developed some beautiful brochures about the city's various historic districts that you could use to supplement the walking tour information, or use to decide which neighborhood you might enjoy: http://planning.dc.gov/planning/cwp/...av,|33515|.asp
You can also look for neighborhood activies such as the First Friday receptions held at Dupont Circle art galleries, or Eastern Market, where you will found an outdoor food/craft/flea market on Capitol Hill on Saturdays and Sundays.

-- Step back and get a sense of the geography: soemtimes you have to leave the city in order to appreciate its geographic position at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Crossing, or going out on one of the rivers, is often the best way to do this. In the former category, the LBJ Memorial Grove, Roosevelt Island, Great Falls Park (VA), and a restaurant in Alexandria called Indigo Landing (near National Airport) all offer interesting vantage points, as well as opportunities for walking and biking. In the latter category, there are various types of boat cruises -- big and small, plain and fancy --to be taken leaving from the Southwest waterfront as well as Georgetown. Some will do a simple round trip, and some will take you to Alexandria, VA. One of the longest, but most interesting if you have time, will take you all the way to Mt. Vernon.

--Attend a cultural performance -- There are a number of performance venues in Washington that are historic in their own right, and give a feel for different aspects of D.C. culture: Ford's Theater, the Lincoln Theater, and the Kennedy Center come to mind in this regard. Note that the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage has a free concert of some sort every evening at 6:00 p.m. There are also a number of musical concerts of all types in other venues unique to DC, ranging from free of charge to minimal charge to full charge. The National Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Natural History, the Hirschhorn, Phillips, and Corcoran galleries, among others, have regularly scheduled concert series, you'll have to check to see what's going in April. The Corcoran often has a Sunday gospel music brunch as well -- call for the schedule. The National Cathedral, the Church of the Ephiphany (downtown on the 1300 block of G Street NW), and many foreign embassies also offer concerts on a regular basis. Blues Alley is a smoke-free jazz club in Georgetown worht checking out. In addition to the websites of the various venues, two good places to find such performance information collected in one place are the Washington City paper (a free weekly that comes out on Thursdays, and also has website: washingtoncitypaper.com) and the website dcist.com.
MoonGirl is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 04:10 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 254
Good suggestions so far. Here is my list:

Well-known to-do's:
- Smithsonian American History
- Smithsonian Air and Space
- Lincoln Memorial, preferably at night
- War memorials
- Kennedy Center Performance

Lesser known, but underrated IMHO:
- Anything you can get into through your Congressperson's office
- Library of Congress - sooo underrated
- If there is a boring Supreme Court case in session with not a massive interest, try try try to get in (the "good" cases are jam packed with insiders)

Outside of DC - worth doing:
- If you have 1/2 day: Great Falls (referenced already in this thread)
- If you have 1 very full day: Day trip to Shenandoah Nat'l Park

Enjoy our capitol! It is partially yours, remember!
HonestAbe is offline  

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