First time to Washington D.C.

Jul 20th, 2011, 09:44 PM
  #1  
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First time to Washington D.C.

I just got to Washington on a last minute travel and checked in at a hotel in New Carrollton with my wife and my 13 and 9 years old children. We'll stay for 4 days and we have no clue about what to do. We've heard the basic information (The Mall, The white house, the holocaust museum and the Arlington cemetery) but we don't have any idea of how to get started and where to go first.
The only think I know is that I should leave the car at the hotel and ride the Metro (they offer a free bus to the New Carrollton Metro station).
Another important thing is that we don't want to end each of our 4 days exhausted and if we leave something without a visit, we don't care since we'll be back some time next year.
Any ideas of how to see the most important places without going crazy and exhausted?
Thanks!!!!
psevoznik is offline  
Jul 20th, 2011, 10:21 PM
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Most curious.No plan. 4 people.Get a small guide book quick.
captbuzz is offline  
Jul 21st, 2011, 12:39 AM
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Try using the TourMobile which takes you past all the most-visited sites including the Cemetery and you can hop on and hop off. Whatever you do get started EARLY as the heat is going to be brutal these next couple of days. You don;t need a guidebook necessarily since you've already listed some of the places you want to see.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2011, 03:47 AM
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I agree with Dukey with using the Tourmobile. It is going to be brutally hot. They also do the Arlington Cemetery tour.
http://www.tourmobile.com

Would highly recommend the Air & Space Museum, American History Museum and the Portrait Galleries which are all part of the Smithsonian. Newseum is highly rated and on my itinerary when I am there in a couple of weeks. You can go to the top of the Old Post Office (since the lines at the Wash. Monument will be incredibly long for walk up tickets)

Check to see if the Nationals have a home game while you are there.
tchoiniere is offline  
Jul 21st, 2011, 05:07 AM
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It is going to be INCREDIBLY hot and humid here for the next 4 -5 days and the air quality is not going to be good on Thursday and Friday, so stay inside museums as much as possible on those days.

If you do the Tourmobile around the Mall, do NOT get off until you have done at least one complete circuit of their route. The lines to re-board are incredibly long in the summer and you will waste a lot of valuable sightseeing time waiting for a bus. Once you have done the whole route, you can get off and start sightseeing. Get off where you want to spend your time because you might not be able to re-board to go elsewhere very easily. (The Tourmobile at Arlington National Cemetery is not as problematic for re-boarding).

While the Newseum is a "pay" museum in a city of free museums, I think it's a great place (and kids are free this summer with a paid adult admission). You should plan to be there a minimum of 4 - 6 hours (there's that much to see and do), but tickets are good for two CONSECUTIVE days, so you can divide your time there.

Go online today and book a tour of the Capitol (there's plenty of available times). This is one place you should definitely see with your kids.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2011, 07:14 AM
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I haven't been on the Tourmobile in a very long time but I'm pretty certain it is not air conditioned.

If you look at a map of the National Mall you'll see there are a dozen or more places to visit within a relatively short and walkable distance: multiple Smithsonian Museums and Galleries, National Gallery of Art, Newseum, the Archives, Holocaust Museum. You could easily spend 4 days there and not exhaust everything to see.

A short metro ride away is another cluster of places: Spy Museum (paid), American Art & National Portrait Gallery (free). These places are open until 7 while most other places close at 5 or 5:30.

I agree with longhorn about a tour of the Capitol. Well worth it.

Given the extreme heat, you might consider passing on Arlington Cemetery this trip. If you do decide to go, it opens at 8am with tours starting shortly thereafter.

The heat really is brutal. Take it easy and have fun!
obxgirl is online now  
Jul 21st, 2011, 08:10 AM
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The kids might like the Spy Museum, mine did (ages 8 and 10). The museums don't open until 10:00 which seemed late to me but what do I know, I was on West Coast time still so we were up early. The Lincoln Memorial is really spectacular at night, and the weather will be better then too.
MonicaRichards is online now  
Jul 22nd, 2011, 07:33 PM
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You can do the monuments by moonlight tour. Washington DC is beautiful at night.
mrsrvk is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2011, 09:40 AM
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Monica, if you were on West Coast time, you'd be getting up late
sf7307 is online now  
Jul 24th, 2011, 09:11 PM
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New Carrollton is the last stop on the Orange Line and you will have long commutes into DC. People always stay way out to save money but not what I'd recommend. If you stay somewhere close in you can even return to your hotel to take a break midday and then go out again when the temperature cools down a bit. Of course, these days "cool" is really relevant. Last night my attic exhaust fan when on and off all night. It's hot.
yentakvetch is offline  

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