how long in Washington DC

Old Jan 8th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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how long in Washington DC

A group of us is planning our first trip to Washington next Fall. We are planning to stay there for 1 week. There has been a suggestion that that is too long. -"how many museums can you go to?" What other things are there to do? We are seniors so don't want to go at a break neck speed. I would appreciate input from Fodorites.
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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It's true that it is easy to go into museum overload in DC. But there are lots of other things to do besudes museums and monuments. Walk around Georgetown, there are some wonderful (formerly) private homes and gardens now open to the public where you can relax ands enjoy. The newly opened National Botanic Garden near the Capitol is wonderful, too. Attend a play at the Folger Shakespeare Library or any of the dozen other venues in DC. Admire the architecture at Union Station.
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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I spend about a week out of every month in DC and there are still things on my list "to do." There are side trips you can also take--Annapolis, Shenandoah Valley (gorgeous in the fall), cute towns like Fredrisksburg or Middleburg. Lots to do, doubtful you will be bored.
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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Since you are seniors and not in a rush, enjoy the place. I'd suggest that you call your U.S. Representative or Senator, they may get the group of you on a tour of the Capitol. A few places you may want to go are 4 Smithsonian museums, National Zoo (a Smithsonian place totally free, neat ethnic restaurants on your way to the zoo if you take the subway - the walk is a little long), White House, Washington Monument, Holocaust Museum, WWII Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial Wall, Supreme Court, the Old Post Office, The Shops at J.W. Marriott, Library of Congress, Naval Memorial (near J. Edgar Hoover Building), FBI Tour, Archives, Voice of America tour, Ford Theatre tour (small museum and gift shop below and then go across the street to the house where Lincoln died), Library of Congress, Georgetown, Arlington National Cemetary, Old Towne Alexandra (about 4 historical 18th Century buildings to explore along with the Torpedo Factory right along the Potomac, there you can go to a number of restaurants and shop on King), Mt. Vernon, VA (George Washington's home - easily spend 4-5 hours here alone). I'd suggest a day trip to Annapolis if you have the time and want to get away from D.C. Get a detailed travel guide like Fodors (being safe here) which would tell you more in detail about the museums.

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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 08:23 AM
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One more place I'd highly recommend, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. It is the biggest Catholic Church in the U.S. and it is downright beautiful inside. It is not far from Union Station which you might want to stop by and see also.
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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I've been to D.C. eight times and, if you see museums and monuments at the break-neck pace I tend to see them, you MIGHT be able to see them all in a week. However, if you slow down, a week will allow you to see the biggies and an assortment of specialties as well. And, as noted above, even if you do see all you want to see in five days, there's plenty see in a day trip as well.

One bit of advice: be willing to break up the group. There are so many places that would be fascinating to one person but an utter bore to another, so just split up at a certain hour and agree to meet back at a specific place and time.
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Don't forget that the area around Washington has much of interest--the Virginia hunt country is quite scenic, and of course the drive down to Mount Vernon is beautiful. Further south you can visit Woodlawn Plantation and the lovely Gunston Hall.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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If Gothic architecture interests you (or even if not), go out to the northwest area and visit the National Cathedral. There is a pretty garden, and also two exceptionally good gift shops.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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And the FDR Memorial is more like a walk in the park than a museum; glorious in any season.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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Arlington National Cemetery and the USMC's Iwo Jima Memorial. Friday evening at the Marines' Barracks.
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Old Jan 13th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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One week is definitely NOT too long. Besides the museums, here are some other thoughts:

Mt. Vernon is wonderful and I think seniors especially would LOVE it. The history is fascinating and the view of the Potomac is wonderful. You might even want to eat lunch or dinner in their restaurant - the food is not spectacular but what is interesting is that they use "period" foods that people of Washington's time might have eaten.

Old Town Alexandria: Fun place full of great little shops and I want to second the recommendation for the Torpedo Factory.

Downtown Fredericksburg: We lived in Stafford for 5 years and never tired of the downtown Fredericksburg area. Little shops, nice eateries, great history.

Other places: Manassas Battlefields, Great Falls National Park (the view of the falls is wonderful and does not require a lot of hiking, the canals are historic), Georgetown, the Washington Cathedral (do not miss this)....

You may want to do one or more days on the busses that take you around town - the Tourmobile, etc. On most of them, you can get on and off as much as you want all day. One of them drives you by Embassy Row and it's really pretty interesting. In fact, you may want to try to arrange for a tour of an embassy.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 10:48 AM
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That is a funny question...I personally think that you could spend one month in DC and not see all the highlights. The Smithsonians are about 1 weeks to go through them.

There are also so many things to see just outside of DC...Alexandria, MT. vernon.

One thing in DC not to miss is "Ride the Ducks". It is really fun and different. Many cities now have this adventure, so maybe you have done it. it is a blast. My grandparents loved it.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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forgot one more thing....brunch at teh mayflower, J. Edgar used to have luch thre daily and a bloody mary at the Willard in their bar. it is wonderful.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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What is "ride the ducks"
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Ride the ducks is an amphibious vehichle; meaning it goes on land and in water. Yes, you actually go in the Potomac as well as ride around DC. it is very affordable too.

here is the web link:
http://www.dcducks.com/
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Ride the ducks is an amphibious vehichle; meaning it goes on land and in water. Yes, you actually go in the Potomac as well as ride around DC. it is very affordable too.

here is the web link:
http://www.dcducks.com/

let me know what you think
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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We greatly enjoyed the tour of DC after dark. The monuments are beautiful at night. I can't remember the name of the tour company, but I remember that we went to Union Station to board the tour. After seeing them in the daytime it is really neat to see them lit after dark.
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 07:42 PM
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You can ENJOY a week in Washington DC and not feel as though you're hustling from one museum/attraction to another.

Fall is one of the very bet times to come to Washington as our season stays late. You cn really enjoy Washington through November and often into December. Other than spring you've picked the best time to tour our city.

You would probably enjoy sightseeing more if you stayed IN the city rather than in the burbs. Transportation is quite easy within the city via subway and you're not spending a lot of time commuting. Another good thing would be to consider bidding on your hotel via Priceline. Many can attest to great bargains on 4 and 5 star hotels via Priceline in Washington (sorry - that's not me cause I have to make my way home to the burbs nightly)

Enjoy - it's a great city and most every museum is FREE!
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Old Jan 20th, 2005, 08:51 PM
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we are staying at The Dupont at the Circle Inn
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Old Jan 21st, 2005, 08:46 PM
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You are so right LN! I used Priceline just last night to bid on a 4 star and we got 4 nights at the Grand Washington Hyatt for $94 a night in May...a real deal!
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