Itinerary help

Jun 30th, 2003, 01:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Itinerary help

We are traveling to Washington DC the middle of August with our two teenage children and have planned the following:
Wed: Smithsonian, Washington Monument, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Korean War Memorial
Thur: Capital Tour, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Union Station
Fri: Printing & Engraving, Holocaust Museum, Jefferson Memorial
Sat: Zoo, Eastern Market and Night monument tour
Sun: Arlington and Shear Madness
Mon: (departure day) White House

Have I missed anything? Can one visit the Pentagon yet? I was told that the FBI is not yet open for tours.

We are staying at the Embassy Suites Downtown and plan to use the Metro for our transport.

Would also be interested in dining recommendations, particularly seafood.
gshb is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 01:49 PM
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I am exhausted just looking at this! I'd need bionic legs to keep up with this ambitious schedule.

Wednesday seems especially busy. The Smithsonian offers so much that you could easily spend a whole day there. The monuments, especially the Vietnam Memorial, deserve more time and respect than a quick dash by and then a mad dash on to the next one. To visit the memorials is a sobering experience as to what this country is all about--its triumphs, tragedies, and possibilities. Savor the experience.
Jun 30th, 2003, 01:53 PM
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I agree about the Smithsonian. You could spend days there!
I believe the White House is still not offering tours.
One other comment: It'll be very hot and humid in Washington in the weather may slow you down a bit!
HowardR is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 02:09 PM
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Are you going to get tickets in advance for some of those sites? (I think you can for Holocaust Mus., Washington Monument, & Capitol (thru your congressmen)) Otherwise, looking at Friday you might not be able to get all the sites in if the timed tickets they assign are too late or conflict.

There are a number of "Smithsonian" locations, so can't really comment on that. You might wish to add FDR to the Wed. trip, maybe even Jefferson Mem too, as those last stops will be nice at night.

I never succeed in seeing all I'd planned to when I go to DC ... keep comfort & quality in mind, rather than trying to see it all. Most if it will be there during a future trip! Enjoy!
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 02:16 PM
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Boy do I agree, we went the last time in Oct. (nice & cool) and could have never kept this schedule !

Go to the places of their interest and let them go again at some other time to see the rest. Perhaps with their own children and you following along to pay for everything, LOL!
maryann is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 04:09 PM
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Fri: Holocaust Museum, FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Bureau of E&P, and then maybe Air & Space Museum.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 04:32 AM
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Sounds great! I would suggest: 1)Make eastern market your first stop on Sat., it's best before noon. 2) Skip Engraving and Printing and add the time for Holocaust Memorial Museum (which takes at least 4 hours). IMHO, Engraving and Printing is a total waste of time (although the ATM machine out front has the freshest money in the us). 3) The inside of the White House might be tough to get into, you might call your representatives now and ask about a congressional sponsered tour. 4) Plan on breakfast or lunch at The Bread Line on Monday (Penn Ave between 17th & 18th - about two blocks from white house) dirt cheap gourmet cuisine.
bardo is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 06:06 AM
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I thought the Bureau of Printing and Engraving was interesting. DON'T even attempt to take a backpack or big bag in. We had such a hassle with that last time!! It now has become a big joke! It was a very interesting tour I thought.

It will be VERY hot and humid in August. I will be there again then as well!!! The heat slows you down much more than you think it does. I learned that on my first trip!! I know this time I will alter my plans a bit.

I took the capital tour several years ago and it was very interesting. The Holocost Museum was too much for me. We went through it quickly which was ok with me. It was interesting and certainly the best museum I've been to I think ever as far as the displays and the "feel" of actually what those poor people went through. You'll know what I mean once you get there. Arlington was interesting, but hard in the heat. LOTS and LOTS of walking pretty much anywhere you go in DC unless you take th bus between Metro stops or sites. Union Station is ok, but if you need to skip something, skip that. The zoo was GREAT and actually one of my favorite things. The pandas were great last time we were there and playing like mad!!! Again LOTS of walking!!! Worth it for the zoo, though. I have not been to Eastern Market and will catch it on this trip. The monuments you can do all in one day for sure. Did both day and night trips. Both were nice. Much cooler at night, but I think the pictures don't turn out as well.

Just my opinions! Hope this helps!!! Wear comfy shoes and carry water bottles. Maybe we'll run into each other!!


Tia is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 07:02 AM
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One more tip: Put together a picnic lunch while at Easter Market (fresh breads, cheese, pates, fruits, waters,wines, sweets, etc) for the Zoo (food stands at zoo are AWFUL). The eating are at the Panda Cafe is the best place to eat your picnic lunch: best views/seating and no crowds. Also, zoo is midway between cleveland park metro and the woodley park zoo stop and is downhill from Cleveland PArk to Woodley Park. Ariive via the Clevland Park stop and leave via the Zoo stop. Have Fun
bardo is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 08:44 AM
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Here's another zoo tip: The buildings open at 10, but the grounds are open at 6 AM and you can enter then and see the outside animals when they're most active, eating, romping, etc. Most of them have more sense than humans, and rest midday!
Anonymous is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 09:03 AM
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I can't emphasize this enough: "the Smithsonian" consists of at least 10 different museums lined up along both sides of the Mall. Do yourself a big favor and check out their website, then decide on, perhaps, two museums to visit. (They are all free admission.)The National Gallery of Art, the Air and Space Museum, Museum of American History, Museum of Natural History, the Castle, the Freer, the Sackler, the Museum of African Art, the Hirschorn--and I know I'm forgetting lots-- are among your choices.
I would strongly suggest skipping Printing and Engraving and doing the monuments walk all at once on Friday after the Holocaust Museum, as that would free up more museum time for Wednesday. (It will be a long walk.)On Saturday, keep in mind that the Zoo and Eastern Market are on opposite sides of town, so budget at least 30 minutes for the metro ride; I second the idea of doing the market for b'fast on Saturday.
As for Union Station, by all means pop in for lunch since you'll be in the vicinity, but that's about all it's good for. And please consider an evening in Dupont Circle, Georgetown or Adams-Morgan, for dinner and a stroll and some city ambience. Have a great trip!
E is offline  
Jul 1st, 2003, 12:12 PM
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I'd skip "Printing & Engraving" too. It will probably be HOT. Something I aways do is get transfer passes anytime I enter a Metro station. When you get to the destination station, you'll find schedules of stations served by that station. Most buses will cost only 25 cents with the transfer pass, including the "non-Metro" Georgtown Shuttle (from Rosslyn, Fog. Bott, Dupont) and the Alexandria "DASH" buses.

If you cannot get into Washington Monument, go to the Old Postal Pavilion (Federal Triangle Metro stop) and take the elevator to the top for free clock tower tour ... always a cool breeze up there, food court down below. Also a well varied food court at Union Station and you might like the Smithsonian Postal Museum right next door.

rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 06:34 AM
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I would skip the Memorials during the day, and just see them on your night tour. They are more beautiful at night, less crowded, and it is cooler.
Mich55 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 06:37 AM
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Dining suggestion: Washington Harbor in Georgetown, has several restaurants with outdoor seating overlooking the Potomac River. Not easily accesible by public transport, but only about a $7 cab ride from Kennedy Center.
Mich55 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 06:52 AM
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I do not think you can get into the White House still - we were there last summer (mid-August) and could not even get a good view by driving by with street closures for security - had to park and walk at night.

Too many monuments in one day - a few monuments go a long way with teenagers. We had a similar list of "hope to sees" but did not schedule as tightly as you did - we were fortunate to have incredibly cool weather for DC in august (low 80s) except for one day - and that day nearly killed us all. So if it is hot, you may have to pare down your plans. The kids might like Spy Museum (only thing on your list that will cost money to get into) - it did not do much for me but my husband and son (age 16) liked it.

Call your US Rep's office (both local and Washington) and try to get tickets/tour of Capitol - we were fortunate enough to get a private tour by summer intern from our Rep's office - Friday afternoon in August when everyone was hot and bored, including staffer, so it was great fun.

We also did a Tourmobile thing to Arlington National Cemetary - it was worth it and was a good break from walking around.

Have a good trip - don't think you have short-changed your kids' exposure to DC if you feel you need to wilt back to the hotel, stop someplace cool for a snack.
gail is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 09:01 AM
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Your Wednesday itinerary is quite good but I would limit the Smithsonian to two museums. I think the Air and Space is best. Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis and John Glenn's capsule. I'm from Washington so I am very jaded when it comes to many of the other sites on your itinerary. Union Station is a waste of time. Congress and the Library of Congress are big bores. I can't see Printing & Engraving being interesting at all. I believe the Holocaust Museum requires a long wait. There's not much to see at Eastern Market or in Arlington unless you need to observe the future of the US southwest. It's been thirty years since I've been to the zoo but I remember it as a great time.

There are places you might want to go not on your list. Monticello is a must, two hours southwest into Virginia. You can take a pleasant drive on Skyline Drive to get there. There are several caverns in the vicinity- Luray, Skyline and Shenanadoah. Ten miles from Monticello is President Monroe's home. In Maryland, Antitietam Battlefield is worth a visit and it is not far from historical Harper's Ferry on the beautiful upper Potomac. Harper's Ferry is where Capt. Robert E. Lee captured the first American terrorist of note, John Brown. Mount Vernon is a must. Also, there are several Civil War battlefields in northern Virginia- Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville. In Maryland, Annapolis is worth a visit. The Naval Academy is located there. The harbor is a pleasant place for a lunch.
HuwMorgan is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 01:11 PM
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I recently went to the zoo and it is extremely run down. You might be disappointed, so if you need more time, I would suggest skipping the zoo. Another place not on your list that is great is the Spy Museum. It takes quite a bit of time, though, and definitely reserve tickets in advance. You could get a great meal across the street from the Spy Museum at Gordan Birsch.
ksm is offline  
Jul 18th, 2003, 11:32 AM
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You have done a good job of grouping the sites geographically. I have to disagree with a previous poster. I also live in DC and the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress are the two sites I would absolutely not miss. Do contact the office of your congressional representative to request assistance in arranging the Capitol tour. The Library of Congress building (the Jefferson Bldg. - the one with the dome) is spectacularly beautiful inside.

Something else I would not miss is the National Archives [], to see the original documents -- Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, etc. This won't take long but to come here and not see these would be a shame.

A previous poster suggested seeing the memorials at night which is a good idea since they will all be lit up and you don't have to go inside. That would allow more time for the Smithsonian on Wed. I would make the Museum of American History my first stop, with either Natural History or Air and Space next (and maybe both if you watch your time), depending on your interests. Take a look at the Smithsonian Web site [] before you go, to decide which museums to visit and what to see once you are there--your kids could help choose.
nicki is offline  
Jul 20th, 2003, 02:02 PM
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We just came back from a weeklong trip and we kept up a pretty good pace like you have planned. I have only a few suggestions.

1. See the monuments/memorials at night, much cooler, less crowded and you can drive and park near them after 9pm (very safe). You can also see them in one or two evenings, most are quite close together. You can get online tix to go to the top of the Washington Monument (during daytime hours)(

2. For the Smithsonian, pick a couple and see them in two afternoons (the air conditioning will be a blessing). With two older children, you can breeze through them no problem, you won't be interested in every, single thing! We saw American & Natural History (about 3 hours each).

3. Kids like seeing the money printed at the BEP and it is interesting for adults too. Eat breakfast at the Dept of Agriculture early and walk over about 7:30 to get in line for timed tix. You can chose your time for later on (when it's hot) and come back for another indoor, A/C tour.

3. If you have been to other zoos across the country, Bronx or San Diego, the National Zoo will be a disappointment. The pandas sleep in the hot daytime and it is hot, hot, hilly walking. If you go, go early, bring your own snacks and lots of water!
(and pick the metro that you walk downhill from)

4. Contact your congressman now for the Capitol tour. Skip the Supreme Court if your are pressed for time (they are not in session until Oct). Union Station could also be missed if you feel like it. It is a very small station with mostly boutiques-was not impressed. Don't eat at "America" there, overpriced and nasty food.

5. Will you be in town on a Tuesday night? Go to Arlington Cemetary and catch free shuttle to Iwo Jima Memorial and see the Sunset Parade (Marine Corps band and drill team). Every Tue at 7pm in the summer. Otherwise, take the tourmobile ride at the cemetary, it is a big place and you will be grateful to ride. It stops at the Kennedy gravesite, Tomb of the Unknown and Lee House at the top of the hill. Also see the Women in Military Memorial at the front gate of the cemetary-nicely done.

6. The White House is not open to public tours but you can get very close to front door for pictures (McPherson Square metro). The Pentagon still not available either.

7. Get your metro pass online and they will mail it to you.

Have a great time, take your bathroom breaks every chance you get and drink lots of water. Remember, outdoors in morning, indoors in afternoon!
jasmo is offline  

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