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Washington DC advice

Old Mar 9th, 2003, 08:24 PM
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Washington DC advice

We will be in Washington DC in April for 3 days. I'd like some input on our plans. We plan to stay near Dupont Circle at the Madera Hotel. Is this a good location? We will not have a car and plan to use the metro. By the way, what is the best way to get to Washington DC from Reagon National. We will have big suitcases since we will move on to visit family after our stay in Washington. Since we have a 10yr old, the Air&Space Museum is high on the list of sights to see, along with walking by the White House (I assume the tours are no longer happening), the Capitol building, and the Vietnam memorial. We also plan a visit to the Holocaust Museum. What else should we plan to cram into this 3 day visit? We would love to see the Marine Marching Band, but I think that they only play in the summertime. Any other ideas for evening activities as well? How about great places to eat near the hotel? Thanks for your help!
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Old Mar 9th, 2003, 08:37 PM
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There are plenty of places to eat near Dupont Circle - sandwich chains like Cosi, Luna Grille is popular for brunch, Iron Grill and Tabard Inn for a something a bit more fancy.
The best way to get around is metro - Dupont Circle is on the red line, but you can walk down Conn. Ave to the blue line at Farragut West, since most of the sights you want to see are on the blue line. Although the White House is very walkable from Dupont - maybe ten or fifteen minutes walking.
National is on the blue line - you'd have to transfer to the red line at Metro Center and then go to Dupont from there.
That's the fastest way to get to your hotel since traffic in that area can be a real nightmare.
My favorite evening activity in Washington is to walk around all the Memorials at dusk. They are absolutely amazing when the sun sets. All that walking is about an hour or so.
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Old Mar 10th, 2003, 04:01 AM
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Check out the National Postal Museum, another piece of the Smithsonian. We first took our 11 year old daughter a couple of years ago and it remains one of her favorites. There's lots of interactive stuff for kids to enjoy. It's located across the street from Union Station so access is easy by Metro. There's a better than average food court at Union Station.

Everyone is raving about the International Spy Museum but I haven't had the chance to visit yet. Crowds form quickly there.

Tickets are required for tours of the Capitol and for the permanent exhibition in the Holocaust Museum.
I seem to recall that tours at the Capitol were suspended when the terror threat level was raised a couple of weeks back. Someone else on this board might know for certain.

You obviously know your child best, but I know mine would would be frightened and overwhelmed by the main exhibit at the Holocaust museum. There used to be (and still is I assume) a special exhibition about the children of the holocaust targeted at elementary/middle school aged kids.

Hope you have a great trip.
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Old Mar 10th, 2003, 04:09 AM
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Regarding "We will have big suitcases since we will move on to visit family after our stay in Washington." Will these people not let you use their laundry facilities? Realistically, you could each travel with just 3 or 4 days' worth of clothes, and wash them -- traveling light has much to recommend it, especially when taking the Metro and relocating your stay.
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Old Mar 10th, 2003, 06:22 AM
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Your location is great - on the edge between the north side downtown and the south part of Dupont circle. For restaurants on the South side of the circle just follow 19th st. south from the circle, in addition the the food, you'll like the shops and boutiques north of the circle. I would also look at the north side of the circle on both Conn. Ave and 19th. And for a even more great inexpensive rerstaurants continue east and check out the eats on 17th st. between P st. and S st. I would take a cab from Reagan National - it's less than $20 and your suitcases could be an issue if you arrive during rush hour and the trains are packed. Otherwise the Metro is about $1.50 per person from airport to Dupont one way. Don't give up on the White House either. Call your U.S. Congressperson and your two senators offices NOW and ask about passes. They will be MORE than glad to set you up with a white house tour if they havn't already handed out their alloted passes for that day. For evening entertainment options go to WASHINGTONPOST.COM nad click on "Entertainment" you can even click on the calender for the days you'll be in town.
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Old Mar 10th, 2003, 06:45 AM
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I always want to do the Washington Monument, but it's never open when I'm in DC - so I go to the Old Postal Pavilion (Federal Triangle Metro stop) where there's free tours to the clock tower with good views. It's a building with interesting history, and a food court in the lower level. Not to be confused with the much nicer food court at Union Station.

The Holocaust Museum Tix are free, if you wish to wait in line for them - they start handing them out at 10am - but you can purchase them in advance online for a reasonable price.

If you can manage it - take the Metro from the airport to Foggy Bottom (get on a blue line train, not a yellow) then take a cab from there if you don't wish to put up with transfers & very busy stations. If it's after 9am boarding at National, even with large cases, will probably not be much of a problem.
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Old Mar 10th, 2003, 07:27 AM
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The recommended age for the Holocaust Museum is 12+; there is a special exhibit for younger children (I think its something about Daniel) - it depicts the Warsaw ghetto. It has its own entrance; wouldn't do the whole thing with a 10 year old. The Spy Museum is terrific; get there early.
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Old Mar 11th, 2003, 02:11 PM
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The Marine Corps band plays at Iwo Jima every Tuesday evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, they may have performance scheduled in April. I'm sure they have a website.

Have a drink (but don't eat there) at the rooftop of the Hotel Washington.
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Old Mar 11th, 2003, 02:39 PM
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White House tours are only available to school groups and veterans groups. You cannot take an individual tour. However, you may want to contact your congressperson and arrange for one of the staffers to give you a tour of the Capitol. I am a former docent at Air and Space, and suggest looking into a fammily tour of the museum. They may only be held on the weekends; when I was there, they were looking for docents to give them during the week. I don't know how that turned out. Family tours are more hands on, allowing the kids to touch various space memorabilia, try on a helmet, etc.
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Old Mar 11th, 2003, 03:09 PM
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Thanks for all of the great advice. Somehow I'll re-think the whole Holocaust museum and just focus on the Daniel exhibit instead. We will also try for the Spy Museum, it sounds great! I'll check the Washington Post for evening entertainment,too. We are checking on the Capitol exhibit if they are not on Spring Break during our visit. Thanks for the metro tips and all of the other great advice!
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Old Mar 11th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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I just got home from my first trip to DC. Your daughter would probably love the butterly exhibit at the Smithsonian--it's in the castle, through May I believe. I agree with all of the above regarding the Holocaust Museum. They advise discretion for children under 13. We did a bus tour of the monuments at night--they were beautiful all lit up. Depending on your budget, you might want to consider a car and driver. Our hotel concierge set us up with an excellent guide who was well connected and was able to get us into the capitol etc. with relative ease. We were happy to pay the extra because the wind chill every day was around zero! By the way, he told us that kids and men love the spy museum! Have fun.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 06:05 AM
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I forgot to mention nighttimes. I would recommend seeing at least the Lincoln & FDR Memorials at night. If you are really up to it, walk around the tidal basin, including a stop to Jefferson Memorial. Get closer to the Capitol for a nighttime view too, maybe from outside Union Station, or the Smithsonian Metro stop.

Read up on using the Metro too. You must purchase farecards, which are scanned both when you enter and leave a station. I agree that a 10yr old would not enjoy the main exhibit at Holocaust Museum, but the "Daniel" exhibit is good, and does not require the timed tickets.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 06:14 AM
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Place to eat in or near Dupont:
(none are more than a 5-10 minute walk from your hotel.)

Pan Asian: inexpensive thai food. Very good.
(on P Street) They also deliver.

Pizzeria Paradiso: wood fired pizza. Small establishment, but stylish and super yummy.
(on P Street)

City Lights of China: Some of the best Chinese food in the city. They also deliver.
(on Conn. Ave.)

All are family friendly. If you eating tastes are rather conservative, there are outlets for California Pizza Kitchen and Burger King close by.

Have a great time.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 06:41 AM
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My big Tip is to have crab cakes at a good restaurant. I had a great meal at the Crown Plaza hotel near the white house. Don't let anyone guide you to the restaurants along the waterfront many are poor quality.

I love walking in area the Lincoln memorial. Don’t forget the Korean war memorial in my mind it is one of the more imposing sculptures the men look real and you are forced to think about who walked that walk in that war.

I think the tours at the National Art Museum are great. I only did the one in the old section but it was the highlight of my weekend. I am not an art expert by any means but these tours put into context the paintings with their times and trends. I remember them taking a still of food on a table from a 16th century painting. Most of us would walk straight by it and maybe just look at it for it’s esthetic appeal. The tour guide said what you need to know is that during the day religious paintings were frowned upon. So if an artist wanted was formerly acceptable a religious painting they had to disguise it. Then she showed how the articles on the table where code for spiritual renewal. If you ever thought you were not an art person do this tour you will love it. I saw husbands frowning when their wives pulled them along on this tour but then smiles all the way through. Very interesting and it’s free.

Never did the holocaust museum just too hard for me.

There is a Women's art museum that is note worthy I would check out if I had time.

One of my favorite museums is the National History museum. The exhibits are not what they were years ago but the temporary exhibits are very interesting. You can learn about communities that you might not have info on. I have seen an exhibit here on Japanese internment in the 40's, African American migration in the 20's never knew it was illegal to advertise jobs available to them for locations up north during this time. New Mexico exhibit that might be permanent is great takes you back to Spanish days, there was a Phillipino exhibit when I was there in November too looking at Phillipino Americans and their history here.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 07:07 AM
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What about a tour of the capital. You have to stand on line early in the morning 8am for first come first serve tickes. The rotundra is beautiful with statures of historical figures from each state. I am still wanting to see the King Kamehmeha statue
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 07:09 AM
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Eat at Johnny's Half Shell in Dupont Circle. No reservations.
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Old May 10th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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in response to...
"I think the tours at the National Art Museum are great. I only did the one in the old section but it was the highlight of my weekend. I am not an art expert by any means but these tours put into context the paintings with their times and trends. I remember them taking a still of food on a table from a 16th century painting. Most of us would walk straight by it and maybe just look at it for itys esthetic appeal. The tour guide said what you need to know is that during the day religious paintings were frowned upon. So if an artist wanted was formerly acceptable a religious painting they had to disguise it. Then she showed how the articles on the table where code for spiritual renewal. If you ever thought you were not an art person do this tour you will love it. I saw husbands frowning when their wives pulled them along on this tour but then smiles all the way through. Very interesting and itys free."

is there any more specifics on that...like what it was called and if you know if it's still on right now? i am having trouble finding it...
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Old May 10th, 2003, 10:35 AM
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Durango

I believe the poster is actually referring to the "National gallery of Art" where they have docents as tour guides to help you see the painting from a different light (or as the artist supposedly saw it) While you're in town you can sign up for a guided tour of the National Gallery of Art. Most everything in Washington is free so if there's any charge to a guided tour it's small considering what other museums in other cities charge as admission.
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