Washington DC favorite sights

Old Oct 7th, 2009, 07:30 AM
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Washington DC favorite sights

I will be in Washington DC for only two days with my teenage girls next week. Can you recommend your favorite museums or sights that I should visit? We already have a tour of the capital and Senate scheduled...Thanks
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 07:33 AM
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I think you should check a guidebook.

I am sure you have heard of the Smithsonian museums and monuments and memorials. If you look at a map you will see how the things are laid out in relation to one another on the National Mall.

Smithsonian website: www.si.edu
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 08:02 AM
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My then 11 year old really enjoyed the Washington Monument. You can go online and get reserved tickets - I recommend this - as I was there this time last year and while not a busy season it did sell out every day.

She also enjoyed the Spy Museum and I feel the Holocaust Museum is a must.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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The Newseum is great but costs $20. I would look at the Smithsonian website and pick a museum or 2 that interest u. They're all free.
Eastern market is a fun place to visit esp on the weekends. Lots of vendors with intresting crafts, jewelry, art etc. Good food too.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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If you only have 2 days, I suggest spending one day on the Capitol, the Senate (your tours), and as many of the monuments on and near the National Mall as you can manage--Washington Monumnet, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Vietnam War Memorial, etc. (Weather permitting, of course.)

The second day depends on your interests. The city has dozens of museums, most of them free, covering art, architecture, history, science, space, journalism, you name it; you could do a double-decker bus tour; spend half the day in Georgetown, stroll through the neighborhood and check out Dumbarton Oaks (one of my personal faves); go to Arlington Cemetery to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Kennedy gravesite, among others; the possibilities are endless, which is why you need to tell us more about what you like and don't like, or spend some time with a guide book.

Whatever you do, it's a wonderful city!
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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While the Smithsonian museums are (IMHO) a must-do, considering your two-day stay you should just ask your girls to pick one (or two, but that would be a bit much for just 2 days). For my family, we always make sure we find time to go to Natural History, American History, and Air and Space. And of course the National Gallery of Art (if your girls like art). Maybe you can go to 1 or 2 of the 4 places just listed?

The Holocaust Museum is another must-do. The Spy Museum and the Newseum (in my opinion) are not as "major" as the Holocaust Museum.

What would a visit to Washington be without the monuments? My family did the monument bus tour on two separate visits (we did both the day and night tours). While the night tour is special as there is something to be said about seeing these grand monuments all lit up amidst the darkness, for a first visit, you would miss a lot of details. For instance, just this last summer, we did the night tour and could barely make out the soldiers in the Korean Memorial. In the monuments tour, you have time to explore the monuments and take lots of pictures.

The Arlington Cemetery tour will give you a break from all that walking. You'll stop at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (and see the changing of the guard) and at JFK's gravesite. http://www.tourmobile.com/tours_arlington.php
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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Oh, I didn't see newbE's response before I posted mine, which now looks like a duplicate. ;-)

If you weren't able to secure tours to the White House, the next best thing would be a visit to the White House Visitors Center (just a short distance from the White House) where you can watch a video and see some exhibits. It's open 7 days a week and opens at 7:30 - that would give you an early start and give you plenty of time to get in one of the Smithsonian museums when it opens.

My teenagers LOVED the time that we spent in Georgetown. We walked around for a bit while waiting for our dinner reservation. I happily poked around Dean and DeLuca to get some cheese, wine, and other tasty tidbits to take back to our hotel.

What works for my family is that we pick one "major" museum per day, and head there when it opens. That way, the kids are not so tired and they don't walk around the museums like zombies, gazing blankly at each exhibit.

Have fun!
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Another fun way to get a great overview of the sites in a small amount of time is to take a Duck tour - a tour in an amphibious vehicle that even takes you into the water. You can catch these at Union Station - a great place to catch a quick bite (downstairs) in the eatery.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Both of the ff. comments address susie's suggestions:

The Duck Tours are a big hit with my family too! The first time we went on a duck tour in Boston, I didn't tell my kids (they were then maybe 8 and 6 y.o.) that it was an amphibious tour. So when the "funny looking bus" dove into the water, my husband and I had the biggest smiles on our face as our kids went "whee!!!!"

Yes, lots of food choices (inexpensive too) at the Union Station food court. We had a quick bite there after our Arlington Cemetery tour (the tour departs and returns to Union Station).

Do check the weather in Washington before you leave. I wish we'd brought ponchos for our trip last summer. We did bring some umbrellas but we would have stayed drier if we had some ponchos. It wasn't bad - only one rain day, but boy were we drenched!
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