Washington DC touring - what to do with bags?

Old Jun 28th, 2014, 07:21 AM
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Washington DC touring - what to do with bags?

Our family is going to DC this July. Some buildings have a no bag, food, drink, what-have-you rule. Traveling without a bag for me is at the very least inconvenient and in some ways not really possible. I have a child with food allergies so I tend to keep snacks and bottled water in my bag. How do people manage that? Are there lockers? Other options?

Thanks!
annabelle004 is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2014, 07:40 AM
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One day trip into the city? Where are you staying overnight?
If you don't have a hotel room to leave your luggage in then maybe rent a car to leave stuff in the trunk.
There is baggage storage next to Gate A in Union Station which I consider to be a rip-off ($2-$8 per bag per hour).
A large purse that you would not mind having a guard look into is probably your best option.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 07:51 AM
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If you're just talking about a day trip, typically the bag ban isn't absolute. It's more of a "no giant, ridiculous bags" rule. I've never had a reasonably sized purse present an issue and I carry a water bottle and snacks with me, too. Buildings generally have cloakrooms for heavy coats, strollers, shopping bags, etc. Backpacks can be frowned on so I'd lean toward a roomy shoulder or cross body bag. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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I assume you are not talking about a day trip right? And are asking about sites like the Capitol that allow no food or liquids of any sort - right?

Per the Visitors center website >>Please note that the U.S. Capitol Police are authorized to make exceptions if a prohibited item is determined to be necessary and required to serve child care, medical or other special needs. If you have questions, please call the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services at 202.224.4048.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 08:42 AM
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Most of the buildings tourists visit in DC allow reasonably sized bags. I can't think of a place other than the White House which doesn't have some allowance for carrying personal items or storing them in lockers or at a staffed cloakroom. Agree that backpacks can be more of an issue especially in art galleries where you may be asked to check them or wear them straps forward (which looks uncomfortable to me).

All of the Smithsonian's have lockers tho they do fill up.

I don't think it's going to be a big problem assuming that you're carrying a relatively small amount of stuff.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 08:48 AM
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The bag and food/drink restrictions are not as bad as you may think. As Hobbert says, most buildings just restrict "giant, riduculous bags" or suitcases which is probably not what you will have.

BAGS: A typical bag or purse is allowed in all the buildings in D.C. except for the White House. The U.S. Capitol prohibits only large bags (18" x 14" x 8.5" is the limit, which is fairly big). You may bring larger bags (e.g. daypacks and backpacks) into the Smithsonian museums but you will have to stand in line to have them checked by security. Large bags and backpacks (no larger than 17 X 26 inches) are allowed in the National Gallery of Art after going through a security check, but they may not be worn on your back--they have to be carried.

FOOD/DRINK: No food or drink is allowed on White House tours or inside the U.S. Capitol. Food and drink may not be consumed in the Smithsonian museums or the National Gallery, but you may carry them in your bag while visiting.

CLOAKROOMS: And as Hobbert states, cloakrooms for your backpacks and food/drink are available at several of the Smithsonian museums and at the National Gallery of Art.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 09:46 AM
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You don't have to travel without a bag. Everyone carries a bag, including backpacks. Just make sure the bag is of reasonable day bag size.

The big exception is the White House, where no bags of any kind, not even small purses are allowed.

I usually have a small--probably 16 oz--plastic water bottle with me in my bag, and while it has never been taken away, I'd be fine with chucking it if I had to.

It's nice to check your bag at a cloakroom so you don't have to haul it through a museum, so you might consider having a smaller bag inside to hold your wallet and phone that you can take with you.
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Old Jun 28th, 2014, 05:39 PM
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Normal handbags can be taken into most places (no giant backpacks - but you don;t need that to hold a small snack). You may take NOTHING into the White House - but that is only one tour. Can you simply not go back to your hotel and pick it up?
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