Vacation to Washington DC

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Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Placenshow » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:13 pm

Good afternoon,

We are planning a family vacation (kids ages 9 & 12) to Washington DC in early April 2013 and I'm looking for helpful recommendations on reasonable lodging close to Ronald Reagan Washington National airport (DCA).

We are tentatively looking at Hampton Inn & Suites @ $175 night (breakfast included) and just curious if this is a good price or if there are better deals to be found.

Thanks for taking a look.

Bryan in Mn
Last edited by Placenshow on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby furwut » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:44 pm

You may also want to consider a hotel downtown and save on the commute back and forth. Checkout Fairfield Inn in Chinatown. It was redone about a year ago. Corner of 5th and H St NW. It's a straight shot on the Yellow line from the airport and from there you can walk to all the museums.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby bobcat2 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:55 pm

Placenshow wrote:Good afternoon,

We are planning a family vacation (kids ages 9 & 12) to Washington DC in early April 2003 and I'm looking for helpful recommendations on reasonable lodging close to Reagan International.

We are tentatively looking at Hampton Inn & Suites @ $175 night (breakfast included) and just curious if this is a good price or if there are better deals to be found.

Thanks for taking a look.

Bryan in Mn

Hi Bryan,

I gather from your post that you are traveling to Washington by time machine. Good luck and godspeed with that. I also note that you are arriving at a non-existent airport. There is the Dulles International Airport and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and each serves the Washington area. But alas there is no Reagan International Airport. :(

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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby bengal22 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:01 pm

bobcat2 wrote:
Placenshow wrote:Good afternoon,

We are planning a family vacation (kids ages 9 & 12) to Washington DC in early April 2003 and I'm looking for helpful recommendations on reasonable lodging close to Reagan International.

We are tentatively looking at Hampton Inn & Suites @ $175 night (breakfast included) and just curious if this is a good price or if there are better deals to be found.

Thanks for taking a look.

Bryan in Mn

Hi Bryan,

I gather from your post that you are traveling to Washington by time machine. Good luck and godspeed with that. I also note that you are arriving at a non-existent airport. There is the Dulles International Airport and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and each serves the Washington area. But alas there is no Reagan International Airport. :(

BobK


I would think they would just need to get their Delorean up to 70MPH and watch out for terrorists.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby dm200 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:13 pm

furwut wrote:You may also want to consider a hotel downtown and save on the commute back and forth. Checkout Fairfield Inn in Chinatown. It was redone about a year ago. Corner of 5th and H St NW. It's a straight shot on the Yellow line from the airport and from there you can walk to all the museums.


I would counter that staying near a Metro (subway) stop in Arlington or Alexandria would probably be lower priced and alost as convenient (on Metro).
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby mickens16 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:18 pm

Where are places you want to go while in DC? I would personally stay in Arlington (Crystal City, Rosslyn, Ballston, etc.) more so than DC. Then again I lived in Arlington for years so I'm biased. If you were going to stay mainly in Northwest DC than maybe it would be best to stay in a hotel closer to that area.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Placenshow » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:23 pm

Thanks for the responses...my original post has been edited with correct info.

While in DC, we plan to hit the museums, White House, Mall, etc. and will likely take the Amtrak up to Baltimore one day to see the Twins & Orioles play.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby centrifuge41 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:03 pm

I've stayed in the Radisson by DCA, at Crystal City, for $80 a night. $88 with tax. I'm sure there's better deals to be had.

There's actually a Groupon for the Hilton, with free breakfast, for $89, but alas, you have to travel by February.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby mlipps » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:04 pm

When I was there visiting last year, I stayed at a Kimpton property by Adams Morgan for $79/night+parking. That price seems pretty expensive to me, but I'm not sure how much those things fluctuate by season.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby ShowMeTheER » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:22 pm

If you are up for this sort of thing, check out Priceline and/or Hotwire to secure a hotel that is not known in name, but is known in area (both), star level (both) and price/amenities (Hotwire). Good chance that you can score a great deal no matter which area you prefer to stay. Could be a significant savings to you and you have a good starting point of comparison with your Hampton find. I've had significant success in the past doing this in DC.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby dm200 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:28 pm

Remember that April (cherry blossoms, spring vacation/school break, nice weather, school trips) is the peak tourist season in Washington DC. Therefore, "bargains" may not be abundant.

Sunday, April 7 is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten mile run - benefiting Children's hospitals around the country. About 15,000 runners (including some international elite runners) will compete. The race starts and finishes near the Washington Monument.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby lucky3 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:49 pm

Your kids are the right age to take a tour of Ford's theatre...it's often overlooked by visitors but it's one of the highlights of my visit to DC. Besides the museum in the basement of the threatre you can go across the street and see where Lincoln past away...take the tour, you and kids will love it....especially in light of the new movie Lincoln currently playing.

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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Kevin21 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:00 pm

Check out the pricelines, hotwires, kayaks, etc. My parents have scored great deals there as opposed to going directly to a hotel's website. You can probably find something closer to $100/night if you do not mind the hassle of putting some time into it.

Arlington/Alexandria will be closer to DCA, but it is a little different than staying somewhere closer to the center of town. Dupont, Foggy Bottom, are VERY NICE areas. Georgetown is also nice, but out of the way and with no access to Metro.

I also suggest the Newseum and Spy Museum (although they are not free, like the Smithsonians.) I also had fun at Air and Space.
Last edited by Kevin21 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Kevin21 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:01 pm

Also, contact your state representative if you would like a tour of the White House, Congress, Supreme Court, Libraries of Congress, etc.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby JCom » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:04 pm

My wife and I stayed in Washington DC (two stops from all the monuments) last year over Thanksgiving. We used the website http://www.airbnb.com to rent an apartment for only $75 with taxes included. It seemed like a steal to me at the time. Obviously you have a family so you'll need a bigger place than we did but they aren't much more expensive. I did a quick search and found some pretty nice places for under $150. You'd also have a full kitchen so you could save yourself some money on food. Just note to search for entire homes/apartments - you can just rent a room in someone's house but I would feel uncomfortable doing that. We had great results and it's starting to become more mainstream. I plan on using this service for our trip to Europe in June.

Here's some quick search results:
https://www.airbnb.com/s?location=Washington%2C+DC&checkin=04%2F01%2F2013&checkout=04%2F06%2F2013&guests=4&room_types%5B%5D=Entire+home%2Fapt

There may be more websites offering this service but this is the only one I have experience with.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Bob's not my name » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:05 pm

bobcat2 wrote:
Placenshow wrote:We are planning a family vacation (kids ages 9 & 12) to Washington DC in early April 2003
I gather from your post that you are traveling to Washington by time machine. Good luck and godspeed with that.
Maybe you can stop the JGTRRA tax cuts and Medicare Part D from happening. We are counting on you to stop the fiscal cliff by mooling it (this is the opposite of looming; I'm pretty sure it's a word).
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby SamB » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:17 pm

If by chance you change airports and end up at Dulles you might consider Reston Town Center. It is very walkable, and transportation into DC via bus and subway is no problem. You would be about five miles from the airport.

The hotel in Town Center is the Hyatt, which is probably expensive, but it is in a prime location.

If you do end up near Reagan Airport, take a look at Old Town Alexandria. It is also very walkable. Both Reston and Old Town are near bike trails, which eventually take you to DC. Reston is 25 miles from the White House, but Old Town, just south of Reagan is quite close.

I spent most of my career working in Crystal City, and there are plenty of hotels there, but I really do not recommend the area for a vacation stay. It is pretty bleak as far as I am concerned.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Placenshow » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:56 pm

Thank you to everyone for your recommendations and insight.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby clemrick » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:11 am

Do you need a hotel? VBRO.com has some nicely priced apartments actually in DC itself that might work for you.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby bowest » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:40 am

dm200 wrote:
I would counter that staying near a Metro (subway) stop in Arlington or Alexandria would probably be lower priced and alost as convenient (on Metro).


+1 to this. The Metro is cheap, quick and convenient. You can get to most important sites with a 20-minute train ride from Arlington/Crystal City. Rates are usually decent on weekends tho you may not be able to do much better than $175/nt if you're looking at one of the peak Cherry Blossom festival dates (which is a great time to see DC).
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby dm200 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:29 pm

Here is the link to Metro (rail and bus) http://www.wmata.com/
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby thebogledude » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:18 pm

Placenshow wrote:Good afternoon,

We are planning a family vacation (kids ages 9 & 12) to Washington DC in early April 2013 and I'm looking for helpful recommendations on reasonable lodging close to Ronald Reagan Washington National airport (DCA).

We are tentatively looking at Hampton Inn & Suites @ $175 night (breakfast included) and just curious if this is a good price or if there are better deals to be found.

Thanks for taking a look.

Bryan in Mn


Hampton Inns are moderately priced and include a hot breakfast. I would see if that's the AAA price, usually they are lower outside of major cities. Otherwise you're in the ball park.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Cash » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:09 am

dm200 wrote:Here is the link to Metro (rail and bus) http://www.wmata.com/


Capital Bikeshare is also great for tourists. You can rent bikes by minute and return them to dozens of stations around the city (including several on the Mall).

http://www.capitalbikeshare.com/
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby brainstem » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:33 am

Timing is critical regarding lodging

If Congress is scheduled way in advance to be out of session, hotel rates plummet ... Stayed a year or two back at the Grand Hyatt for $110 a night .... But of course, you will not shake hands with your local congressman

The renovated national gallery is quite nice ..... I always enjoy the Sackler Asian art collection.

If you stay near the airport, make sure you are near the metro ... Quite a hassle to shuttle or walk to the subway.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby texasdiver » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:17 pm

As a former DC worker bee my advice is the following.

Reagan National is on the metro line (subway) so you can get anywhere easily.

All the main tourist attractions are also on metro lines (or short walks from them) except for Georgetown.

Therefore you can pick any nice neighborhood that is on the metro line for your hotel and be able to get to and from the airport and to and from all the attractions easily.

Rather than staying near the airport I'd recommend the Dupont Circle, downtown area, or anwhere in the NW quadrant of the city near a metro line. For example, there are nice hotels in the Cleveland Park area next to the National Zoo that are also on the metro line. That would be a pleasant place to stay with kids, much nicer than near the airport. But frankly there are a bazillion business class hotels in the DC area and they are all going to be priced pretty near the Federal per-diem travel rate for DC because such a huge number of travelers are on business. So I haven't seen that much price flexibility on the bottom end. You can of course go way way up at the other end.

For a nice place in Cleveland Park, the Omni would be ideal: http://www.omnihotels.com/findahotel/wa ... reham.aspx walking distance to the metro, lots of restaurants, and the zoo. But might be out of your range.

A couple stops further out the red line metro there is a Day's Inn at 4400 Connecticut Ave that would be much cheaper and still a decent location.

PS....plan your metro expeditions to avoid peak rush hour times. The metro gets pretty packed and frantic during rush hour on week days and might not be too fun trying to drag kids around when you are all squeezed in and standing while trying to figure out which top to get on and off, etc.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Watty » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:57 pm

A tip on where to eat when you are in the mall area.

There are not a lot of places to eat around most of the museums other than the packed restaurants within the museums.

The Ronald Reagan building is a block or two off the mall and it has a huge food court in the basement with wide range of food choices at reasonable prices. It has been a while since I have been there but as I recall you had to go through a simple security checkpoint to get in the building but you did not have to have any sort of special pass to get into the building.

http://www.itcdc.com/explore.php?p=13
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Placenshow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:36 pm

Thanks again everyone for the great suggestions....I knew I came to the right place for answers.

I've found a couple interesting AIRBNB options that have had tons of great reviews and much much cheaper than a hotel.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby SuzyC » Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:46 pm

One caution re: the plan to go to Camden Yards to see the O's - Twins -- check those train schedules carefully. If the Friday game's a day game (looks like it is Opening Day, so it might be), training to and from DC might work. Weekend train schedules aren't great to/from Camden, though.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Placenshow » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:24 pm

Thanks Suzy....the way it stands now, we are looking to visit in early June when the Twins are in town to play the Nationals.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby dm200 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:35 pm

Placenshow wrote:Thanks Suzy....the way it stands now, we are looking to visit in early June when the Twins are in town to play the Nationals.


Metro would be the preferred way to go to Nationals park to see a baseball game.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby sometimesinvestor » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:05 pm

D.C is NOT an auto friendly city and parking in the area of the museums on the mall can be frustrating.The idea of a good inexpensive hotel neara metro stop is thus very appealing .
The metro (red line ) does go to the national Zoo (they have among other things a giant Panda though the stop is about 1/4 mile from the train. You know if the kids (and you ) would enjoy the zoo.
April is a great time(weatherwise) to visit DC though because of that some hotel/motel rates might be higher than other times of the year
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby grabiner » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:32 am

Watty wrote:A tip on where to eat when you are in the mall area.

There are not a lot of places to eat around most of the museums other than the packed restaurants within the museums.


But a few of the museum options are good. I recommend the cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian, which has a variety of interesting selections. It will be busy at peak tourist times, but it's worth the walk rather than eating at the Air and Space Museum next door.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby magicmom » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:17 am

I stayed at a Doubletree INN in Georgetown.
Got off the airplane, got on the MEtro, walked to the hotel.
WOke up, got on the MEtro and it took me to the Mall.
Walked to Kennedy Center for dinner, and Watergate, just because.
I love DC>
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Cash » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:52 am

magicmom wrote:I stayed at a Doubletree INN in Georgetown.
Got off the airplane, got on the MEtro, walked to the hotel.
WOke up, got on the MEtro and it took me to the Mall.
Walked to Kennedy Center for dinner, and Watergate, just because.
I love DC>


I'm glad you enjoyed it, but I would NOT recommend staying in Georgetown. It might be nice to visit for an afternoon of shopping (I personally avoid Georgetown because of the crowds), but the nearest Metro station, Foggy Bottom, is a good distance away. From Google, it looks like your hotel was actually in Foggy Bottom, near the Metro station, not in Georgetown. Foggy Bottom is OK because it's walking distance to the Mall (Lincoln Memorial end) and, yes, Kennedy Center and Georgetown. If OP decides to stay in the city, I second the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park recommendations, and also Gallery Place/Chinatown.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby centrifuge41 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:08 pm

Cash wrote:It might be nice to visit for an afternoon of shopping (I personally avoid Georgetown because of the crowds), but the nearest Metro station, Foggy Bottom, is a good distance away.
Depending on where you are in Georgetown, your closest metro stop might actually be Rosslyn (don't be too shy to cross the Key bridge!)

Oh, a lot of tourists who walk to Lincoln Memorial assume that Smithsonian is the closest metro station. Nope! Arlington Cemetery is the closest (make sure it's not night if you walk that way, since the stop closes at night), and Foggy Bottom is the second closest stop.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby VictoriaF » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:05 pm

grabiner wrote:
Watty wrote:A tip on where to eat when you are in the mall area.

There are not a lot of places to eat around most of the museums other than the packed restaurants within the museums.


But a few of the museum options are good. I recommend the cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian, which has a variety of interesting selections. It will be busy at peak tourist times, but it's worth the walk rather than eating at the Air and Space Museum next door.


When I am visiting the Mall I frequently eat at Teaism on D St and 8th St NW. Chinatown is a short walking distance from the Mall, at H St and 7th St NW.

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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby ginyah » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:06 pm

I just returned from DC with my grandchildren. I stayed in Alexandria and took Metro into DC. Easy walks to all sights. I agree with recommendation to eat at the Museum of the American Indian. We all found food we liked that was excellently prepared. Great exhibits there also. Only disappointment was seeing the White House. Unable to get tickets for a tour and fence keeps you so far away it is hard to see its grandeur. The Elipse was all torn up so you couldn't even stand there for a better view. There is so much to see it is hard to choose what you want to do but we loved it all.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby magicmom » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:05 am

Cash wrote:
magicmom wrote:I stayed at a Doubletree INN in Georgetown.
Got off the airplane, got on the MEtro, walked to the hotel.
WOke up, got on the MEtro and it took me to the Mall.
Walked to Kennedy Center for dinner, and Watergate, just because.
I love DC>


I'm glad you enjoyed it, but I would NOT recommend staying in Georgetown. It might be nice to visit for an afternoon of shopping (I personally avoid Georgetown because of the crowds), but the nearest Metro station, Foggy Bottom, is a good distance away. From Google, it looks like your hotel was actually in Foggy Bottom, near the Metro station, not in Georgetown. Foggy Bottom is OK because it's walking distance to the Mall (Lincoln Memorial end) and, yes, Kennedy Center and Georgetown. If OP decides to stay in the city, I second the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park recommendations, and also Gallery Place/Chinatown.



You are right it was Foggy Bottom. ANd we did have a great time. That was several years ago.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby Bob's not my name » Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:47 am

ginyah wrote:I agree with recommendation to eat at the Museum of the American Indian. We all found food we liked that was excellently prepared. Great exhibits there also.
The food is great. The museum and its exhibits are the worst thing I've ever seen.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby scubadiver » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:56 am

Whatever you do, I strongly recommend a visit to the National Air and Space Museum.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby magicmom » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:37 pm

scubadiver wrote:Whatever you do, I strongly recommend a visit to the National Air and Space Museum.


I'll second that.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby btenny » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:39 pm

My wife and I did the same visit with our kids back when and we stayed at the Embassy Suite hotel in Crystal City right by National Airport and the subway line. It is a great hotel that offers complete free cooked breakfasts and happy hour with a fully enclosed atrium. This allows your kids to wander and get food and have fun. It is more expensive than other hotels but offers an enclosed king room separate from the living room sleeper sofa so you and your wife can stay with the kids in one suite and have some privacy.

See here. https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/es/res ... ution=e1s1

The hotel is also right near several good restraurants in Crystal City and near Arlington Memorial and associated sights and the Pentagon for those sights plus it has a shuttle to and from the airport. Then for your trips to DC catch the subway right to the DC mall for say 2-3 days.

Then when you want to go the Baltimore I suggest you rent a car and drive to Baltimore for a Orioles game and to see downtown Baltimore and the harbor and the ball park. This is a great way to spend a day. I would stay there in downtown Baltimore for the night. Then if you have time take your kids to Annapolis the next day and see the harbor there and the Naval Academy for tours as you decide. Then when you are done touring return the car to Crystal City and ride the shuttle back to National Airport. This approach is much less stress than trying to train to Baltimore and so forth...

Good Luck and Enjoy. DC is a great Family trip.
Bill
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby sometimesinvestor » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:45 pm

[ Unable to get tickets for a tour and fence keeps you so far away it is hard to see its grandeur. The Elipse was all torn up so you couldn't even stand there for a better view. There is so much to see it is hard to choose what you want to do but we loved it all.[/quote]
BEST way to get whitehouse tickets is to contact your congessman's office in advance. Should be no problem
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby furwut » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:27 pm

Speaking of Baltimore, I don't know if a side excursion is still on your agenda but the Aquarium and maybe the Science Museum are worth checking out there at the harbor. And there are usually a couple of old ships (USS Constellation) and a WWII sub open for touring.
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Re: Vacation to Washington DC

Postby hazlitt777 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:52 pm

Placenshow wrote:Good afternoon,

We are planning a family vacation (kids ages 9 & 12) to Washington DC in early April 2013 and I'm looking for helpful recommendations on reasonable lodging close to Ronald Reagan Washington National airport (DCA).

We are tentatively looking at Hampton Inn & Suites @ $175 night (breakfast included) and just curious if this is a good price or if there are better deals to be found.

Thanks for taking a look.

Bryan in Mn


DK publishing guidebooks have never let me down with their lodging recommendations.

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Guide-Wash ... 0756689570
http://www.amazon.com/Eyewitness-Travel ... hington+dc
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