Three Days in DC

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Bacchus01
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Three Days in DC

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:39 am

Taking the fam to visit some family in the DC area.

havent been in a while. Planning to hit the museums, Arlington, National Zoo. Usual stuff. May run over to Annapolis for a noon formation.

Any must-see I’m forgetting? Kids ages 10, 13, 17.

We want to eat at nice local restaurants in town when touring museums and such. Any suggestions? Any evening suggestions for out in Alexandria?

radiowave
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by radiowave » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:45 am

Air & Space museum on the mall. Plan to spend some quality time there.
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FederalFIRE
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by FederalFIRE » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:48 am

radiowave wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:45 am
Air & Space museum on the mall. Plan to spend some quality time there.
Always a good one, though right now it's being renovated in phases, so it's more crowded than usual and fewer exhibits.

Dottie57
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:54 am

Make sure to go to Arlington. Beautiful view of the mall from Lee’s front yard.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by KlangFool » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:55 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:39 am
Taking the fam to visit some family in the DC area.

havent been in a while. Planning to hit the museums, Arlington, National Zoo. Usual stuff. May run over to Annapolis for a noon formation.

Any must-see I’m forgetting? Kids ages 10, 13, 17.

We want to eat at nice local restaurants in town when touring museums and such. Any suggestions? Any evening suggestions for out in Alexandria?
Bacchus01,

Top 100 restaurants

https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/02/1 ... ashington/

Top 100 to eat cheap

https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/08/2 ... ington-dc/

Please note that the two lists do overlap each other.

What kind of foods are you looking for? Where are you from?

KlangFool

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by abner kravitz » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:00 pm

I have gone to the big Air and Space museum out at Dulles a few times. Absolutely fascinating for me. They used to run free shuttles from the Mall, but this was a few years back. Don't know if that is still a thing.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by adamthesmythe » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:09 pm

You can't just say "museums" you have to downselect.

Air and Space at the mall is usually a madhouse. The one out of town (Udvar-Hazy Center) is not as bad.

Natural History and American History might appeal most to the young. There are others you may consider a duty.

Check for closures. Parking and getting around can be a pain.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:37 pm

Walk around the embassy districts. You can't go inside but its nifty to see the nice buildings in the residential areas with their flags proudly displayed and the expensive cars parked outside. Good free thing to do on Sunday morning when there is little traffic & most things are closed. Haven't looked at the restaurant list but I always liked Teaism and their DuPont Circle location is near many of those embassies.

Wilderness Society HQ across from National Geographic has display of Ansel Adams B&W photos. At least when I was in DC NG opened earlier than most places so a good choice to start the day.

Other no cost walking options: DuPont Circle area (possibly others too) has some side streets with gas lamps; Old Alexandria area has lots of interesting early architecture and a small strip of cobblestone street (fun to walk on just to see what it is like) - I am from a part of the country without such things so I made an effort to always make this part of my DC ventures.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:55 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:09 pm
You can't just say "museums" you have to downselect.

Air and Space at the mall is usually a madhouse. The one out of town (Udvar-Hazy Center) is not as bad.

Natural History and American History might appeal most to the young. There are others you may consider a duty.

Check for closures. Parking and getting around can be a pain.

For the mall we’ll take the metro

feehater
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by feehater » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:10 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:55 pm
adamthesmythe wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:09 pm
You can't just say "museums" you have to downselect.

Air and Space at the mall is usually a madhouse. The one out of town (Udvar-Hazy Center) is not as bad.

Natural History and American History might appeal most to the young. There are others you may consider a duty.

Check for closures. Parking and getting around can be a pain.

For the mall we’ll take the metro
You didn't give a date, but hopefully you are doing this trip soon. This summer the metro lines servicing Alexandria are going to be completely shut down for a long while.

Edited to add: I assume you are staying in Alexandria based on wanting to do a night out there.

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dm200
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by dm200 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:14 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:39 am
Taking the fam to visit some family in the DC area.
havent been in a while. Planning to hit the museums, Arlington, National Zoo. Usual stuff. May run over to Annapolis for a noon formation.
Any must-see I’m forgetting? Kids ages 10, 13, 17.
We want to eat at nice local restaurants in town when touring museums and such. Any suggestions? Any evening suggestions for out in Alexandria?
If you like baseball, the Washington Nationals have some home games beginning in late March. www.washingtonnationals.com

The ballpark is a very nice place to see a major league game.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by JGoneRiding » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:16 pm

Do the hollacoust museum. Those kids are all old enough. My nephew was 10 or 11 the first time and 13 the second. He is 17 now and was writing about it on remembrance day just recently. It's well done and impactful without being 2 scary but not necessarily "fun" you may need to arrange tickets for that one or a specific time.

I am book crazy so LOVED the library, nephew not so much

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dm200
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by dm200 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:19 pm

Even though we live in the area, I have not seen it -- but I see very rave reviews of those who have been there https://nmaahc.si.edu/

This represents a significant part of the history and heritage of the country.

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baconavocado
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by baconavocado » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:19 pm

If you're going in spring, the cherry trees will be in bloom.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by MDfan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:26 pm

There's also the Spy Museum and the new African American History museum which is phenomenal. You could also still catch the Newseum before it closes for good, I believe. Georgetown or downtown Annapolis are great ways to kill an afternoon.

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fortfun
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by fortfun » Sun Mar 10, 2019 1:32 pm

Use Uber or Lyft to get between the monuments. If it is hot outside, it can be very hard on your family to walk between the monuments. I recommend seeing the monuments at night too--very pretty. Try to get a tour of the capitol building from your local representative. Our family really enjoyed that.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:14 pm

We’re going in 3 weeks.

I’ve been to DC many, many times. Just not in the last 5 years or so and haven’t been with the family in nearly 15 years.

All good suggestions so far. Thanks!

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:21 pm

Since I didn't see anyone else mention it, I'll suggest the WW II Memorial.
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by StandingRock » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:26 pm

FederalFIRE wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:48 am
radiowave wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:45 am
Air & Space museum on the mall. Plan to spend some quality time there.
Always a good one, though right now it's being renovated in phases, so it's more crowded than usual and fewer exhibits.
I was also contemplating a trip for this spring, and the Space museum was at the top of my list so I was disappointed to hear they were renovating. Would you recommend a certain day of the week or time of day when it might be less crowded?

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by catdude » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:33 pm

National Portrait Gallery. It's off the mall and less crowded than the primary Smithsonian museums. Not sure how keen the kids would be though.

Also the National Zoo is good to see....
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:34 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:14 pm
We’re going in 3 weeks.
You will be here in the perfect time for Cherry Blossoms. I recommend that you make it a priority, because the next time, you timing could be off.

Enjoy the capital!
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Kiter » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:44 pm

Contact your Rep.office and try to get a private tour of the Capital building .

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Marengo » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:47 pm

If you want to go to places that are off the regular DC itinerary, I recommend the National Arboretum and the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, both in NE DC. Both are free Federal areas and good for getting some good walks and exploring the natural environment.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:05 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (travel).
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by 3feetpete » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:16 pm

If your kids like the outdoors and get tired of museums take them to Great Falls National Park just outside the beltway on the Maryland side of the Potomac and hike the Billy Goat Trail. Tough rocky trail but very scenic.

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Bacchus01
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:29 pm

Kiter wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:44 pm
Contact your Rep.office and try to get a private tour of the Capital building .
I've done it before. Not interested.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by samsoes » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:43 pm

Ford's Theatre (where Lincoln was shot), followed by the Peterson House across the street (where he died).

Fascinating.
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by mrc » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:48 pm

radiowave wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:45 am
Air & Space museum on the mall. Plan to spend some quality time there.
The A&S Museum in DC is undergoing renovations so check on that first.
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by samsoes » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:59 pm

The Chinese Restaurant called "Wok and Roll." It was once Mary Surratt's boarding house where she allegedly hosted John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators as they planned President Lincoln's demise. There is a plaque in the wall explaining the building's history.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_E. ... ding_House

(Mary Surratt was tried and hung for her participation. She was the first woman executed by the Federal Government.)
Last edited by samsoes on Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by MikeWillRetire » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:00 pm

If you will be here on March 30, you can go see the Kite Festival. It is part of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and your kids will probably like it. It is right on the National Mall around the Washington Memorial.
https://nationalcherryblossomfestival.o ... -festival/

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Kenkat » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:15 pm

Have the kids seen all of the major monuments / memorials? Were they old enough to remember them? Alternately, it is also neat to see them at dusk / after dark if you haven’t before - it adds a different dimension to see them lit up. The Korean War Memorial was downright spooky in the dark.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by ASpenderInRecovery » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:23 pm

Air & Space, Natural History, National Archives, Newseum, Spy Museum will all interest kids. The rooftop at the W has a great view of The White House and DC skyline. Embassy Row by car is interesting. Last but not least, the Kennedy Center and it’s terrace are great.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by arsenalfan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:33 pm

Newseum. Costs money but well worth it, less crowded, amazing. Then eat in Penn Quarter (Jaleo Tapas is great). Holocaust Museum and AA museum are great too (I think AA museum releases a batch of tix at 0630 am every day or something).

Capitol tour through your represenative/senator office. Walk the monuments on the mall (MLK Lincoln WW2 Vietnam etc). Old Ebbitt for lunch by the WH is good/touristy/solid stand by.

See what's showing at the Kennedy Center. Get up EARLY (7am) and hit the cherry blossoms - less crowded, great pics (check the weather).

+1 on Great Falls - check out Billy Goat Trails for some scrambling that looks death defying but my 8yo does just fine on it.

I never really enjoyed Georgetown but if you need tony shopping/a main drag, you could split the group and send that contingent there.

Air & Space is fun but just ok if you have another planetarium/air & space museum. If flying out of Dulles check out the Air & Space hangar at Udar Hazy - a little less crowded but less cosmopolitan and fewer dining options.

As for food, there's not a lot of must-haves. Eastern Market and Union Market are fun destinations for some - Eastern if you're into the gritty farmer market thing, Union for the milennial gourmet burger/alcohol milkshake thing. We just hit food trucks along the mall, the native american museum cafe, and Jaleo/Penn Quarter.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by arsenalfan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:35 pm

ASpenderInRecovery wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:23 pm
Air & Space, Natural History, National Archives, Newseum, Spy Museum will all interest kids. The rooftop at the W has a great view of The White House and DC skyline. Embassy Row by car is interesting. Last but not least, the Kennedy Center and it’s terrace are great.
Grabbing a drink at the W POV bar is great fun but kids may be bored. It is fun to see the Secret Service atop the WH next door, in black body armor and no weapons visible other than a black bag that looks like one Santa wears. We spent hours pondering what was in those bags.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by mattshwink » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:35 pm

As many have said, the cherry blossom's are a must see if they are in bloom. 3 weeks should be a decent show, though they are predicting peak bloom April 2nd-6th (this date usually moves a little in either direction depending on what the weather does). I usually try to combine this with one of my favorite activities, which is walking the tidal basin. You can walk the whole loop in 1.5-2 hours with stops to explore the MLK memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial. Being just south of the mall it's a good thing to do to start your day. Morning tends to have less people, and it can be a great way to start your day (especially if you are visiting other sites along the National Mall. Just know that if it is a weekday the metro will be fairly crowded in the mornings (number of people tends to trail off as it approaches 9AM and starts picking up again a little before 4PM). Best, of course, is its completely free (the tidal basin and memorials, not the metro).

New additions are the African American Museum (which I have not made it too, but others I know really loved it). But it really depends on what you like.

I recently went to the Newseum for the first time in many years and really enjoyed it (so did my wife and 7 year old).

My other favorite place is Arlington Cemetery. As an alternative to seeing noon formation in Annapolis (which will probably eat up most of a day getting there and back) Arlington can be done in a half day, and is metro accessible. There are National Park Ranger lead tours/talks, and my favorite spot is Arlington House, which has a great view of DC. The changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown is both cool and moving.

Udvar Hazy is also worth the trip out to Dulles if you love aviation/space. Space Shuttle, SR-71, so much more (mock tower where you can see the Dulles traffic takeoff/land and listen to the actual ATC communications).

Alexandria is a fantastic place as well, with good food and a neat "vibe". For an "authentic" Alexandria experience I'd do Union Street Public House followed by some Pop's Ice Cream which is right around the corner. My "may only be loved by me" Alexandria spot is Haute Dog and Fries. I love hot dogs and their gourmet style with amazing toppings is my favorite spot. Of course, Alexandria (south of old town) also has Mt Vernon, George Washington's house. Fantastic place and great history.

The one warning I will give (other than that DC Air and Space is under renovation) is that Natural History is under renovation, and is scheduled to be done in June. You can still go, but some things are not open (may also mean less crowds, though).

Good luck and have fun :)
Last edited by mattshwink on Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by rich126 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 5:48 pm

According to NPS, the 2019 cherry blossom peak bloom period will occur between April 3-6. The best viewing of the cherry blossom trees typically lasts four to seven days after peak bloom begins, but the blossoms can last for up to two weeks under ideal conditions.
Its a big guessing game.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Briar Rabbit » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:33 pm

1) Get up real early one day and make your first stop the National Archives.
2) Go to the Library of congress and take a tour. One of the most important buildings in America in terms of architecture.
3) If you go to the Holocaust museum, the lines are very long to get in. Maybe on day 2 get here early to line up. I think you can wait in line, and get tickets for a time later in the day to come back. Next door is the bureau of printing where they make greenbacks.
4) The Iwo Jima memorial is worth a visit if you have a car. Not far from Arlington.
5) Take a US capital tour. No pre-arrangement is necessary and the tours move through pretty quickly.
6) One thing we were surprised by was the US postal museum near the train station, not far from the US capital.

We have Rented a car for road trips to Monticello, Richmond, and Appomattox, but we had more then 3 days.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Hockey10 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:38 pm

Take the kids to Arlington to see The Changing of the Guard. While you are walking to the site, explain the significance of what they are about to see. Make sure they are standing, quiet, and respectful for the entire ceremony.

In my mind, Arlington is the most sacred ground in America and is a place that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by feehater » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:45 pm

Just FYI, the spy museum is closed right now until it moves and reopens in May.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by rgs92 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:30 pm

As mentioned, I would definitely see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ("The Wall").
The story of the Wall is here on the official website:
http://thewall-usa.com

Contact and location info is here (if you scroll all the way down):
http://thewall-usa.com/information.asp

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by FamilyMan » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:49 pm

When we went, my kids favorite visits were the White House and the Mint. You’re probably too late for WH tickets but I highly recommend the Mint.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:37 am

FamilyMan wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:49 pm
When we went, my kids favorite visits were the White House and the Mint. You’re probably too late for WH tickets but I highly recommend the Mint.
Yes - I think you can get better passes from your Senator or Congressman.

I don't know the dates - but the While House garden tour is very nice - been a long time.

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dm200
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:12 am

Hockey10 wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:38 pm
Take the kids to Arlington to see The Changing of the Guard. While you are walking to the site, explain the significance of what they are about to see. Make sure they are standing, quiet, and respectful for the entire ceremony.
In my mind, Arlington is the most sacred ground in America and is a place that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime.
For those with some historical interest, Arlington Cemetery can be a great experience. There is separation of the officers from the enlisted - with one, notable exception.

That exception is General Pershing http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/johnjose.htm
He was buried, as was his wish, under a simple white gravestone in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery, near the gravesites of his "Doughboys" from World War I.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by donaldfair71 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:13 am

In order:

Holocaust Museum
National Archives
Mount Vernon
Air and Space Museum

I live about 30 minutes away and really just walking around the mall/Northwest is something else. It's kind of a unique place. We take the kids once or twice a year with nowhere to go in particular, we just walk around. If you're there on a Saturday, the food trucks will line the mall at dinnertime. But seriously, once you get to walking around the area, you literally come up on monument after monument, it's a little awe-inspiring at first.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by x150831 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:22 am

Pretty much all responses here are spot on in my opinion, so you have a lot to choose from. My recommendation would be to purchase one of the hop on/hop off trolley tours. The drivers provide a really interesting narration as they go through all of the main attractions. You can ask questions and obviously get off anytime there is an attraction/museum you want to visit. Also, it prevents anyone from getting too tired of walking. All of these tours start at the train station, "Washington Union Station." Which is an interesting place as well!

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:34 am

x150831 wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:22 am
Pretty much all responses here are spot on in my opinion, so you have a lot to choose from. My recommendation would be to purchase one of the hop on/hop off trolley tours. The drivers provide a really interesting narration as they go through all of the main attractions. You can ask questions and obviously get off anytime there is an attraction/museum you want to visit. Also, it prevents anyone from getting too tired of walking. All of these tours start at the train station, "Washington Union Station." Which is an interesting place as well!
Yes - Union Station has been (finally) restored - and is an attraction -

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Theseus » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:38 am

Some really good suggestions here.

I would add National Building Museum. My daughter had a field trip there when she was 11 and I chaperoned. She had a great time.

Second suggestion is rent bikes (weather permitting) and you can bike along the river from Roosevelt Island (parking lot on Virginia side) - Alexandria - Mount Vernon. Tour Mount Vernon and then bike back. I think it is about 30 miles round trip. If you are starting in Alexandria it is even less. The ride is really nice and scenic. If you start from the Roosevelt Island, you will get good views of monuments from the Virginia side of the river. On the way you can stop at the Gravely Point to see airplanes take off.

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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:48 am

I would skip the National Zoo, sorry but the last time I was there a year ago I felt it was a national disgrace, run down, most of the animals were MIA, really disappointing. Perhaps I've been spoiled with the NYC area zoo's which tend to have a lot more animals and is updated.

National Air and Space Museum
Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials
Capital Building tour - if you can arrange for tickets in advance with your local state Senator or Congress(man/woman).
Bureau of Engraving and Printing located here: https://www.moneyfactory.gov/washingtondctours.html Your kids will get to see the US Treasury in operation, printing money live, they will see more money from the viewing platform than we have collectively on the forum. :moneybag Free tour, runs ever 15-30 minutes. Highly recommend. Located next to National Holocaust Museum (you may want to pass on that, it can be upsetting).
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Three Days in DC

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:51 am

FamilyMan wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:49 pm
When we went, my kids favorite visits were the White House and the Mint. You’re probably too late for WH tickets but I highly recommend the Mint.
+1, especially when they are handing out free samples! :moneybag :dollar :moneybag :greedy
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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Three Days in DC

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:05 am

I would skip the National Zoo, sorry but the last time I was there a year ago I felt it was a national disgrace, run down, most of the animals were MIA, really disappointing. Perhaps I've been spoiled with the NYC area zoo's which tend to have a lot more animals and is updated.
That is disappointing. We live in the area - but it has been quite a while since we have been there.

I will try to go his year and see what has changed.

With zoos, some of the things that are (or seem) great for visitors are not the best for the animals. One of the exhibits we really liked there was the Polar Bears - but I don't think it was good for them.

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