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best way to see the monuments

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posts: 7
best way to see the monuments

Should we do them during the day (I am traveling with kids ages 7,9,11)or on a night tour or on a organized tour (like trolley or ducks)

Or is it worth it to see them both during day then drive them ourselves at night?

Silver Spring...
posts: 10,754
1. Re: best way to see the monuments

I would view them in the daytime and go back and see Korean War Memorial and Lincoln Memorial at night. They are near each other. The Korean War Memorial at night is really awesome. I don't think you will need a tour.

There will be plenty of people around if you are concerned about it being desolate. I think it will be dark enough around 8:30 or so.

posts: 7
2. Re: best way to see the monuments

I know that driving is not recommended during the day in DC, but would there be parking places at night?

Cincinnati, Ohio
posts: 18
reviews: 51
3. Re: best way to see the monuments

We were just in DC and did the DC By Foot tour. (http://www.dcbyfoot.com) It was excellent, we saw many of the memorials and got a lot of interesting history on them. Ben, our tour guide, was excellent and really kept our attention. There were a few kids in our tour and they seemed to enjoy it too. The guide included them specifically in a lot of the tour and that helped keep their attention. I would highly recommend it.

Indianapolis, IN
posts: 112
reviews: 7
4. Re: best way to see the monuments

I suggest that you go on an organized tour and forget about the car. Trying to drive, watch for signs, find parking, etc.. will not be worth it. Drivers in the area lay on the horn if you're 1 second late going on green. NO exaggeration. I took the Old Town Trolley tour and was very pleased with it. The driver knew various bits of facts and tidbits and would tell us on the way past. You can hop on and off as much as you like. They have 3 different tours that you can go on for the day. They also have a monuments by moonlight tour. I didn't go on that so I can't give much advice, but I did see the monuments at night and they are beautiful lit up.

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington
posts: 2,554
reviews: 31
5. Re: best way to see the monuments

Many of the monuments have a very different feel at night, and in my view the World War II, FDR, and Jefferson Memorial are all at their very best when seen at night. If you can find a night tour that will take you past / through all the major memorials, I would sign up for it. I do not think you will be disappointed.

Alternatively, doing a day tour and then driving yourselves back at night to the monuments that interest you is also an option, *IF* you are ok with city driving AND are good at finding your way around without signs to guide you AND are ok with walking through some fairly dark and empty areas on your own between the memorials. There is generally ample parking along portions of Constitution Ave. at night, which should give you access to the Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean, and WWII memorial. It is a bit of a longer walk to some of these; none have parking that is directly adjacent to them.

I would recommend parking along Constitution as close to Lincoln as you can, walking to the Lincoln, Vietnam, and Korean War, then getting back in the car and driving down constitution to park as close to the intersection with 17th Street as you can, to walk to the Washington Monument and WWII. From there you can drive down to the FDR / Jefferson, as there is parking along the access road in front of the main entrance to the FDR memorial. Finding your way to that access road is a bit tricky (you need to get over to and past the Jefferson, and double back to it). If you are in a group, from the FDR you can walk over to the Jefferson at night. This takes you straight away from where you'll be parked, so it will again make for a bit of a longer walk back to the car. I also note that this walk takes you through some particularly darkly lit and empty areas along the reflecting pool, which can feel scary if you are alone or in a pair. The area is generally safe, but as with being in any dark empty corner of a big city, use your judgment if you see non-tourist people milling around, folks following / watching you, etc. I don't want to scare you off from doing this on your own, but also want to let you evaluate the challenges of setting out on your own vs. being in a guided group.

posts: 7
6. Re: best way to see the monuments

thanks for the great advice!

posts: 1,784
reviews: 13
7. Re: best way to see the monuments

2 word answer to your question

By foot

Austin, Texas
posts: 91
8. Re: best way to see the monuments

For a great daytime walk… this is the loop we usually take our guests – so we do skip the Roosevelt and Jefferson Memorials, but those are great to visit in the evening.

From 14th street with the Mall behind you and the Washington Monument in front of you, walk toward the Monument. You can get tickets to go inside, but you have to go REAL early and wait in line. I say – if you want to see it all – just view the Monument from outside. It’s still incredible!

From there walk the path on your right to to the World War II Memorial (as you’re walking, be sure to look to your right – there’s the White House!). After WWII, you’ll see the reflecting pool, to the right of that down a way is the Vietnam War Memorial, which leads into the Lincoln Memorial.

Then on the other side of the reflecting pool after Lincoln, you’ll visit the Korean War Memorial. After that, walk back toward the Monument and you’re done!

posts: 1,784
reviews: 13
9. Re: best way to see the monuments

I love to walk and I was in Washington this last May (staying as a tourist) I'm in and out of northern Virginia frequently - so I know my way around DC...

But for the first time in years I did a huge loop that was to end at the Lincoln Memorial and then head back to my hotel on Pennsylvania Ave (midway between Georgetown and The White House in Foggy Bottom) but Arlington Cem and the Lee Mansion looked so good....so I diverted to Virginia - walking across Memorial Bridge and then on and up to the Kennedy grave and the Lee Mansion...wow !

Could have taken the Metro out of there directly to Foggy Bottom (my plan) but decided to press on...

Was a wonderful walk.

10. Re: best way to see the monuments

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