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August Trip - Best things to Do

San Antonio, Texas
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August Trip - Best things to Do

Hello,

We're planning our first trip to D.C. with our two children. They want to visit the monuments and the White House. Also interested in riding the metro. Ideas, tips, suggestions of where to stay?

Arlington, Virginia
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for Arlington
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1. Re: August Trip - Best things to Do

Welcome to Trip Advisor!

Your question is too broad to answer as is, but there is a series of Top Questions to the right of this page (full site, not mobile) that can help you. Once you read through those, you can provide more specific information to narrow any questions you might still have.

One important Top Question for those who visit during the busy spring and summer seasons addresses which attractions require advance tickets. You don't want to miss out on an attraction you had your heart set on seeing because you didn't know you had to have a ticket. (Also note that you can walk by the White House and see the outside, but tours of the inside are hard to get and you would be applying rather late for an August visit.)

There are also good guidebooks about visiting Washington DC with kids. You can very likely find a copy at your local library.

South Dakota
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2. Re: August Trip - Best things to Do

We applied for a White House tour with our congressional rep's office (this is what you must do) in February. They submitted our request and we found out in March that our request was received and was pending approval. We found out mid-May that we had been approved for a visit. Our actual tour was right after Memorial Day. That's how long it can take to get WH tickets. We were fortunate. We talked with two other families at our hotel who applied for tickets and were turned down.

The Washington Monument is closed for repairs.

Get tickets in advance if any of the following interest you: viewing the Charters of Freedom at the National Archives, touring the Capitol, touring Ford's Theater, touring the mansion at Mt. Vernon. These are best done with timed tickets. Ditto for the Holocaust museum, but that's not an appropriate attraction for younger kids or even elementary school students. We opted to skip the Bureau of Engraving and printing because we were unable to secure tickets in advance through our rep and we didn't want to get in line early to get them.

We enjoyed our time in DC, but it's no longer the type of vacation you can plan on short notice or wing. Have you ever booked fast passes for a Disney trip? It reminded me a lot of that.

Some of the things on that list can be seen by getting tickets the day of arrival, but then I'd show up when they open to get them. We saw three different families turned away when we were in line during mid afternoon for Ford's Theater because the tickets for that day were sold out.

3. Re: August Trip - Best things to Do

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