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Short stay in DC, suggestions?

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Houston
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Short stay in DC, suggestions?

We'll drive from New York city to DC on 8/5. We'll probably arrive in late afternoon. We've booked holiday inn hostel & Suite in Alexandria for that night. Do you think we should visit some places before heading to hotel? Is it easy to find a parking in the late afternoon/evening? We'll leave DC for Smoky mountains the next day. What to visit in such short stay? Thanks.

maryland
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285 posts
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1. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

You're best bet would probably be to do an evening tour of the memorials since they don't close (except for going up the Washington Monument) and are very pretty at night. Depending on what time you get in you will probably be able to find parking and maybe spend an hour or two in a museum, but of course you understand you will not see much of DC in such a short time.

washington, dc
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2. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

Be sure to visit the FDR Memorial which is between the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. It's particularly beautiful at night with the water and lighting in an open air setting. Also, it will give you an opportunity to read and reflect on his words etched in the m the stone many of which have particular importance in today's world.

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3. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

First good luck driving in DC. Your gonna need it.

get yourself to UNion Station and take the TOURMOBILE nite tour. 20 bucks each. When your done with the tour, go inside the station and have pizza at unos. YUM!!! Then good luck finding your way back to hotel LOL.

Alexandria VA
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4. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

If you are only going to have one evening, basically you will want to a walking tour of the main monuments area. You should be able to find parking near the Lincoln memorial on Ohio Drive.

You can walk and see the Lincoln Memorial, The Wall, Koren Veterans, FDR. Walk down a little further and see the WWII and get closer to Washington Monument.

The next morning I would go to the Air and Space musuem. They open at 10:00. You'll should be able to find a parking spot on independence or one of the side streets near the museum if you arrive before the museum opens. I would spend some time there, grab lunch in the museum or one of the nearby hot dog stands and then head off for Tennessee.

I also happen to be very familiar with the Smoky Mountains because I have some property in Pigeon Forge and go down there quite often. It will take you about 7.5 hours to drive to Pigeon Forge from DC with no traffic. You do not want to arrive there in the early afternoon or you will hit traffic. The best time is very early or very late.

Another good tip for your drive down, since most of it will be in Virginia. Dial the number 511 from your cell phone every so often and get the traffic updates. I-81 is parallel to US11 so if you hear about an accident or construction you can bail off onto US11 and then get back on after the incident. My last trip that 511 saved me twice. Going down the number mentioned a 5 mile backup starting at exit 191. I took exit 196 and got back on at exit 188. Then coming back on I-66 the number said that I-66 was about to be shutdown at MM 24 because of a fatal accident. I took exit 18 and took side roads and got back on at exit 28. I-66 was shutdown for like 3 hours and that number is what saved me.

Houston
6 posts
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5. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

Thank you so much for the valuable info. I was wondering if we (4 adults and 2 children) should take a night tour or just walk around ourselves. After reading d_w_d's post, I've decided to take self-guided tour. Hope we have good luck to find a parking spot and find our way back to the hotel. We haven't planned anything for the next day. Since it'll be a long drive to Pigeon Forge (We reserved a cabin with cabinfevervactions on McGill St. I just found out it's not in the mountain, although the picture of the cabin shows beautiful mountain view), I'm not sure if we should drive directly to TN, or visit a musuem in the morning first. I tend to take d_w_d's suggestion to leave around noon. We are from Houston and have been NASA several times. Is there another very good museum besides Air and Space?

Thanks

Chicago
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6. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

I took my 7 year old on the monuments by night tour a few weeks ago. It was fabulous! Very scenic and informative. You need to know that all the monuments are spread out. It's a lot of walking - with or without kids it could easily take you all day to walk around the monuments. The evening tour is only 3 hours.

Houston
6 posts
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7. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

Do you need to reserve the night tour in advance? Which one is good?

Las Cruces, New...
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307 posts
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8. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

From the web (off of www.washington.org, the official tourism site of DC):

Company Name: Tourmobile Sightseeing

1000 Ohio Dr. SW

Washington DC 20024

Phone: (202) 554-5100

Fax: (888) 868-7707

Toll Free: (202) 488-5200

Web: www.tourmobile.com

Description: Tourmobile's narrated shuttle tours take you right where you want to go with unlimited free re-boarding. You choose where to stop, stay as long as you want, then re-board and ride to another historic location. Tours depart from: National Mall (red, white & blue signs).

Company Name: Old Town Trolley Tours

2640 Reed St. NE

Washington DC 20018

Phone: (202) 832-9800

Toll Free: (202) 832-9040

Web: www.historictours.com

Description: Daily two-hour narrated tours leave every 30 minutes starting at 9 am. Free reboarding from 19 sites around the city.

If you do a search on this page with the key word "tourmobile," you'll find comments such as this: "We took the Tourmobile evening tour out of Union Station. The monuments at night are just beautiful, particularly the FDR monument." Try it with trolley also to get first-hand reports.

Clearwater
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9. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

Check out the Smithsonian site for many of the museums

http://www.si.edu/

Also National Gallery of Art has a self-guided one hour highlights tour you can take. The whole museum takes most if not all of a day.

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10. Re: Short stay in DC, suggestions?

I would NEVER take little ones to all the monuments in 1 nite walking. The mall is like 3 mi. long.If you do the nite tour,you get to step off at several sites.The toue is like 3 hrs. You will be very sorry if you try walking it unless you are like Lance Armstrong or sonthing. Don't want to start an argument but that idea is just nuts.