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Various DC questions

Brisbane
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Various DC questions

Hi fellow trip advisors. I'm starting to research our next trip to USA which will be in Oct 2013 - ridiculously early I know but I just can't help myself!!

Anyway, I just have a few questions about DC that I'd like some info on:

1. We have decided upon the Air and Space museum as well as the American History museum. My husband is a bit of a NASA/space fanatic (his dad was in the air force here in Aus and worked on the F1-11 planes) and we both love modern history. Given this info, how much time would you advise for each of these museums?

2. We did the HOHO bus in San Francisco which was great to give us our bearings of the city as well as good photo ops. Would you recommend this for DC to see the monuments and other sights?? Our other thought was to hire a car although I imagine it may be difficult to park anywhere??

3. We want to go to Arlington Cemetary. I have a bit of an issue with going to grave-sites as a 'tourist'- somewhat disrespectful. How would you recommend visiting these sites in a respectful manner??

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Various DC questions

No one can predict how long you or your husband will want to spend in any museum. It all depends on your interests and touring style. Some people will spend 10 hours over 2 days. Others can speed through, skipping a lot, in an hour or two. And if your husband is a NASA buff, you might want to make the effort to go to the Udvar Hazy branch out near Dulles Airport to see the space shuttle.

The HOHO bus can also give you an overview of DC, but cannot be recommended as a means of transportation. Do not even think of a car for the sites in the city. It is the easiest way to get out to Udvar Hazy.

Thousands of people visit Arlington Cemetery every week. All are not that respectful. Stay on the paths, don't be rowdy and you should be fine. It is very quiet in the vicinity of the Tombs of the Unknowns.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Various DC questions

1. agree with darrell6t but due to your acknowledged interest in the subject matter, i would plan at least 3 hours in each and possibly 4-5 in each. i strongly agree with the suggestion of going to the other air and space museum (the Udvar Hazy museum) near Dulles airport if you can. it has the enola gay, the space shuttle enterprise, etc. If you are flying in or out of Dulles, you might be able to combine it. there is a shuttle from Dulles to the museum.

http://www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazy/

2. you don't need a car to see the sites in DC. Most can be seen by a combination of foot/walking, the very good Metro/subway and bus system, and a reasonable taxi when necessary (there are also very good bike and segway tours if you are interested). HoHo is good for bearings and overview, but not for transportation.

3. As said, Arlington Cemetery is visited by the many thousands. As you have even asked the question, you'll be plenty respectful at the cemetery, around the particular points of interest and at the tomb of the unknown soldier/changing of the guard (when you go in october, on the hour) - especially so.

and never too early to plan! :)

Prescott, Arizona
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3. Re: Various DC questions

Just got back from our 1st trip to DC. We were there a week and were on information overload when we left. We stayed in Arlington, VA in the Crystal City area--close to the Metro and eating areas. The Metro is the very easiest way to get around the city. Your ticket price is calculated on time of travel, select the color of time, then select your destination. You can easily get to all the major attractions by Metro. I would definitely stay off the Hop-on Hop-off bus. The double decker is newly revamped and still working out the kinks. It advertised buses every 15-20 min. We easily waited 30-60 min for a bus, and after that were stuck in traffic.

Springfield, VA
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4. Re: Various DC questions

With regard to visiting Arlington National Cemetery, if you see a funeral in progress please don't treat it as a photo opportunity. When we buried my grandmother there, a whole high school tour group took pictures of the graveside services. We could have done without the clicking of 50 cameras during the service, KWIM?

Mechanicsville, MD
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5. Re: Various DC questions

Most everyone takes the open air tram at Arlington Cemetery (at the visitor's center.) You can get on and off at different places in the cemetery and you will be able to see and hear about different people who are buried there. This is one of my favorite places in DC.

Probably near the top of my list is the Holocaust Museum. You can go on-line before you come and reserve a timed ticket (it's still free, but there's a small fee for the reservation system.)

Planning for DC is a good thing!

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: Various DC questions

Just to focus on something that Barusso briefly mentioned--Segway tours. Even though I am a local, I did one of these tours a few years ago. First of all, it was tons of fun. Second of all, the guide was really knowledgeable and we got a great overview of the main sites in the city. If a Segway tour is not in your budget, then use feet/Metro/cabs for your sightseeing. A better choice than the HOHO buses.

Also, I find going to Arlington National Cemetery to be a sign of respect. Seeing all those gravesites, especially the recent ones from Iraq and Afghanistan, reminds you of the courage and sacrifice of others. The Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most moving ceremonies I have ever seen. You will not have dry eyes at its conclusion.

7. Re: Various DC questions

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