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“Prepare to WALK!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Washington DC

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La Habra, CA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 helpful votes
“Prepare to WALK!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2009

I think all Amercians should try to make it to D.C. at some point in their life. Great place to take the kids, but only if they are old enough to understand and appreciate the history (I'd say at least age 11 and older). Not a place you really want to push a stroller around! It also helps to be in fairly good shape so that you can walk around, to get a real feel for the city and streets, although the Metro is also a convenient option as well and easy to get around from place to place.
If you have the time, write to your congressman and request tickets for a Capitol tour. Well worth it! I went with three friends and one of them was able to get a private behind the scenes tour of the Capitol and it was one of the highlights of the trip. We tried to get White House tour tickets too, but pretty impossible these days. You can try though, but do it MONTHS in advance!
Other highlights to definitely take in--Arlington Cemetery (a short ride on the Metro), The Basilica of the National Shrine (especially if you happen to be Catholic, or just want to see a BEAUTUFL church!) Of course take a day to see all the National Monuments and War Memorials. You can walk to all of them in a few hours time. The Smithsonians are a defiite must, but to really see them all, you need an entire day just for that.
Be sure to stay at a hotel in a good central location (near a Metro station too, but also near Pennsylvania Ave. so you can easily walk to things). My last tip is to take time to see one of the newest attractions in the city, "The Newseum" (this one is not free, but worth the cost if you want to see history from a news persepctive and learn a lot about how the Media works and remember so many events in our history). Allow at least a few hours to be able to take in everything here too. It's A LOT to take in! Six levels worth! Fortunately they also have a cafeteria downstairs if you need to take a refreshment break.
OH... one more thing. Go to the top of The Old Post Office observatory tower for an incredible view of the city, including the Washington Monument, which obviously you can't see from the top of the Washington Monument. You can also do some good souvenir shopping at the Old Post Office and grab a snack.
Above all, enjoy all the incredible history and take the time to read about things and learn! It is a trip you will never forget.

6 Thank DBinLH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Decatur, Alabama
Level Contributor
27 reviews
34 helpful votes
“Our week in Washington, DC.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2009

Our arrival started off on a bad note. Daughter had found an apartment on the Internet for a week's stay while the granddaughter was at a Leadership Conference. We arrived in the rain but that couldn't wash away the disappointment at the sight of the neighborhood or the apartment. Not at all as pictured on the site. Had paid with credit card, thankfully, called and found out how to deny charges.

BUT, the kicker was that by now it's approaching dark with no place to stay. Thankfully she had GPS and Internet on her Phone/Blackberry, plus a phone. Found a hotel, we arrive and they deny that she had made arrangements for a suite with kitchen. They say that she had reserved the Executive Suite for $1,000 a night! NOT!

Now to more hotel hunting. Finally found a hotel, good distance outside DC. Arrived at 9:30pm, no supper and still in the rain. But we had beds for the night! Ordered pizza while we are registering.

Next day drive into DC. Word of caution, try to find a hotel near the Metro because parking is very hard to find and expensive. We went to the Museum of American History. Almost all of the museums in DC are FREE! Most are a part of the Smithsonian and are well worth the visit. Then we dropped granddaughter off at her Conference and went in search of a motel.

We are staying Friday night through Thursday night and had hoped to stay at one place, but that didn't work out. We stayed one night at the next, two nights at the next (would have stayed longer but they were already booked) and daughter splurged the last three nights on the Double Tree in Bethesda. Not disappointed in it at all!

Well appointed amenities, roof/penthouse pool with a big view. And only seven blocks from the Metro. But Bethesda also has a bus line that is free to take you from the pickup point to the Metro. The pickup point from the hotel was only 1 block and a half away. Also the restaurant/bar downstairs served late and inexpensively. Food was pleasing to all of us.

We took in the Museum of Natural History (not disappointed at all), Botanic Gardens (one of my favorites), the memorials, Washington's monument, WW II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, the Nurses' Memorial (well worth the long walk)and The National Zoo.

Words of advice: 1. Take a camera, preferably a digital one with an extra memory card. I took over 500 pictures and could have taken more. Every night be sure and charge your battery in your camera (or carry extra batteries) because mine went out half way through American History, lots of images I could have gotten. 2. Take an umbrella (one that will fit in your bag) if you don't need it for rain it is great for shade. There were days it was very HOT and other days it was rainy and occasionally stormy. Best to be prepared. 3. I bought a bag, nice size that I could carry over my shoulder. I ended up carrying one of those nylon backpacks that the kids have. I carried my camera, umbrella, brochures, money, ID, telephone and drink. All of that proved to be just too heavy for the purse. Oh, the backpack was also good to put in the souvenirs that we picked up along the way. 4. And a good piece of advice wherever you are visiting, carry a comfortable pair of shoes, preferably broken in before your trip. There was lots of walking.

My advice, one or two days is simply not enough. A week you can still only really hit the high spots. I also suggest you concentrate on one venue per day. That way you can really cover it. The day at the Natural History Museum was great, morning till almost closing but we didn't see it all.

Also be sure at each venue you get a brochure, read it over carefully. Because of this we got to go into the Butterfly area (great photo ops) free. We were there on the particular Tuesday that is free. I only knew because I found it in the brochure.

Would I go again? You bet I would. Would I recommend it, absolutely. Should you search out your lodgings thoroughly? If you want a good stay, positively!

Enjoy your stay, I did!

3 Thank bamagran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath UK
Level Contributor
105 reviews
67 helpful votes
“A powerful city that doesn't overpower”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2009

My wife and I were starting our 2 month honeymoon in Washington DC as we had friends in the city. It was brilliant. The highest building was only about 10 stories so the whole city didn't over power you when walking around like New York City does. It is however a huge city that sprawls for miles. The museums (Smithsonian's has 7 or more different themed ones from Air and Space to Native American) are easily found and moving between them was easy. There are the obvious places to visit like each of the past President's monuments, along with the new(ish) WW2 memorial, and the Vietnam Wall, but if you go further afield you get to see Georgetown which is lovely.

It has plenty of open spaces for you to chill out with a picnic or run around playing any sport you like. The whole city has a very cool multi-cultural and easy going feel to it. It is one of the nicest cities we visited and we would advise you all to have a good look around.

3 Thank SHoweBathUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
152 reviews
96 helpful votes
“Great DC & NYC Trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2009

Tuesday -We flew into DC (Reagan National) and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Crystal City (great location - close to metro & restaurants). Got in with time to visit Arlington National Cemetery that afternoon, turned out to be a perfect time of day, all the crowds were leaving.

Wed - took metro into town, visited Smithsonian Natural History and Smithsonian American History....enjoyed both of these. At the Smithsonian Natural History, if you go around to the Constitution entrance you can avoid the long lines out front. We were hungry for lunch and someone recommended the old Post Office Building, this turned out to be really cool. They have a food court (with a little of everything) and in the back an old elevator that takes you to the top bell tower which is the 3rd highest point in the city. You could see everything, a great alternative to trying to get tickets to the Washington Monument and of course it was also free. We then walked to the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam & Korean War Monuments, then across the bridge toward Arlington National Cemetery again where we caught the metro back. A long day, but well worth it.

Thursday - went to visit American University and Georgetown University. College visit time ! Both beautiful campus & great schools.

Friday - Set up tour of Capitol Building through our Congressman....weren't able to get the tour of White House, must do this at least 6-8 months in advance, which I didn't know. But the Capitol Building was great, this takes up a good 1/2 day but we really enjoyed this. Then we walked by the White House, Supreme Court Building, White House Visitor Center. That night we purchased tickets to see Night at the Museum at the IMAX at the Smithsonian...this was great. Buy your tickets early on line and then get there early for a good seat.

We then left DC via Union Station on Amtrak to NYC.

There were a few other museums that we wanted to see, but ran out of days, but this 4 1/2 day itinerary worked great for this trip.

3 Thank jetsetterwannabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
33 reviews
54 helpful votes
“24 hours in DC? What to do?”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2009

We visited DC from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM the next day. We stayed @ the JW Marriott ~ next to The White House. Great location for a whirlwind visit. We were lucky as we used Marriott points, so our room was free. Lovely hotel with a great location.

After we checked in, we took the metro up to the Capitol, and went first to the Library of Congress. Most people don't know about this building, and it is the GEM of DC. The most beautiful building. It closes @ 4:30, so get there by at least 3:45 in order to walk through the building. Afterwards we went over to the Congressional business offices and visited our congress mans office. There we received tickets to enter the Capitol, and had the chance to see the Senate and the House in session. (if you go see this, water bottles are not allowed in ~ don't carry a Nalgene if you want to keep it. They'll make you throw it away!)

We went to Union station afterwards and took the Circulator Bus line over to Georgetown. The Circulator line is $1.00 per person (must have exact change) for anywhere in DC. Georgetown does not have a metro stop, so that is a good way to get there. Georgetown is a beautiful college town, we had dinner and took a cab back to our hotel. Lovely place

The next day we rented bikes from Bike and roll, located in the Old Post office. This was a block from our hotel. It is a bit expensive $25.00 for 4 hours, but it was the best $ spent. We were able to see all the monuments, locked our bikes & spent as much time as we wanted @ each monument, it is flat, so riding the bike was easy. I know we saw things that on foot we would have never seen ~ *our weather was ideal, 80 degrees and low humidity... not sure if it were 98 and humid how much I would love it. We also rented early in the day, so there were less people to navigate around.

We ate at 3 restaurants. The Corner Bakery offered a good and cheap breakfast. We had lunch at the Elephant & Castle, delicious pot pie, cobb salad, and such. About $12 per person for lunch, kept us full until a very late dinner.

Our final visit was to the Smithsonian of American History. We started on the 3rd floor, and realized that was all we could see. The museum is large enough to spend 2 days there... a lot to see.

We had 24 hours to see DC, and we jammed in a lot of stuff. I can't wait to return to this fabulous city... enjoy

6 Thank dbcg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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