Yay, we're going on an All-American Tour: Washington DC!

  1. My DH and I have been talking about going to Washington DC for a couple of years, but we're finally getting around to going this summer. Since I don't know DC at all, I thought I'd ask for suggestions on where to stay and what areas to avoid. We want to be close to all of the attractions (the Smithsonian,etc.) but also don't mind taking public transpo if there is a cute neighborhood that isn't too far from these sites. Any suggestions?
  2. Snorks- you will love DC- it is an awesome place to see the sights. Just be prepared to take some comfortable shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking. The Smithsonian- make sure you check out the Hope Diamond....
    DC in the spring the cherry trees are gorgeous. You may want to check out Georgetown as well... Have fun and take lots of pictures.
    When I went I stayed at the Washington Plaza Hotel- it was a good location...
  3. I love the History Museam !! I live like 15 min. away, so we go there all the time. The Cherry Blossom festival is BEAUTIFUL!! And, if ya have time, go to the Tysons area......FAB shopping...they have Fairfax Square, which has Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes, AND Tiffanys!! Also, stop by Tysons 2...they have wonderful shopping there as well.
  4. You will have a blast!! Wear very comfortable shoes, you'll be glad you did. Bring extra film. The one hotel that I definitely recommend is The Sofitel. It is a beautiful luxury French hotel in a great location. The White House is just right around the corner from the hotel, just a 2 minute walk. There are also good restaurants and shopping in the surrounding area. There are many things to do while in DC. Surrounding areas to visit would definitely be Tysons, a great shopping center in surrounding McLean, Virginia. Also, right directly outside of DC is a gorgeous town called Alexandria. Definitely plan to visit there, great food, cute town, and it's right by the Potomac River. In Alexandria, two of my favorite restaurants are Pat Troy's Irish restaurant(where Ronald Reagan used to eat) and Gadbsy's Tavern(many early Presidents ate here), which is more for dinner, and usually reservations are recommended. Pat Troy's has pretty decent prices, and Gadbsy's is a little more expensive, but definitely worth it. Another town quaint, fun town to visit would be Georgetown. Also, depending on the time of your stay, I would take the about an hour drive to Front Royal, Virginia, which is the start of Skyline Drive. It is an absolutely beautiful road that goes through the Blue Ridge Mountains, which look breathtaking in the summertime. People from all over the country visit there. The DC sites I recommend are Arlington Nation Cemetary, Embassy Row, Bureau of Ingraving and Printing(fun to watch the money being made), National Archives(Declaration, Constitution, etc.), FDR Memorial, Ford's Theatre and the house where Licoln's death bed is right across the street, National Gallery of Art(smithsonian;depending on when you go, an exhibition called Paris in Transition will be there until May 6), Pentagon(also near a fun mall called Pentagon City Mall with great shopping, US Capitol, The Holocaust Museum(a must), White House(of course), and the Washington Monument. For Smithsonian museums, definitely see the Air and Space Museum(most popular, and also has the World's largest McDonald's), The National History Museum(sad part is, is that they are currently remodeling/renovating, not sure when will open again), the Natural History Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. I highly recommend that even if you rent a car, take a taxi around DC, it is impossible to get through especially during rush hour, if you aren't familiar with where you are going and you could end up somewhere where you don't want to be. I am not sure on the bad neighborhoods, they sure do exist, though. I think I included mostly everything, if I forgot something, I will post again. Have an amazing time!
  5. My biggest recommendation is TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. We went a couple of years ago, decided we would do a lot of walking, and regretted it almost immediately. My feet were in so much pain after a day that I had difficulty enjoying myself. The subway system there is very well laid out, and very convenient. The WWII Memorial was facsinating. Our favorite place was Bureau of Printing and Engraving, and the Holocaust Museum is a must see.
  6. Taking the Metro is a must to save your feet! My favorites are the Holocaust Museum, the American History Museum, Old Town in Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetary, the Air and Space Museum. If you can, go to Mt. Vernon. To sit and sightsee at the same time, take the trolly tour.
  7. Haha. I went a few summers ago to DC we took amtrak. It was over Fourth of July we were supposed to make it to DC to see the fireworks [ we got all excited to see fireworks in our nations capitol ] but of course we had a few delays and didnt see any fireworks. but other than that DC Was great! we stayed at the holiday inn on the hill. very classy hotel, pools nothing to brag about but the interior is hip. we took tours that were guided, i highly suggest doing this, its worth it. we went to just about every place imaginable. i really suggest mt. vernon and the capitol building both are gourgeous!

    heres the hotel we stayed at, check it out!!
    Washington DC Hotels | Holiday Inn on the Hill | Family and Business Travel
  8. Yes, the holocaust museum made me cry, going through the exhibit about the young boy...:sad:
  9. Congrats! You will have a blast....I second the Sofitel, and pretty much everything Purplekitty said :smile:
  10. You have to go to the Air and Space Musuem! It's awesome!

    Hotels are always a difficult decision for me. It really all depends on your price limit per night.
  11. Oh, I haven't been in awhile...long while but we did the whole tour and Virginia and Maryland as well. I am a history buff so I loved it. Have fun!

    Oh yah, and we did public trans too. Real easy to get around that way!
  12. I would recommend you stop by The Vietnam Memorial Wall. I just can't describe the atmosphere there. So many people walking around, but it is so very quiet and respectful. It was a very moving experience for me.

    I loved the Smithsonian. Do wear comfy shoes!
  13. Fun! I was an intern in the Capital a few Summers ago... here's some info, which was current as of two years ago! :smile: Two major suggestions: schedule ahead for tours of the White House and Capitol.

    -Schedule a tour of the White House in advance. A lot of people go to DC thinking they'll be able to schedule one when they get there / just go there and be able to take a tour, but the tours schedule up about a month in advance.

    -Contact your congressperson requesting a tour of the Capitol. You will get a private or semi-private tour with an intern from the congressperson's office. Much better than the standard tour, imo. You might even get to meet your congressperson! These usually fill up around six weeks in advance.

    Actually, first step should be to go to the website of your congressperson. They should have information on DC tourism stuff, plus info for White House Tours and Capitol tours.
  14. I went to school out there and I'd say if budget isn't an issue, go for the Willard. My bf & I also stayed at the St. George in Dupont, which was an enjoyable stay and definitely more affordable than the Willard. My dad likes one of the Ritz hotels, but now I can't remember which one, he's out there a lot for business, and my mom I'd usually have her stay at a hotel in Friendship Hts/Chevy Chase or the Wardman Park Marriott. I think the Marriott was conveniently located to the metro, a block or two from the zoo, lots of restaurants in the area and not as touristy usually as something more downtown is.

    If you enjoy art, stop by the Phillips Collection, a wonderful museum.

    The weather will probably be pretty muggy, DC gets extremely humid in the summer.

    As for restaurants... there are lots of great choice all over the city. Explore some options in Georgetown, also fun to walk around there and the stores. Online you'll find recommendations for a lot of the ones that are popular, one that isn't usually mentioned is something my bf & I stumbled across and it became one of our favorites - Al Tirimisu in Dupont Circle. Old Ebbitt is usually a popular choice. Two Amys is yummy, but a little out of the way probably. And La Tasca (tosca?) is in Chinatown and is tapas and I always have to go there every time I'm back to visit my friends. Maybe it all tastes better after all the sangria we always down. Rosa Mexicana is also in Chinatown near La Tasca and is quite popular.

    Definitely arrange your tours ahead of time, especially because the summer months are popular and crowded and fill up quickly. Also, I thought the spy museum was sort of fun! The Holocaust Museum is definitely worth visiting.
  15. Oh, and you should not really need to rent a car, unless you're maybe going to take a trip out to Mt. Vernon. But driving in DC sucks. So I'd avoid it. I swear, four years of driving there and I still can't make it through Dupont Circle! You should be able to get everywhere you need on the metro, it is extremely tourist friendly.