Washington DC vacation help

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Psychodisney, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Psychodisney

    Psychodisney DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,852
    I made reservations today for a DC/ Virginia Beach vacation:cool1: . I know you guys have had some great suggestions to other people-Can you help me too? We're going to stay on points at the Mandarin Oriental. We want to hit the major sites-monuments, museums, Arlington Cemetery...The kids are 14, 12 and 9. Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Messages:
    19,816

    We did this two years ago, It was great. The Mandarin Oriental is a 10 minute walk from "the mall" which is where a lot of the museums are. We also walked to the Vietnam, Korean war memorials and the Lincoln Memorial. The one problem we had was that we didn't find any inexpensive place to eat breakfast nearby. The restuarant in the hotel was very pricey. Also they did have a $10/day parking fee.
     
  4. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Messages:
    6,623
    we have a very short time coming up..we plan to hit either the zoo or natural history museum,then wander the cherry trees and some monuments the first day,possibly the money engraving tour the next a.m before we have to leave.....
     
  5. MCazer

    MCazer Unofficial Travel Agent to My Friends!

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 1999
    Messages:
    872
    we did DC last year with then 11, and 9 year old. We did the engraving tour (make sure you get there early to pick up your tour tickets for the day before they are all gone. Go early, get tickets for later, then come back.

    We also called our congressman's office and had a private tour of the Capitol! This was a highlight! You meet in a building across the street, and they take you over (actually under) in their little subway train, and you come up inside the capitol.

    We also went early because we didn't know where it was, so early we figured we would eat something close by. No such luck, nothing around. However, they let us into the cafeteria for Govt workers in the basement, and it was the best /cheapest meal, and made to order! Breakfast for 4 of us cost about $12, and my husband got egss toast, hashbrowns, grits, coffee. I had a similar meal, as well as my daughter, and my son had lots of fruit and cereal!

    Definately do Lincoln Memorial in the day, and at night. We also walked from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial one night. Very deceiving, we kept walking, and it seemed so close, but holy cow. We ended up taking a cab back!

    We did all the museums, and the spy museum on our trip prior to this one. That one costs alot of money. I love that the museums are free.

    We also ate at the food court in Union Station. Something for everyone.

    Oh, and don't forget, the Nationals play baseball, and it is very close.
     
  6. MiniGirl

    MiniGirl DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    Messages:
    3,071
    We went to DC this past summer, and the thing I wanted to do most was the Mint. Apparently, things have changed a lot since I was last there. Now, you have to get in line EARLY in the morning for a ticket (which is still free). Then you come back at your appointed time for your tour. The tickets go fast, too -- like in a hour or so, and that is it till the next day. You can hang around to see if someone "no shows" for a tour, but that is a very rare occurrance.

    We never did get to do it, so just look into this before you go.

    One thing we did that our entire family enjoyed (dds are 8 and 5) was the spy museum. It is a private museum, so it does cost money. We had a great time though.
     
  7. mikehn

    mikehn DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,496
    Not sure when you will be coming or how long you will be here, but generally, the Mandarin is a great location, close to most attractions and Metrorail. Use the Metrorail system to get around the DC area. www.wmata.com.

    The Smithsonian museums, National Zoo, Arlington Cemetary, Pentagon, and other attractions are all right on the metrorail lines. Refer to the website for details. If you're coming during summer, prepare for dreadful heat and humidity.
     
  8. DisneyDotty

    DisneyDotty Oops, no more!

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,474
    Not sure exactly when you're going, but if it's at least a couple months away--Our Congressman set us up with tickets to Bureau and Engraving (along with White House, Library of Congress and the Capitol Building). Call your Congressman NOW to set it up. (Note--nothing can be brought in the White House. Plan to leave your stuff in your hotel room.)
    Also, be sure to order tickets to Washington Monument online--minimal charge and you won't have to wait in line. You can also get Holocaust Museum tickets ahead of time.
    We really liked the Tourmobile tours of D.C.--include the Arlington Cemetery stop if you decide to do this. D.C. is HUGE and Tourmobile allows you to see just about everything without exhausting yourself.
    Your kids might enjoy the Spy Museum--(there is a hefty charge). Stop by early in the day you want to do it to get your tickets.
    My kids love the Ford's Theater/Peterson House. But I think the theater is closed for renovation right now.
    As others have said, the Metro is VERY easy to use.
    Have a great trip! :)
     
  9. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Messages:
    19,816
    Make sure you get over to the Spy museum. My sons loved it.
     
  10. mello

    mello DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Messages:
    1,444
    We're thinking of doing DC in a year or two with the kids. From the research I've done so far, it sounds like one of the hardest things is finding places for a family to eat!
     
  11. Tnkrbelle565

    Tnkrbelle565 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Messages:
    8,490
    DH and I have done DC for the past two years as our "adult weekend" get away! We LOVE it. We used the Grey Line tours both times and were very happy with them. They do hop on/hop off tours. We usually go around the complete tour one time to hear it through and then go around again to jump off where we want to stop (you'll need to start early to do this though). We also did their "Monuments By Moonlight" tour which was beautiful. Here are my tips for the Zoo. They are two Metro stops for the zoo. One is a walk downhill, one is walk uphill. So my tip is when you GO to the Zoo, get off at Cleveland Park stop and when you leave the Zoo use the Woodley Park–Zoo/Adams Morgan stop. Also, the zoo is large and built on a hill. My suggestion is to immediately go to the back of the zoo and work your way up to the front. If you start in the front, it's a long climb back to the front after you've been walking around all day!

    I don't know if anyone mentioned this but if you want to go to the top of the Washington Monument, you have to also go early in the morning to get tickets. At the Holocaust Museum, you'll also need tickets to go into the main exhibit (they are free). They'll give you a time that you can enter the exhibit. This museum is fantastic...very moving. But you'll have to decide if your kids are ready for it. The images can be very disturbing to kids.
     
  12. melk

    melk DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2000
    Messages:
    2,219
    Great tips!:thumbsup2
     
  13. DisneyDotty

    DisneyDotty Oops, no more!

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,474
    Actually, there are a lot of food courts in the basements (usually) of the museums and federal buildings. Some pretty decent fare to be had. (eg. Matzah ball soup in Holocaust museum...:cloud9: )
     
  14. splash5

    splash5 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    522
    We are heading to Washington DC on the 28th of this month. We also plan to visit Williamsburg. Has anyone done this before, is it better to stay in a separate hotel in Williamsburg, or commute from DC. Right now, we have a hotel in DC. Trying to figure out the best plan.
     
  15. mikehn

    mikehn DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,496
    Williamsburg is a looooong drive from DC. Stay in a seperate hotel.
     
  16. kentuckywinter

    kentuckywinter Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    76
    Thanks for the great tips everyone! We're planning a short trip later this year and your info will be so helpful.

    For anyone who went/goes in the summer, is is extremely hot? Also, where did you stay? I saw the OP said they're staying in the Mandarin Orinetal, is this the best place?

    Thanks again for all the info!
    Have a great day!:goodvibes
     
  17. Kimmumum

    Kimmumum DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,741
    Thanks for the info. We leave on Saturday (the 22nd). We have never been there before.

    I have a question about the Holocaust Museum. I think I was told that you need a ticket to go into a certain part of the museum but that the main part of the museum is "ticketless". Is this correct or do we need a ticket regardless of which part of the museum we are going into. My DS#2 is 10 so we don't want to go into the part where you find out if you live or die.
     
  18. DisneyDotty

    DisneyDotty Oops, no more!

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Messages:
    2,474
    You can go through the exhibit "Daniel's Story" without a ticket. The rest of the museum requires a ticket, which can be ordered online ahead of time for a nominal charge. Check out their website http://www.ushmm.org/
    And "the part where you live or die" is a booklet about an actual holocaust victim--it says at the end of the booklet whether you lived or died. You receive that booklet when you enter the ticketed part of the museum.
     
  19. VAgal76

    VAgal76 Your Pirate Name Is - Dirty Bessie Backstabber - G

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    2,370
    Our family adores spending long weekends in DC. Yes, it is spread out so make sure you look up which monuments and museums you're going to see. You must plan your transportation and how long it will take you to get to the different places to make the best use of your time. Go to Mandarin's web site to see where the closest metro is and compare it to where the museum/monuments are. Metro tickets are super cheap. The bus system is pretty extensive and worth a look at, too.

    Don't eat at the hotel exclusively. You're staying in an upscale hotel so prices on food/beverage is going to be up there. Do some research about good joints to eat at that is either a close walk or at least conveniently located from the Metro. There are some great dining places at reasonable prices.

    Side note - DC cabs are all flat rate by zone. :thumbsup2

    We typically focus on one or two things. Last time it was the zoo and a few of the memorials. This time we're doing the Spy Museum and the National Mall. I'm staying near the mall to be within walking distance. I found good reviews on a burger & shake joint I believe it's called Bens Chili Bowl is near my hotel plus a couple of others. We probably will just eat at our hotel for breakfast. I'm still searching for a good italian joint for us. Otherwise, we're going to hop on the Metro and go back to the great restaurant we found near the Omni Shoreham (Woodley Park/Zoo area).

    To the other poster who inquired about staying in Williamsburg but commuting to DC. It's got to be at least 2 1/2 hours with NO traffic. You will be stuck in rush hour traffic if you attempt to make your way up there in the morning. It's a nightmare. Yes, you should absolutely plan to get a room in DC. Plan to leave in the afternoon from Williamsburg to head up to DC. Stay overnight then get up and start your day. By coming up in the evening you're going against the traffic - everyone is headed southbound to get home. ;)
     
  20. Psychodisney

    Psychodisney DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,852
    Thanks for all the help. I'm not familiar with the engraving-what does this involve? We're going in late July-hot I know. We'll have three and 1/2 days-not enough for everything. I'll definitely get on contacting our congressman. Is there a website for the Washingotn Monument tickets?
     
  21. Psychodisney

    Psychodisney DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,852
    As far as the Mandarin being the "best" hotel....we're staying on DVC points which is why we are staying there. Otherwise it is very expensive-you might do better price wise somewhere else.
     

Share This Page