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  1. #1
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    What to do in Washington DC

    This Canadian is going to Washington DC and needs some advice from the folks. So EXCITED

    My questions are: Where to stay that is reasonable with somewhat good access to the sites?

    Where to eat that is not fancy but good and well priced?

    What to see as I'm on a time crunch (only passing through) I will arrive on weekday at 11am and be leaving by 1 or 2pm the next day for the 14 hour trip back home. So that gives me one afternoon and evening - and the next morning to explore.

    I know I can't tour the white house but I can see the outside, I heard the capital is good for a visit and I want to see Arlington Cemetery. Is there any point to the Washington Mall (?) I also heard Georgetown is a good visit? Do I drive there? Take a trolley? Lots to figure out.

    All advice and help would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    The Smithsonian (on the mall) has many fine museums to choose from depending on your interests, I definitely recommend you try to get to at least one museum. We stayed at a courtyard by Marriott three years ago but I can't remember the exact street address.

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    The Mall from the Washington Monument to the Capitol is lined on both sides by the museums of the Smithsonian, and all are free, and most have cafes/restaurants. Perhaps some FSU DC Denizens can chime in about eateries and hotels?
    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”– MLK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albee View Post
    I know I can't tour the white house
    But you can!

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

    If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, please contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.
    Quote Originally Posted by Albee View Post
    Is there any point to the Washington Mall (?)
    In addition to museums, the famous monuments and memorials are all set on, along, or near the Mall. The Lincoln and the Vietnam War Memorials are must-sees. The ones for Jefferson and Franklin D. Roosevelt (both along the Tidal Basin) are also worth seeing. The Washington Monument is closed for repairs. The World War II Memorial, set right in the middle of the Mall, is .... regrettable, to say the least. It could have been designed by Albert Speer.

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    Wheeee, I sent a note to my MP here, and my friends who are stationed in Virginia Beach with NATO. We are visiting there first. Hoping somehow I can get in.

    The Mall sounds like everything is in one place! Excellent.

    Anyone know anything about Georgetown?

  6. #6
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    http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...=Washington+dc

    An earlier thread on DC with another older thread linked.

    Georgetown has shops and restaurants with old homes but if you have just one day, you will need most of it for the museums and monuments.
    I think I will have a snack and take a nap before I eat and go to sleep.

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    This Canadian just visited DC. We stayed at the Key Bridge Marriott -- relatively inexpensive, easy metro access, near Georgetown. I would recommend the hotel.

    We spent almost a whole day walking to see Arlington Cemetery and the Mall. Arlington Cemetery was beautiful. You need to walk the mall to see the Lincoln memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Capital. We did the Capital tour -- that is a whole morning. It's very interesting. My favorite museums were the Smithsonian American History Museum and the National Holocaust Museum. But again, you spend several hours in both (particularly the Holocaust Museum).

    Have fun!

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    The White House is beyond dull. There are dozens of more interesting things to do.

    My personal favorite is the Air and Space Museum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wickedwitch View Post
    The White House is beyond dull. There are dozens of more interesting things to do.

    My personal favorite is the Air and Space Museum.
    Yes and Air and Space

    Every time I go to DC I promise myself I'll go to [pick from giant list of museuems], and every time, I go back.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  10. #10
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    Given your limited time, I'd skip Arlington and try to see the mall and the monuments particularly Lincoln and the Viet Nam Veterans memorial. If you have the time to tour the Capitol, great, otherwise I'd just walk around and see the outside of that and the White House. Just getting the feel of a city is the most fun thing for me when I have limited time.

    There are so many museums, and you don't have the time to see them all. So check out the Smithsonian website and the National Gallery of Art and see if any of them particularly appeal to you. I remember as a kid I loved the exhibit with the dresses from the First Ladies, but my dad loved the Spirit of St Louis. Don't overwhelm yourself trying to see everything.

    It sounds sappy, but I still get excited when I go to DC and am just driving around to get somewhere and all of a sudden I see some landmark of American history.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bailey_ View Post
    This Canadian just visited DC. We stayed at the Key Bridge Marriott -- relatively inexpensive, easy metro access, near Georgetown. I would recommend the hotel.
    Great! Thanks so much.

    Sounds like walking the mall and seeing the different museums and Georgetown at night for dinner? Then perhaps get in line for a capital tour in the am? Anyone know how early you have to get there?

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    Agree with previous posts. I also did a night bus tour to all the monuments. It was really pleasant and great to see the monuments at night all lit up. The tour stopped at many of the monuments and went to Arlington Cemetery as well.

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    I lived in WDC for 17 years and hosted many visitors. They all were impressed by seeing the major sites at night, when depending on when you will be visiting, it may be more comfortable to be outside. The Tourmobile is no more, apparently, but Old Town Trolley has night tours that start at 7:30 pm and hit the major sites.

    The Smithsonian Museums and National Gallery of Art on the Mall are free and you can walk between them easily. I'd look at the descriptions online and decide which interest you. The Big Three (Air & Space, Natural History and American History) are open until 7:30 pm during the summer, which is a bonus.

    I'd skip Georgetown because it's primarily retail that you can find elsewhere and residential. Arlington Cemetery is impressive and you could go there the morning before you leave. It opens at 8 am and is Metro accessible.

    I wish that I could make recommendations on hotels/food but it's been awhile since I was there. The Washington Post website might have some food suggestions and you could always try Chowhound or Yelp. Again, I don't know when you will be in DC, but weekend hotel rates tend to be cheaper--maybe look for deals on Priceline?

    Hope that you enjoy my former hometown...it really is special and I highly recommend it for visitors!

  14. #14
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    There are museums everywhere. With the short amount of time you have, I would say concentrate on the things that are unique to Washington, D.C.

    My opinion, as one who has lived here virtually my whole life, is take the tour of the Capitol, it is the single most moving and impressive place in D.C. If you can do the tour of the White House, yes also do that. I wouldn't necessarily recommend Arlington Cemetary to everyone, but since you expressed an interest, it is definitely worth the trip. And if you go there and come back across Memorial Bridge you get a sensational view of the Lincoln Memorial (which is also worth visiting).

    I recommend Dupont Circle for the evening over Georgetown.
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    Hope that you enjoy my former hometown...it really is special and I highly recommend it for visitors!
    I just can not wait, we are going the first week of September during the week. We arriving late Wednesday night around 9pm, and staying until later afternoon Friday in order to get a head start on our journey back to the Buffalo boarder.

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    My opinion, as one who has lived here virtually my whole life, is take the tour of the Capitol, it is the single most moving and impressive place in D.C. If you can do the tour of the White House, yes also do that. I wouldn't necessarily recommend Arlington Cemetery to everyone, but since you expressed an interest, it is definitely worth the trip. And if you go there and come back across Memorial Bridge you get a sensational view of the Lincoln Memorial (which is also worth visiting).
    I really want to see the monuments at night now, and Arlington Cemetery I think is important. Along with the some sites at the Mall. I would be good if I can get into the capitol Friday am as my last item. Still trying to figure what time I have to line by in order to get in.

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    I recommend Dupont Circle for the evening over Georgetown.
    Perhaps a hotel in Georgetown would take care of seeing that part of town and eating there.

    I can't thank you all enough for your help, I've never been, nor have I been to my first stop that week, Virginia Beach. Can't wait

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    The Air and Space museum was my favorite of all the museums. I also loved the national history museum and the spy museum.
    I second the recommendation to save the Mall for the evening. Not only are the monuments beautiful all lit up but DC gets really, really hot during the day and it could be torture to be walking outside. So I'd suggest going to a (nicely air-conditioned! ) museum in the late afternoon, break for dinner, then walk around the Mall after sunset.
    If you have the time, the Adams Morgan neighborhood is really fun at night with tons of bars, ethnic restaurants etc. I'd skip Georgetown, there's not really anything of interest and most of it is just chain retail stores.
    My parents are diplomats so I really enjoyed strolling along Embassy Row and seeing all the beautiful mansions representing all the different countries. It's a gorgeous neighborhood (much more interesting than Georgetown for sure!) but probably not something that would be of interest to that many people.

  17. #17
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    Bug spray/ wipe is really useful before heading to the monuments at night.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  18. #18
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    Georgetown is a very pretty (and wealthy) neighborhood. It's not very accessible by Metro though. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is to take the DC Circulator bus from Dupont Circle. Fare is $1, but it's even cheaper if you're transferring from other modes of public transit. I agree with the others that it's not the best way to spend your time if you only have a day or so.

    Since you have a short amount of time, I recommend doing a bus tour of the monuments and picking maybe two museums that interest you the most. The Smithsonians are nice since they're all free, but your enjoyment of them will vary with your individual interests. One of my favorite museums is the Newseum. Admission is pricey at $20/person, but the exhibits are awesome. The 9/11 and Berlin Wall exhibits were particularly impressive and moving. The Holocaust Museum is great too, but be prepared to bring some tissues.

    As for dining, Founding Farmers is a great place with hearty, yummy meals that isn't too fancy or expensive. Busboys and Poets is good too. For brunch/lunch, I like Madhatter because of the Alice in Wonderland decor. For late night, Kramerbooks Cafe in Dupont is fun because they have a live band playing. If you want to spend a little more money, I recommend Jaleo, which is a great tapas restaurant.

    Enjoy DC!

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    Another vote for the air-conditioned museums in the daytime and a monument tour at night. The metro is fairly user friendly but remember to stand to the RIGHT and walk to the left on escalators (major Washingtonian pet peeve). Busboys and Poets has fabulous vegetarian food and nice cocktails. Another place for a fun lunch is Ben's Chili Bowl (outstanding chili dogs and chili burgers). Have fun and bring patience and water. DC in the summer is unbearably hot and humid.

  20. #20
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    I recommend eating at the Mitsitam Cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian. It's delicious and it just won some big award for the casual dining experience out of all of the Washington DC restaurants. And the museum's pretty cool too.
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