We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Itinerary questions

Which Washington DC hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
109 posts
16 reviews
Save Topic
Itinerary questions

Need some advise on our itinerary. We’ll be in DC for 3 nights over the Memorial day weekend. This is a fast paced itinerary with a lot of museum visits, but my husband and I both like visiting museums, so that’s OK. We tried to get congressional tours thru our congressman, but most were not available due to the holiday and weekend. (only the Kennedy Center tour was approved for us, which we’ll probably not do b/c of time constraints)

My question though is waiting in line for the Washington Monument tickets worth it? I couldn’t purchase the tickets online b/c they were sold out for that weekend. Should we skip going to the top of the WM (perhaps go to the top of the Old Post Office Pavilion for views as an alternative) and instead stand in line for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing? I know we won’t be able to see everything. Are we spending too much time in any one place? Also would you recommend we give up seeing a couple of sites such as the Freer/Corcoran museums and Arlington in order to visit Mt Vernon instead? Thank you!

Saturday 5/24

7:15 AM - Arrive in BWI. Take metro to hotel and drop off bags.

9 am - Get some breakfast

10 am – National Air & Space Museum

1 pm – Lunch

2 pm – National Museum of Natural History

5 pm – National Archives

6:30 pm - Check back in at hotel

7:30 pm – dinner somewhere around Dupont Circle

Sunday 5/25

7:30 am – wait in line for Washington Monument tickets (or should we skip going to the top and instead wait in line for Bureau of Engraving and Printing tickets?)

9 am – Washington Monument (assuming we get the 9am entry tickets. If not, will have to come back)

10:30 am – White House Visitor’s Center and walk around outside of WH

11:30 am – Lunch

12:15 pm – Freer & Arthur M Sackler Galleries

1:30 pm – Possibly go to Arlington Cemetery. Won’t be able to see everything in 1 ½ hours, but wanted to visit anyway.

3 pm – See the memorials:

National World War II Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Korean War Memorial

FDR Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

5:45 pm – Union Station and dinner

Monday 5/26

7:30 am – Wait in line for Capitol Bldg tickets

9 am – Capitol Bldg (assuming we get the 9am entry tickets. If not, will have to come back)

10:30 am – National Gallery of Art

1 pm – Lunch

1:45 pm – Corcoran Galleries

3 pm – Zoo

6:30 pm – Georgetown for dinner

Tuesday 5/27

7:30 am – depart for NYC. Taking Bolt Bus.

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
50,608 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Itinerary questions

"7:15 AM - Arrive in BWI. Take metro to hotel and drop off bags."

Ok, we've got an issue right off the bat - Metro does not run to BWI, you're going to have to take an Amtrak train or a taxi or a bus to the Metro station in Greenbelt. No matter which option you take it is somewhat optimistic to be in Washington at your hotel (which hotel?) by 9:00 a.m.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
19,585 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Itinerary questions

Bureau of Engraving and Printing is not open on weekends or holidays. You can cancel that. Only you can decide if waiting in line at the Washington Monument for a 10 minute view of DC from 555 feet is worth it. There won't be many tickets given out if the advance tickets are already sold out.

And I agree that your arrival at BWI at 7:15 will make it unlikely to get to your DC hotel by 9 unless you have no checked luggage and use a taxi.

Maryland
Level Contributor
380 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Itinerary questions

The bus is the B30, and the schedule is here:

http://www.wmata.com/timetables/md/b30.pdf

The earliest bus on Saturdays leaves the airport at 9:38 and gets to Greenbelt at 10:11. The green line trains run about every 12 minutes on weekends and take about a half hour to get downtown, so you're looking at arrival at 11 a.m. or later, depending on where your hotel is.

The only way to avoid losing the morning is taking a cab.

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
50,608 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Itinerary questions

Amtrak has a train leaving BWI at 8:35, if you're not checking bags you should make it with no problem even though it requires a (free) shuttle bus from the airport to the train station about 2 miles away.

Fare is $12, trip takes about 30 minutes to Union Station.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
361 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Itinerary questions

Since you are interested in art, I consider the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum (they are in the same building which is worth seeing itself) to be a must. Plus they are free - the Corcoran is not. Also keep in mind you can see the Monuments in the evening after museums have closed. Also don't give up on the Kennedy Center if you can time it for late afternoon and see a free concert (365 days a year) at the Milleneum Stage afterward at 6. There will also be a National Memorial Day concert at the Capitol on Sunday - or alternatively you can watch rehersals on Saturday. Mount Vernon is worth seeing but you would have to knock off more than a couple of things to go there, due both to transit time and to do it justice.

Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
42 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Itinerary questions

Getting to and from Mt Vernon takes a bit of time so you may want to skip it this trip. However, the site is well worth spending a day at.

You may want to consider instead of climbing the Washington Monument for views, try climbing the Netherlands Carillon which is located at the norhtern end of Arlington National Cemetery. You can see "flags on" during Memorial weekend at Arlington Cemetary. The Old Guard will place flags on the graves for the three day weekend and remove them after.

Virginia Beach...
Destination Expert
for Ocracoke
Level Contributor
1,341 posts
88 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Itinerary questions

I think you also need to consider that there may be a very long line for the Archives, so plan accordingly. This is a very popular site since Nation Treasure movie. On our last visit, we had to come back several times since the waits each time were about 1.5 hours. Once you are in, it only takes about 15 minutes to see it all.

If you want to skip the Monument and spend that time in Arlington Cemetery, you will have nice views from there. I think AC is a must see if you have the time.

We also really enjoy the Portrait Gallery.

It's hard to do it all, but it will always be there for another trip.

Silver Spring...
Level Contributor
10,740 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Itinerary questions

Here is the email address to reserve tickets for the National Archives. If they have availability while you are here, it will make it unnecessary for you to wait in line.

To make a reservation for a self-guided tour, please contact the Visitor Services Manager at visitorservices@nara.gov.

archives.gov/nae/visit/reserved-visits.html

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
109 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Itinerary questions

Thank you all for your replies and suggestions. Great points for us to consider. It's really nice to get other people's perspective/advise. I think we might skip waiting in line for the Wash Monument, Corcoran, and Freer and work some stuff around. Didn't know that about AC and emailing for the National Archives. Great tips!

Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
32 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Itinerary questions

On your Sunday I wouldn't go back and forth between the mall and AC, then to Union Station. I feel that AC is a must do. We ended up going twice on our trip. Maybe start at AC, then memorials, then US.