We are mother and 14 year old daughter traveling with friends. We were there from July 23 to 29 arriving BWI and staying at Hampton Inn Convention center- hotel was good -see separate review
arrived BWI 12:05 took MARC to Union station-easy but wish I had known there is a $3 penalty per ticcket to pay cash on board- get your ticket at the station unless you are tight on time
arived Union stn-grabbed bite to eat in extensive food court- on to hotel by taxi ($10! for a short trip, cld have used circulator for $1 each)
after check in-went to Georgetown to shop and have dinner at Paradice Pizza- fine but I do not get why so popular. However my daughter raves about the crust, so cld be just that I wanted a meal other than pizza (really only pizza and sandwiches there). Took circulator there and back which was great- $1/each per trip and goes right to M and Wisconsin (heart of Georgetown) and stop virtually right outisde our hotel. Walked ard Georgetown (Betsy Johnson, Juicy, Vitoria Secret, Dean and DiLuca, Wink, etc). Back to hotel -note circulator has a shortened nightime route if after 9pm
Thursday- took DC duck tour- very fun and we both enjoyed it a lot- interesting and lots of facts
met our firneds at Union stn and back to hotel with them (they arived a day later than us). Then on to Old Postal Pavillion (ate late lunch in food court- so-so) and went up in tower- nolines, no cost, great views. Used circulator again from hotel to here and back. Then on to Dupont Circle for dinner and strolling- great fun
Friday- did tourmobile hop on/hop off- very good-everyone enjoyed it. did Arlington cemetary- again great but sooooooooooo hot. Also Jefferson memorial, Korean memorial, Lincoln, Washington monument, white house vistor center, Museum of Natural History- if you have done the one in NYC or Chicago you may be a little disappointed- it was good but we did it in 1 hr 15 minutes (it was closing) cld have used another 30 mins max-so quite short. However we loved the butterflies (extra cost $6/per person)- good cafeteria there, with some healthy choices
back to hotel to recover from heat for one of our group (it is now 5:30pm), and the rest of us went and did the dc BY FOOT WALKING TOUR- REALLY enjoyed this (including the 2 14 year old girls with me), tour guide very knowlegable and funny too. It is free and goes fromWashington Monument to Lincoln memorial with stops including WW 2 mmorial, vietnam memorial, and Lincoln, etc, takes about 1 1/2 hrs- we did the 6pm pone and I can't imagine surving the heat for the 2pm one. They survive off tips- ane we were more than happy to tip for this great tour (I tipped $5/person)
Then our missing person caught up with us and we took a taxi to Georgetown (water front) andhad a great dinner right by the river- I had Maryland crab cakes which were amazing- dinner quite pricey at about $100 for 2 of us- howver that includes 2 glasses of wine- entres were about 25-30 each, but the food was good, sat outside on patio which was pleasant, right at the water.
took circulator/then taxi home to hotel (we cld have taken bus after circulator, but we were very tired and a little confused)
Saturday- this was not a good day- did Spy Museum- horrible, particualrly Operation Spy; museum was interesting but so crowded cld not read most of the exhibits. Had bought ahead of time timed tickets (10:05am), complte waste of money but the girls liked the museum except for the crowds, we all thought Operation Spy shld be limited to those 12 and under not 12 and over, AND EVEN THEN POORLY DONE. We were there til about 1pm
ate lunch in a Food Hall (some food court btwn Spy and the White House) I think on F street, and they had some good, and healthy food choices along with the usual stuff. Onto the White House- did the photo opp, and then taxi to Holocaust museum (we had timed tkts for 2:30pm) as we were again fading with the heat.
Holocaust museum- I know this will may be not be a well received review, but my view is this- overwhelming for most adults, let alone teens- you cld spend hours in here surrounded by death and the horror. Again very very crowded which took away from the experience, but also just so much and so unrelentingly sad. It was all just too much- we were there 2 hours, cld easily have spent 4 hrs if had wanted to experience it all, BUT 2 hrs was too much. I also really think you need to consider your child's maturity level in handling so much of this type of information at once.
back to hotel for some while 2 of our group tried to make the Library of Congress- they did but just briefly
everyone in our group (2 moms, 2 14 yr olds) were in melt down mode and it was a very unhappy group
Sunday- the other mom decided to rent a car; we met up at the zoo(my daughter and I took ciculator and metro there) NOTE walk to zoo is slightly uphill, probably about 1/3 of a mile to entrance from Zoo metro stn- I knew I cld go to net stn and walk downhill, but did not heed that advice-MISTAKE
we are used to walking lots on trips-London, Paris, NYC, Chicago etc but the heat /humidity was doing us in very quickly- shld have taken the advice or taken a cab
arrived at zoo 11:30 (late started as we need sleep and to be refreshed after previous bad day), met up with our friends- Pandas were great. I am not a zoo fan, but am so glad we went and saw pandas- reqally do not miss
by 12:45 back in friends rental car with a/c!!!! and she drove us to the newseum, while she went on to Georgetwon. Newseum was great- great cafeteria, spent 3 hrs there, girls and I all really enjoyed.
then onto Washinton Monument where we all met up - had timed tickets for 5:30pm- it was good; back to hotel in car, and then onto Georgetown for dinner0by car- it was great
Monday- drove around in the car- went to Botanical gardens-again very worthwhile; Capital Hill-got tickets for inside tour (we did not get them ahead of time, just happened to be there around 11:00am, and got tickets for 12:10 tour) it is about 1 hour and was again very good
e had planned to go to Library of Congress, Suprteme court and then archives, but our friends had a plane to catch a 6pm at BWI, went to archives but line too long (it was about 1:45pm) so back into car, and on to FDR memorial- do not miss this, and WW ll memorial which one of us had not seen. Friends had to leave (it was now 3:50pm) for BWI by car.
My daughter and I went to hotel to pack and decided to do monuments by night tour (we like tours!). did it with Onboard and it was good, but basic- more of a tour to do at start of trip. However the guide, an older gentleman, was very knowlegable.
Tues- BWI by MARC- 1pm flight
TIPS: do a tour- hop on/off is good
Newseum is great as is FDR memorial, WW ll an other memorials
-against everone's advice- having a car was great, traffic not a problem (we are used to bad traffic) and parking was also not a big issue)
don't miss Arlington cemetary
don't miss the zoo
the heat and humidity are hige factors in what you can and cannot comfertably do, an how to get to and from places
SKIP spy museum
Holocaust museum- prsonal choice- I shld add that I have visited Dachau while in Germany, and it was incredibly moving. I found the idea of being trapped in the Holocaust museum for hrs with huge crowds of people too much. This cld of course just be me.
any questions , glad to answer