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2.5 days in DC, What to see?

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2.5 days in DC, What to see?

We are visiting DC in June for 2.5 days with two kids age 4 and 12.

We are staying at Four Points Sheraton in DC. On the last day of our trip we have an approval for the Capitol Building tour around noon.

We intend to see the White House (from outside), Air and Space museum and Capitol Buidling.

What other places do you think the kids would be interested?

I would appreciate if some one could suggest us an itinerary for half of Tuesday and full day of Wednesday and Thursday.

Also, how do we go to the various places of interest? By train or bus?

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: 2.5 days in DC, What to see?

There are innumerable places of interest to kids in D.C., but off the top of my head I would suggest the Natural History Museum, the American History Museum, the monuments (including a ride to the top of the Washington Monument if tickets are available) and the zoo.

The best way to get to these places is a combination of Metro and walking. See Metro's website for it's Trip Planner feature which should help you: www.wmata.com

Edited: 01 June 2010, 14:24
Indianapolis, IN
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2. Re: 2.5 days in DC, What to see?

If you're willing, I'd suggest getting a trolley tour, there are several to choose from in DC. It will help you get the 'lay of the land' so to speak. You'll see where everything is, you can hop off and on, and hit all the ones that you might not spend hours touring like the monuments, Fords Theatre, Washington Cathedral, Arlington Cemetery, etc.... Although you could spend hours at Arlington Cemetery, it might get boring for the kids after you've seen the Kennedy gravesites.

Save the museums along the mall for the other day.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: 2.5 days in DC, What to see?

The hop-off/hop-on aspect of such buses/trolleys is less practical on a hot summer day when there are lots of other tourists in town (likely in June): there may not be room for all of you on the next bus or trolley that comes along to the spot where you got off, which means you'll have to wait around in the heat and humidity for another one to come along. So it's not a very efficient means of getting from Point A to Point B.

I really like the Old Town Trolley tour because it covers the most territory and I thought the guides were personable, gave accurate info. I often suggest that people simply use it as a guided tour, ride the loops without hopping on and off. But I'm concerned that your 4-year-old might not have the attention span for that.

So how about doing a DC Ducks tour on an amphibious vehicle? Granted, it's kinda hokey (they pass out "quackers" for you to toot on) and won't take you around to as many places, but you'll see the major highlights and pick up some info along the way, and every kid I know has enjoyed it:


There really isn't such a thing as a one-size-fits-all itinerary: even kids don't all have the same interests or dislikes & there's so much to see and do in DC, you'll have to make some tough choices as to how to spend your 2-1/2 days. Scroll the past several weeks of pages here on the forum (or use the Search function - box above your post) and you'll get many ideas. But here are some recent threads initiated by other parents that should be useful to you:





Unless your kids are eager to see the Zoo, I wouldn't carve the time out of your brief stay to go there: it's not that awesome and covering the Zoo means you'll have to eliminate even more, and more unique, sights. Let me also suggest that you don't put the big museums (Air & Space, Natural History and/or American History) back-to-back, as that's likely to result in museum overload, especially if they're crowded. But all 3 of those -- plus the National Archives and a couple of other places -- are open until later in the day at this time of year, so that gives you some greater flexibility.



P.S. Frommer's puts virtually all of the content of its DC guidebook online for free:


Edited: 01 June 2010, 22:29
New York City, New...
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4. Re: 2.5 days in DC, What to see?

Forgot to give you the link for the Metrorail Pocket Guide -- this is available at all the Metrorail stations, but you can print off this PDF version on your home computer for travel research/planning. In addition to a Metrorail map, it gives a list of the major attractions/destinations with the name of the closest Metrorail station next to each one.


If you don't yet have a map at hand, this DC attractions map from Old Town Trolley is the best map I've found online for giving the "big picture"


but it doesn't show the Metrorail stops, so maybe you'll prefer this one from DC's official tourism bureau:


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5. Re: 2.5 days in DC, What to see?

I just finished 1 1/2 days with 3 kids, 9, 11, and 12 and would be happy to share our itinerary. On Saturday we first went to the Holocaust museum. We did not get tickets for the permanent exhibit, as I thought it might be a bit much for the 9 year old, and the attention spans might not be there. It was excellent, though. We spent about 1 1/2 hours there. You could definitely shorten it a bit though. The Daniel's story is perfect for kids. We then went to the Air and Space Museum. Definitely get tickets for an Imax show. We saw To Fly, because I love that movie, but would have liked to have seen one of the newer ones. The kids all did the flight simulators. The 11 year old didn't want to go upside down, so we did space rollercoaster, which would be appropriate for your 4 year old. The older one would probably want to do the jet pilot one. The boys absolutely loved that and wanted to do it again.

We then went to Arlington to see the changing of the Guard. To me, that is a must and the highlight of any trip to D.C.

We also stopped at the Korean War Memorial that day. We had tickets for the Old Town Trolley, although didn't use it much that day. However, it was worth it just for the trip to and from Arlington. We had a bit of a wait for the shuttle, but not too bad.

By the time we were finished with Arlington the kids were pretty beat, so we went back to the hotel for a quick change and out to dinner in China Town.

On Sunday we went to the White House, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial and the Wall. Rolling Thunder was in town, so we spent some time watching them before going to the American Museum of History. We grabbed some lunch near our hotel, then took the Metro to our train.

I wanted to see the Newseum, as I've heard some really good things about that. I've also heard that the spy museum is a great museum for kids.

So much for us to do next time we go!

Have fun!

Clemson, South...
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6. Re: 2.5 days in DC, What to see?

Back in October my mom and I stayed in D.C. for about the same amount of time. We drove up from S.C. on a Tuesday morning (about a 8.5 hour drive) and checked in (in Alexandria) spent a little while trying to figure out the Metro, not very hard though, and just wondered around a few streets and stumbled upon the National History Museum (must see) and also to the White House (I would suggest seeing it both day and night, different scenarios and very pretty at night) and then we went back to our room. Next day we went to Mt. Vernon, Arlington Cemetery, and the Lincoln & Washington Monuments, and the War Memorials. Next day ... Thursday I guess..... we went to Ford's Theater (I booked tickets weeks prior) and to the Postal Museum and hung out at Union Station. We went home that night instead of the next morning as we had planned. I would say we got A LOT done in a short time and everything we saw was incredible. Going back in March for my spring break/birthday. We also had tickets for Capital but just didn't have the time. Sometime along the way we saw the Holocaust Museum just don't remember when. Next time would like to view the other museums and the Jefferson Memorial. Also next time we will not drive as I learned you can fly into Ronald R. Airport and hit the Metro.

7. Re: 2.5 days in DC, What to see?

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