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DC trip report--HOT!

western...
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DC trip report--HOT!

We were in DC from June 18-23. I've traveled a lot, and have never been laid so low by the weather as I was in DC these past couple of days. We were intensely affected, and very limited in what we were able to do--even leaving the hotel to head for the Metro and then to air-conditioned museums for the late hours was overwhelming. I wish I could prepare others for the reality on the ground if you are planning a summer trip to DC. But since one really can't, I'll offer some highlights about other aspects of the trip.

Omni Shoreham hotel was fantastic. Beautiful, elegant, clean, extremely family friendly, fantastic pool (HEAT alert!). Sign up ahead of time as a member (you can do this after you book), and get a lot of special treats, especially for children but also including free morning beverages and the newspaper of your choice delivered to the door every morning. Our bathroom was teeny-tiny; I don't know if that's standard for this hotel or not. Given the natural beauty of the setting, the fantastic pool, the overall friendly vibe, and the huge room, we were not disturbed by the tiny bathroom. We got a fabulous weekend rate, and also considered that the $28/night parking wasn't bad for a city. Also pleased to find a small empty refrigerator in the room so we could stock up on beverages and keep them cool.

Loved the Taverna Lebanon near the hotel. Very delicious and friendly and fun, and even the sometimes picky 10-year-old was very happy with hummous and chicken shwarma. Open City Diner was also good for food, but too hot and crowded for our enjoyment. Getting food to carry-out was perfect. Both of these establishments are within 2 blocks of the hotel, and between the hotel and the Metro.

Metro was very confusing for the first trip, and then we we able to grasp the basic system, which is very sensible--just complicated at first with different rates for different times of day, and a surcharge to the rates, which are about to go up again anyway. Cars were clean, trains moved quickly, timing predictions were accurate, and it all felt quite safe.

All the museums are air-conditioned, but it requires a lot of walking to get from the Metro to the museums and from one museum to the next. The mall is huge and hot, and the monuments are far from the museums. Being outdoors was like a blast furnace. Horrible. I had figured to use Metro and my own feet to get around, and found myself without enough knowledge to make other choices given the extreme weather conditions. Should we have cabbed from the Metro to the museums? Would a local bus or a tour bus have been a good option? I hadn't looked into or planned around these question$ ahead of time, and that was my loss.

Museum highlights included the Star Spangled Banner, Julia Child's kitchen, and the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in enactment at the American History museum, and the brilliantly interactive Hall of Human Origins at the Natural History museum. I adored the light happy wonder of the National Gallery East building, and my art-unappreciative child was turned on by the cool LED installation walkway between the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery. The Einstein memorial was super cool, and the Lincoln memorial was super crowded. The Vietnam memorial was marked by special notes, photos and flowers from Father's Day. This is a memorial to those whose lives were taken--no glory to war.

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens were too hot to enjoy, even getting there before 9 am. Same for the National Zoo--we saw very few animals and couldn't tolerate the weather, although we pushed to get there as early as we could and well before official opening.

Will post another report about our time in Alexandria. Advance notice--it was hot there, too.

Silver Spring...
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1. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

It was hot on and off until recently and now it is permanently hot, I think. Some mornings recently were so perfect and now it is humid from early on. It will only get worse. Last year, we got lucky and had beautiful weather long into July

I am glad you had a nice time.

Northwest Indiana
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2. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

We were in Washington DC the same time you were (june 18-22) and I agree the weather hampered some activities. The 18th-21st wasn't so bad but the 22nd was terrible. We went to the zoo on the 18th and it wasn't too hot but not a lot of animals out. Going to a couple of the memorials at night did help since it was cooler Of course going into the museums helped since they were air conditioned. The crowds were surprisingly not bad at all. We walked right into museums. We figured out the metro but realized things were further apart than we thought. If I had to do it again, I would take a tour so I could get around with a bus, I would not stay at the Americana because although it was a nice hotel, close to the metro and a good price- it had no pool which was bad, bad, bad. I hadn't thought it would make such a difference to us. I would also try to go in the fall or spring where the walking wouldn't be so oppressive in the heat. I would not go back to the capitol because although I am glad we saw a beautiful building, it took way too much time out with all the security, etc. I thought it was really neat to see the White House and we loved the Crime and Punishment museum and going to the top of the old Post Office for the view. We really had a great trip and saw a lot but I need to return to see lots of things we didn't have the time or energy to see..

canada
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3. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

Well, now I'm stressed. We have based our whole trip around walking to all the sites, booking a hotel downtown even though it's more expensive just so we could walk. I even worked out the timing to walk from our hotel to the Capitol and to Arlington cemetary. We don't mind walking all day so distance wasn't really an issue. It seems that I have some thinking to do and maybe some changes to our plans!! Thanks for the warning so we can be better prepared.

jc tenn
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4. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

We arrive in DC tomorrow. I checked the weather, and it will be 98 this weekend. I've been concerned about the heat.

Is it hot down in the Metro? We're staying in Alexandria. We may take the boat to Georgetown Waterfront, then a cab to whatever we decide to do. I was thinking of seeing the zoo, but I suspect it will be too hot. We just saw the museums last summer, so maybe something else...

KC

Silver Spring...
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5. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

"Is it hot down in the Metro"

The railcars are airconditioned. Sometimes you will in a car in which the air is not working. I stay in it when that happens to me, but others will get off and go to a different car. I would not do that at a crowded station.

I don't know if all stations are air conditioned but I think most are. I have found Farrugut North to be very hot in the summer on the occassions where I have been in it. I work at Dupont Circle and that one is air conditioned.

Arlington, Virginia
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6. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

How well the air-conditioning works completely depends on the station. One stop that is particularly unbearable (IMHO) in the heat of summer is Union Station. I think that's because the trains come into the city from above ground, bringing all the hot outside air in.

Others will be a bit warm, but completely manageable. On the positive side, as the previous poster said, all of the train cars typically have good AC's - although when they are packed it can still be a bit uncomfortable.

Washington DC...
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7. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

The Metro stations in Alexandria are above ground, so they will be hot. Most of the platform is shaded, but otherwise open-air.

The weather has been hotter than average the last few days, and it looks like it will stay that way for a bit. We are on track for a record hot month of June. You never know, July may be beautiful most days. It won't be cool though, unless things really get weird.

Hawaii
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8. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

Ok, now I'm stressed too! We're going to be in DC from July 14-21 and the heat was always a concern for me, but now I'm beginning to worry. We are using the Metro and our feet to get us everywhere. We are also staying at the Americana, which someone previously posted that they wouldn't stay there again due to the lack of a pool. Though I live in Hawaii and do know what heat is like, I'm not sure if we'll be ready for extreme humidity, we'll have our 9yr old daughter with us. Oh please, weather be nice to us!

dallas
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9. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

We are coming July 15-18. I know it will be hot and humid but what's a family to do. At this stage we go when the kids can. We are all looking forward to our trip and hopefully staying hydrated. Now, will we needing restrooms and not finding any? lol

I am enjoying reading everyone's trip reports. It makes me feel like I am there.

Silver Spring...
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10. Re: DC trip report--HOT!

"Now, will we needing restrooms and not finding any"

All of the Smithsonian Museums have nice restrooms. Since the museums are free you can walk in just to use them.