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Washington DC

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Waukesha, Wisconsin
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Washington DC

Whats the best way to see the main attractions? Scheduled tour or go out on your own? What about were to stay? Outside DC and take the train in or DC hotel?

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Washington DC

It depends on your style but most of the "main attractions" are best seen on foot and are easily accessible so I would say save money and do it on your own.

Where to stay depends on your budget, and hotel prices depend on your EXACT dates.

Even if you stay at a DC hotel, you will likely be taking the train (the Metrorail system, wmata.com) because no hotel is in easy walking distance of everything you might want to go to.

Silver Spring...
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2. Re: Washington DC

Go to the library and get a guidebook

WestSlope,CO
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3. Re: Washington DC

vjpb, I would imagine that Steve S realizes he could get a guidebook. Probably already has a couple, in fact, like I do, so your suggestion sounds a little snippy. If it wasn't meant that way, I apologize. We come to Trip Advisor for personal advice from locals or frequent visitors. I've been to DC a few times and even lived there many years ago (pre Metro!) and planning a visit is still quite a task. There's always so much to see and so little time.

Steve S, where will you be arriving? If Reagan National, there are several hotels that have free shuttles. If you can find one near a Metro station, you can very easily get to DC tourist sites, so I would recommend "on your own" unless your time is very limited or you have trouble walking. I've seen mixed reviews on the hop-on bus tours, but I'm thinking they might be a good way of getting "the lay of the land."

WestSlope,CO
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4. Re: Washington DC

While we're on the subject, the guidebook in my local library is over 10 years old, so not really very helpful in many ways. Do you have a suggestion for a good guidebook that isn't full of what sounds like hotel and restaurant advertising? The folks over on the Hawaii forums actually do recommend Hawaii for Dummies as a good way to learn about the different islands. Is there a good one for DC?

Lincolnshire
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5. Re: Washington DC

I used DK Eyewitness Top 10 Washington DC and Frommer's Washington Day by Day. Both are compact and comprehensive with suggested day by day itineraries.

The most useful thing I took was a Michelin street map of Washington, which was excellent for finding our way and seeing where the various Metro entrances/exits were.

Lynchburg, Virginia
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6. Re: Washington DC

There are SO MANY "main attractions" in DC, a person could easily come up with 20 to 40 important sites of interest. That said, not all of those will be of interest to everyone. Help us help you narrow it down...

To the OP, what are your personal interests? History (natural or US)? History? Particular people from/of history? Government? Science? the Arts? Monuments and Memorials?

Within each of the above subjects there are at least five to ten (or more) sites to visit in and near DC.

Edited: 03 May 2012, 18:14
Washington DC...
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7. Re: Washington DC

The very first topic at the top of this forum is "Read This First", but it seems almost nobody does that. If they did it would save a lot of bytes, because many questions have been asked and answered multiple times, sometimes within the last couple of hours. But Steve S's main question is a good one. It does depend a bit on your touring style and how mobile you are, but doing the sights of DC on your own is almost always the best way. The few organized tours I have heard about only touch a few high points and are on a strict schedule. So many of DC's main sights are clustered around The Mall that is is easy to do on your own, at least for most people.

washington dc
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8. Re: Washington DC

If the guidebook in your library is 10 years old, perhaps you ought to request your local government to devote more resources to essential city services. Or consider actually spending $15.-20.00 to buy a newer guidebook yourself!

Research, Information and editing don't magically drop down free from the sky.

WestSlope,CO
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9. Re: Washington DC

Thanks for the suggestion, victoria. I did buy two guidebooks and plan to donate them to our library after I'm finished with them. Our small town library does a fine job but guidebooks are pretty far down the list of necessities.

My brand new guidebooks, however, say I can see the great view from the top of the Washington Monument. That's why Trip Advisor's so great!

Hambleton, thanks for the suggestions. I don't have the "Day by Day" one and sounds like it would be helpful.

Edited: 04 May 2012, 03:37
San Francisco...
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10. Re: Washington DC

Im not from DC but I do live in a big city(san francisco) and i have travelled a lot. Trust me, do your own tours. Why would you pay for someone to show you what you can see for free. good luck