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.

familytrip/dining options

southofboston
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Topic
familytrip/dining options

Our family of 5 (kids are13,10,9)will be in dc next week. We will be staying at Embassy suites and plan on doing all the major tourist attractions. We were not able to get advance tickets for Washington Monumet, so hoping to wait and line and be lucky. I had previously read about a night tour of the major monuments,of course didn't note it and can not locate it. Did I imagine this or does it exist? How early should be be lined up for Capital Bldg. tickets? Hoping for suggestions on kid-friendly places to dine. My kids are not big fans of 'kids menus' (unfortunately), butI wasn't sure if there are some areas that might have more restaurants than others. I believe our hotel is in the Dupont Circle vicinity. We are arriving 12n or so on TUes and can't check in until 4. Is it feasible to drive to the zoo and park and would an afternoon be sufficient time to cover most of the zoo? Thanks for any feedback.

Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
239 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: familytrip/dining options

Hello debe3,

I can't comment on any particular restaurant, but DuPont circle is loaded with great places to eat. You can check the recommendations on this website or you might want to try the Washington, DC cityguide and look for restaurants in the DuPont circle area.

Here is the link:

http://cityguide.aol.com/washington/dining/search.adp?type=venue&st=qf&vtid=45&stid=*&tid=1560&search=&x=32&y=3

In reference to the zoo...DON'T DRIVE! Our streets can be difficult to navigate, especially during rush hour. Plus parking can be very difficult.

If you are driving here, park your car at the hotel and leave it there.

I STRONGLY suggest taking the metro (our subway). It is safe, clean, comfortable, very efficient and a great way to get around the city. Check out this website for more information:

http://www.wmata.com/default.cfm

The Woodley Park/Zoo exit is literally one stop away from the DuPont Circle Metro. And yes, one afternoon would be sufficient to cover most of the zoo. Here is a link to the National Zoo website:

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/default.cfm

For information on monuments by moonlight tours, check out this website.

http://www.historictours.com/washington/

You are coming at a great time. The weather is starting to get a little warmer (60's - 70's) but without the oppressive humidity you would experience during the summer months.

Enjoy!

Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
4,473 posts
205 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: familytrip/dining options

The tickets for the Capitol tours are often gone by 9 or 9:30. Give your representative's or Senators' offices a call and see if you can arrange a tour through them. Congress is in recess next week, so things should be pretty slow in the office. Being a holiday week, there will be lots of tourists in town though.

Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
455 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: familytrip/dining options

Sounds like you are driving down. You could hit the zoo on the way in and give it a decent look. Make sure if you park on Conn. Ave, that you have your car moved by 4 pm. Rush hour zone, $100 fine and if they get to you, they will tow you. Not pretty. Tow lot is way on the other side of town and a complete hassle.

Be careful with the car in that DC does few things right, but ticketing and towing are one of them. Street cleaning and residential parking signs are enforced. A third of DC operating budgets come from tickets, so they are very quick.

Do drive around at night after the city quiets down. The monuments are beautiful when lit and the keep the lights on until around 10 pm. Any time after 7:30 and the rush hour traffic is mostly done.

Wash Mt - they say you have to get in line around 7 or so if you want to get a ticket. Argh. When I ride my bike by at 8 ish, the line is around the block. Booth opens @ 8:30 I believe.

Dupont has some places that I think you will like to eat.

Pizza Paradisio is an upscale pizza joint. PACKED, so you will have to wait, but it is good. P and 21nd ish.

Johnny's Half shell - bit pricey, but very good seafood. P near 20th

Cafe Luna (or Luna Cafe, can't remember) on Conn just below Dupont is a great little cafe with nice dinners.

Good lunch only spot on 19th near Jefferson (just below Dupont) is CF Folks. Locals mostly.

Front Page, bar and grill on Dupont Circle and 19th. Below it is a billards place that is upscale and nice if you want to shoot pool. Buffalo Billards

Uni Sushi is good, but you may not be into that. P near 22nd

Pesci on P and 21st is a favorite. Small place, nice service, mostly fish.

17th street, north of P is a whole strip of places to eat and drink.

Daily Grill on 18th and M is a nice place for lunch or dinner.

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
3,216 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: familytrip/dining options

Hi:

Whether to drive or take metro to the zoo is a toss up. You could park in a lot and pay about $16. (Parking on the street around there is usually a 2 hour maximum.) The r/t metro will cost you about the same for 5 people. The main issue is that if you get to the zoo at noon and leave at 4:00 to go to the hotel, you could hit traffic and going that 1.5 miles or so from zoo to hotel can be a pain in Connecticut Avenue traffic. So it's a toss up...

Alternatively, you may want to park at your hotel and buy one way metro tickets. If the weather is nice, a walk from the zoo to Dupont Circle is pretty nice. Not much to see on Connecticut Avenue, though. You may want to cut over into Adams Morgan and walk down 18th Street where there are a few shops and restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants... not too far from your hotel, I'd recommend Lauriol Plaza (18th and T for Tex Mex), Pizzeria Paradiso (20th and P for pizza), Luna Diner and Grill (on Conn. Ave. about a block south of Dupont Circle for American/Diner) and Buca di Beppo (Conn Ave and Florida Ave a couple blocks north of Dupont Circle for family-style Italian).

For more ideas, check the City Guide at www.washingtonpost.com (you can narrow down restaurant selections by any number of criteria) or www.washingtonian.com and do a search on "cheap eats".

Hope this helps. Have fun!

Level Contributor
503 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: familytrip/dining options

I suggest you just park at your hotel, try to check in (they might have a room ready and be happy to let you in) and take Metro. It will give you a chance to learn the system a little.

southofboston
Level Contributor
27 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: familytrip/dining options

Thank-you for the suggestions. I checked with the hotel and there should be no problem parking, then as suggested taking the metro. The system looks as though it is designed the same as Boston's-colorcoded and easy to navigate. Although from what I understand much cleaner than ours!After reading through previous posts, we have decided to forgo the Washinton Mnt. ascent and go with the alternative Old Post Office Square Pavillion. Still deciding between Night Tour Trolley vs. walking ourselves-but either way should be beautiful. Thank-you to all the local experts who take the time and energy to respond to all of us out-of-towners. Sometimes going through all the tourbooks and coming up with a plan of action, especailly with a city with so many options can be overwhelming and time consuming. Your insights and recommendations are most appreciated. Looking forward to exploring your beautiful city. On a side note-I'm hoping to go for an early morning run-are there certain areas better than others? Is there particular ettiqiute(similar to the commuter/escaltor variety) I should be aware of? Thanks again.

Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
455 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: familytrip/dining options

All around the Mall in the early morning is a very popular place to run. No one is out, so it isn't crowded with a lot of people walking, mostly runners and walkers. Nice quiet time to yourself and you get to see the sites along the way.

Glad to help

Level Contributor
503 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: familytrip/dining options

Rush hour starts pretty early (some feds work 7:30-3:30 shifts) and some of us get pretty rigid about our commuting routines. So just keep an eye out while crossing streets. From your hotel maybe the simplest route would be to take a right on M Street and run into Georgetown. Not sure how far you want to go, but once you get to Georgetown you can turn right up any sidestreet (uphill) to see the neighborhoods or left to go down to the river. There are other nice routes, but that one should be simple and keep you away from some of the crazier traffic patterns.

Washington, DC
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
2,163 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: familytrip/dining options

Rock Creek Park is a great place for a morning run. It's in a valley, so it's shielded from the sun, and the creek provides a refreshing coolness along the running trail. Just watch out for rude bikers who think they own the trail at the expense of pedestrians (ironically, those are probably the same morons who whine about drivers hogging the road!).

And when you're tired of the trail, just head up to Connecticut Avenue and take the Metro back to your hotel!

By the way, the DC Tourmobile also offers an evening tour of the monuments - catch it at Union Station. Buy tickets early - they're so popular that they sell out by the late afternoon.

Level Contributor
404 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: familytrip/dining options

I saw you were wondering about the Monuments by Moonlight Tour. We just got back from DC on Friday with our kids (10 & 14). I highly recommend taking the tour. We only had 5 days to pack in as much as possible and on the tour you are able to get in a lot at night when everything else is closed. There is no way you can cover as much ground on foot or have the interesting commentary that the tour guides offer. Feel free to e-mail with any other questions! dmgjbg@aol.com