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Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

Kansas City...
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Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

Have been to DC a few times for work but never really had much time to play tourist and have a full day on Thursday and half day on Friday (need to leave DC by 2:30 PM) to explore. We (two adults, no kids) are driving through as part of a road trip so would love some suggestions based on the following:

1. We need a place to park our car and go from there to explore. Overnight parking not needed as we are staying at a hotel in MD. We are fine taking the train from anywhere we park as long as it's a safe area.

2. We love monuments/famous buildings/architecture - DC obviously has many so we'd like to prioritize

3. If taking a hop-on, hop-off thing can minimize walking and allow us to see more, we are all for it.

4. Budget - probably $100 per person for entrance fees/sightseeing/tour costs for the day and a half including parking our car (no need to include meals in this budget)

Thank you in advance!

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

EduTraveler,

1. If your hotel is near a Metro station, your best bet is to take the hotel shuttle to the station and travel by Metro. If that isn't an option, ask the hotel for the closet station, park there and take Metro. Parking is insane in DC and it's not worth the headache - price and traffic. Take it to the Smithsonian Station; that puts you in the heart of the Mall.

2. You can never go wrong starting at the national Mall. You get to hit many of the Smithsonians, the Capitol, Washington Monument (still closed from last year's earthquake), White House, monuments, Arlington Cementary. It's very walkable if the weather holds up. I also like the Newseum. This can be done in a day. Other options include the Spy Museum, National Building Museum and the Kennedy Center. Also, the Kennedy Center has a free show everyday at 6PM on the Millenium Stage kennedy-center.org/programs/…schedule.html.

3. It depends on what you want to see and if you want a tour guide. As I mentioned, the Mall is very walkable. If you visit some things a bit farther out - National Cathedral, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (off the beaten path) - then I would recommend a cab.

4. Smithsonian museums are free so most of your budget will be spent on sightseeing tours. Parking shouldn't be much unless you decide to drive into the city and park in the garage for a day.

DC is a great city and I hope you enjoy your visit. Happy travels!

Sterling, VA
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2. Re: Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

1. Where in MD is your hotel? Is it in the DC suburbs? If so, what town? The reason I ask is if your hotel is near a Metro station and offers up a free shuttle for its guests, they could shuttle you to the nearest Metro station. That way, you won't need to drive into DC. If you do decide to drive, here is a link that gives info on parking options:

…about.com/od/…ParkingNearMall.htm

2. The obvious way to spend your time would be to walk The Mall and see the monuments and memorials. Along the way, perhaps visit a Smithsonian Museum or two. Check out the Smithsonian's website www.si.edu to see which museums interest you most. Also, take a look at the "Top Questions about Washington DC" which appear on the right-hand side of this page. There is a question, "DC's Hidden Gems for Tourists" which will give you some good ideas.

3. There are both advantages/disadvantages to the hop on hop off buses. You can spend a lot of time just waiting for the next one to come along after you are done visiting an attraction. On the other hand, they do hit up the major attractions

4. As for budget --- All Smithsonian museums and The Mall are free. If you want to visit a non-Smithsonian museum, there will be entry fees. You should decide which museums you want to see. That way you can come up with a budget.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

The hop on off buses offer no advantage at all other than ripping you off unless you love the idea of narration. You could hail multiple cabs and cover even more ground than these extremely expensive buses for a fraction of the price.

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

The hop on off buses offer no advantage at all other than ripping you off unless you love the idea of narration. You could hail multiple cabs and cover even more ground than these extremely expensive buses for a fraction of the price.

Kansas City...
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5. Re: Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

Thanks everyone for the quick and wonderful feedback - unfortunately we have to be near Ellicott City which seems pretty far from any metro stops. Any suggestions on what to do from there? Is there a Metro stop you would suggest driving to and taking the Metro from?

The reason I was asking about avoiding walking is mainly that one member in the party is recovering from a knee injury so we want to play it safe. Trust me, we usually love to walk. Any suggestions that would allow us to not have to walk too much would be very helpful.

Thanks again.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

I think the MARC trains into Washington stop at or near Ellicott City. They will take you to Union Station which is close to the US Capitol. You might want to start there, and then see the National Archives, and Newseum. The Smithsonian Museums are located along the Mall that runs between the Capitol and Washington Monument. Because of the walking issue, you should probably identify 1 or 2 that are of particular interest and close to each other. The WW2 Memorial and Martin Luther King Memorial are fairly close to each other, as are the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. Lots to see - wear comfy shoes!

7. Re: Recommendations for 1.5 days in DC

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