Have just returned from a fantastic 5 night/6 day holiday to Washington DC (4 April - 9 April 2013), so I thought I would post our trip report. We are family of 2 adults and 2 teens and we booked with less than a week before we travelled but I crammed in some planning - with much help from TripAdvisor (!) and we achieved the following:-
Day 1 - Left London UK early, landed IAD and caught the 5A bus to Rosslyn, bought short trip weekly pass Metro tickets at Rosslyn and caught the Metro to Crystal City. We were staying at the Marriott Crystal Gateway but our room wasnt quite ready so we left the luggage and got straight back on the Metro as we had Baseball tickets. Watched a fantastic Nationals game - they beat the Marlins. Then got on the Metro to L'Enfant plaza, walked the monuments by moonlight and took some photos. Finally caught the metro back to our hotel and after 23 hours on the go went to our room!
Day 2 - Hired a car from the Ronald Reagan Airport for the day and visited Gettysburg. Had a great day, visited the visitor centre, the town and the battlefield. Dropped car back at the airport and late in the evening and caught the metro one stop back to our hotel.
Day 3 - Walked the monuments in the morning - very crowded with it being Cherry Blossom time but weather was beautiful. Walked up to the White House for some photos. Visited the Renwick Gallery. Then we had tickets for the basketball at the Verizon Center and watched the Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers.
Day 4 - Started at the American History museum which we got to as soon as it opened to avoid any crowds. Really enjoyed this museum particularly the section on the American presidents. Then we went to the American Indian Museum, again really enjoyed this museum. Went on to the American Art museum and portrait gallery. Then we had tickets for the Ice Hockey and watched the Capitals beat Tampa Bay Lightning. We were really lucky that all three home teams won at the games we watched!
Day 5 - Had a tour at the Library of Congress, then a tour at the US Capitol building. We arrived almost an hour before our booked tour for the US Capitol and as there was no wait at security they helpfully put us on an earlier tour. Both fantastic buildings and we were really lucky to have great guides on both.
Day 6 - Visited Arlington Cemetery and went round Arlington House. Watched the changing of the guard. Then we went to Fords Theater and museum. Finally, collected our luggage from the hotel and caught the 5A bus back to the airport for our overnight flight home.
We arrived home exhausted but had a fantastic time. The hotel was well located for using the metro - which we made full use of. The weekly short trip pass was well worth it - even though we were only there for 6 days I certainly felt we got value for money, and we didnt have to keep stopping to think about whether we needed to top them up. Arrived in plenty of time back at IAD but even that was not nearly as busy as expected - no queueing at check in or security.
Wonderful time and a wonderful city - we would definitely return, although it helps that we were very lucky with the weather!! Thank you for all the advice given before we travelled.