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Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

Everyone has been so helpful in our trip planning on this site. Getting down to the wire and just have to organize our itinerary. Would love any suggestions....

Coming up from Atlanta with family (kids - 8&9)

Staying at Doubletree in Crystal City

We have 3 days to try to see as much as possible. Driving up Thursday.

Friday (open)- the boys would like the see the Buerau of Engraving. I understand that it is only open on weekdays

Saturday (open) - Have reservations at the Captiol at 2pm

Sunday- (open)

We would like to see: Capitol, White House, Smithsonian, Monuments, Penn Quarter, National Air & Space, Natural History, Einstein, Heard they also have nightly concerts at Kennedy Park? -- Is the Zoo worth seeing? How long does it take?

So logistically I am trying to see which we should do when? Would love any suggestions.

Sunday night we are checking out driving up to Anapolis and staying at the Historic Inn. We plan on walking around...and then later going into Baltimore to see the aquarium and waterfront.

Groton, Connecticut
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1. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

Here is how I would do it but I don't have kids so paces may vary


Assuming you get tickets to Bureau and Engraving beforehand if possible. I will also leave meals out as I usually just grab something on the fly.

I would do this first thing in the morning then the Natural History Museum and maybe the Museum of American History (better one of the 2 in my opinion). When done with that museum, I would walk over to the White House and do the walk by and then head to the Einstein Statue. From there I would head to the Lincoln Monument and begin your monument tour there making sure you don't skip the Korean Memorial and eventually you will go from Lincoln -> Vietnam -> MLK ->WW2->past the Wash Monument (if you want to go up, get pre-arranged tickets now). This does omit the FDR and Jefferson Memorials but they add a lot of walking. You could cab it from the White House to either one and start there too. Or fit them in a different day by a cab.


I would head to Arlington Cemetery first thing in the morning (really is a must-see). This would take 2-3 hours. Could even then head to FDR and Jefferson Memorials, keeping an eye on the time to get to the Capitol and through Security. When done with the Capitol, head to the Air and Space Museum as it should be open extended hours.

From there, head into the Penn Quarter which is just restaurants, etc but good restaurants. I can't help for the nightly concerts at Kennedy Park (do you mean Kennedy Center?)


I would recommend the zoo (but you have a great zoo too in Atlanta so its up to you) and would suggest driving there (pay to park) but you would be north of the city and towards Annapolis for when you want to leave.

The other Smithsonian I would recommend is the Portrait Gallery if you find yourself having more time.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

If you make it to Penn Quarter, there's a koi pond in the basement dining area of Teaism (just up the way from Archives/Navy Memorial). A cool place to take a break and entertain the kids for a bit. Penn Quarter is also home to the Newseum, the Spy Museum, Crime Museum, the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum. The Building Museum is also very family friendly and has an amazing gift shop.

Fyi - if by chance you are around the Air & Space Museum, you can always hop on the #32 or #36 bus - they stop at Penn Quarter, near White House, and go into Georgetown and up to National Cathedral. This would save you some steps and give a break in A/C on wheels!

Honestly, I would skip the zoo, especially with all this heat/humidity and the recent crime up there.

DC/Annapolis/Baltimore is alot for one weekend.

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

Anapolis Baltimore starts on Monday. Should we skip the zoo and visit Alexandria or Georgetown on Sunday? A. Friend mentioned paddling in Georgetown. Husband wants to skip any zoos or aquariums since we have those here in Atlanta. But if they are a must see I want to try to include them.

Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

Anapolis Baltimore starts on Monday. Should we skip the zoo and visit Alexandria or Georgetown on Sunday? A. Friend mentioned paddling in Georgetown. Husband wants to skip any zoos or aquariums since we have those here in Atlanta. But if they are a must see I want to try to include them.

Arlington, Virginia
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5. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

If you want to visit the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, you better get in line to get same-day tickets early on Friday morning. They start handing out the tickets around 8am and some people have recommended getting there before 8am in order to get tickets. Note: The tickets you get may be for later in the day, so you'd have to make a return trip to the BEP. One parent could make the early morning trip and get tickets for the whole family. See the BEP website for details.

I would spend the days touring the museums and reserve the evenings for touring the monuments and memorials. They look great all lit up at night.

There are free concerts on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center each evening at 6pm. Check the Kennedy Center website for details and a list of who is performing while you are here. The U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force perform free concerts during the week. Check their websites for details as they perform at different venues on different days of the week.

There are a couple of boathouses in Georgetown that rent canoes and kayaks. One of them is Thompson Boat House.

The National Zoo is a nice enough zoo (especially since it's free), but it is definitely not a "must do".

Alexandria, VA
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6. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

I used to be an elementary school teacher and I've brought 9 year olds to DC so I'll give you my thoughts from that perspective - here are my recommendations. Skip the zoo and aquariums. The spy museum and newseum may not be age appropriate for kids that age. Go to Mt Vernon Estate instead if you have time - it's just south of the city and kids that age are very familiar with George Washington's history - ask for the map they have for kids at the ticket booth - it will keep the kids focused on the exhibits - wear comfy shoes - lots of walking. A fun way to see the Jefferson Memorial is to do the paddle boats at the tidal basin on one of the afternoons. The Millennium Stage at Kennedy Center will probably not interest boys that age. If you can afford tickets on the double decker bus that goes around the Mall it's a terrific way to see the Mall - you have hop on and off privileges for one day and it's open on top which boys that age will love and they can listen to the history of everything they are seeing. The Marines put on a great show at the Iwo Jima Memorial every Tuesday during the summer at sunset - if the boys are interested in the military at all they will find the silent drill absolutely fascinating - you will too. If they know of someone who fought in WWII have them look up the name of the person at the kiosk at the WWII Memorial - they'll be able to see their picture, rank, etc. If they know of someone who died in Vietnam, bring some paper and pencil and have them look up the name on the wall and rub the name onto a paper. There is nothing for kids that age in Georgetown. I love Alexandria but with limited time there's nothing for boys that age to do. Take them to things that they will find interesting or you will just be exhausted and they will not stay engaged - that's the most difficult thing when parents bring kids to DC. They forget that they are not mini-adults. They are the perfect age for a visit to the nation's capital. At night you could also catch a baseball game at Nationals Park - we play the Braves quite often. Enjoy!!!

washington dc
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7. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

The Millinneum stage at Kennedy Center has different offerings every day (check online) so it is silly to say it won't interest 9 year old boys! It could be an Estonian choir, a Sousa band, Puppet show or a hip-hop break-dance group.

I would always choose Baltimore over Annapolis - especially with kids.

8. Re: Need help organizing D.C Itinerary

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