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Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

Chicago, Illinois
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Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

We just got the ok to move forward and book this trip. Driving from Chicago August 3rd and want to show the sites to our kids. But, I'm hearing we can't get into the must see sites on this short notice.

I saw some nice enough hotels on Groupon for $115 night. We will have our minivan and would like to avoid paying lots of parking. Smithsonian would be a must see.

What should we see? What's the best way to plan a trip? Wheres the best place to stay? ANY AND ALL ADVICE WELCOME

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1. Re: Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

<<But, I'm hearing we can't get into the must see sites on this short notice.>>

I can't really think of anything you can't see on short notice. Well, you won't be able to tour the inside of the White House, but you can still enjoy it from the outside---seeing it from both the north and south sides is fun to do, as you've seen both views so often on TV. Do your research on this TA site and maybe grab a guidebook if you want, and you'll see everything to make some great memories for you and your kids. You'll realize that "the Smithsonian" is actually several world-class museums...plus a great zoo, and they're all free. Get your kids involved in helping choose what to visit; drive safely (driving in/around DC will not be the favorite part of your trip, nor will paying parking fees) and have a great trip.

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2. Re: Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

Make sure the Groupon is for a hotel that is convenient to get into the city if not staying there. Understand that during the week rush hour is horrendous. And driving into the city and paying to park is usually cheaper with a family as large as yours than the metro. Many hotels that look close enough really are not because of traffic. I commute 30 miles each way to work and it usually takes me 50-60 minutes each way to work on a good day. The Holiday Inn in Roslyn, the Best Western in Roslyn and the Americana in Crystal City I think all have free parking.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

No notice needed for many of the most iconic sights in DC. It is good to have reservations for the US Capitol, but they do accept walk-ins. Going up in the Washington Monument may be sold out for advance tickets, but you can stand in line in the morning if you really want to do that. None of the Smithsonian museums require any advance notice. You can easily fill a week with things if you just showed up tomorrow.

The best advice I can give is to start reading relevant topics already on this forum, especially trip reports. You will learn a lot and it will help you plan your own visit. A critical part is choosing a convenient hotel, as others have noted. Don't book anything that can't be canceled before you check out what the hotel is really like. And with your family, you might want to look at renting a house through VRBO or similar service.

washington dc
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4. Re: Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

A vacation rental apt. will give your family more space, a money-saving kitchen, as well as great locations actually in the city, near a metro, most with free street parking. Rates in August tend to be lower as well. Check VRBO.com. Particularly the neighborhoods of Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, Woodly Park and Capitol Hill (be careful with Capitol Hill - people really stretch the boundaries.)

Post the listing number of any place you are interested in and we can tell you more.

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5. Re: Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

Where is the $115 Groupon deal? There are some hotels I would advise you don't stay at that always call themselves city hotels.

Congress is in recess then so you won't see them in action, but the office buildings will be open as will tours of the Capitol. White House tours are blah anyway and you can see it from the outside. Supreme Court tours are fine to do, they're also out then. And museums are all open. Plenty to do, but just have to think about what you want to do.

The things that will cost money to see wise are-- Mt. Vernon, Spy Museum, Newseum, the Udazy Air & Space (out by Dulles Airport, the main one in DC is free), Corcoran (free on Saturdays now though), and that's pretty much it.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

A correction to post #5--Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Center at Chantilly, VA is free; there is no admission fee.

7. Re: Washington DC Family Trip for 5 Age 1-10 this August 3-7

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