Day One: 

Take a guided tour to orient yourself to the Washington DC, and to see various photo opporunities - the DC Tourmobile and Old Town Trolley Tours have both received positive recommendations from visitors, although OTT might get the edge because they seem to have more experienced full-time drivers and guides, while the Tourmobile appears to use part-time student help in the summer months.  You'll drive by the Capitol, the White House, the Supreme Court, and all the major monuments.  The OTT has an additional route that will take you to the National Zoo and the National Cathedral.

Both tours have hop on-hop off privileges which allow you time to spend several hours at a museum of your choice - the Smithsonian Institution operates sixteen of them at last count with the majority of them located on the Mall.  If you're not museumed-out at the end of the day, the National Archives has evening hours in the spring and summer months.  Note that the tours end at dusk, but you can take the Metro back to most hotels in the City.  Also, both tour companies offer evening tours in the summer.

For dinner options, try the  Point of View atop the W Hotel, which offers great vistas of the  White House lawn and the Potomac River.  Other options include the numerous restaurtants in Chinatown and the Penn Quarter, between the National Archives and the Gallery Place Metro stations. 

Day Two:

You didn't need tickets to see the first-day sites, but with the second-day sites, you'll either need to stand in line early for tickets, or in some instances, you can order them in advance:

Now that the baby panda is grown and outdoors, you no longer need tickets to see him at the National Zoo  

And if the weather is nice, the National Cathedral is a short walk west from the Zoo.

For dinner, you can choose one of the restaurants you passed by on Day One, but didn't have the time to visit!

  • Off-Site Links: 
  1. http://www.tourmobile.com
  2. http://www.historictours.com/washington
  3. http://www.si.edu/museums
  4. http://www.archives.gov/national-arch...
  5. http://www.moneyfactory.gov/
  6. http://www.ushmm.org/visit/
  7. http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Visit/defau...
  8. http://www.trustedtours.com/store/Was...
  9. http://ticketplace.org
  10. http://culturecapital.com