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Hi y'all, my daughter is going to be opening another restaurant for her company this time in Waldorf MD. She will have a few days off to sight see. What are the must see things in DC and the surrounding area? Free and inexpensive recommendations would be appreciated as she is on a rather tight budget, also they well have a rental car but I hear that driving and parking can be a hassle any info on mass transit would be lovely. I really want her to see Mount Vernon and on the map it looks as if it is just across the river.
We have discussed the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian. They are all foodies so is there somewhere they must eat?
I haven't been since I was 11, but I LOVED the Smithsonian's exhibit of the first ladies inaugural dresses. I also loved the art museum. The girl I was hanging around with set off an alarm, and the security guard came running. Good times!
We stayed in Alexandria when we visited DC and took the subway into town for the sights - my favorites: Air and Space Museum, the museum right across from the White House - not sure what it's called (help, anyone?) and the National Archives. And of course, Mount Vernon is wondeful.
What are her interests and is this her first time to visit DC? I love the National Archives & if that makes it to the list, you can buy admission tickets for $1.50 or something like that that moves you to a completely different line & gets you into the building without having to stand in the lonnnng outside line. Downside is you have to commit to a date & time to go.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Library of Congress !!! The architecture, stained glass & murals are a must see in my opinion.
Architecture? Medieval inspired architecture? The National Cathedral is a little out of the way, but is spectacular and a special memory for me.
If this is her first time in DC, I think the monuments are an absolute must! The Lincoln, Vietnam & Korean monuments are close together & are just wonderful! That will be a taxi ride, however. Getting there is a bit of an effort - worth it, but an effort. And, if they go, they MUST go to the lower level of the Lincoln Memorial. Lots of great information & additional displays. I believe the Washington Monument is still closed & undergoing repairs from that earthquake that rocked DC last year. Of course, the Jefferson on the Potomac is about as inspiring as any monument in DC (in my opinion).
Speaking of the Potomac, if your daughter & her group have time for a boat tour, that's a lot of fun & very informative. You catch the boat in Georgetown, & head down the Potomac, seeing the back of the Watergate, the Lincoln Memorial on one side, Arlington House on the other side, on down past the Pentagon & then the Jefferson Memorial (maybe in reverse order) and then back. Linda & I enjoyed our ride very much and it gives a completely different perspective.
Speaking of Arlington House - OMG!!! If she is a Civil War buff at all, Arlington House should be at the top of the list. And, I personally adore Arlington Cemetery - the tour is a must! It's just too big not to have a bus driver & docent taking care of you.
And, as others have mentioned, the art in DC is among the best - strongly recommend the National Art Gallery - FREE! But, even moreso, the Smithsonian Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery (also free) is in the old Patents Building. Architecture is amazing and the history is par none. This is where Lincoln had his inaugural ball in 1865, & also where Walt Whitman volunteered in the Civil War hospital housed in this building. One of my favorite places to go every time we're in DC! http://americanart.si.edu/visit/about/architecture/patent/
Mom & I visited the Ford's Theater last time we were there - another great stop!!
I love DC.
ETA: the link to the Metro is http://www.wmata.com/. It's not nearly as confusing as it first looks. Recommend a SMART card that will work for buses & the metros. So convenient! Speaking of metro stops - Union Station is a destination all in itself!
Last Edited on: 6/19/13 8:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Wow there are some great ideas here, thanks so much ladies I knew I could count on you.
Kelly, no she has never been to DC before. With this job she has been able to travel to so many places, the problem is she only gets a short time to do any real exploring. She really wanted this assignment because she has always wanted to see Washington, and it looks as though she will extend her stay and have her boyfriend come meet her there and they can go exploring, like they did in NYC this past March.
Any more tips or ideas will be passed along to her thanks so much!
Oh my -- I'm a little late to the party -- but I'll throw in my two cents anyway.
Don't drive downtown -- the Metrorail system is easy, and while not particularly cheap (especially during peak hours), will likely cost less than parking in downtown garages and she won't have to deal with downtown traffic -- and one-day or seven-day passes are available.
Bring comfortable shoes!
The National Mall is about 2 miles long. On one end is the Capitol Building; on the other end is the Lincoln Memorial. Can easily walk from one end to the other -- but there's SO much to see and do along the way. Here's a fairly decent map: National Mall.
Like Kelly, I love the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress which is behind the Capitol. And then next door is the Supreme Court. A few blocks away is Union Station, which has shops and eateries and is just pretty.
In front of the Capitol are the Botanic Gardens. Worth a peek.
Then you have the Smithsonian Museums lining the Mall. The Museum of the American Indian is a beautiful building. And next to it is the Air and Space -- a favorite of tourists. Across is the National Gallery of Art (east and west wings). Next to the art museum is a neat sculpture garden -- and behind the garden are the National Archives (definitely worth a visit). Then comes the Natural History Museum (Hope Diamond on display) and the American History Museum (the original Star Spangled banner, the ruby shoes, inauguration dresses). If your daughter is into Asian art, she'll want to visit the Freer and Sackler Galleries.
From the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, there are the WWII memorial, Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, and Korean War Veterans' Memorial. Across the way is the relatively new Martin Luther King Memorial, and further along the Tidal Basin are the FDR Memorial and, eventually, the Jefferson Memorial. I love the monuments and memorials -- especially the Lincoln, FDR, and Jefferson.
If walking or time is an issue, there are the Tourmobile Shuttles with narration and unlimited free reboarding. One advantage of the Tourmobile is that it goes to Arlington Cemetery -- though one can take Metro.
There's also the excellent, but heart-wrenching Holocaust Memorial Museum (not a Smithsonian, but it's still free, although long waits during the summer so worth paying the $1.50 or so online for a timed entry ticket.) Plan about 2-1/2 - 3 hours for this museum.
One of my favorite museums is the Newseum -- which is near the Archives. However, this is not a Smithsonian museum and costs about $20 (can buy tickets online). The Spy Museum is also fun -- but costs about $20 as well -- and is located near Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro (on F St, between 8th and 9th).
Oh, the National Portrait Gallery [part of the Smithsonian, so it's free] is quite nice (also off Gallery Place Metro station).
Yes, a trip to Mt. Vernon is worthwhile -- it's a nice and relatively easy drive along the GW Parkway -- or one can take a boat down the Potomac. Information is on the Mt. Vernon web site.
We rarely go out to eat in DC so I'll have to check with my foodie friends and get back to you -- though Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House is a historic bar/restaurant that is good, and the Adams Morgan area in Northwest DC has lots of ethnic restaurants and nightlife (my 23-year-old son spends lots of time there).
When is she going to be here? If it's soon (before Sept), she should be prepared for heat and humdity -- the summer weather can be brutal for the unsuspecting. But as hot as it is outside, buildings tend to be WELL air-conditioned, so I usually carry a light sweater with me.
I'm so excited for your daughter. I don't know anything about Waldorf, Md -- but I hope she has a great time in DC. Feel free to PM me -- I'm happy to give her my phone number if she has questions.
Last Edited on: 6/20/13 6:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Thanks Deb, she is used to southern heat and humidity she spent a lot of time in Florida, Georgia, and Texas last summer, and all the visits to her G'parents in NC.but I will remind her. She will be there in mid July to the first week in August. It seems to me she should focus on the Mall and the little shuttle is great tip, as she is bound to be foot sore with so much walking. I don't know how much night life she is looking for, but the trainers are a young group so that is not out of the question. I think the metro is probally the way to go as well, as she has used them in Boston and NYC.
We had a fabulous time in DC while we were there last month. Definitely recommend the Holocaust Museum and the Presidential and First Lady exhibits at the American History Museum. They also had the food exhibit there, including a replica of Julia Childs' kitchen, which she might like if she is a foodie. We tried to eat at Old Ebbit one night but the wait was almost 2 hours! So we skipped that. Ended up at the Hard Rock...touristy but fun. The Metro is easy and I definitely recommend getting a SmartCard. We ordered our's before we went and it was nice to not have to mess with the machine. I hope she has a grand time!
What Christa failed to mention was that the highlight of her DC trip was meeting yours truly!
(Unfortunately, I won't be in town when Letty's daughter is in DC, so she'll just have to make do with the monuments, memorials, museums, etc.)