Visiting Washington DC
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Visiting Washington DC
Spring Break - Washington DC - 13 year old boy
We're taking our 13-year old son to D.C. for spring break (5
days). What are your recommendations for places to visit
that are out of the ordinary? On our list - Spy Museum,
U.S. Mint, Air & Space. Also considering Mt. Vernon.
Archive recs are out of date. Thanks! Jane
Hi - we just moved from DC - if you like hiking - check out
the billy goat trail just outside of DC, in Maryland. It is
a fun challenge and has gorgeous views of the Potomac river.
You will probably need a car to get there though.
There are also cool Segway tours of downtown. I know it
sounds cheesy but it's good way to see the city. Jes
We went to DC when I was in high school. My favorite places
were the three Smithsonian museums. I'm not even a big
museum person but they were all amazing. I'd love to go
back. I also liked our trip to Williamsburg. On the way back
we got lost and drove through the bad part of town. I saw my
first prostitute! That was exciting also. Have a great time
Dont know what your 13 yr old wuld like but here are some
things we liked: national building museum, national portrait
gallery, watching congress in session (look on your congress
person's and senators' web sites), textile museum, national
museum of the american indian, roosevelt memorial, japanese
internment memorial, korean war memorial, vietnam memorial,
.. Look on line to see what currently is showing in
temporary exhibits. Also, if you kid is into airplanes,
there is an additional museum out near one of the airports
(dulles?). Sorry i do not know more about it. May be run by
a state or county. Also, keep an eye out on web pages for
sequestor closings, just in case....but should be fine.
We used to live in Baltimore, so we spent a LOT of time in
DC. You could spend at least a week in just the Smithsonian
alone. Personal favorite: Air and Space. Do not miss the Tow
Path, where you can take a mule- towed barge up the river,
through the still-functioning locks, as well as hike. The
National Zoo is fun. Go fly a kite on the Mall, near the
reflecting pool. Of course see all the monuments. Take a
trip out to Gunpowder National Park.
Go eat Ethiopian in Adam's Morgan. Any of the restaurants
are great. Please, please please go get some real blue crabs
in some crab house like the Quarterdeck or The Warf. It's an
experience you will get nowhere else but the Chesapeake Bay.
You will never ever touch Dungeoness again. Wendy
We love Newseum, the museum of news on Pennsylvania Avenue
between the White House and the Capitol. It is not part of
the Smithsonian and charges a steep entry fee, but it has a
wonderful collection: hundreds of on-demand video clips of
historic events, all the Pulitzer prize-winning photographs
with the backstories, parts of the Berlin wall, the front
pages of newspapers from around the world after September
11, a moving homage to reporters killed on the job. We have
spent hours there with our teenage son each time we have
gone to DC. http://www.newseum.org/
If you like the Air & Space museum, don't miss the
Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. It is an adjunct to
the Air & Space Museum with an enormous collection of
aircraft, including the Enola Gay, the Space Shuttle
Discovery, and the Gemini VII space capsule.
And, of course, there is the Holocaust Museum. It is moving
beyond belief, but be sure to prepare him because it can be
overwhelming. Mom of Big Guys
Traveling to Wash DC summer 2013 - budget hotel?
We are hoping to go to Wash DC next summer and looking for a
budget priced hotel in Wash DC and also one in Williamsburg,
VA. Our girls are 11 and 13.
I'm not sure what 'budget priced' means to you; DC is
expensive, so 'budget' is relative. We always stay at
Georgetown Suites. There are two buldings, both right off M
Street. It is an all-suite hotel; each suite has a large
BR, a living area with a pull-out couch, and a full kitchen
-- ample space for parents and a couple of kids. Breakfast
is included in the rate, and they have a parking garage
(costs extra). Furnishings are nothing fancy, but it is
serviceable and clean. And the neighborhood is great -- the
heart of Georgetown, with lots of restaurants and shops. It
is a 25 minute walk to the Lincoln Memorial end of the mall
(1.5 miles, but very pretty -- along the Potomac), and just
a 5-10 minute walk to the Foggy Bottom metro. At under
$200/night (I think they have a AAA rate that brings it
closer to $175), it is a great deal for a great neighborhood
We Love DC
We (2 adults, 2 teenagers) stayed in Bethesda, MD and took
the metro in. It worked great.
It was at the Residence Inn (just a block or so from the
We saved money by eating breakfast in the room and making our lunches.
-DC is great
DC vacation with tweens
We're planning a summer vacation in Washington, DC, and
I'm looking (mostly) for recommendations for or against
the many possible tours, museums, and other 'attractions' -
- some of which apparently must be arranged months in
advance. Also interested in hotel recommendations,
specific or neighborhood. (We expect to stay in
the 'burbs for affordability, but hope to find a hotel
that's walking distance to a Metro station.)
We have an 11 year old son whose primary interests are
mechanical objects -- building, engineering, the physical
sciences. We have an 8 year old daughter whose primary
interests are nature -- birdwatching and the like -- and
art. Neither is, at least as of yet, terribly interested
in politics, government, or history, but *I* am excited by
those things, and have never been to DC. (My husband went
once as a kid.) We enjoy theater and dance; none of us
cares about sports; our vacation-shopping tastes run to
local handicrafts and open-air markets rather than high
We have one week, during some of which time I will be
attending a conference, and we'll be there for the 4th of
July. What should we absolutely not miss? What could we
skip? What are some good places for Dad to take the kids
for half a day, that I won't mind missing out on? Where
are the best fireworks? TIA!
Our kids really enjoyed the tour at the bureau of engraving.
You have reserve a spot on a tour, we went late in the day
and got one at about 6:30 pm. I also recommend the
children's section of the holocaust museum which is
beautifully done. (The main museum is way too much for an 8
Thanks to fears of terrorism, access to the Capitol is
severely limited and the tours are not very extensive or
interesting. If Congress is in session you can get a pass to
the gallery from your representative but if your kids aren't
into politics that will probably not be very interesting for
them. The White House is similarly extremely limited and not
The Smithsonian is a treasure trove of all kinds of stuff,
so plan on hitting the American History building to see
things like the original star spangled banner (which is
huge) pop culture ephemera; they usually have special
exhibits that are beautifully put together and very
The Air and Space museum on the mall seemed to be a bit
dated the last time I was there, but take the free shuttle
to the new wing out near Dulles airport. It is massive and
they have things like a stealth bomber and one of the space
I also highly recommend the Archives, not only to see the
declaration of independence and so forth, but they have very
interesting exhibits featuring the materials in the archives
(like presidential papers and things like that). It was
fascinating and kept my girls very busy.
The National Gallery has a great collection and good tours;
the East Building alone is worth a walk through and usually
has some very interesting exhibits.
I also recommend going to things like the Lincoln Memorial,
in the evening when it is a little cooler. And check out the
FDR memorial, near the Jefferson memorial, it is very
The best part -- most of these museums are free! It is a
great city to visit and should be extra fun around the 4th,
though probably crowded. There used to be a folklife
festival on the mall at that time of year, don't know if it
still goes on. Have a great time!
Newseum, Spy Museum, Crime Museum -- every one of these
costs money (a lot). In DC, where there are amazing free
museums, it seems crazy to pay for these. BUT my kids really
like them. And, I figure given how much we've paid to be in
DC, I need to have perspective.
Ford Theatre (I was there in the spring and asked if I
remembered correctly being able to go into the balcony where
Lincoln was shot and was told in the summer, when there are
fewer tourists, it's still possible). I know your kids
aren't very interested in history, but this is as accessible
as it gets -- someone being shot, Lincoln, compelling and
understandable story and chronology.
Fredrick Douglas house -- ok, this is more a place you drag
the kids to, but not too deadly for them. And, as a result,
they've always perked up when his name comes up. They just
feel more of a connection to him. Make a reservation a few
days ahead of time.
For your daughter, I've found boating on the Potomac events,
canoeing, etc. Fairly cheap. Never convinced my family to
My kids really wanted to tour the White House. (Make sure
they understand they won't see Obama.) It may be easier to
get tix in the summer. Call Barbara Lee's office and stay on
Everyone else will tell you about the museums of
awesomeness. have a great time!
Need a good hotel in D.C.
I'm traveling to Washington, D.C. for a week in August with my husband
and six- and 10-year-old sons. We'd like a nice place to stay that's
not too costy. Can anyone make a recommendation?
Hi-I just got back from a delightful stay at the Tabard Inn at Dupont Circle.
MANY thanks to the person who recommended it before - I chose it based on
I found it very inexpensive - I chose a room w/o bath and it was only
$113/night. For a family you'd need a more expensive room or suite. I loved
the price, the colorful walls, the friendly staff, the quiet location (near
metro and in a nice area to walk around), and the very excellent restaurant.
However, is it a good choice with kids? I wondered how my two boys ages 5 and
8 would do there. There was no tv/radio, the atmosphere is (and clientele
seemed) very European, it seemed like a fair amount of business travellers
(maybe less so in summer). They did offer a shared pc with free internet, day
passes to the nearby YMCA, and there are many living room type areas (live
jazz one night) for reading a book or playing a game. For my two, if I wore
them out plenty seeing the sights during the day I think they could behave
themselves ok here, even though it isn't designed for kids exactly. But if
you're looking for tv + a pool, this isn't it.
What to do in Washington DC with teens?
Family of four (two teenaged boys) spending spring break in DC. We
love the offbeat and would like any recommendations for what we
absolutely must see/do/eat while in DC. Advice on crowds, tix, etc
welcomed. Also - what is a great neighborhood seafood joint? Thanks
I lived in DC for 8 years and just got back from a long weekend there. Also, I
tend to like the funky.
I'd highly recommend Lebanese Taverna for dinner. Amazing food and not too
Not sure about seafood in DC these days, per se.
Buy souvenirs at the Spy Museum. Didn't go to the actual museum, but t-shirts
and other stuff were very unique and fun.
Lesser known galleries are THE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART AND NATIONAL PORTRAIT
GALLERY, THE RENWICK (love the piece ''Game Fish'' and ''Ghost Clock.''). These
are part of the Smithsonian so they are free.
Funky neighborhoods: U Street and Adams Morgan (tho A.M. is more gentrified
Breakfast at Eastern Market on Capital hill is fun and the art/flea market
there is wonderful.
Have fun. It's a great city beyond the ''Hill''.
If you don't get any good recommendations here on food, go to
chow.com I use that site all the time when I travel to a new
place and want to find some really good local food joint.
Also, if you don't get good recommendations on off beat stuff
to do in DC, check out the fodors chat page for that area and
search the archives. If you don't find what you need, define
''off-beat'', narrow your scope a bit and ask the
participants. I've received some great advice from that site.
We took the white house untour, which was great, for kids, it was led
by a storyteller, they have other great tours too, depending upon the
age/maturity of the kids (my 6 year old loved
it).www.washingtonwalks.com--highly recommend it!!
DC/Virginia with kids
We are considering a trip to the DC/Virginia area over the winter
holidays. We have three children, ages 1 to 15, and are looking for
any recommendations of great things to do and places to stay.
We just returned from DC with our daughters age 5 and 18 mos. The
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is beautiful (dinosaurs, mammals,
IMAX sharks! etc) and great for ALL ages. Haven't been, but the Air &
Space Museum is supposedly very good too. Plus, all museums are free!
There are also very good double-decker bus tours of the city and historic
sights/monuments near the capital. View from the Washington Monument is
supposed to be pretty cool too. The National Zoo was fun as well - we did
that when we had just one child. Have fun.
The Smithsonian museums in DC are fantastic. And they are Free! Esp since
you will be going during the winter, it'll keep you out of the bitter
cold. A huge hit with the younger ones, and all ages really, is the Air
and Space Museum. I also really liked the National Museum of the American
Indian on my most recent trip. The National Zoo is great, but that's a
touchy one - not everyone likes zoos. Also, you'll be outside...something
to consider. The Lincoln Memorial is quite impressive. There is a ton of
''sightseeing'' stuff along those lines... You'll have plenty to see and
do! And their Metro system is Great.
Into Virginia itself, about 2.5 hrs from DC area is Jamestown and Colonial
Williamsburg. Also pretty cool for the kids.
depending on their interests, the National Air and Space Museum is often a
hit with kids, and would be a warm pastime in what can be very cold
weather at that time of year. I don't recall what the Zoo is like at that
time of year but it's a possibility as it's a pretty good one. both are
very convenient to the Metro. have fun!
I recommend staying somewhere on a Metro line for easy transportation
DC is full of fun things for families and kids, many of which are free.
Here are some ideas:
All of the Smithsonian museums, of course (free!, esp Air & Space and
Carousel on the Mall
International Spy Museum
National Zoo (free!)
Bureau of Printing and Engraving -- see money actually being made (free, I
think). I grew up in DC and this was always the most fascinating thing
Shopping in Georgetown
Walk along the C&O Canal if the weather isn't too cold
former DC resident
DC is fantastic with kids! In addition to visiting the wonderful
Smithsonian museums, we took our children to Mt. Vernon. The boat ride to
George Washington's home is a grand little adventure from DC, and ol'
George's home has fun activities specifically designed for kids.
You might also like to check out the Contra Costa Times' parenting blog,
aPARENTly Speaking. We've been running family travel tips - kid-friendly
hotels, great eats and cool sightseeing suggestions from Bay Area parents.
There's one from a Kensington family who did DC and the Big Apple this
summer - it includes links for booking behind-the-scenes Capitol tours and
having breakfast with a senator - fun! This weekend we're adding an entry
from a Clayton family who raved about DC's International Spy Musem and the
Smithsonian's Space & Air Museum too. (Other entries feature Mexico,
California beach towns, London and Wales, etc. and we're always looking
for more!) If you're interested, the aPARENTly Speaking link is at
And if you want more, there's a family travel archive link in the blog's
lefthand column. Happy travels!
Toddler hangouts in Arlington, VA or DC?
My husband, our 18-month-old, and I will be in Arlington VA for
three days (next Mon-Weds). I'll be working and he'll be
entertaining our son from 8am to 6pm each day. In a hotel room.
They'll be going bonkers within hours.
Are there any good play spaces, toddler hangouts, fun things to
do for hours on end that are either in Arlington near the
Ballston Metro stop or within reach of the Metro?
There is so much to do in DC! Riding the metro is a great toddler adventure. On the Mall,
downtown, the museums are all free, and if the weather is nice, is a good place for a toddler
to have huge amounts of open space for running around. Museum-wise, Air and Space and Natural
History are kid favorites. The National Zoo is also fabulous and free. There is also a
Children's Museum in DC, which I don't think is free.
Everything is metro accessible.
Seeking Washington DC Hotel Suite Nov 2-5
My partner has a conference in DC in Nov and we'll stay where the
conference is (Renaissance Mayflower) for those days, but hope to
find a hotel with a reasonably-priced suite (under $300?) for us
(and a nephew to stay with us). We've heard that Dupont Circle
is a good area. Thanks
We just stayed in a GREAT hotel that I'll recommend to anyone who asks...
The River Inn in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, near GWU.
All suites w/kitchenettes, clean and even hip in design and decor. Reasonably
priced with a good, but pricey restaurant in the lobby
Staying in Dupont with small children is not something i would
recommend. While it's close to the Mayflower - it's not kid
friendly there at all - unless your kid is 21! Try the embassy
suites at chevy chase - it's only a few more stops away on the
metro. if that's too pricey - try something else in that
neighborhood because it's way more kid friendly up there north
of dupont & the zoo. Your child will love the metro and it's
very safe. I lived there for 8 years and stayed at the Grand
Hyatt last time i was in town - it's fine but not the huge
suites you're looking for. Alternately, you could try Silver
Spring, Bethesda or Roslyn/Arlington - as potentially cheaper
alternatives on the Metro line. Hope that helps
my favorite hotel anywhere is the Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle
in DC: http://www.tabardinn.com/home.htm. i believe they have
suites, but no tvs.
Not that kid-friendly however.
DC at Xmas -- fun for 14 mo old and 2.5 yr old
We'll be heading to Bethesda for Xmas with our 14 mo old and our
2.5 year old nephew. I checked the archives but there isn't much
listed. Just wondering if anyone has recommendations on
particularly fun places to take kids that age. Something like
Habitot of the East Coast? Also interested in any restaurants you
found that were great for kids *and* had good food. Thanks.
We just moved here after ten years in the DC area, and so I can offer a lot of tried
and true suggestions. You don't say where in Bethesda or if you will have a car or
do mass transit, but the Metro is a great way to get around and super kid-friendly.
You can't roll your stroller right onto the bus like you can out here, but all the Metro
stops have elevators and are very stroller friendly. One easy and fun outing would
be to take the Red Line from Bethesda to Union Station, where they always have a
big model train setup and lots of great holiday decorations. There's tons of space
for them just to roam around indoors. You can choose from several casual sit
down restaurants, one nice one, or a food court. (And maybe even do a little last
minute holiday shopping). All the Smithsonian museums are free, as is the National
Zoo (and all fairly Metro accessible, although you will be walking a bit.) The Insect
Zoo at the Natural History Museum is great for really little ones - lots of stuff at
their eye level and a fairly contained space. AIr & Space is always packed and
slightly better for older kids. Also the American History Musuem has a
Transportation exhibit with big trains, buses, etc. that is fun. And when the
weather is terrible and they are bouncing off the walls, check out
www.gosilverstars.com, which is not too far from Bethesda and offers a one-hour
open gym on weekdays with all the gymnastics and tumbling equipment for kids
under 5 for $5 each. (Check the website for holiday scheduling). Have a great time!
DC has a great children's museum in NE Washington. Both kids
should have fun there. The National Zoo! There is an aquarium
in Baltimore. Bethesda is the burbs so there are lots of family
casual restaurants as well as Gymboree-type places throughout
Montgomery County. DC proper dining is more for those on
corporate accounts, ie fine dining, but there are lots of casual
ethnic restaurants in the neighborhoods. Great Metro and bus
system so you could ride to the museums and the kids could have
the fun of the transportation while you get to see the
art/history. There is the National Christmas Tree and they have
reindeer in a pen. Also, off 16th St. NW there is the most
outrageous holiday home worth seeing. People come by the
busload. Look at the Washington Post on line and see about
special events while you are in town. Don't forget to check out
Bundle the kids up warmly and take them to the National Zoo.
See if you can get tickets through your senator or congressman
to go on a tour of the white house and view the christmas
decorations. Take the elevator to the top of the washington
monument. The 2.5 will also probably be fasinated by the
lincoln and Jefferson memorials. The natural history and
american history musuems might be interesting enough for the
children on a limited basis.
As far as restaurants, Clydes in Georgetown is casual and noisy
enough to host children.
How funny! We have a 3YO and a 14 month old and we will be in the DC-area at
Christmas too! We are planning on going to outdoor things mostly eventhough it'll be
cold. We are taking them to see some snow (about a 45 minutes drive) at one of the ski
resorts. We are also taking them on some hikes. I'll ask my MIL who lives there what
else she recommends and write you off-list if you give me your e-mail. Let me know
what else you find out too if you don't mind. Thanks!
For activities for children in different cities, check out
www.gocitykids.com. Here's a link to their seasonal activities
list for Washington, D.C., which is quite exhaustive:
ho, ho, ho
A correction to someone's post: DC's children's museum is closed (until 2008!) while they're rebuilding/revamping.
And you might be lucky enough to have snow on the ground right there in DC--
there's some still on the ground now (Dec. 13) from a previous snowfall.
We are planning a trip back east this summer, with a week in NYC
and a week in DC and we are looking for recommendations for good,
inexpensive places to stay in DC. Anyone know of a place to get
apartments by the week? Or motels with a kitchenette? There are
four of us, myself, my husband and our two daughters who will be
9 and 11. Also, we're thinking of an overnight in Williamsburg,
any recommendations there? We don't need luxurious, just clean
and well located, though I guess a pool would be nice too.
When my family moved to DC way back when in the 70's, we stayed
for a week at the Guest Quarters in Alexandria (right outside DC)
Virginia. I believe they rented by the week, had kitchenettes, a
pool, laundry, tennis courts, etc. Good Luck finding places!
We will be spending a few days in Washington DC this summer and
I'm looking for an affordable kid friendly place to stay. We have
a two year old boy. Any type of place is fine...hotel, B&B, etc.
Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm not too familiar with
DC, so I'm not sure what neighborhood we would like to be in, so
I'll take suggestions on that too if anyone has any! Many thanks!
I used to live in DC. There are many hotels in the Dupont Circle area where I lived.
This is definitely the most convenient neighborhood to stay in if you're there for a
visit. It is close to the metro, walking distance to many museums, the mall, the
White house. Lots of fun shops, restaurants. I know that there are several larger
hotels located on P Street. There is also a Hyatt or Hilton located on Connecticut
Avenue Don't be tempted into staying near the Mall. There is nothing to do at night
around there and it can be a bit sketchy. Dupont is a lovely, safe, neighborhood.
Check out www.tabardinn.com for a funky, non-traditional, affordable hotel in
dupont circle. it is close to everything and a real breakfast comes with it.
if you want more of a traditional hotel, lincoln suites
on m street has kitchenettes and is reasonably priced plus a good location. in
the summer there are lots of rentals in people's homes and i could help you
find those if you are interested. my husband is a dc native and i still work
there so feel free to e-mail with any questions.
I'll need childcare in DC for 1 day while I'm at a business meeting. Any
I have used two DC based nanny services in the past. I generally
stay in a hotel so the nanny spends time in the room and on the
grounds with my child (Bring toys). Most of the nanny services
have a 4 hour minimum and with fees etc cost about $50/four hours.
The phone numbers are: weesit 703-764-1542 and
baby boo 202-347-2105
I always set these up before leaving home, and reconfirm once I
am in DC.
Does anyone know of a babysitting service in Washington, DC? Also,
does anyone know if there are any drop-in chilcare centers there? I
am looking for something in Northwest, in either the Dupont Circle or
Foggy Bottom areas.
Two weeks ago, I needed a sitter in Washington, D.C. A friend who lives there
sent me these three numbers:
Family and Child Care - (202)723-2051
Wee Sit - (703)764-1542
Mother's Aides - (301)424-6000, www.mothersaides.com
The conference organizer told me another attendee had used a firm called
Whitehouse Nannies and was happy with the person they sent.
My family will be vacationing in the Baltimore/Washington DC area for 10 days in June. I am looking for
any recommendations regarding sightseeing -- "don't miss" places to visit as well as any other tips (i.e.
parking, crowds, etc.). Am especially interested in information about the Smithsonian and the National
Zoo. Note: kids are 10, 4, and 1. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.
I gave a book to a friend who was visiting DC a few years ago that was entitled something like "Kids in
D.C." She loved it.
You could probably find it at Cody's in the travel section under "Washington D.C." I'm a big believer in
(good) guidebooks: they save a lot of time and make for a happier/more "efficient" vacation.
In the Washington area, Baltimore has some great places for children -
including the B&O train museum, the Baltimore children's museum, and the
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