Chit Chat

D.C. Trip

So my sister-law-and I are doing a nerdy, history girl trip to D.C. in October (when it's not hot as sin). 

We found a great Airbnb - in Capitol Hill, walkable to H Street, Eastern Market, and Union Station.

The musts we are doing are White House and Capitol Tour; Smithsonian American History Museum; night tour of monuments.
The last day we would like to go out to Mount Vernon. But Newseum is also in the mix. 

Would love tips - especially a mix of restaurants for lunch and dinner. 

Re: D.C. Trip

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I would also hit up the Spy Museum.  You have to pay, but its very much worth the cost of admission!

    Also, look to see what the Archives will have on display.  I believe they have a rotating display of items.  I think their copy of the Declaration of Independence is always on display.  It should be free of charge to enter.

    I'm not much help with restaurants within DC, I'm better with the VA suburbs.


  • scribe95 said:

    So my sister-law-and I are doing a nerdy, history girl trip to D.C. in October (when it's not hot as sin). 

    We found a great Airbnb - in Capitol Hill, walkable to H Street, Eastern Market, and Union Station.

    The musts we are doing are White House and Capitol Tour; Smithsonian American History Museum; night tour of monuments.
    The last day we would like to go out to Mount Vernon. But Newseum is also in the mix. 

    Would love tips - especially a mix of restaurants for lunch and dinner. 


    Be very, very careful!  There is a lot of crime in DC.  Capitol Hill is gentrified, but it is not crime free.  Be especially cautious at night.  The tourists areas are safe, but once you leave them, be careful!

    The Metro is a fairly safe way to get around town.  Eastern Market has all kinds of food places.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Night tour of the monuments is a must....they're so much better at night.

    Umm history girl trip and you're not doing any Smithsonians?  The History museum is legit amazing!  It has the original star spangled banner and so much memorabilia from the womens rights movements!

    For the Capital Tour schedule it through your Senator or Congressman, it's a smaller more intimate tour than the one through the Capital.  You meet at your reps office and they take you through the underground tunnels and everything.
    image
    STARMOON44sparklepants41charlotte989875OurWildKingdom
  • Oh definitely doing the Smithsonian.

    Question on the night tour of monuments - do you walk? Is it by bus? Do you get out and take pictures etc? I don't want to just drive by them. 
    OurWildKingdom
  • Do you like to walk? If so, do a self-guided (or guided) walking tour. Start at the washington monument, head up to the Lincoln Memorial (you'll pass the WWII memorial and the reflection pool), take a little detour to the Vietnam memorial, then head toward the MLK monument (you'll pass the Korean War memorial on the way), go south around the tidal basin and you'll hit the FDR memorial, then the Jefferson memorial (plus it's a pretty walk). Head back around the other side of the tidal basin and you'll pass the cherry blossom trees. They won't be in bloom in October, but there are some cool signs with the history and significance.

    Outside of a walking tour, you can do the National Archives pretty quickly (like an hour) if you just go to see the big hitters and get there early. It's pretty dope to see the DoI and the constitution in person. Of course spending more time there means you can see other important documents, too. 

    In addition to cool exhibits, the native american museum has pretty good food for lunch. 

    How long are you there? I have suggestions for dayyys. Love DC.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    OurWildKingdom
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Oh, I loved DC and so want to go back. Yes to the American history museum also the Air and Space museum. Any of the Smithsonians, honestly, but those are the only two we had time for. The Holocaust museum is also great and so sobering. Of course, tours of the monuments whenever you can. I'd love to go up in the Washington Monimwnt, but we didn't have time to spend standing in line, so if you don't have time, I don't really feel like we missed out by not doing that one thing. Arlington cemetery also and the tomb of the unknown solider
    I'm going to have to disagree with @OliveOilsMom on the spy museum. I thought it'd be cool, but we ended up leaving part way through. I wouldn't mind going back and doing the whole thing, but there's a lot orher things much higher on my list. 

    Restaurants, I can't really remember where all we went when I was there. We went to a steakhouse where the waiters walk around with slabs of meat and cut off whatever you want. I think it was called Fogo De Chao. So good and a unique dining experience! If you're a vegetarian, you won't get much out of it, although of course they have salads and stuff. It's pretty much all about the meat. 

    OurWildKingdom
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    PPs have good suggestions. A friend who used to live in DC recommended a Spanish tapas place called Oyamel, but I never got to try it. =( You should go and let me know how it is! haha


    image
    eileenrob
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers

    scribe95 said:

    Oh definitely doing the Smithsonian.

    Question on the night tour of monuments - do you walk? Is it by bus? Do you get out and take pictures etc? I don't want to just drive by them. 


    We walked.  Wandered really.  I have an unfair advantage though, my H is a history teacher so we literally spent hours wandering the monuments while he just told me stories.  It's probably the only times in 4.5 years that he did all the talking while I listened.

    However, that aside, they're so beautiful at night.  The FDR memorial is made of a glittery stone.  It really is something else. 
    image
    charlotte989875flantasticsparklepants41OurWildKingdom
  • The monuments at night are incredible. I've never seen anything else quite like it. I really enjoyed the National Archives as well - really great for history nerds. It's a bit of a trek, but the National Cathedral is absolutely gorgeous.

    I strongly, strongly recommend Mount Vernon. It was really a highlight of the trip for me. 

    As for restaurants, the only one I remember really distinctly is the Old Ebbitt Grill, which is near the White House and quite historic. Really cool on the inside and pretty good food (I was there in May so they had a fabulous strawberry shortcake!). 

     


    image
    OurWildKingdom
  • I'll plug the Newseum, I loved it. My favorite part was all the major dailies from significant historical events. Definitely worth a trip. I don't have many restaurant recs but we did Old Ebbitt Grill and it was really good (plus the history of the place is pretty cool). 
    southernbelle0915sparklepants41
  • I'm a reporter so Newseum is high on the list. Old Ebbitt Grill sounds great. Mount Vernon is now officially on the list. 

    The monument night tour sounds amazing. We are okay walkers but not for miles. That's why I was considering the bus tour. Apparently some let you off to take pics and some don;t. 
    charlotte989875eileenrobsparklepants41OurWildKingdom
  • If you're not really a walker, another option is a duck boat tour. Super fun (IMO moreso than a bus) and you get to learn random, fun stuff about the city.
    https://www.dcducks.com/
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    eileenrob
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @lovesclimbing I think you are the first person I've heard who didn't like the Spy Museum.  :(
    eileenrob
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 15
    There is a tourist Hop-on-hop-off bus line that runs in the daytime.  https://www.expedia.com/things-to-do/old-town-trolley-hop-on-hop-off-tour-with-arlington-national-cemetery.a169282.activity-details?srp=true&rfrr=LX.IS.OtherThings

    You aren't planning to drive a car in DC, I hope!  Don't!!!!!  I lived in the Maryland suburbs for 33 years.  Smart locals park at the outlying Metro stations and take the subway into work.  There are long term parking lots.  If you must drive in DC, avoid driving between 4:00PM and 5:30PM.  This is when many streets become one way, heading out of DC, to accommodate the commuters.  Driving at night is OK.

    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer


    @lovesclimbing I think you are the first person I've heard who didn't like the Spy Museum.  :(


    It's not that I didn't like it, per se. If I had the time, I'd love to go through the whole thing. But lots of other museums rank much higher on my list. 

    When I was in DC, we didn't have a ton of time. It was a business trip with my dad, so most of the days were spent in meetings. So we got part way through the spy museum and you couldn't really do it at your own pace very well, as I recall. It was more of a tour thing. We practically ran through air and space because we only had a morning to do it. And so we got part way through and we'd only seen a few historical objects and such and quite a bit of it had just been hearing about spying and we decided there were other things we'd rather do. 


  • levioosa said:

    PPs have good suggestions. A friend who used to live in DC recommended a Spanish tapas place called Oyamel, but I never got to try it. =( You should go and let me know how it is! haha


    Omg.  Oyamel has a pomegranate margarita that I think about every couple of months. The salsa's insane and the chips are fresh out of the oven, just salty and lime-y enough.
    DH and I used to go to the Cherry Blossom festival  every spring before the kids were born...I ditto PP about not driving it was too much (and we drive around Manhattan with ease).  Amtrak and the subway all the way  B)
    levioosa
  • ahoyweddingahoywedding member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 15
    Seconding the monuments at night! There are bus or bike tours you can book, OR you can rent the bike yourself (for like $8) and ride yourself around. We rented paddle boats on the tidal basin, which was also fun. The Newseum is really cool. I've been to most of the Smithsonian museums, and none of them disappoint (I even liked the Air & Space museum and I typically hate space things). Take the Metro to Arlington, it's a very different experience than the rest of DC. The view from JFK's memorial is stunning. The Holocaust museum is very sobering, but definitely something you don't want to miss.

    I will say, I had been to DC several times pre-Trump, and there was just a different feel in the air the last time we went (in April). The White House was very blocked off, and I thought I read they were in the process of shutting down Pennsylvania Avenue. It just felt very...heavy and weird. I don't know your politics, but just something to think about.

    ETA: Even with the above, DC is an amazing place to visit! You won't be able to do everything in one trip, but there's something about it that is just. so. cool.
    kimmiinthemitten
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 15
    9/11 changed a lot of things in DC. :(  DH worked in national security.  He was able to retire early at age 55, and I am so glad he did.  The pressure was terrible.  DH lost his project support group in the Pentagon on that day.  The concrete barricades around the White House were put in after that terrible day.  Living there has some special stress for everyone, but it's a great place to visit.
    If you are into art, the Smithsonian art museum is one of the best on the world.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • Ro041Ro041 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments First Answer
    I am actually in D.C. right now.  I have been here for 2 weeks and will be here for another 10 days.  The night monuments are fun.  I am shocked no one has plugged the African American Museum.  It just opened and it's really hard to get tickets but it is worth the trip.  They open up day-of tickets at 6:30am so if you get on their website at 6:30 you can get tickets (though they usually sell out by 6:35).

    I found the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to be terribly disappointing so I would skip that - or just go in to see the Hope Diamond and the mummies and leave.

    I disagree with @CMGragain about driving around D.C.  Although I don't have a car (I am staying in Navy Yard which is really getting to be a really cool neighborhood), I have taken an Uber or Lyft almost anywhere for about what a metro ticket costs (split between myself and 1-2 other people).  The traffic hasn't been bad at any time of day.  I would say the smart tourists are using ride shares to get around rather than the metro these days.

  • Thanks. We are going to do a mix of walking/Uber/metro. Uber is so cheap nowadays, especially like you said when you are splitting the cost.
  • Ro041Ro041 member
    500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments First Answer
    Barrack's Row, just south of Eastern Market has a lot of food/bars.  Eastern Market is a fun way to spend a Saturday and I highly recommend it.

  • @Ro041said: I disagree with @CMGragain
    about driving around D.C.  Although I don't have a car (I am staying in
    Navy Yard which is really getting to be a really cool neighborhood), I
    have taken an Uber or Lyft almost anywhere for about what a metro ticket
    costs (split between myself and 1-2 other people).  The traffic hasn't
    been bad at any time of day.  I would say the smart tourists are using
    ride shares to get around rather than the metro these days.


    I didn't say don't RIDE in DC, just don't try to drive there unless you are really familiar with things.  Driving is scary, even for locals!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Back when I was in DC (I feel so old saying that and I'm in my 20's!), there was no such thing as Uber/Lyft. We mostly did the metro as well as a few cabs. I loved the metro! I'd never been on anything like that before, so I found it really cool and a fun experience. 

    CMGragain
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    @ro041 the African American museum opened the summer after I was there so I haven't gotten to check it out but can't wait too whenever I go back!

    Your mention of the Natural History museum reminded me of a pro tip:  you can request behind the scenes tours of the museum for free. We did one at the Natural History museum because my cousin was a researcher there and she told us you can call and request it at any of the museums. 
    image
    levioosasparklepants41Ro041
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards