One of my dreams is to visit Washington D.C. I am not sure it will ever happen but I have a whole set of ideas of what I want to do if I ever get there. This guest post from Fiona Moriarty gives some great ideas of things you can do if you happen to make it to Washington D.C. for a fun, family vacation. Be sure to send me some pictures of your trip!
When the weather warms up in Washington D.C., many families go here for the sights, the smells, and sounds, and the history. If you’re planning a trip, here’s what you should check out.
Getting Good Travel Deals And Where To Stay
Saving money and sight-seeing starts with a good hotel that’s centrally-located plus an affordable vehicle that will get you all over town. If you’re not taking the DC Metro, you can use something like Hipmunk to find a deal on a vehicle. Definitely make sure you find a great hotel – booking retail gets expensive.
So, for example, the Jefferson is one of the best places to stay in D.C. Service is the highlight here, with some of the most luxurious rooms in the city. It’s also centrally-located so you could hypothetically walk to most of your day trip destinations.
Another great hotel is the Holiday Inn Washington. It’s luxurious and located in Georgetown. So, if you want to explore a lot of the historic sites, this is a good option. It puts you in close proximity to Georgetown University, the National Zoo, the White House, the Smithsonian, and the Washington Monument. They also have free shuttle services.
Visit The Capitol Building
For some Americans, this is where dreams are created. For others, it’s where politicians assemble to ruin their lives. Regardless, all Americans should visit the Capitol building because it’s one of the most important buildings in Washington D.C. It’s home to all of the federal legislative bodies, the House and Senate, and it’s one of the oldest structures in the capitol.
It’s considered a work of art, being built in the neoclassical style and adorned with statues and murals. Tours of the building are free and, if you’re lucky, you can get a gallery pass to see Congress working. You might even meet your member of Congress.
Visit The White House
The White House is, of course, where the President lives. Many mistakenly believe that it’s off limits to the general public, but that’s not true. While it’s not easy to get in, it’s definitely possible with a little planning beforehand. You will have to give the staff several dates that could work for you, and plan to make reservations several months in advance.
Tours are usually given to 10 or more people at a time, though you may not have this many in your group.
The National Mall and Memorial Parks
It’s no so much a mall as it is an outdoor park, but it’s huge. People come here every day in the spring, summer, and fall, to jog. But, you can come here to hang out and enjoy the ducks or just go for a pleasant stroll. The mall stretches from the Lincoln memorial to the Washington monument, and attracts roughly 24 million people every year.
At 1.9 miles between the Washington monument and the Lincoln memorial, it’s quite a hike so bring comfortable shoes.
Also referred to as the Veteran’s Memorial, the Wall is a place where you can come and see the many people who fought and died in the Vietnam war. It’s a site dedicated to those who served, and you can read about the fallen and a summary of how they died. It’s humbling. Take pictures. Never forget it.
The Library Of Congress
The library of Congress is the most epic library you will ever see in the U.S. It’s also the largest in the world, containing millions of books, recordings, photographs, and maps and manuscripts. It contains the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson’s library.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is where you can lean about everything from Dinosaurs to gemology. Some of the most popular exhibits include the 20th annual orchid exhibition, the Last American Dinosaurs, Wilderness Forever, Beyond Bollywood, Mud Masons of Mali, and Eternal Life In Ancient Egypt.
Permanent exhibits include the Hope Diamond, The David H Koch Hall of Human Origins, and the Sant Ocean hall.
Fiona Moriarty is a content strategist at Hipmunk. She likes to share her insights on travel and family life. Her articles can be found on many vacation and family websites.