Monday, August 31, 2015

Planning for DC: How I Scheduled Our Vacation

This probably should have been one of the first posts, but that’s okay. If you’ve ever been to DC, you know that it’s possible to spend days and days in the city and still never see everything. We chose to do almost exclusively free things this time around for two reasons. 1) We only planned to spend 2 days in the city, which is not nearly enough time to see everything, and 2) We were taking the kids on their first trip, so we wanted to hit the major highlights vs some of the more obscure, albeit really cool, destinations. We still didn’t fit them all in, but I think they got a pretty good taste. I thought it might be helpful to give you an outline/sketch of what our itinerary looked like for your own planning purposes. I didn’t necessarily write about them in the same order that we did them, so it may have gotten a little confusing.

-Arrived at DCA, took cab to Burke, VA where my family lives, and went for a run and enjoyed a nice meal with them.
-Took train into the city, about a 45 minute ride. The Smithsonians open at 10:00am. If you take the metro before 9:30am you pay higher prices because it’s considered “rush hour” or “on peak” travel time. We waited until after 9:30 to save a little money, but that did make our morning a little short once we finally arrived at the Smithsonian metro stop. At this point we did:
1. American History Museum (approximately 1.5-2 hours)
2. Natural History Museum (60-90 minutes)
3. Walked to Union Station for lunch
         *I chose Union Station because then everyone could get what they wanted from the food court, and also because then we got to walk by C-SPAN, where I had previously spent a summer as an Educator Fellow, and I had taken the train into Union Station every day that summer, and I wanted to share that with my kids.
4. US Postal Museum
5. Walked down the back side of the mall, or a block or two north, to hit Hard Rock Café for J
6. Found an incredible farmer’s market where we bought fresh flowers for Kayo and stopped for drinks and samples of sheep cheese (only J sampled those).
7. Returned home via McPherson Square metro stop, leaving the city around 4:30pm.

1. Miniature Golfing near Burke
2. Running at Burke Lake Park

1. Air and Space Annex near Dulles
2. Minions movie in theater near Burke

1. Zoo 9:30am to 2:30pm
2. Running at Burke Lake Park

-This time we went into the city a little earlier, but rode to Capitol South because we had our tour.
1. Botanical Gardens (30-45 minutes)
2. Capitol tour (tour is maybe 45 minutes, but I’d say we spent 90 minutes here)
3. 1:00 Lunch, then metro to McPherson Square
4. White House/White House Gifts
5. Washington Monument
6. WWII Memorial
7. Korean War Memorial
8. Lincoln Memorial/MLK Jr “I have a dream”
9. Vietnam War Memorial

-Back to the metro around 4:30pm again.

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