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Washington D.C. – worth visiting?

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  • SP14

    I am planning a trip to the East Coast this spring. Thinking of landing in DC, staying there for a couple of nights and then heading to other places.

    Is DC worth visiting, and if so, any activity/restaurant recommendations?

    Thanks so much.

    dougzz99

    Washington is a fabulous city, absolutely worth some time. For me just the visuals of the White House, Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington memorial/monuments, Capitol, Vietnam wall, and Arlington. Then there’s the Smithsonians, baseball at Nationals Park, football at Audi field. Fabulous metro system. You can spend a week there and fill it easily. That’s before you think of surrounding area for things like Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg or Manassas.

    masaccio

    Hell, yeah. DC is a great destination with world-class museums and iconic buildings. But if that’s not your bag…

    ChrisC

    Yes definitly worth a visit!

    Huge range of museums for starters – even excluding the Smithsonion family – so you’ll soon find something of intersst.

    I one did a day trip to Mount Vernon to see Washington’s home and via public transport too!

    A walk up and down the national mall and to the tidal basin and back will get you some great views as well as seeing things like the Lincoln and FDR memorials. Take a picnic.

    Not sure if Congress is open to the public at the moment but if you can get on a tour it’s really interesting. Check the visitor centre website.

    Another visit I did was to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in the State Department. Some fabulous antiques on display.

    Aston100

    Visited in December.
    Was a great experience as there were not many tourists or local visitors around.

    I feel there is a couple of days worth of interest to the average person. However, if your interests include history, architecture and museums then you can get at least 5 nights worth of activity done.

    masaccio

    If you like planes, head out to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center which has an SR71, a shuttle (Discovery) and the Enola Gay. Even the missus was wowed seeing the Enola Gay (though I had to explain why she was famous!) We simply hired a car for the day from the main train station and dropped it off at the airport as we left.

    2 nights is what we did in DC as part of a trip that also included NYC and Niagara Falls in a February half-term.

    Andrew.

    Definitely worth a visiting.

    Not sure where to start, there are enough activities to fill a week. I could spend a few days in the Newseum alone.

    Best of all the vast majority of tourist things are free (sadly the Newseum isn’t).

    The Silver Line hasn’t quite reached Dulles yet, it’s due to open sometime this year. My personal preference is to fly into DCA via BOS or NYC and stay in the Crystal City or Alexandria areas. If you don’t have too much luggage, it’s a relatively easy walk from DCA to Crystal City hotels. I enjoy the walk from Crystal City along the Mt Vernon trail into central DC.

    Key visits for me:-

    Pentagon (check for Covid opening)
    Mt Vernon
    George Washingon Masonic lodge (worlds first passenger lifts that go both Horizontal and Vertical)
    Annapolis State Capitol building and Naval Academy

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 6 months ago by .
    Rhys
    HfP Staff

    Spring will be a nice time to go as you’ll hopefully catch the cherry blossom.

    You can spend a good couple of days exploring museums and monuments on the National Mall before you even have to venture further afield.

    Agree with Masaccio that heading to Dulles to the Air and Space museum there is well worth it – seeing the Shuttle in the flesh is magnificent. They also have a viewing tower where you can spot planes coming into land.

    supergraeme

    I’m going in June, so please keep the recommendations coming!

    The Savage Squirrel

    I’d agree that two days is likely not long enough. Probably the highest concentration of quality meseums on Earth. Washi/Linc monuments are cool. Capitol is great (no idea if you can get in ATM).
    Arlington National Cemetery and Robert E Lee’s former home are both more than worth a visit.
    The FBI Hoover Building was pretty good and the Pentagon was actually a really interesting tour back in the day. Admittedly that was a long time ago; I was there the day before 9/11 – you could just turn up in those days – after which they obviously stopped for quite some time. I know they restarted a few years after with prebooking conditions but no idea of the current state of play.

    The traditional route out of Washington is North, but consider driving South instead – in some ways it’s a lot more interesting. The Civil War history of Virginia. Richmond, Monticello, Jamestown, Williamsburg, The Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Asheville, Mount Mitchell (cycle up if you’re mad enough) then back up the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah Valley; across through Sharpsburg and Gettysburg and hey presto you’ve got a good two week road trip that I just thought up while writing this and now want to do 😀

    • This reply was modified 52 years, 6 months ago by .
    Rui N.

    I could spend a few days in the Newseum alone.

    The Newseum has closed a couple of years ago, after going bankrupt.

    Andrew.

    I could spend a few days in the Newseum alone.

    The Newseum has closed a couple of years ago, after going bankrupt.

    Oh, that’s disappointing.

    Although reading about it, it’s yet another organisation that spent far too much on a grand builidng without considering how they were going to pay for it.

    ChrisC

    Neesuem was sold to Johns Hopkins University for $350+ m

    Rui N.

    The building was sold to John Hopkins. not the museum.

    Aston100

    Currently closed to the public:
    The Udvar Hazy centre
    Capitol Building
    Pentagon
    Some of the museums on the mall are getting a refurb (approx 50 % of the Air & Space museum was accessible).

    Rui N.

    Udvar Hazy is open: https://airandspace.si.edu/udvar-hazy-center
    Air&Space at the Mall is actually closed right now until 03 March.

    DevonDiamond

    I’d agree that two days is likely not long enough. Probably the highest concentration of quality meseums on Earth. Washi/Linc monuments are cool. Capitol is great (no idea if you can get in ATM).
    Arlington National Cemetery and Robert E Lee’s former home are both more than worth a visit.
    The FBI Hoover Building was pretty good and the Pentagon was actually a really interesting tour back in the day. Admittedly that was a long time ago; I was there the day before 9/11 – you could just turn up in those days – after which they obviously stopped for quite some time. I know they restarted a few years after with prebooking conditions but no idea of the current state of play.

    The traditional route out of Washington is North, but consider driving South instead – in some ways it’s a lot more interesting. The Civil War history of Virginia. Richmond, Monticello, Jamestown, Williamsburg, The Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Asheville, Mount Mitchell (cycle up if you’re mad enough) then back up the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah Valley; across through Sharpsburg and Gettysburg and hey presto you’ve got a good two week road trip that I just thought up while writing this and now want to do 😀

    100% agree on heading south.

    I lived there as a kid in the early 90s. Pentagon tour and White House tour were possible back then for non-US nationals – we did both and enjoyed them. Agree there is a lot of colonial and civil war history which may be of interest. I enjoyed touching the moon rock at the Air and Space museum too.

    There’s a lot on the lists above that I didn’t do when I lived there so I now want to return.

    elguiri

    I’d agree that two days is likely not long enough. Probably the highest concentration of quality meseums on Earth. Washi/Linc monuments are cool. Capitol is great (no idea if you can get in ATM).
    Arlington National Cemetery and Robert E Lee’s former home are both more than worth a visit.
    The FBI Hoover Building was pretty good and the Pentagon was actually a really interesting tour back in the day. Admittedly that was a long time ago; I was there the day before 9/11 – you could just turn up in those days – after which they obviously stopped for quite some time. I know they restarted a few years after with prebooking conditions but no idea of the current state of play.

    The traditional route out of Washington is North, but consider driving South instead – in some ways it’s a lot more interesting. The Civil War history of Virginia. Richmond, Monticello, Jamestown, Williamsburg, The Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Asheville, Mount Mitchell (cycle up if you’re mad enough) then back up the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah Valley; across through Sharpsburg and Gettysburg and hey presto you’ve got a good two week road trip that I just thought up while writing this and now want to do 😀

    Definitely second Shenandoah, we drove out on our first trip and saw brown bear and cub crossing the road directly in front of us.

    alig4th

    +1 to those that suggested the museum. If you’re in to Aviation, better to do the one nearer the airport, though. The one in the museum district was good, but apparently I missed out by not going to the other one!

    Rui N.

    They are both amazing. If you are staying in town for just a couple of days, it might not be worth it to try and get to the Udvar Hazy (depends on how much you like airplanes though!).

    yonasl

    Depending on your interests you surely must do a couple of days in Washington to visit museums (the Mall is full of them from Air and Space to Holocaust museum, Vietnam and other memorials, etc.) You can also add visits to the Pentagon, White House, Congress, Supreme Court, etc. All are free (some require you prebook like White House and Pentagon). I wouldn’t focus too much on good restaurants or similar (specially if you are then going to travel outside and get proper local cuisine).

    NorthernLass

    We went a few years ago and going back in December to do Xmas stuff! Agree re Udvar-Hazy, one of the best museums I’ve ever visited and I’m not even that into planes! As well as the Enola Gay there is a Concorde, a space shuttle and a Blackbird which still looks like something out of a sci-fi film. There are Air Force veterans who talk about the exhibits (and have sometimes flown them!) which makes it even more interesting.

    The Smithsonian in DC itself is also pretty awesome. The city is obviously chock full of iconic sites, it’s fun just wandering around and spotting things you’ve seen in films. It’s VERY hot and humid in the summer so dress accordingly!

    NorthernLass

    @yoniasi – I asked on here recently whether White House visits had re-started for UK visitors and it sounds like no!

    T_London

    Thank you all so much for your help – really appreciate it!

    Rob
    HfP Staff

    Consider staying in Georgetown, which is a lovely walking part of town.

    Hotel option – https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/06/26/review-graham-georgetown-washington-dc-hotel-part-hiltons-tapestry-collection/ – albeit no longer part of Hilton.

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