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Washington DC Trip questions

Old 11-17-2015, 04:44 AM
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Default Washington DC Trip questions

So, family decided that we'd take a trip to Washington DC next week to see the Smithsonian, monuments, etc. We've never been there so I have no idea what to expect. We're driving up, and renting a small vacation house just outside of town. I suppose we'll try Uber for getting around.

I have my CCW, Can I carry up there? Wife has a whole itinerary which includes seeing some monuments at night. Is it safe?

Which Museums are best? Any other advice for someone whose never been there before?
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Old 11-17-2015, 04:48 AM
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no go on the CCW Not in DC and not in MD. I have survived just fine here without packing heat. I suspect you will hear lots about the perils of the place. Relax, there so nothing to worry about. Depending on where you stay, take the metro in to DC and hit the mall.

Uber is a great option if you decide to venture out of downtown, but it is really am amazingly walkable town.

Air and space, Natural History, lost of great options. Carve out some time to walk up the mall to the Jefferson memorial. Tons of stuff to see on the actual mall. Arlington Cemetery is a must see, try and get to the tomb of the unknown soldier. Spy museum is damn cool, but does have an entry fee. The holocaust museum is pretty intense, but you will need to make the call with the kids. We are talking our 10 and 12 year old there in December.
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Old 11-17-2015, 04:49 AM
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Don't bring it if you go to any government buildings, museums, etc. they all have metal detectors and heavy security. In light of what just happened in Paris, I would leave it at home or you could be asking for problems. DC has a great public transportation system. Whenever I go I use it with no issues, and take taxis to move around otherwise. I also liked the US Mint and Arlington Cemetery. If you contact your local state representative, they can usually arrange a guided tour of the Capitol. I highly recommend the tour. Enjoy its a great city.
Originally Posted by UnclebobJHC View Post
So, family decided that we'd take a trip to Washington DC next week to see the Smithsonian, monuments, etc. We've never been there so I have no idea what to expect. We're driving up, and renting a small vacation house just outside of town. I suppose we'll try Uber for getting around.



I have my CCW, Can I carry up there? Wife has a whole itinerary which includes seeing some monuments at night. Is it safe?

Which Museums are best? Any other advice for someone whose never been there before?
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:00 AM
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Yes this is one trip id def leave the piece home. Downtown / monuments walking around you will be fine. Keep in mind, just as in any city pay attention where you are because you can go from nice / decent area and cross the street and are in the middle of the ghetto - New York Ave as an example. Most say SE is the worst but doubt you would have any reason to go there. Hit up 7th st / China Town. For dinner I might recommend short trip to Old Town Alexandria - King, Duke st etc.
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:07 AM
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Agree on the metro - use it every day to get back and forth to work and around the city on the weekends.

Sounds like you have a nice itinerary - the monuments are great at night - spectacularly lit, really cool to see. I wouldn't worry about safety aside from the general rules of thumb - not walking down the dark deserted alley, etc. There are lots of police around the national mall and monuments and they seem to be there to make sure everyone is able to enjoy their time. I imagine they have low tolerance for anyone acting aggressively, rudely, etc.

You mention Uber. It has great market penetration here and you won't be let down. I might suggest using Lyft as well. If an Uber driver is going to take a while, Lyft is another option. Exact same concept. Lyft is a little cheaper for now, as they're growing and trying to get market share. Do familiarize yourself with how the apps function before your trip - Uber/Lyft are great as long as you know how to summon the car to your exact location.

Finally, I might suggest adding the Postal Museum to your trip. I know it sounds crazy, but I was just there with a buddy from out of town a couple weeks ago and it was damn cool. Upstairs is mostly a stamp gallery, but downstairs in the exhibits is where they have the cool stuff - 18-wheeler big rig cab you can climb in, old postal rail car, exhibit on the postal inspectors (like FBI, crazy), games for the kids like sorting packages. It's adjacent to Union Station, which is close to the Chinatown area, which I would recommend for restaurants, but might be a little hectic with kids at night.

The Chinatown arch is at the exit to the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro and is at an intersection that is like DC's Times Square, with giant electronic billboards. The kids might think that's pretty cool.

Anyways, safe travels and enjoy our area. Feel free to PM if you have any specific questions.
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:24 AM
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Thanks for the responses guys. Is it cool if I bring the piece with me and just leave it in the rental house or my vehicle? I hate going anywhere without the thing.

Postal Museum? Might have to check it out. I was wondering how ChinaTown was, and if it was comparable to San Fran Chinatown, which the wife loved.

I installed Uber and it seems pretty straight forward. I'll have my truck with me, so is there anything worth driving to within 2 hours?
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:27 AM
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Annapolis, MD is big in the boating community and is about 45min-1hr from DC.

Heading the other way (west) out I-66 you get into VA wine country. It was really pretty a few weeks ago but the leaves aren't nearly as colorful now.
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:30 AM
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Put the National Cathedral on your itinerary if you've any extra time slots -- get the free guided tour if you can.

http://www.cathedral.org/visit/
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by UnclebobJHC View Post
Thanks for the responses guys. Is it cool if I bring the piece with me and just leave it in the rental house or my vehicle? I hate going anywhere without the thing.

Postal Museum? Might have to check it out. I was wondering how ChinaTown was, and if it was comparable to San Fran Chinatown, which the wife loved.

I installed Uber and it seems pretty straight forward. I'll have my truck with me, so is there anything worth driving to within 2 hours?
I believe within city limits they have an all out ban. Suppose if left at your house might be OK, just think about ingress / egress of city - how you are getting to rental house.

National Harbor might be worth a visit too.

Last edited by JUST GOT RIVERRED; 11-17-2015 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:17 AM
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If you driving up you probably should have saved a day to stay in Williamsburg and/or Jamestown.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:32 AM
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DC is full of stuff to see. There is a hand gun ban. If you are staying in VA, you can bring your piece and leave it in your rental, just don't take it into the city. Feel free to share some crack with the mayor but don't bring a gun. LOL
The Smithsonians can take weeks to see in their entirety. Make sure you do some study ahead of time and pick the ones you really want to see, don't get bogged down.

See what is happening at the Kennedy Center while you will be there. Might be some good shows.


IMHO, the must see things in DC are as follows:

Arlington Cemetary and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Vietnam Memorial Wall
Lincoln Memorial
Jefferson Memorial
Washington monument and the Mall
Capitol Building
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Air and space museum (the really cool big stuff is at the annex up near Dulles. Its a bit of a ride so allow time)

The metro is a good way to get around if you buy the all day ride pass. Vehicle traffic can be a bear at certain times of the day getting in and out of town and the metro gets you out of it. I don;t reccommend driving or parking yourself in DC. Not worth the headache. Good idea to get a walking tour guide book. Lots of them available online.

Outside DC:

You are minutes from some of the greatest Civil war battlefields. Mannassas, Wilderness, Chancellorsville, etc.

Washington's Ferry Farm is a neat place to visit as is old town Alexandria and old town Fairfax.

Lot's of neat old plantations and farms driving down Route 15 through Orange Co. to Charlottesville.

The USS Seqouia is docked at the Gangplank marina. Can't tour it but you can rent it out for a private charter if you have the clams.

National Museum of the Marine Corps is near Quantico off I-95.

Enjoy your time.
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Old 11-17-2015, 06:36 AM
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Take it from someone that lives in the area.

Don't bring your weapon.

Go to the Holocaust museum and do the tour.

Museum of Natural History and Air and Space (I could skip the rest)

Arlington Cemetery - tomb of the unknow - stay for the changing of the guard - very impressive

Int spy Museum is pretty cool too.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:19 AM
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Ford Theater and Spy Museum are good takes; reservations required.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:37 AM
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Leave the gun at home. If you scared, bring a dog.

A service dog. So he can enjoy the museums too.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:38 AM
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Natural History and Air & Space are my two favorite museums. If you are into planes Smithsonian has a good museum out by Dulles with lots of them on display

Great Falls park on the MD side is a great place for a walk when the weather is nice. It covers the history of the C&O Canal and you can see the locks and the falls.

Take Uber to the nearest Metro station and use Metro to get around DC. It goes right to the museums

If you're in Arlington I recommend a stop at Marios Pizza on Wilson Blvd for a couple of squares. It's pretty much take out but there are a few picnic tables.
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:46 AM
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You could always catch a Redskins game. HTTR
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Old 11-17-2015, 07:56 AM
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I'll add just a little bit to what others have said. Where to go and what to do (particularly restaurants) may depend on where you are staying. If you let us know where the house is, we can vector you in to good food nearby.

Second, to clarify the Air and Space Museum, there are two locations. The original is on the Mall, is very popular, and has a lot of really cool stuff. If you want to be blown away by what you see, go to the location near Dulles Airport. It is about a 30 minute drive from DC but an incredible museum. As with all Smithsonian's, it is free, but they get you for parking. Expect to spend anywhere from 1-2 hrs to more than half your day there, plus driving.

Last, the Holocaust Museum, as someone else said, is extremely powerful. Tread lightly. I think everyone should go there once, but it will probably (and it should) ruin the rest of your day.

Todd
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:05 AM
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World War II memorial, very impressive. Try and get your kids to talk with any of the vets that are there who volunteer they're time. They love to speak with young men and women, and they can really bring the memorial to life!
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:22 AM
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If planes are of interest the air and space museum out at Dulles is a must. May I suggest on your last full day do the Holocaust museum in the morning. Take your time and try to understand it all. Then take the drive over to Arlington national cemetery. Take a long walk before heading to the tomb of the unknown soldier. Stay for the changing of the guard. You will be moved.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:26 AM
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For the kids - National Zoo but I have no idea about schedule. Also a short 45 ride to the National Aquarium in Baltimore - always a huge hit with the entire family.
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