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Going to DC for the weekend, what are the MUST see sights when you have limited time and funds? Taking kids age 4-16. Help!!!

I only have two days to view our nations capital with 6 kids and a grumpy grandfather in tow. What is something educational and cheap they would enjoy.

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aw131

Asked by aw131 at 10:17 AM on Jul. 19, 2010 in Travel

Level 1 (2 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • We lived just outside of DC for 3 1/2 yrs, here's a few things that you could consider --

    ALL of the Smithsonian museums are free - and most of them have "kids rooms" where they can do hands on stuff, etc. You can see anything from the space capsules and stuff to Dorothy's ruby slippers to the Hope diamond...

    If you're staying outside of the city, you can metro in with an all day metro pass (I THINK it's something like $7.00 a day per person - I'm not sure). With that, you can take the metro all day, all over. It's a great way to get around.

    Also, they offer these tours - I don't remember the names, but the buses are blue and white. They're a little pricey, but well worth it. I know they used to do a deal where if you bought your tickets after a certain time on one day, it was good for the rest of that day and all the next. There's a few great things about these tours -

    cont
    sailorwifenmom

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:21 AM on Jul. 19, 2010

  • The Smithsonian has TONS of things. Maybe look into info online so you can plan better. If it is hot, it would not be all that pleasant to be toting around kids looking at the outdoor things. I personally would prefer to be in the airconditioned and looking at the museum things. I can't wait to take out kids to the Haulacast exhibit there. But there is countless parts to the Smithsonian!!
    2BlondeBabies

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 10:22 AM on Jul. 19, 2010

  • cont

    1) They take you all over, with a tour guide pointing out interesting sights, some with pretty funny stories or interesting trivia.
    2) They stop all over the place, and if it's something you don't want to see, stay on the bus and ride to the next stop. If it's something you do want to see, get off, stay as long as you want, then when you're done, hop back on one of the tour buses. So, like if you don't want to see Roosevelt's memorial, don't get off. If you want to spend an hour by Lincoln's, seeing all that's near there, do it. If you want to spend 15 minutes at the next one - that works, too... You are NOT stuck in this big bus group, being herded from place to place...
    3) For a few bucks extra, it also includes a guided tour (handled pretty much the same as through the rest of DC) for Arlington Cemetery, where you can see the Tomb of the Unknowns, Lee's house, and Kennedy's grave.

    sailorwifenmom

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:26 AM on Jul. 19, 2010

  • OH - lol - sorry - I forgot something else - you can also look and see if there's going to be any free concerts there. Lots of times, there will be free concerts on the Capital lawn, etc - those can be fun. Grab a subway sandwich or whatever and sit out there and watch the concert and eat your dinner :-)

    If you want to tour the White House (also free), you need to contact your Congressman and get tickets though. I'm pretty sure that you need to get tickets to go up the Washington Monument now, too - but they're also free. You just have to get there early to get them - it's more of a crowd control thing. Unless things have changed in the past couple of yrs, that's pretty much all that you would need to get tickets in advance for.
    sailorwifenmom

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 10:29 AM on Jul. 19, 2010

  • We did a boat tour on the Potomac this past weekend which was really fun. We did the monument tour which went between Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria. This is the website: http://www.potomacriverboatco.com

    I second going to the Smithsonians, those are a blast. Sailorwife is correct about the Washington Monument tickets. They start handing them out at 8:30am and they hand them out until they are all gone for the day.
    cjsjellybean

    Answer by cjsjellybean at 10:56 AM on Jul. 19, 2010

  • Definitely the Smithsonian's for sure. Also GW homestead is beautiful and interesting.
    Sisteract

    Answer by Sisteract at 11:22 AM on Jul. 19, 2010

  • As a DC area resident - Smithsonian is free, but can be overwhelming (do only one museum at a time or just visit the highlights of what u want to see)- plan to walk a lot even though there is the metro. Arlington is beautiful, but depending on the ages of your children they may not appreciate it. The monuments are lovely and can be crowded at certain times - I would definitely go to the FDR one by Jefferson (depending on the grandfather's age - he may remember the history of that time - I know my grandfather found it really emotional.) The war memorials although they are simple have alot of history, but if the kids are antsy it wouldn't be a good time to take them to the Vietnam Wall - I know that many prefer reflection and quiet at that place. There are lots of tourist traps as well, but the best thing would be to check out the Washington Post's website and the going out guide for activities in the city. PM me for more
    amw529

    Answer by amw529 at 12:45 PM on Jul. 19, 2010

  • sailorwifenmom said it all :o)
    Mommy_0f_many

    Answer by Mommy_0f_many at 8:29 AM on Aug. 12, 2010

  • hope you had fun
    mekarevell

    Answer by mekarevell at 3:21 AM on Aug. 29, 2010

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