This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Washington DC(27 Posts)
We have 3 days booked in Washington this August ,I have 3 kids 14,14,7.
Any recommendations? Places to eat or things to do?
So far I thought about a tour of the Capitol and a mooch around the Smithsonium and that's it !
You could spend 3 days at the different Smithsonian museums alone! And don't forget to get out to the big air and space one near Dulles.
The memorials are very moving, especially the Vietnam wall.
The spy museum is good, and I went to an event at the Newseum which was really good
Ooh I went a few years ago and I was really pleasantly surprised.
I spent a whole day walking around the Mall - the Lincoln monument, Vietnam War and Korean war memorials, and all the way through to the Capitol.
The Smithsonian museums are amazing - I only had time to pop into the Air & Space Museum, but it was awesome - your kids will love it. Likewise the Natural History museum - if you've been to the one in London, you'll like this, the displays are way more impressive.
The Capitol building itself was fascinating - I did a guided tour, highly recommended - and on a whim I went through to the Library of Congress. I knew nothing about it, but I was so glad I went there, it's absolutely stunningly beautiful. Well worth a look.
The National Arboretum was great too - fantastic greenhouse full of tropical plants, with periodic 'rain / mist' to keep them watered, which was fun!
All of this was within the strip known as the Mall, where you can just wander around all day.
I wished I'd had time to go up the Washington monument - the giant needle, apparently you can get tickets to go up it but they sell out each day.
Do not go on a City Bus tour, they are shit. Not enough buses, utterly rubbish staff, just rubbish.
Do go on a Big Bus Tour, they are terrific.
Do go to as many Smithsonian as you can; Air and Space had the most amazing docents that conduct tours which are fan bloody tastic. As a pp says don't forget the one at Dulles.
Arlington cemetery is very moving.
The Capitol was definitely worth the visit.
You can spend days in the various Smithsonian museums - and all free to visit too.
You can spend ages just walking up/down the National Mall, stopping for a drink or a snack , etc from the Lincoln Memorial towards the Washington Monument to the Capital, via the White House.
We really enjoyed a visit to Georgetown too.
We found the Lonely Planet guide very good, inc several of their restaurant suggestions. DD still claims she had the best burger ever at one recommended there - Old Ebbitt Grill, I think it was.
Thanks , I'm not sure 2 of my kids will manage 3 days in museums ! One definitely will he is very much into American politics as well!
Anything non museum based for. 7 yr old boy or a 14 yr old girl?
We have also booked tickets for a baseball game for ds 1 so need to balance it up a bit .
The Smithsonian is a collection of different museums.
I would certainly take them to see the NASM (National Air and Space Museum); you can easily spend a whole day there. The Udvar-Hazy facility is the name of the place CMOTDibbler is referring to.
Also the International Spy Museum in DC is well worth a visit. There is a Shake Shack eatery next door which is very popular.
If you like hotdogs I would recommend a visit to Bens Chili Bowl. Also a visit to Fogo De Chao if you like steak and a bountiful salad bar with a lot of variety. Go at lunchtime because its cheaper per person and more child friendly.
I would book the Capitol tour well in advance of your visit and they are now taking reservations till the end of August. I would show this website to them in advance to see what they think of it.
I think non US residents can book online via their website (US residents can use their senator or representative).
There is a 'Duck Tour' in Washington as an alternative to the City Tour.
Our DC enjoyed walking all the monuments. We wandered around Georgetown - many shops as in any city and bought cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes (some years ago now when this was a new phenomena).
Haven't been to the zoo - would that be a good option to balance the museums, although the museums are wonderful.
You may want to take a look at the Bureau of ENgraving and Printing website; DC has one of these facilities there where US currency is printed. And yes some of their currency is for sale too to purchase in the gift shop. Those tickets I believe cannot be ordered in advance and you have to line up for them same day; once they are gone for the day that is it till the following day.
Washington Zoo is worth seeing and if they like theme parks I would suggest a visit to Six Flags America.
Duck tour starts at Union Station and leave every 30 minutes. I would book tickets online. Union Station also is quite interesting in terms of stores and restaurants contained within it.
The Smithsonian zoo is supposed to be good to visit.
Guides for Washington DC with kids: washington.org/dc-cool-kids
We had 4 nights there before going to NYC and it didnt feel like long enough!
DD loved the Newseum best of all when she visited Washington DC at age 14.
It is a museum that looks at major news stories throughout history, and retells the story through news media. The Sept 11 exhibit was particularly powerful. There was also a fascinating exhibit on spies, but she thinks it was a temporary exhibit, so may not be there now.
She also suggests the National Portrait Gallery.
The Space and Aviation museum is also good for science-y types.
The FDR Memorial was 'really worth it' according to her - right on the water with lots of beautiful fountains.
Fwiw, she doesn't particularly recommend the Martin Luther King memorial.
We were there this time last year. The smithsonian zoo was amazing- we spent about 6 hours there. Definitely go to the air and space museum too. You can take them into see the Declaration of Independence- the building has interactive exhibitions on American history too, a really impressive building, if you have time the library of congress is free to go into and stunning. Food wise there are loads of options round every corner. Where abouts will you be based? The metro system is super cheap and easy to use, miles better than London Underground.
Great suggestions I can get planning now , we are doing Washington after a week at Disney world and a few days at the beach . We did NYC last year which we all totally fell in love with so I'm hoping the same will be said for DC
Another vote for the FDR memorial. It is often overlooked, but is very moving.
Take the girls shopping in Pentagon City. Easy to get to on the subway.
It is near Arlington cemetery which is fascinating.
We also took the subway to the old town of Alexandria. And booked a day trip with bike and roll. You pick up hire bikes on the old Harbour and cycle 14 km on a beautiful bike path along the river. It takes you to Washington's home Mount Vernon.
Cool place for a couple of hours. You then leave the bikes there and come back on a cruise up the river.
It is a full day - but my boys still talk about it 5 years on!
Supper in Georgetown is a good evening out. We tried a bar b que place there - kids loved the food.
Have you booked a hotel?
I can recommend the One Washington Circle.
Super friendly folk and every room is a suite. We have stayed several times and pop to the nearby shops and stock up on American goodies for the kitchen.
The small outdoor pool is fab after a days sightseeing.
Breakfast was expensive but if you head across the road to the university there is a dunkin doughnuts (bagels for breakfast) and you end up eating breakfast with local cops, students and medics in scrubs from the hospital.
My kids loved going there - very non touristy.
The American History Museum on The Mall is a "must". It even has a steam engine in it. It is one of the best for children and has some iconic exhibits. We loved the Air and Space one too. The space capsule in which John Glenn circumnavigated the earth looks utterly Heath Robinson! The Portrait Gallery is interesting because you can go round spotting all the famous people and it did have Katharine Hepburn's 3 Oscars in there. Eating out in Georgetown is fun and just gazing at the White House is something you must do! The Korean War memorial is fascinating. You suddenly become aware that everything in America is Big. We found Arlington Cemetry moving with the Kennedy graves, civil war graves and the space shuttle disaster. They have a short military ceremony you can attend. Also do all the buildings on Capitol
Hill including the Library of Congress and the Senate and Congress.
Baseball goes on forever! Zoos are much the same anywhere. I prefer seeing something unique to that city.
All brilliant ideas .
I know baseball goes on forever my son is a huge fan and watches it at home as much as possible and his team are playing in DC while we are there so Dh is taking him ,, they went last years as well when we were in NYC
Baseball is part of the quintessential American experience. It's much more than just a game.
Have a great time in DC, OP. It's one of my favorite cities.
Another restaurant recommendation: the Old Ebbit Grill. Historic gathering place for movers and shakers, and the food is good, too.
Cannot agree on the baseball - but whatever floats your boat! I think the Americans eat, talk and drink all the way through the game! At least this was our experience!
I am not actually attending the baseball only older son and Dh and they had a fab time when they went last year so it's up to them .
I'm quite glad we didn't get a family ticket though .
the korean war monument is best seeing in the evening or at night to get a spooky weird feeling
Please login first.