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Looking for Washington DC suggestions for ONE day--**UPDDATE** post #32


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We will be driving to DC on Easter and will spend the afternoon with dd (who goes to school there).  I'm looking for somewhere to go that does not require a lot of walking, as my dh is having some issues that make it difficult right now.

 

I would love to do the zoo, but that's out because there's too much walking.  We've done some of the museums, Air & Space, Natural and American History, Natl Gallery of Art.  Chinatown sounded interesting but is there really anything to see? Are there any ethnic neighborhoods that are enjoyable for visitors?  What about Arlington Natl Cemetery, what is there to see/visit besides the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?

 

I want something specific to do, and we'll eat somewhere. Neither has to necessarily be *in* DC, but if not, I'd rather stay on the Virginia side. If we do go in, we'll drive and not take the Metro; I don't mind driving, parking is cheaper on the weekend than the Metro, and it will also give us a bit more time.  I need to keep cost a consideration, and I'm hoping to find something that everyone in my family will reasonably enjoy. 

 

Suggestions, please?? I'm open to anything as long as it falls within my price/travel limits.

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Arlington National Cemetery also has Arlington House, which you can tour for free.  It was the home of General Robert E. Lee. I've never done it, but always wanted to.  It seems when you live somewhere you don't see as much as the tourists do  :001_smile: Admission is free.  You can read more about it here http://www.nps.gov/arho/index.htm

Another place I've wanted to visit is the Newseum.  You can read about it here http://newseum.org  It does have an admission charge and is a little pricey, but does look fascinating.

 

HTH,

Mary

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Arlington National Cemetery also has Arlington House, which you can tour for free.  It was the home of General Robert E. Lee. I've never done it, but always wanted to.  It seems when you live somewhere you don't see as much as the tourists do  :001_smile: Admission is free.  You can read more about it here http://www.nps.gov/arho/index.htm

Another place I've wanted to visit is the Newseum.  You can read about it here http://newseum.org  It does have an admission charge and is a little pricey, but does look fascinating.

 

HTH,

Mary

There is a tram for the Arlington National Cemetery.

The subway stop at Arlington is fairly close to the entrance.

But all the sights are quite separated--JFK tomb, Unknown Soldier, Iwo Jima (about 1/2 mile away?), Audie Murphy's grave, etc.

 

But my memories of Washington DC last summer were of walking.

Even getting in & out of the subway is a lot of walking.

The Washington Cathedral (near the zoo) is breath-taking, but it was a mile uphill from the subway station.

Maybe you can drive, drop him off, and then park somewhere.

Maybe you can rent a golf cart or something, and just make a circle to see all the Monuments (which I would deem the most important destination, if you only have one day).

 

Also, there are several bus companies with an open top, which give a circle tour around the city (much like London) . . . which may capture the family's interest without a lot of walking.

 

I'm sure others will chime in with some more choices!

 

 

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We were just there in October.   I would think that in order to avoid walking, you'd need to think about a tour of some kind - where you can hop off at the location(s) you wish to explore in detail.   A tour would allow you to see monuments and get you closer to each monument than parking, then walking to them would.   Even at the monuments, expect a lot of climbing stairs.

 

We thought Arlington involved a LOT of walking - much of it uphill.  I don't think they allow any vehicles inside except for funeral processions.  When we were there, the eternal flame at President Kennedy's grave site was under renovations, and the Arlington House was closed.   

 

We stayed in Alexandria, VA, which was a very easy Metro trip into downtown.   I don't know anything about driving into the city and parking, since we were advised to avoid that at all costs because of the limited parking within the city itself.

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I agree that Arlington is a lot of walking. I like ethnic neighborhoods, but I never really found any while we lived in DC. Chinatown is not very exciting and there's not much to see.

 

I'm having a hard time thinking of things that don't require some or lots of walking. There are lots of smaller museums that I enjoyed and I always like to see the monuments, even for the 50th time. I loved to go to Eastern Market and explore the surrounding neighborhoods. There are many other neighborhoods that are interesting even if they're not particularly ethnic, but they'd require lots of walking.

 

We never had trouble finding parking the rare times we drove into the city from Virginia instead of taking the metro, but we'd always park and walk instead of driving from place to place. I'd hate to deal with parking several times throughout the day, and it would probably get expensive.

 

If it fits your budget, a think one of the bus tours might be a good idea. There are also companies that do bike tours that seemed to be pretty popular.

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How about the museum at Mt. Vernon?  It is near the parking lot.  Then if you all had it in you to walk a little farther you could go see the house and some of the grounds. Nice place for a picnic looking out over the Patomic.

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Please keep suggestions coming!  Any sort of organized tour is out; none of us would enjoy that at all. 

 

Most people are surprised to find that I greatly prefer driving in.  We've done the Metro before. I don't expect we'll be driving around to many spots, as I'm only planning on a few hours.  There's an awesome website for finding parking in DC. We were there a few weeks ago and paid $11 to park one block off the Mall.  If we'd taken the Metro, it would have been $27, I think I would have had to pay to park my car at the Metro lot, and it would have taken a bit of time from our afternoon.

 

Arlington still has possibilities.  Dh would love to see Lee's house. I appreciate the comments about the tram, the walking, and about some of the exhibits being closed in the past. Maybe we'd have to pick and choose what to see.  I know he'd want to see Audie Murphy's grave (seriously, lol).  That might give us more leeway/time for eating too.

 

 

If I only had one day, I would spend it in the National Gallery of Art.

 

That's where we were a few weeks ago, and we loved it!  Where would you go if you had a second day?

I'll look into Mount Vernon too.

 

It would be great to have several good options, because at some point, we'll be dragging dh there again.  :)

 

 

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One of my favorite spots is Dumbarton Oaks in a Georgetown. You would drive, drop off dh and look for parking. The gardens are very compact, but full of detail, so people stroll very slowly. Lots of benches too. Less walking than zoo, or even National Gallery.

 

Maybe an afternoon program at the Kennedy Center, if there is one that day.

 

There are a number of boat cruises on the Potomac. Sometimes with a meal ($$$).

 

National Cathedral has on site parking and pretty herb garden as well as all the inside bits. Worth checking to see if there is an organ recital on your day.

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How about the museum at Mt. Vernon?  It is near the parking lot.  Then if you all had it in you to walk a little farther you could go see the house and some of the grounds. Nice place for a picnic looking out over the Patomic.

I forgot about Mt. Vernon - that would be a great idea if you only had a few hours.   We took the Metro & bus, which was about a 30 minute trip from Alexandria, so it would be a shorter trip if you drove yourself.   The main museum part of Mt. Vernon is pretty compact, but there was a lot to see.   The grounds are extensive, but you could do the museum and just tour the mansion and the buildings close to the mansion to avoid too much walking.    You won't miss much (although the 16-sided barn was very impressive!) if you don't walk around the entire grounds.   We had planned to visit for about 1/2 day, but ended up staying most of the day.   

 

Walking-wise, Mt. Vernon would be much easier than Arlington.

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I love Mount Vernon! But, at least the times that I have been there, the line to get in was quite long, so you have to stand. Once in the house, you have to go through with your group, no grabbing a quick sit down on a GW chair, lol. And the parking lots -- sometimes you can get a spot relatively close to the house, other times not.

 

I am basing my opinion on my experience with people who have difficulty walking. I found that flexibility was key. Being able to rest for a bit or even turn back, made a lot of differences. Knowing that you were in control was preferable to feeling that you were being shepherded into a situation that you might not be able to handle. JMHO.

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Ford's Theatre and the Old Post Office are very close to each other. You could tour the theatre and museum, then go to the observation deck of the post office and then eat somewhere.

 

The post office has a food court in the basement and the ford's theatre website has links for nearby restaurants ( I can't vouch for how close the restaurants are but you could google.)

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Ford's Theatre and the Old Post Office are very close to each other. You could tour the theatre and museum, then go to the observation deck of the post office and then eat somewhere.

 

The post office has a food court in the basement and the ford's theatre website has links for nearby restaurants ( I can't vouch for how close the restaurants are but you could google.)

This is what I was thinking too I loved the Old Post Office.  it was such a cool place.

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Mt. Vernon is great, but does have a fair amount of walking/standing. However, the visitor's center has a pretty nice set-up/museum/exhibits which might be of interest.

 

If you're really just looking for a few hours, there are the Gristmill & Distillery which are part of Mt. Vernon, but not on the Mt. Vernon grounds. They are a few miles away (perfect for driving), have a small, free parking lot & has never been crowded when we've been there. You can tour the gristmill & distillery that were Washington's. (Did you know our 1st president had his own distillery?) Have taken the dc many times over the years; originally, it was just the gristmill. Then, we saw them excavating the site of the old distillery & now they've rebuilt the distillery so you can tour it too. All of it is small, not much walking. Plus, it's right by a few creeks & has a lovely shaded/grassy area that is perfect for a picnic if you bring your lunch along. I think there is a picnic table, but I'd recommend bringing your own picnic blanket in case it's not there or is in use by someone else.

http://www.mountvernon.org/gristmill

http://www.mountvernon.org/distillery

 

I also like that it has never been crowded when we've been there. Small, neat, & uncrowded.

 

If you still had time after doing the Gristmill/Distillery, perhaps you could stop in Alexandria & do a river cruise?

 

As already suggested, the National Cathedral is also really nice (but definitely more walking). Driving there is fine (but getting through Georgetown is a bear) & there is a parking garage on site. There are some great curated tours & at least you can sit/rest throughout the cathedral/on the grounds if you need to.

http://www.nationalcathedral.org/ 

 

ETA: If you're talking Easter day, the Cathedral might be one to skip then. I imagine it will be crowded all day long.

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Mt. Vernon is great, but does have a fair amount of walking/standing. However, the visitor's center has a pretty nice set-up/museum/exhibits which might be of interest.

 

If you're really just looking for a few hours, there are the Gristmill & Distillery which are part of Mt. Vernon, but not on the Mt. Vernon grounds. They are a few miles away (perfect for driving), have a small, free parking lot & has never been crowded when we've been there. You can tour the gristmill & distillery that were Washington's. (Did you know our 1st president had his own distillery?) Have taken the dc many times over the years; originally, it was just the gristmill. Then, we saw them excavating the site of the old distillery & now they've rebuilt the distillery so you can tour it too. All of it is small, not much walking. Plus, it's right by a few creeks & has a lovely shaded/grassy area that is perfect for a picnic if you bring your lunch along. I think there is a picnic table, but I'd recommend bringing your own picnic blanket in case it's not there or is in use by someone else.

http://www.mountvernon.org/gristmill

http://www.mountvernon.org/distillery

 

I also like that it has never been crowded when we've been there. Small, neat, & uncrowded.

 

If you still had time after doing the Gristmill/Distillery, perhaps you could stop in Alexandria & do a river cruise?

 

As already suggested, the National Cathedral is also really nice (but definitely more walking). Driving there is fine (but getting through Georgetown is a bear) & there is a parking garage on site. There are some great curated tours & at least you can sit/rest throughout the cathedral/on the grounds if you need to.

http://www.nationalcathedral.org/

 

ETA: If you're talking Easter day, the Cathedral might be one to skip then. I imagine it will be crowded all day long.

This is a cool thing to visit--and you can buy cornmeal that is ground on the same stones as GW used--we freeze it and use it when we make cornbread. Not sure if it will be open on Easter.ETA: Ah, apparently it IS open til 5pm.

 

And, just want to say, you are more than welcome to come visit Pohick Church, which is about 10 minutes from the gristmill. It's GW's church (well, as we say, George went here, but Jesus lives here! lol) and fully restored to the Colonial period. It's Easter, so it'll be crowded, but after the service we have docents who will give you a tour of the building, and there's goodies in the parish hall.

And I could meet you, which would be lovely.  :D

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Thank you for the terrific ideas!  I'm definitely looking at some of these more closely; so far, it doesn't look like it will be quite as warm as I would like, but the rest of my family won't mind.

 

Chris, thank you for the sweet invitation to your church!  It looks fascinating, although we'll be on the road for the morning.  It will definitely be a different Easter than usual, but I'm sure it will be memorable.

 

Thank you again, all of you, you were so helpful!! 

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We did Chinatown in the evening several years ago, and there was absolutely nothing going on and nothing open besides restaurants. There were many, many Chinese restaurants, lol, and the food was good, but it was not what we expected. It might be different in the daytime. 

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Most people are surprised to find that I greatly prefer driving in. We've done the Metro before. I don't expect we'll be driving around to many spots, as I'm only planning on a few hours. There's an awesome website for finding parking in DC. We were there a few weeks ago and paid $11 to park one block off the Mall. )

Oooh, do tell, pretty please?

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Oooh, do tell, pretty please?

 

http://washingtondc.bestparking.com/

 

I've parked using it twice so far.  Both times, I had a back up lot but didn't need it.  I love that it also shows photos of each garage--then I find it on google street maps so I know exactly what to look for. 

 

When we went last month, we got into the garage, but when we returned to get our car, it was full and not taking more cars. It was a weekend, so I'm thinking it's best to go before noon rather than after.  (This was one that was two blocks from the Natural History Museum).

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http://washingtondc.bestparking.com/

 

I've parked using it twice so far. Both times, I had a back up lot but didn't need it. I love that it also shows photos of each garage--then I find it on google street maps so I know exactly what to look for.

 

When we went last month, we got into the garage, but when we returned to get our car, it was full and not taking more cars. It was a weekend, so I'm thinking it's best to go before noon rather than after. (This was one that was two blocks from the Natural History Museum).

Thank you!

 

The Metro is great, but a few years ago we realized that not only can it cost you more money than parking, but it also costs you a lot of TIME.

 

And while we are on the topic of the Metro, I must include this.

 

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I have a ds who has intellectual disabilities. He weighs over 100 pounds. So, if in the middle of something he decides he won't do it we are stuck.

 

Before we go anywhere,I contact venues and find out if they have wheelchairs to borrow or rent. Lots of places do. If I were you I'd think of places I wanted to see and the contact them about a wheelchair. Another option is to rent one for the day and go just about anywhere DCis fairly wheelchair accessible. (I like pushing ds around, because, it's a chance at exercise whenwe are traveling and not eating the healthiest)

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Thank you!

 

The Metro is great, but a few years ago we realized that not only can it cost you more money than parking, but it also costs you a lot of TIME.

 

And while we are on the topic of the Metro, I must include

 

 

HILARIOUS video!  The first time on the Metro was fun--but we were also staying right across the river in a hotel adjacent to the subway stop.  I'm a control freak. I am always the one driving. ;)

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I live about 1-1/2 hours from DC.  I like to park at the Huntington Station and ride in since driving in DC is crazy.  We have done multiple day trips.

 

I love the Natural History Museum.  The dinosaur exhibit is about to be closed down for renovation which will take about 5 years.  The other parts of the museum are great.

 

Ranking for day trips:

Natural History

American History

Space

Archieves

Newseum ( lot of walking)

Capitol

 

In the afternoons, when the tourist are tired, you can flag down a bicycle tram to whisk you back to the metro.  Then I hope in my car and jump back on 495 for home without any delays.

 

I often use my gps on my phone to find a place to take a lunch break or a starbucks.  My kids always vote for lunch at PotBelly's.  We like the one near the Archieve Metro stop.

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Just wanted to update, all of you were so nice to chime in. 
 

 

. . . I always like to see the monuments, even for the 50th time. I loved to go to Eastern Market and explore the surrounding neighborhoods.

 

 

We ended up going to several Memorials that are all located in one spot, Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, WWII, and Korean.  I scoured Trip Advisor and google and found handicapped parking right alongside the Lincoln Memorial, so that worked out perfectly (dh has a placard, but this is only the third time he's used it; we don't walk far).  I don't think my husband realized quite how far away the WWII memorial was, but he loves the history, so we made our way there too.

 

Amira, I don't know how I eventually discovered it, but your Eastern Market comment inspired me, and I found a giant Vietnamese shopping center in Falls Church, VA.  I checked out a dozen or so restaurants, finally choosing one, where we had wonderful Vietnamese food like we've not had in years, and a few other treats.

 

We all had a fantastic time. I love going into DC, it was awesome to see things we've not seen before, and the food back in VA was absolutely amazing. 

 

 

Marine Corps Museum in Quantico

 

This was so close to being my first choice, and I already have it planned to eat at Bobby (Flay)'s Burger Palace for lunch afterwards.  So thank you, perfect suggestion!!

 

 

 

Oooh, do tell, pretty please?

 

Okay, in addition to the one I linked above, I also found SpotHero, ParkingPanda, and ParkMe. You can even pay ahead of time to reserve your spot.  Definitely something to look further into next time we go in.

 

 

 

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Just wanted to update, all of you were so nice to chime in. 

 

 

 

 

We ended up going to several Memorials that are all located in one spot, Lincoln, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, WWII, and Korean.  I scoured Trip Advisor and google and found handicapped parking right alongside the Lincoln Memorial, so that worked out perfectly (dh has a placard, but this is only the third time he's used it; we don't walk far).  I don't think my husband realized quite how far away the WWII memorial was, but he loves the history, so we made our way there too.

 

Amira, I don't know how I eventually discovered it, but your Eastern Market comment inspired me, and I found a giant Vietnamese shopping center in Falls Church, VA.  I checked out a dozen or so restaurants, finally choosing one, where we had wonderful Vietnamese food like we've not had in years, and a few other treats.

 

We all had a fantastic time. I love going into DC, it was awesome to see things we've not seen before, and the food back in VA was absolutely amazing. 

 

 

Oh!  Were you at Eden Center at 7 Corners?  We lived near there for a few months and I'd walk over to pick up banh mi, or more often the bread so we could make our own at home.  The food there is amazing. I'm glad you liked it!

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Oh!  Were you at Eden Center at 7 Corners?  We lived near there for a few months and I'd walk over to pick up banh mi, or more often the bread so we could make our own at home.  The food there is amazing. I'm glad you liked it!

 

Yes!!!!!  My son said it's worth the three hour drive.   :auto:

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