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Old 03-16-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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On my first solo road trip to Washington, DC with stops at Memphis, Tennessee to checkout grace land then taking the Blue Ridge parkway to Washington DC. Hopefully am able to explore a lot of historical sites, monuments and food. Anyone ever taken a solo trip and for people that have been to washington, dc, what things or sites are a MUST see or experiences cause I only have a week for the whole trip and will be spending 3 days in DC.
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Old 03-16-2012, 08:13 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Where you starting from?

In DC I visited: the White House, National Mall, Washington Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Smithsonian, National Archives, National Air and Space Museum, Ford Theatre. Unfortunately we could not reenact Forest Gump as the mall had no water in it, just dirt, as they were renovating it at the time. You can probably do most of the main sites in one day, and choose a couple of museums for another day. On another day I would recommend checking out Georgetown and the National Cemetery, which I did not get the see.

If on a budget the HI where we stayed was decent for the price.
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Old 03-16-2012, 09:54 PM
 
Location: A circle of Hell so insidious, infernal and odious, Dante dared not map it
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Three days? Last time I was in DC I spent five, and didn't see a fraction of everything I wanted to see

For you, I think you should prioritize by interest. Of course, the National Mall should be on the list. You can walk it, but it is deceptively big. I haven't been on a White House tour, so I'm not sure how much time you have to dedicate for that. I was visiting the city with someone and we compromised on the Smithsonian. He was really into aviation, so we went to the Air & Space Museum. There were some attractions there I thought were interesting, but in general I would have skipped that if I were on my own. As a side note, if you are into that you could check out the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport (it's a Smithsonian annex) and it houses some of the nation's historic aircraft such as the Enola Gay and Enterprise. Anyway, about the other museums I hated that I had to make a decision, because I wanted to see all of the others. I did go to the American History complex, and they had some pretty cool relics: such as Judy Garland's ruby slippers, the puffy shirt from Seinfeld, Archie Bunker's chair, Lincoln's hat, and so much more (off the top of my head I just remember the pop culture stuff and the Lincoln exhibit.) You should look into the Smithsonian and see if it looks worthwhile to you. The first time I went (pre-9/11) I went into the Capitol and the legislative offices flanking it, but didn't try the last time I was there... so I'm not sure if you can still do that or not. There was a booth up high where you could watch the Senate debate, which I thought was fascinating... but most people I know would hate doing that. Come to think of it, Al Gore was President of the Senate at the time and he looked like he was about to doze off from what I noticed.

Unfortunately, I don't think DC gets nearly enough credit for what it has off the Mall. Downtown is adjacent to it, and I would recommend checking out the Post Office Pavilion. There are some gorgeous areas in town with amazing architecture, and because the city isn't that big it's easy to get around by foot (and I highly recommend exploring the city that way.) Foggy Bottom is a pretty cool neighborhood, and has a ton of dining options. I really enjoyed Dupont Circle, as it had a pretty artsy vibe to it. Chinatown is pretty interesting, as is Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue. You can check to see if a play is going on at Ford's Theatre, or just go visit it. Arlington National Cemetery is across the river. The National Cathedral is beautiful, but you should look closely at the gargoyles. One of them is a bust of Darth Vader. There's also a beautiful basilica: National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

This is also excluding nearby places of interest, like Old Town Alexandria, Arlington and Mt. Vernon. If it's on your way, you could stop by Monticello too, though that's kind of far from DC.

Maybe you can look into those... but there's so much to do in that city you need to identify what interests you most. Honestly, I could easily spend 2-3 weeks there to try to cover everything I would want to experience.
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Old 03-17-2012, 04:03 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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yep, with only 3 days in DC, you best let us know your priorities. (and what you have seen)

Really depends on which 3 days, as Sundays can exclude a lot of stops, and so can holidays (Like Memorial Day).

For the price of airfare to BWI and other nearby airports, I would fly-drive if it gave me more days.

I really like to see the monuments during day and night, and preferrably solo. Great time to contemplate (especially reading 2nd inaugeral address @ Linclon Memorial (off to Abe's left side)). FDR is good and Korean War monument by night. I also spend considerable time in Arlington Cemetary.

I spend time in my favorite Smithonians (which vary), and Holocaust, Mint, US Marine Museum. I also like architectual tours (usually free). My kids enjoy the spy museum and FBI, I change my plans based on weather / crowds. Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, and 4th of July are some of my favorite trips to DC.
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:33 PM
 
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[quote=Trimac20;23441496]Where you starting from?

Well I started from Chicago, IL.... I stopped at Graceland in memphis, which was awesome and am taking the Blue ridge parkway to DC, hopefully the path is scenic as I have read about. I will have to prioritize where I want to go and so far I going to visit most if not all the monuments, Arlington cemetery, the holocaust museum and some of the civil war sites since am staying in Alexandria.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
yep, with only 3 days in DC, you best let us know your priorities. (and what you have seen)


Really depends on which 3 days, as Sundays can exclude a lot of stops, and so can holidays (Like Memorial Day).

For the price of airfare to BWI and other nearby airports, I would fly-drive if it gave me more days.

I really like to see the monuments during day and night, and preferrably solo. Great time to contemplate (especially reading 2nd inaugeral address @ Linclon Memorial (off to Abe's left side)). FDR is good and Korean War monument by night. I also spend considerable time in Arlington Cemetary.

I spend time in my favorite Smithonians (which vary), and Holocaust, Mint, US Marine Museum. I also like architectual tours (usually free). My kids enjoy the spy museum and FBI, I change my plans based on weather / crowds. Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, and 4th of July are some of my favorite trips to DC.
Am going to be in DC from Monday till Wednesday.
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Old 03-17-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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I warn you, the Blue Ridge Parkway is VERY slow and curvy, and will take forever. I - 81 is a MUCH faster way thru the Shenandoah Valley, as well as more handy to more conveniences such as restaurants at every exit (although it does have an excessive number of tractor-trailers). This outdoor sight is located conveniently right beside I - 81 http://www.frontiermuseum.org Also here are several guided caverns tours to consider in the Shenandoah region http://www.virginia.org/caverns

Washington's museums are mostly free of charge, including all of these http://www.si.edu , which are open every day, and most of them are located next to each other in the "National Mall" which is a giant open park, 1 or 2 miles long (depending on how you define it). The 3 "MUST SEES" are the Air and Space Museum, American History Museum, and Natural History Museum. The Washington Monument view tower is now closed. Instead, ride the free elevator up the "Old Post Office" tower (11th and Penn Avenue) for a great view of the City. Also if time allows, see the new U.S. Capitol visitors center, Arlington Cemetery, National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, the National Cathedral, beautiful Union Station, Kennedy Center tour, Library of Congress, and if you have time, Mount Vernon (which will take most a day by itself). Interesting city neighborhoods include history, swanky Georgetown and Old Town Alexandria, Chinatown- Penn Quarter (called "little times square"), Dupont Circle, and Embassy Row. The International Spy Museum is popular.

Be advised, that traffic in the Washington area overall, is the second-worst in the country, according to annual studies by the Amer. Auto. Assoc. for the past several years. Traffic and parking are much easier on weekends than weekdays. Crime in the city is way down from what it used to be, and the city is full of young professionals and new apartment developments. Do not lodge in the far-distant suburbs just because hotels are cheaper than in Washington. A good compromise is to find a hotel in Arlington, Rosslyn, Crystal City or Silver Spring that's a close walk to a Metrorail station, and still cheaper than in the City. Do not try to take your car downtown - instead ride Metrorail directly from your hotel.

30 miles south of Washington, directly beside I -95, is the new (and free) http://usmcmuseum.org which is very realistic and graphic.

Last edited by slowlane3; 03-17-2012 at 08:16 PM..
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:55 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,344,192 times
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I thought the Air and Space Museum was awesome. Had so many famous aircraft, I could've spent the day there. The day I spent visiting museums, I had to just skim through each place and even then didn't see all of it.
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Old 03-17-2012, 11:54 PM
 
Location: A circle of Hell so insidious, infernal and odious, Dante dared not map it
623 posts, read 1,046,283 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I thought the Air and Space Museum was awesome. Had so many famous aircraft, I could've spent the day there. The day I spent visiting museums, I had to just skim through each place and even then didn't see all of it.
That's the double-edged sword of the Smithsonian: on one hand it's the world's largest museum complex and has a lot to see... on the other it has so much to see you have to literally dedicate a few days to see it all, which could eat into what else you want to see/do in DC.
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