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Vacation to D.C., need suggestions.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by oldnslow, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. oldnslow


    Sep 23, 2006
    The wife and I are going to Washington D.C. in late sept to first week of oct. for vacation and was trying to figure out where to stay, should we stay in dc or not. We will do all the typical tourist stuff. Neither of us have been, so what do you suggest, we will be there for 5 to 8 days, thanks for your response..

  2. Bring good walking shoes. All of the Smithsonian Museum buildings, Capitol, White House, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, WWII Memorial, and Washington Monument are located along "the mall" - a two mile long east-west swath right in the heart of the city. The Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and National Archives are a block east of The Capitol. The mall is anchored on the east end by the Capitol, on the west end by the Lincoln Memorial, and in the center with the Washington Monument. The White House is three blocks due north of the Washington Monument. The Jefferson Memorial is three blocks south west of the Washington Monument. The Smithsonian Museum buildings line the north and south sides of the mall between the Capitol and Washington Monument. Several Federal Agency headquarter buildings line the north side of the mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

    The Jefferson Memorial and tidal basin (ie. cherry blossom festival area) are one block south of the Washington Monument, which is right in the middle of "the mall". The Treasury printing office is a few blocks north of the mall. I don't know if they still offer tours. Arlington Cemetery right across the Memorial Bridge (across the Potomac River) from the Lincoln Memorial. That will easily fill a week.

    You should also venture into North West DC to see the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Georgetown, and further out Wisconsin Ave you will find The National Cathedral. Georgetown is also home to numerous historic mansions that are open to the public. Dumbarton Oaks has very nice gardens. Hillwood Mansion was home to Marjorie Merriweather Post and has one of the finest collections of Fabarge eggs in the world. Georgetown itself is quite trendy with the younger crowd. There are excellent restaurants all over DC, depending on your budget.

    Avoid North East and South East DC as places to stay. They tend to have more crime and drug activity. If you are a football fan, and are interested in seeing the Washington Redskins, their football stadium is north east of the city. You may be able to find tickets online if they are playing a home game while you are here. DC also has professional soccer, baseball,
    hockey, and men's and women's basketball teams.

    If you want to venture outside of DC proper, you can see Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandra in northern Virginia. Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year. Old Town Alexandria has an old WWII torpedo factory that has been turned into artist's studios and shops. Old Town has lots of stores and restaurants and historic row houses. Still inside DC is Rock Creek Park. This is a national park that runs from Georgetown north west into Maryland. Rock Creek Parkway follows Rock Creek, and there are lots of pull offs and parking areas with picnic tables, and miles and miles of hiking trails. You will be a little early for fall colors. Rock Creek Park can be spectacular in the fall.

    There are lots of hotels in downtown DC. They cost more than staying outside the city, but make things more convenient. Navigating inside DC is relatively easy. It is laid out on a grid system. Numbered streets run north and south. Lettered or named streets run east and west. All of the numbers and letters originate at the Capitol. Letters go from A to Z, then start named streets with one syllable, then two syllables, etc, still in alphabetical order.

    The city is broken into four quadrants: north west, north east, south west, south east. Look for the denotations on addresses. For example, the White House is at "1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW", where NW denotes north west. Streets with state names run diagonally, but there is no real pattern to them. The major diagonals for getting into and out of the city are Wisconsin Ave, Massachusetts Ave, New York Ave, New Hampshire Ave, and Rhode Island Ave. if you are coming from Maryland. Major thoroughfares into the city from Virginia are I-95 (which becomes I-395) and I-66.
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