Thinking about hitting up DC this summer

rudeguy

Lifer
Dec 27, 2001
47,371
14
61
I want to do the tourist thing. How many days should I plan for?

I might do a White House tour, anyone done one? Is it worth the time? I really do want to see the Capitol.

So what all should I see/do and how long should I plan on? Any tips on where to stay? I don't like super fancy but I don't want to stay at a shit hole either.
 
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mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
14,539
428
136
How many days should I plan for
If you've never done DC before a week is usually a solid chunk of time to get a lot of the important stuff done (Smithsonian(s), national gallery of art, monuments, memorials, etc) but you could spend two weeks as well and still keep busy.
White House tour
Not sure if they are still doing these, last time I did one was with school and we had to do a small interview with secret service a month before we did it.

tips on where to stay
I recommend staying out of the city for price reasons, find somewhere in northern virginia or montgomery county maryland that is connected via metro rail. Going to be cheaper than getting some place IN the city usually. There are some bed and breakfast type places too if that's what you're into but you will pay for it of course. Most of the higher end hotels in the city will be stupidly expensive 3 star hotels generally start around 150-200+/night 4-5 star you are looking at 300-1000 a night. During high tourist season this will likely be a bit more.

what all should I see/do

Plenty of things to do, it really depends what is interesting to you. I personally enjoy most of the Smithsonian museums in the area and would recommend paying them a visit if you never have before. Some of the monuments can be fun, but in high tourist season lines will be pretty bad, so up to you and how you want to spend your time.
 

MiniDoom

Diamond Member
Jan 5, 2004
5,307
0
71
Heat gets pretty unbearable july/august. I would try to visit in may/early june or wait until september.
 

SP33Demon

Lifer
Jun 22, 2001
27,929
142
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Don't come here unless you like massive amounts of tourists and gridlocked traffic (top 3 worst traffic in the country). I'm relatively friendly to tourists although some of my coworkers are absolute dicks to them, such as when they block the metro escalators (stand on the right, move on the left). The museums are nice I guess, be sure to check out the National Gallery of Art as it's going to be shut down for 5 years or some BS.
 

JManInPhoenix

Golden Member
Sep 25, 2013
1,508
1
81
I took the Capitol tour about 30 years ago - it was awesome. The building is impressive even though the douchebags that inhabit it are not. Walking the mall is great - we walked from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, stopping at the Vietnam Memorial (very sobering to see all those names) along the way. Really beautiful city.

If you are into aviation, the Udzar Hazy center out by Dulles in VA is great. Spent hours in there (about 10 years ago).
 

purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
52,855
5,726
126
ive done the "special" white house tour before. apparently it's the one that like only people who work there can get you in. but when i went, there were a lot of people on the tour so i don't know. but like you go in the back entrance instead of the main one and we had to be escorted in with the guy that worked there. i think you only see a little bit more than everyone else. it was pretty cool though.

i dunno though, living here my whole life it is just so normal to be able to go to dc i can't really tell you what to do tourist wise. i try to steer clear of dc for the most part because i hate the traffic and trying to park. if i can't get there on the metro, i'm not going for the most part.

/worthless
 

chihlidog

Senior member
Apr 12, 2011
884
1
81
Stay in Arlington or Rosslyn. Trust me. The Sheraton National was nice, offered a shuttle that ran constantly, and was far more affordable than anything downtown. Last August I stayed at the Hyatt in Rosslyn which I didnt like as much (they charge for wi-fi access, and there's no 4g signal in the building. Little things like that they nickel and dime). But the rooms are nice and the metro is literally 1.5 blocks away.

As far as what to do....that's gonna depend on your interests. SOme people could go for 2 or 3 days and be pretty content with what they've seen. Some people would be interested in a lot more detail. A week is probably just fine.

Definitely visit the Air and Space museum. An absolute must for nerds. If you can manage it, also go see the satellite facilty at the airport. Seeing the Enola Gay and the Space shuttle was just staggering.

Also, hang out in Georgetown. Check out the argentinian gelato place. Best I've ever had. Walk around and just chill there. Great vibe in Georgetown. Walk down to M street if you're a horror movie fan.

I've never taken the tour of the White House, but I have in the Capitol WAAYYY back (before 9/11) and it was kinda cool but nothing amazing. Being on the lawn is impressive enough.

Be prepared to wait in line for some of the coolest stuff. Like the Declaration of Independence.
 

cyclohexane

Platinum Member
Feb 12, 2005
2,837
19
81
We did almost all the Smithsonians in 2 and a half days. Bring comfy shoes, you'll be walking a lot.

FYI If you want to tour the White House, you need to give them a written notice 6 weeks ahead.
 

Tweak155

Lifer
Sep 23, 2003
11,448
262
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God dang it had a response all typed up then the browser screwed me. Basically it was a really good trip.

My favorite stop was the Crime Museum (you pay for this one). We were there for like 2-3 hours when we got to a spot where a worker told us we were only half way through. If you like reading up on that stuff, that place is great.

Air & Space was my 2nd favorite as far as museums. The Newseum (sp?) was a waste and the Natural History (Smithsonian) was OK. The Lincoln Memorial is a must see and they have some other landmarks within walking distance.

EDIT:

Yeah we couldn't see the White House. Wasn't something major on our list (we didn't really have a list), but looked into it and you had to have a large notice to see it. We could have seen the Capitol but we weren't interested. We know someone who works there.
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,368
3,444
126
Most of the higher end hotels in the city will be stupidly expensive 3 star hotels generally start around 150-200+/night 4-5 star you are looking at 300-1000 a night. During high tourist season this will likely be a bit more.

I am certainly no expert on DC but haven't found that to be the case. We stayed at The Willard on Pennsylvania Ave across the street from the treasury for $199 a night and I believe that is considered 5 star. We saw Kerry and Obama visiting dignitaries in the hotel while we were there. We are staying at the St Regis over the 4TH of July for $260 a night and I dont think it gets more high season than that. The Crown Plaza was $140 a night over the 4th

OP I know hotel programs like Virtuoso, Fhr and Visa signature hotels are big in DC and those often have discounted rates and perks like $25-100 food or beverage credits/room upgrades/late checkout. Might be worth checking to see if you qualify for one of those programs
 

Tweak155

Lifer
Sep 23, 2003
11,448
262
126
I am certainly no expert on DC but haven't found that to be the case. We stayed at The Willard on Pennsylvania Ave across the street from the treasury for $199 a night and I believe that is considered 5 star. We saw Kerry and Obama visiting dignitaries in the hotel while we were there. We are staying at the St Regis over the 4TH of July for $260 a night and I dont think it gets more high season than that. The Crown Plaza was $140 a night over the 4th

OP I know hotel programs like Virtuoso, Fhr and Visa signature hotels are big in DC and those often have discounted rates and perks like $25-100 food or beverage credits/room upgrades/late checkout. Might be worth checking to see if you qualify for one of those programs

I remember our stay not being terribly expensive. Even with paying to park our car, after taxes we were under $150/night.
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
22,392
722
126
If I ever went to DC I'd want to eat at Cluck U Chicken, the names awesome and fried chicken's delicious.
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
82,854
17,365
136
Theres like 5000 things to do in DC. I recommend you spend a week just on the national Mall. Smithsonian and that type of stuff.


If you want we could have some munchies at Union Station when you come down. Let me know the date and time.
 

EvilYoda

Lifer
Apr 1, 2001
21,200
9
81
Make a reservation and have a few drinks at the Columbia Room, the bar inside of The Passenger.

Aside from that, there's too much to do in DC, have fun!
 
Nov 20, 2009
10,046
2,573
136
I want to do the tourist thing. How many days should I plan for?

I might do a White House tour, anyone done one? Is it worth the time? I really do want to see the Capitol.

So what all should I see/do and how long should I plan on? Any tips on where to stay? I don't like super fancy but I don't want to stay at a shit hole either.
I went a year ago last December, the week before Xmas. The wife and I spent a solid week there near the White house. We thought that tourism would be minimal and if it was the case then I wouldn't dream of going in the Summer.

There is lots to see, but it really can be reduced depending on your interests. We could have easily spent a second week, but we are in our 40's and really appreciate most of what there is to see there.
 

zerocool84

Lifer
Nov 11, 2004
36,041
472
126
I went to DC during 4th of July week four years ago, HOT HOT HOT with tons of humidity so I don't recommend going during summer. I went for five days and still didn't have enough time to see all the museums and monuments. White House tours need to be booked like literally a year in advance so if you're traveling this year then you're definitely not getting in. I'd go again just to see the museums and monuments that I missed.
 
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Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,368
3,444
126
Off season I'm sure but he's going during the summer which is impossible.

Who said anything about both being off season? We had no problems booking a July 3rd tour 3 months out. That is not even close to off season.

Stop insisting on bad information or at least amend your statement to 'may be difficult' as saying 'impossible' is incorrect
 
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T_Yamamoto

Lifer
Jul 6, 2011
15,007
795
126
You can't tour the White House unless you plan months in advance. Most than likely, they won't let some ordinary person inside.