"So Worth It" Traps, Washington D.C.
The National Aquarium is located downtown, between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues, right in the heart of all the tourist sights you will want to see in Washington. (literally catty corner from the Washington Memorial) I haven't been there in a while, but a friend with kids was telling me very recently that it was really bad.
Nearest Metro- Metro Center, Federal Triangle
Address- 1401 Constitution Avenue
May-September2- 9 am to 6 pm
Sept 3-30- 9 am to 5 pm
Seniors- $8.95 (can you believe that!!)
Fun Alternatives: The National Aquarium in Baltimore, which is run by the same group, is outstanding! Has lots of great exhibits, ample space and has been really great every time Ive visited there.
I hardly eventually came to visit DC, the city from my kiddy dreams and due to lack of time I didn't visit (and missed):
- Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
- interiors of the Library of Congress (Thomas Jefferson Bldg; )
- The Cannon House Office Building (Rotunda and the Caucus Room)
- National Museum of American History, Behring Center (History of science, technology, society and culture in America)
- National Museum of Natural History
- National Building Museum (architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning)
- Phillips Collection
- Corcoran Gallery of Art (main focus: American art)
- Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- National WW II Memorial
- International Spy Museum
- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
- Ford's Theatre
- Folger Shakespeare Library
- National Postal Museum
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
- Blair House
- rent and try to ride a segway
- enjoy beer in Irish pub called Kelly's Irish Times
- dine in Italian Ristorante Piccolo (1068 31st Street, NW, Georgetown)
Unique Suggestions: I was in Washington, DC at the beginning of my long odyssey through 12 southern states. Someone from VT warned me not to squeeze my visit to DC to 1 or 2 days. It was a perfect advice. In the beginning I had been going to spend 3 days in DC and Arlington, Virginia but growing number of tourist attractions to see encouraged me to prolong my visit to full 5 days and it wasn't enough time. Unfortunately, not to miss my plane back to Poland, I had to miss most of Georgia and South Carolina in the end of my odyssey.
1. Ask your boss for longer vacation in advance - use as many tricks as you can, do you want details? e-mail me :-)
2. If you are a boss... do what you must do and go for longer vacation. You certainly deserve it!
3. Save to increase your budget (I worked overtime) and prolong your stay, DC is worth it! You don't pay for all those wonderful museums, "only" for food and accommodation.
If the above doesn't work for you:
5. Choose carefully what you must and may see in DC
6. Keep smiling and don't worry if you don't succeed to see everything from your list.
Fun Alternatives: Re-do the above points and come back to DC to see what you missed during the first visit.
That's what I am going to do sooner or later despite my general rule: not to visit the same place twice. I rarely break that rule and always only for the two reasons: friends to meet and spectacular attractions to see, these ones I missed during the previous visit. Both reasons perfectly work for Washington, DC. I promised myself to meet again VT-members living nearby: Tanja (skye820), Kent (kentbein) and Nat (b1bob).
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has real craft as well as scaled or full-size models of planes, jets, rockets, space-craft, and anything to do with air or space. Would've like to have spent more time there.
Unique Suggestions: They have this simulator ride where you can do barrel rolls, dives, etc., and the simulators are able to move 360 degrees. My son loved it. He chose, and recommended the F-15 over the Mustang (non-jet). The Planetarium had the latest 3D celestial projectors and was well worth the price.
There are many ways to enjoy your sightseeing in the Washington, DC, area. Few offer the unique quality of traveling by waterway. Among the three local tourist cruise companies in this area, Spirit Cruises, has three different ships, each offering their own unique experience: The Spirit of Washington (brand-new, this year), its older sister, Spirit II, and the Capital Elite. A sample dinner cruise will cost around $90 per person for a buffet meal, live music and dancing, and the 3-hour long cruise, not cheap, but this is not a cheap town. A more interesting cruise is their ?Mount Vernon Excursion? which runs from Spring to Fall and will cost about $40 per person. It lasts a hour-and-a-half in cruise time (8:30 a.m.), and you can return immediately, or wait until the last ship departs at the 1:30 p.m. The price includes admission to George Washington?s Estate and Gardens, a guided tour of the Potomac River during the cruise, as well as the round trip. Other options are available including one-way and cruise-only. They have refreshments onboard, for an additional cost. For those with a larger budget, you might want to consider their private charter, which starts at $1000 per hour plus food and beverages ($40 per person and up), for a group of 25 to 100. They offer a gourmet meal, tour guides and entertainment, for a price. Remember that charter means you pay for everything separate. Also, this smaller ship is not handicap-accessible.
Unique Suggestions: Be aware that once on a ship, you?re more-or-less stuck for the duration of the cruise. These are also ?weather-permitting? tours, so you may be out of luck on a turbulent day. Also, bring a sweater or jacket, even on a warm day, temperature onboard can vary greatly from cabin to outside areas. You will be herded into a waiting area prior to boarding and there is no shelter. Getting there can also be a pain for those who are not acquainted with the location of the various piers. Parking is limited and must be paid in advance ($10-15); there is some on-street parking, but don?t count on it. Their main departure point is at Pier 4 at the intersection of 6th and Water Streets in southwest DC. A Metro station, ?Waterfront? on the Green Line will put you within a short three blocks. Although they make accommodations for wheelchairs and walkers, if you have individuals in your party who use these, you may want to scope-out the pier area and do a trial-run in advance of your actual trip.
Fun Alternatives: If you have members of your party who do not like be 'trapped' on a ship for a couple hours, you may want to make other arrangements for them, or the whole group. This may not be the best choice for families with small children or unruly teenagers. There are several nice waterfront clubs and restaurants at the pier, as well as at other locations around DC. If you like to be near the water without going by boat, you can rent bikes or walk down the many trails along the Potomac and C&O Canal.
I've been to some of the more famous cities in the world, and most of them seem to span a river. Apart from their obvious value as a trade method and port, these rivers have also transformed into a tourist trap, complete with nightime viewing of the cities flood-lit attractions.
In D.C., we have the Dandy Dinner Cruise. A favorite with cheap companies looking for a holiday party, the Dandy boats basically float around for a few hours during lunch and dinner (11am and 6pm, respectively) and allow you to eat an average meal, dance around the boat, and look out the window occasionally to see the monuments.
It's about 50 bucks a head for lunch, 85 for dinner. Cheaper on weekdays.
Unique Suggestions: Go at lunch time after spending the morning in Old Town Alexandria. It's about a half hour walk from the Old Town Alexandria Metro stop to the boat slip down King Street, but you could easily spend several hours making this trek dur to the various shops, pubs, and restaurants lining your path.
Or, you could take the DASH bus.
Fun Alternatives: There are paddle boats during the summer near the Jefferson Memorial -- on the Tidal Basic. Take Raoul Wallenberg Pl./15th Street toward the Jefferson Memorial and look for the Tidal Basin Paddle Boat dock.
$8 an hour for 2 people boat, $16 for a four-person boat. (Okay, how about it's $4 per hour, per person!
This is one of the most visited sights in Washington, DC, our memorial to those who lost there lives during the Viet Nam War. This is called the 'WALL'.