Washington was pretty good for a toddler and a pushchair. The pavements were wide and well maintained. The National Mall was one long child friendly avenue where he could run about in safety. Many of the metro stations had lifts, and there was no requirement to fold up the stroller like in New York. Some of the museums and monuments had steps, but most also had lifts. There were plenty of child friendly restaurants, and every one I visited had changing rooms for babies.
Washington D.C. has a bad reputation. It was once known as the murder capital of America, although the crime rate has come down a lot since then. It still has its bad areas, but most tourists won't get to see them, especially if you are hanging around the National Mall. Everything from the White House down to the Jefferson Memorial and from Capitol Hill down the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial is almost crime free. All the bad stuff happens outside of here.
It starts getting bad when you go east of Capitol Hill, with the South East and North East areas having the worst reputations. North of the National Mall can be a little edgy too, with some muggings around the Metro Centre Metro Station. Georgetown and Foggy Bottom are relatively crime free, and Dulles Circle seems to be safe too, although it's close to some less salubrious areas. Union Station is fine too.
Overall I felt pretty safe in DC, but I spent almost all my time in the National Mall area. Outside of here there were large pockets of homelessness, but they didn't bother me at all.
Skateboarders love downtown Washington because there are some great flat surfaces and lots of open space. They will not hesitate to get on their boards and do tricks with people around. At Freedom Plaza they run rampant, despite signs saying that its not allowed. There are no Park Service people there, so unless a cop comes by they go right ahead. I've never seen them crash into anyone, but the silent code seems to be that they expect you to sort of stay out of their way when they are doing their thing, whether or not its actually allowed is a different issue apparently.
Interestingly, they will usually get out of the way if you are in the process of taking a picture. There are some manners!
Every 17 years we have a strange seeming mass invasion of cicada. Predictions are that this years' invasion will start in the middle of April to the middle of may, it will last 6 weeks. During that time if you are near trees that the cicadas like you will witness the spectacle of billions of cicadas coming up to reproduce and die. The only thing you will really notice is the clicking sound, which is one of the loudest sounds in the insect world. Though not really loud, it will be magnified by the large number.
The cicada is harmless to humans and pets. Their invasion, however will damage some of the trees that they nest on because they suck from the tree roots and branches.
Here is a list of trees that cicadas like to nest on:
Cicada like apple trees, arborvitae, ash, beech, black eyed Susan, crab apple, cherry, dogwood, hickory, holly, fruit trees, lilacs, Japanese maple, magnolia, oak, peach, pear, raspberry vines, willow, rhododendron and roses, although they seem to avoid pine trees, possibly because of pine sap, Matthews said. A list of trees cicada usually infest can be found at www.gardenersnet.com/atoz/cicada.htm.
Its interesting, because in this area you will go to some neighborhoods and not hear them or see them in all, in others they are everywhere.
dont worry, it lasts 6 weeks and its only once ever 17 years, so you wont get to see them again until 2030.
Washington DC has been home for over 40 years, it is as any other big city. I have worked, lived and partied in this community most of my life. Yes we have our share of homeless as any other large city. It has those nice neighborhoods and it has its' share of bad neighborhoods. Yes there are those neighborhoods and places that I would not be caught in day or not. We have our share of crazies like any other city. My suggestion is if you are traveling in the DC area, use good judgment and good common sense when moving around in DC day or night. It is not a good idea to travel the Metro train or buses during late night hours. It is no worse than any other large city. It is a good place to visit or live if you wish. Just remember crime is everywhere and in some of the best neighborhoods. Don't say DC is hood because that just isn't true, not all of DC is hood. Washington DC has some of the best museums in the world, that you can only see in DC. What we call the Mall in downtown DC is as safe as any other place; I just would not walk it at night. If you are planning a trip to DC, don’t let anyone scare you away with their experiences. Your experiences most likely will be different and enjoyable.
You may wonder why I stipulate that Travel Insurance is neccesary here in DC. Well , America is generally known worldwide for it's violence.This is immediately apparent when ordering life insurance as the moment you mention visiting The USA. I myself never travel without life insurance and the last few times that I travelled around the world I found my insurance sky rocket in price when travelling in the USA was mentioned. I dearly love to travel in The USA and visit my many friends there. No matter where you may be travelling always take out enough travel Insurance to cover your places travelled.I always include in my Travel Insurance contract ,repetriation back home in case of dire emergency. This may sound a bit "over the top" to some. but for me its peace of mind. I'm just a normal traveller and I know that anything can happen anytime. I don't jump out of aeroplanes, or bungy off bridges but that doesn't mean to say I can't get hurt. as I found out in Thailand.Hospital care is horrendously expensive , especially a hospital stay for days. as they say:
DONT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT
Keep in mind that unfortunatelly all wonderful and free attractions in Washington, DC close early or very early. Why? Maybe the federal or rather DC labour law doesn't allow to employee workers for longer than, say 8 hours, a day. Or maybe simply it costs too much. Additionally to visit at least Bureau of Engraving & Printing, the Capitol (guided tour) and the Washington Monument you have to buy a ticket early at the day of your visit because they are shortly sold out and it's impossible to buy a ticket for the next day.
Smithsonian museums are mostly open daily, 10am-5:30 pm, except December 25. But for example Bureau of Engraving & Printing closes at 2.00 pm. This is probably so they can do their work. When a business offers tours it disrupts the regular flow of work so tour hours are usually limited. The world's most unique hours are in cafeteria and snack bar in the ground floor of the Supreme Court: they close and open and again close it almost every hour till 2.00 pm or 3.30 pm :-). All museums and federal buidings are closed during the red antiterrorist alert but museums stay open during the orange alert. Anyway, each museum or federal building may be immediately closed for security reasons. But has it ever happened?
Georgetown Visitor's Center (GVC) has no opening hours but large advertisement GVC welcomes you. It was closed at about 7 pm on business day and there were no hours displayed (???).
The Smithsonian Information Center is in the castle is open daily 8.30 am - 5.30 pm.
Be aware that the Red Line along the Glenmont-Shady Grove route on the way to DC has had slower service in the last couple of months since the major Metro disaster earlier this summer. So, allot enough time to get to your destination in the city from the Glenmont-Union Station/DC side of the Red Line. By the way, repairs have been done since the Metro tragedy, but there seems to be problems with the brakes system all throughout the Metro covered zones.
When walking around Capitol Hill one night just after dark, we came upon an unfired bullet, perhaps a .38 or .45 caliber, that was sitting on a concrete post along a sidewalk on a busy residential street just blocks from the Supreme Court building.
Crime in the city of Washington DC has been a widely debated topic from its former status as the murder capital of the US to the 2008 Supreme Court decision to overturn the city's total ban on guns.
Today the city is becoming safer due to gentrification, but there are still numerous areas of high crime, mostly to the east. Without a doubt, the worst area in the city is Anacostia. Other areas of the Northeast and Southeast Quadrants are also very rough including many areas along the Metro's Green Line.
Much of the city, particularly those areas that attract lots of tourists, are pretty safe. Parts of Northeast and Southeast, especially Capitol Hill and the Eastern Market neighborhood are good. Northwest is the best quadrant of the city, particularly Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Connecticut Heights, Tenleytown, Friendship Heights and Glover Park. Areas like Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Adams Morgan and Georgetown are generally safe as well, but have more petty crimes. The safest places to live or stay tend to be across the Potomac in Virginia, in Alexandria or Arlington.
A month after one of our trips to D.C. we received a nice speeding ticket from the police with a picture of our car and how fast we were going. So our little DC adventure led to a $100 ticket. So from now on we are careful to obey the speed limit...we never know if big brother is watching.
The Cherry Festival must be the beginning of the tourist season in Washington, D.C. This year starting on 28 March 2008. I guess its a good time to begin exploring my state and ajoining states to avoid the crowds.
During the winter, the national park service puts up fences enclosing areas of high traffic to allow the grass to recover. Canadian geese over wintering in the DC area are notorious for not paying heed to the signs!
People flock here every year for the annual flowering of the cherry trees surrounding the tidal pool. The walkway is a popular path to get from the (site where the new) Martin Luther King Monument starts to the Thomas Jefferson Monument. These cherry trees are so old, their branches are heavy and arch over the trail along the tidal pool. Watch your heads when walking this trail!
If you are new to Washington, stear clear of South East Washington. Any neighborhood south east of Capital Hill, particularly Anacostia, is still extremely dodgy, even during the day. Washington is full of neighborhoods that are not particularly friendly, but SE Washington should generally be avoided at all costs until you are familiar with the city.
Ok, as cute and cuddle as some people may think these little animals are, they are still a wild animal and hand feeding them is not recommended, because squirrels may carry plague or other animal-borne diseases. Let's not forget even if they do not carry disease, they often have a hard time telling what is food or your fingertips. Bites are painful and those can get infected. My co-worker was awwww, how cute lets feed it and I was like NO, lets not! I live in the mountains and these little critters do carry many types of diseases and are distructive when it comes to your vegetation. So if you must take a picture or two, but please do not take the chance in handling one or letting your children feed them.
the hay-adams hotel is located on lafayette square a block from the white house. the hay-adams is in...more
801 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington DC, District of Columbia, 20037-2304, United States
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