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A day off in Washington DC.

A day off in Washington DC.

Old Feb 7th 2012, 10:56 pm
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Default A day off in Washington DC.

It looks like I have a day off from my trip to Washington DC. I wasnt prepared for this so I haven't done any planning.

I am staying just outside in a place called Reston.

How do I get in to the city, Metro or drive?

What should I see?

What order should I see them in?

Any other tips.

Appreciate any help, so busy packing and sorting work things out enabling me to squeeze in this day.
Many thanks.
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 12:34 am
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Originally Posted by Lamin View Post
It looks like I have a day off from my trip to Washington DC. I wasnt prepared for this so I haven't done any planning.

I am staying just outside in a place called Reston.
That's not really "just outside", Reston is at least a 40 minute drive with favorable traffic. Just setting expectations. Also, DC traffic is notoriously horrible. Plan accordingly.

How do I get in to the city, Metro or drive?
I don't think there's Metro or rail service in Reston. You might be able to find a bus, but the best bet is to drive to a Metro station with a garage, but I can't recall which one is closest. DC has pretty bad commuter transportation.

What should I see?
The obvious place to start with the National Mall. My favorite museums are The Air and Space and The National Museum of American History. The galleries of Asian and African art are pretty interesting in that they're completely underground and have great collections. I'd also walk over to the Lincoln Memorial.

What order should I see them in?
Take your pick. They're all lined up on the Mall, it makes it really easy to see a lot quickly.

Any other tips.
DC has a large number of excellent restaurants. More than any other city its size I've lived in. Be sure to pick out a good place to eat lunch and dinner, there are lots of options and you can get exotic food in DC that's hard to find elsewhere.

If you have time, get a cab out to Georgetown or Adams Morgan and walk around to get a better sense for the city.

If you have even more time, my absolute favorite thing in the Washington area is Mount Vernon. This is half a day, so it's probably out. If you do head out that way, be sure to check out Old Town Alexandria which is one of my favorite urban neighborhoods.

One other tip, if you're a complete airplane nerd like me, the Udvar-Hazy annex at Dulles is really impressive and worth a stop. They have a Space Shuttle, a Dornier DO335 (the only surviving example of the coolest plane of WW2), the Enola Gay and an SR71.
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 12:39 am
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Driving in DC and parking is a real pain so use public transportation if you can. There's a bus (#505) from Reston Town Center to West Falls Church Metro station. From there you can take the Metro into DC.

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/routes/505.htm

The Smithsonian museums are free. The National Air & Space Museum and the National Museum of American History are my favs.

It's also great just to walk the Mall to see the Capitol Building, Washington Monument, White House, WW2 Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.

Arlington National Cemetery is also worth a visit. Walk up the hill past the Kennedy graves to Arlington (Robert E. Lee) House. Great views from up there on a clear day.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pftqg/3009197403/

Last edited by MarylandNed; Feb 8th 2012 at 12:53 am.
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 1:48 am
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

If you haven't been to DC, I'd recommend heading in (via the good instructions by MarylandNed) and then just hiking around 'the Mall'. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol, you'll have museums all over (free) and many famous monuments like the Washington, Jefferson, Vietnam, etc. You can see the White House and check out some of the Smithsonian Museums.

Air and Space is on the top of most lists. In the main atrium there is a small kiosk where you can actually touch a moon rock brought back by the Apollo crews. I also recommend checking out the Apollo moon gallery, the Carrier Aviation, World War I and World II galleries as well.

American History is quite interesting too. Natural History has some neat stuff. Be sure to check out the 'Gem Room' which has hundreds of millions in diamonds and other expensive jewels.

Plenty of art galleries as well.

Georgetown is a walkable area filled with many restaurants and shops, along with some older and famous houses. My personal favorite place to eat is called "The Tombs" which is in a basement near the Georgetown campus. It's a student place, but draws in quite a mixed crowd (Clinton used to go there when he was a student). I also like it because just across the street is the house where they filmed the movie the Exorcist, complete with the 'stairs' that played a large role in the movie. Just go before nighttime when it is 100% student insanity.

Adams Morgan and U Street are other neighborhoods, a bit more eclectic with some wide variety.

Driving is a pain, but if you must just go in and park the car 'for the day'. Then move around using metro or buses or just plain walking. Rush hour in and out of the city is quite annoying, so if you aren't in a hurry you could head in a bit later or so, or just take the subway from Falls Church.

Enjoy.
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 1:43 pm
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post

Arlington National Cemetery is also worth a visit. Walk up the hill past the Kennedy graves to Arlington (Robert E. Lee) House. Great views from up there on a clear day.
Beat me to it! If I only had time to visit one place in DC, this house would be the one. This is where Lee paced the floor deciding if he would fight with the north or the south in the war -- afterwards, the victorious north made sure that no one would ever live there again by using the grounds for the national cemetery. If you are a history buff, this place will give you chills!
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 3:30 pm
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Arlington National Cemetery is also worth a visit. Walk up the hill past the Kennedy graves to Arlington (Robert E. Lee) House. Great views from up there on a clear day.
Beat me to it! If I only had time to visit one place in DC, this house would be the one. This is where Lee paced the floor deciding if he would fight with the north or the south in the war -- afterwards, the victorious north made sure that no one would ever live there again by using the grounds for the national cemetery. If you are a history buff, this place will give you chills!
Yep - I've been there many times in the 14 years I've lived near DC. It's always on the list of "must see" places I take friends and family to whenever they visit.

I love walking and have walked quite a few times from the US Capitol along the Mall (stopping to check out attractions along the way) over the Arlington Memorial Bridge through Arlington Cemetery up to Arlington House. It's a great walk.
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 4:08 pm
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Originally Posted by Scouse Express View Post
Sorry My Friend,

My detailed response to you concerning Gettysburg and what to do there was deleted by a Moderator.

I guess that the Moderators do not want anyone with
Tourism Experience providing their input into this subject.

Jim (Coach Driver)
Your Gettysburg response is still there on the OP's other thread.
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
Your Gettysburg response is still there on the OP's other thread.

Oh Crap!

I didn't realise that another thread had been posted. Should have just left it on one.

Sorry Mods.

Jim.
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Old Feb 8th 2012, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Originally Posted by Lamin View Post
It looks like I have a day off from my trip to Washington DC. I wasnt prepared for this so I haven't done any planning.

I am staying just outside in a place called Reston.

How do I get in to the city, Metro or drive?

What should I see?

What order should I see them in?

Any other tips.

Appreciate any help, so busy packing and sorting work things out enabling me to squeeze in this day.
Many thanks.
All the above advice on what to do is good.

In terms of eating, the cafe within the National Museum of the American is very good if you're hitting the Smithsonian collections.

If you're in the middle, I'd probably eat either at a staple such as DC Coast (seafood) or Georgia Brown's (Southern) or a good Ethiopian around the U Street area.

Drinking is best done at Martin's Tavern in Georgetown, Brasserie Beck on K Street or somewhere around Dupont Circle.
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Old Feb 9th 2012, 12:15 am
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Default Re: A day off in Washington DC.

Too late now, but you should definitely try Jacksons in Reston for a good beer and great food.

I have always found that driving down to DC at night is a good option.....the monuments are spectacular when lit up at night and the traffic is fine.

Air and SPace museum at Dulles is awesome.

Walking down DC is great on a good day....very walkable and the views from the Mall are fantastic (except the Reflecting Pool still looks like a building site - which it is right now until Spring 2012!).
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