Washington DC tips

So I have only spent one actual day in Washington DC, but I already have a few tips for you.  I am not going to claim to have all the answers, I just know what I learned today.

Before I start I need to say something.  There are 19.  Yes NINE TEEN Smithsonian museums.  Let that sink into your head a bit.  Each one of those museums is on steroids.  Each one of those museums could easily take a few days to get through.  I wish I could tell you that I was kidding.  We visited 3 museums today.  No we did not drink a pot of coffee and start at 7 am.  We just simply did bits and pieces of each museum.

So here are my tips for you (in all my infinite wisdom of this city):

Pick 2 MAYBE 3 (if you are up for a challenge and plan on waking up at 7am and not getting home until 7pm) things you want to do per day.  Now that you have those 2-3 things picked out, figure out what you want to prioritize from those 2-3 places.

Plan on walking.  A lot.  We walked from the van to the Metro station, Metro station to the mall and back.  We walked a total of 14, 393 steps today.  Each of those adorable children that we call ours also walked 14, 393 steps today.  While this does not compare to the day we walked 21,000 steps in NYC, it is still a lot of steps, especially for a child.

Speaking of the Metro, if you take the train (which I recommend), don’t feed into the rush of the crowd.  Unfortunately we I did and we ended up paying an extra train fare because of the mistake.  Everyone is rushing.  People everywhere are walking fast as if everything they are going to is an emergency.  It is hard to not get wrapped up in the fast-paced vibe.


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Step aside, slow down, take it in.  Find your bearings and people watch.  It’s kind of fun (especially when you have a death grip on each child).



Video update from the Museum of Natural History:

Updated: November 18, 2014 — 11:57 pm


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  1. I lived in DC for years (before we took off on our family adventure) and these are great tips! I’d add that if you use the metro, make sure to always stand to the right on escalators. The left side of the escalators is for folks walking up or down. Standing across the whole escalator and blocking the left lane may be locals number one pet peeve about tourists.

    Also, if you’d indulge me for one more recommendation, make sure to get off the tourist path and venture into some of the beautiful neighborhoods in DC. It’s a great city, but tourists rarely venture into the real heart of where people live and spend their time. And the architecture makes for great afternoons of wandering.

    Have a great time during the rest of your visit! There are so many great places to check out.

  2. I did seven days back in the 80s and was able to see it all, but at that point, the Holocaust Museum wasn’t built. I went back in 2006-ish and visited the Holocaust, Air and Main Smithsonian building (with the huge Ruby in it and the Presidential room that you can stand behind the podium and pretend you are President).
    I can’t wait to take the kids, but I’m waiting until we have the time to spend there for at least a week!

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