PDA

View Full Version : Misc "Can't Miss" Stuff to do in Washington DC (the real one)


DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:15 PM
I'm on a short business trip in D.C. for the next couple days. I don't have a huge amount of free time to actually get out and see the sights here, but I've never been here before, so I figure I'd better take advantage of it while I can!

So...you've got a total of around 10 hours to burn in D.C. over the course of two evenings and a morning. What do you do?

I'll preface the question with the fact that I managed to make it to the Archives already today, so that one's taken care of. Technically, I've "been through" the National History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, and half of the art gallery. However, those were kind of "glance around" types of trips, so if there are specific exhibits in any of those three that I definitely need to see, those are open for discussion.

Phobia
07-13-2008, 08:25 PM
Ten hours? That sucks. You might be able to eat well and that's it.

That said, I had the misfortune of taking my wife to D.C. a couple years ago. It was just after we lost custody of my teenagers after their mother's appeal went well for her. The point is, I didn't feel like doing anything at all but was obligated to take her around since we were in the city for the better part of a day.

If you've not been before, you have to see the monuments - which is what we did. Everything is within walking distance and there's plenty of interesting sites and photo ops. Visit those at a leisurely pace and then come back. I'd imagine you'll take most of your time there.

If you hit the Smithsonian this trip you won't even have time to eat. That's a week by itself, IMO.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:27 PM
Yeah, that's why I've been kind of popping my head in the doors of the three I mentioned and that's about it. I could easily waste an entire day in the Air and Space Museum alone.

My current thinking is that I'll try to hit one Museum each evening, then walk around to the monuments after all the Museums are closed. I'm pretty set on visiting the Holocaust museum on Wednesday morning, and maybe the spy museum if I have time. The latter costs money, though, so we'll see.

unlurking
07-13-2008, 08:28 PM
Been here for a few months, and my favorite trips so far have been Mt. Vernon and NASM @ Dulles. They have shuttles from Dulles to NASM for 50 cents I believe.

unlurking
07-13-2008, 08:28 PM
The spy museum sucked.

Phobia
07-13-2008, 08:30 PM
The latter costs money, though, so we'll see.

It ALL costs money. But you've already paid admission to most of the monuments.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:31 PM
The spy museum sucked.

Really? That's too bad. Maybe I'll have to reconsider that one.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:32 PM
It ALL costs money. But you've already paid admission to most of the monuments.

True.

Ari Chi3fs
07-13-2008, 08:33 PM
If you run into "Dubya"... punch him in the face for me, please?

unlurking
07-13-2008, 08:35 PM
Really? That's too bad. Maybe I'll have to reconsider that one.
It could have been cool, but they pack you in like sardines. It may be better during different hours, but early afternoon on a Thursday was absolutely horrible. It is also rather small, considering pretty much every other museum is free.

The one cool thing of note is the fact that the FBI leases office space in the same building (or so I'm told).

unlurking
07-13-2008, 08:42 PM
Did you do NASM in DC, or at Dulles? BIG difference.

Standing under the Enola Gay is quite powerful.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:43 PM
Did you do NASM in DC, or at Dulles? BIG difference.

Standing under the Enola Gay is quite powerful.

In DC. I'll probably have to restrict my activities to the Mall area for this trip.

unlurking
07-13-2008, 08:47 PM
In DC. I'll probably have to restrict my activities to the Mall area for this trip.
Naval Memorial @ 7th & Penn is pretty cool. I've been wanting to check out the modern art museum, they are supposed to have some really whacked out exhibits. Just jump on the Circulator, jump off if you see anything interesting.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:48 PM
Naval Memorial @ 7th & Penn is pretty cool. I've been wanting to check out the modern art museum, they are supposed to have some really whacked out exhibits. Just jump on the Circulator, jump off if you see anything interesting.

Cool...I'll see if I can fit it in. :thumb:

unlurking
07-13-2008, 08:50 PM
Cool...I'll see if I can fit it in. :thumb:
It's kind of funny, you really can't walk more than a block with out kicking a museum in this town. I walk a block and a half from Union Station to work every day, and pass two museums.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:51 PM
It's kind of funny, you really can't walk more than a block with out kicking a museum in this town. I walk a block and a half from Union Station to work every day, and pass two museums.

Heh...I might pass you tomorrow. The conference is in the ground floor of the Postal Square Building right across from Union Station.

Logical
07-13-2008, 08:56 PM
Smithsonian would be my number 1

Capitol would be number 2

White House 3

Arlington 4

All the monuments #5

There are literally too many things for 1 vacation.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 08:58 PM
Smithsonian would be my number 1

Capitol would be number 2

White House 3

Arlington 4

All the monuments #5

There are literally too many things for 1 vacation.

Yeah, I know. If it were a real vacation, my wife would be here. As it is, I'm just trying to see a few sights while I'm here.

unlurking
07-13-2008, 08:58 PM
Heh...I might pass you tomorrow. The conference is in the ground floor of the Postal Square Building right across from Union Station.
haha

Careful where you step in the grassy area! I've actually heard that the postal museum has some interesting old printing presses and the like, but never been inside. Walk one block further and you'll hit the National Guard museum.

Try the Guiness Burger at the Dubliner caddy corner from Union Station. Awesome burger with a Guiness gravy on a potato pancake.

unlurking
07-13-2008, 09:00 PM
Capitol building is about 4 block south of Union Station.

White House you now need to request guest passes from your congressman in advance.

Smithsonian alone could take a week. Hell, NASM @ Dulles took an entire day, and we feel like we rushed it.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 09:01 PM
haha

Careful where you step in the grassy area! I've actually heard that the postal museum has some interesting old printing presses and the like, but never been inside. Walk one block further and you'll hit the National Guard museum.

Try the Guiness Burger at the Dubliner caddy corner from Union Station. Awesome burger with a Guiness gravy on a potato pancake.

Oohh...sounds good. I'll have to hunt it down.

I'll check this thread tomorrow, but I'm off for tonight. Thanks for the recommendations, all.

Logical
07-13-2008, 09:01 PM
Yeah, I know. If it were a real vacation, my wife would be here. As it is, I'm just trying to see a few sights while I'm here.Ah well as I just read from Phil you probably want to skip the Smithsonian that as he said is a week in itself.

I think despite the Planets perception of me the one thing I would recommend is Arlington and watching the changing of the guard at the TOTUS it is awesome if you can catch it.

unlurking
07-13-2008, 09:03 PM
Ah well as I just read from Phil you probably want to skip the Smithsonian that as he said is a week in itself.

I think despite the Planets perception of me the one thing I would recommend is Arlington and watching the changing of the guard at the TOTUS it is awesome if you can catch it.
Yeah, that's one thing I'm planning on next month when my son comes back down. There really is just way too much stuff to do here.

Skip Towne
07-13-2008, 09:04 PM
Yeah, I know. If it were a real vacation, my wife would be here. As it is, I'm just trying to see a few sights while I'm here.

Do you have a generous expense account?

Deberg_1990
07-13-2008, 09:15 PM
Where are you staying at DaFace? Right downtown??

Alot of first timers to D.C. dont realize how muich walking there is between monuments and attractions even if you take the Metro.

Check out Arlington Cemetary and the changing of the Guard.

Go see the Decleration of Independence.

Any of the Smithsonians are cool. You could spend a whole day in any of them.

blueballs
07-13-2008, 09:26 PM
forgot to feed rainman's cats

rad
07-13-2008, 09:26 PM
There's a trolley-bus that stops at all the major sights and you can catch a ride to your next destination every 20 mins. Starts a Union station. Wasn't very expensive, either. We enjoyed it.

Here's a link:
http://www.trolleytours.com/Washington-DC/

RJ
07-13-2008, 09:50 PM
Given the 10 hour limit I would split my time between the Smithsonian American History Museum and the Natural History Museum. That's not enough time to do a thorough tour but 4 or so hours each will let you see the best exhibits. Don't leave without visiting at least one of these.

DaFace
07-13-2008, 10:56 PM
Given the 10 hour limit I would split my time between the Smithsonian American History Museum and the Natural History Museum. That's not enough time to do a thorough tour but 4 or so hours each will let you see the best exhibits. Don't leave without visiting at least one of these.

The American History Museum is closed for renovations. Bastards.

RJ
07-13-2008, 11:11 PM
The American History Museum is closed for renovations. Bastards.


That's a damn shame but Natural History will not disappoint. Spend a few hours there and then take a walk along the mall and check out the monuments. Or, depending on your interests, the Air & Space and American Art museums are both in the same area. As I recall all of those are in walking distance from each other.

Dave Lane
07-14-2008, 12:18 AM
Spy Museum rocks. GO there period.

Dave

Thig Lyfe
07-14-2008, 12:52 AM
Your preface was more like a postface.

Thig Lyfe
07-14-2008, 12:53 AM
Spy Museum rocks. GO there period.

Dave

When I went to D.C. a couple of summers ago, I wanted to go there. But it was like a bajillion dollars or something to get in.

unlurking
07-14-2008, 05:40 AM
:)

It was $18 a couple of months ago.

DaKCMan AP
07-14-2008, 07:13 AM
My current thinking is that I'll try to hit one Museum each evening, then walk around to the monuments after all the Museums are closed. I'm pretty set on visiting the Holocaust museum on Wednesday morning, and maybe the spy museum if I have time. The latter costs money, though, so we'll see.

I've been to a few and the DC Holocaust museum is the best one, IMO. Eat before hand, though. You might not have an appetite afterward.

Otter
07-14-2008, 07:23 AM
Maybe it's just my experience with DC but you might want to firmly place a stick up your ass if you plan on running with the crowd. I've never met a more collective uptight community.

Again, your mileage may vary.

Rain Man
07-14-2008, 08:40 AM
When I went to D.C. a couple of summers ago, I wanted to go there. But it was like a bajillion dollars or something to get in.

You tried to go in the front door. Go to the side, push in the third brick on the left, and when a pair of eyes appears on the other side, whisper "Three coyotes howl in the Manhattan pizza parlor".

Otter
07-14-2008, 08:48 AM
When I went to D.C. a couple of summers ago, I wanted to go there. But it was like a bajillion dollars or something to get in.

ADMISSION RATES

2008 General Admission
Average Length of Visit: 2 hours
Last Admission: 2 hours before closing (http://www.spymuseum.org/plan/hours.php)
Adult (ages 12-64) $18
Seniors (65+), Active Duty Military & Intel Community $17
Child* (ages 5-11) $15
Children under 5 years: FREE
The Permanent Exhibition is most appropriate for ages 12+

2008 Operation Spy™ Admission
Length of Visit: 1 hour
Last Admission: 1 hour before closing (http://www.spymuseum.org/plan/hours.php)
Adult (ages 12 and up) $14


Operation Spy is an active experience for ages 12 and above. Participants will encounter some low light levels and confining spaces, an elevator, motion simulators, sound effects, and physical and mental challenges. There is one set of stairs that participants must walk up and down; however, there is no crawling, climbing, or jumping. Operation Spy is accessible.

Stinger
07-14-2008, 11:11 AM
The two most poignant things that that I've done is the National Cemetery (sound like that won't be in this trip too far out of your area.) The other was although not neccessary a US history landmark was the The US Holocaust Museum. All I can is wow. It is right off the Mall and it is free http://www.ushmm.org/

FREE TIMED PASSES are necessary for visiting the Permanent Exhibition — The Holocaust — and can be obtained at the Museum on the day of your visit or in advance by calling tickets.com at (800) 400–9373. Each day, the Museum distributes on a first–come first–served basis a large but limited number of timed entry passes for use that same day.


http://www.ushmm.org/visit/gethere/images/map.gif

RedNeckRaider
07-14-2008, 11:14 AM
You tried to go in the front door. Go to the side, push in the third brick on the left, and when a pair of eyes appears on the other side, whisper "Three coyotes howl in the Manhattan pizza parlor".

Thats just great now they have to change the password again :harumph:

DaFace
07-14-2008, 08:19 PM
haha

Careful where you step in the grassy area! I've actually heard that the postal museum has some interesting old printing presses and the like, but never been inside. Walk one block further and you'll hit the National Guard museum.

Try the Guiness Burger at the Dubliner caddy corner from Union Station. Awesome burger with a Guiness gravy on a potato pancake.

Mmm...that WAS a tasty burger!

http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/6708/thatisatastyburgersy5.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Big props on the recommendation!

Ah well as I just read from Phil you probably want to skip the Smithsonian that as he said is a week in itself.

I think despite the Planets perception of me the one thing I would recommend is Arlington and watching the changing of the guard at the TOTUS it is awesome if you can catch it.

I somehow found a way to fit that in. Definitely worth the trip, though my legs are now covered in Icy Hot due to all the speed walking I had to do to get everywhere I wanted to tonight!

Where are you staying at DaFace? Right downtown??

Alot of first timers to D.C. dont realize how muich walking there is between monuments and attractions even if you take the Metro.

Check out Arlington Cemetary and the changing of the Guard.

Go see the Decleration of Independence.

Any of the Smithsonians are cool. You could spend a whole day in any of them.

I'm up in "Van Ness" if that's a neighborhood. That's what the metro stop is called anyway. It costs half the price and is only 10 minutes from the Metro Center station, so I'm happy. Anyway, as mentioned above, you're definitely right on the walking thing. I is tired.

There's a trolley-bus that stops at all the major sights and you can catch a ride to your next destination every 20 mins. Starts a Union station. Wasn't very expensive, either. We enjoyed it.

Here's a link:
http://www.trolleytours.com/Washington-DC/

Good idea, but it's much better suited for people who have a day to spend rather than a couple hours over the course of a few days.

Spy Museum rocks. GO there period.

Dave

We'll see. If I have time post Holocaust Museum and pre flight, I might make it.

Your preface was more like a postface.

Guilty as charged.

unlurking
07-14-2008, 08:48 PM
Definitely a unique meal!

Hydrae
07-14-2008, 08:54 PM
Your preface was more like a postface.

Only when entered by DaFace. :)

DaFace
07-15-2008, 11:43 AM
Posted via Mobile Device

Heh...cp is blocked on federal pcs!

Stinger
07-15-2008, 12:37 PM
Posted via Mobile Device

Heh...cp is blocked on federal pcs!

Oh crap we are all on the list

http://www.nbeaujon.com/images/tinfoil-hat.jpg

DaFace
07-16-2008, 10:22 PM
Well, over the course of my time there, I managed to do the following (in no particular order):

Visited the Air and Space Museum for about an hour or so.
Visited the Natural History Museum for probably an hour or so.
Visited the National Archives, which only took maybe 15 minutes in the rotunda, but took about an hour waiting in line.
Saw the outside of the Capitol Building and the White House from as close as I could get to either of them.
Visited the West Wing of the Art Museum. They had a cool "cliffs notes" guide available, so I walked through to the most important works (in the curators eyes), which took maybe 30 minutes.
Visited Union Station numerous times, since that was the metro stop right by my conference.
Visited the National Postal Museum, mainly because it was in the same building as my conference.
Ate a Guinness burger at the Dubliner.
Went on an insane walking tour of a ton of stuff in one speed-walking evening, including Arlington Cemetery (TOTUS and Kennedy's grave), the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the WWII Memorial, and the Washington Monument.
Visited the Holocaust Museum properly (not speed walking), which took around 3 hours.
Visited the White House Visitors Center, since I didn't arrange to tour the White House itself.

All in all, I fit a crapton of stuff in in a short amount of time. The only things I really had on my list to do that I didn't make it to were:
Spend more time at the Museums I went to to actually pay attention and read things rather than just speed walk through them.
Take the nifty trolley gizmo around so that I wouldn't have a blister on my toe and need icy hot to make my leg muscles feel better.
Visit the East Wing of the Art Museum and a couple of the other museums on the Mall.
Visit the Spy Museum.


Anyway, thanks to all for the suggestions. Hopefully I'll make it back there one of these days!

Rain Man
07-16-2008, 10:45 PM
Hopefully you attended a conference as well.

DaFace
07-16-2008, 10:49 PM
Hopefully you attended a conference as well.

Well, yeah, that was in there somewhere. :)

Oh, and I tried to infiltrate the government from the inside from a computer lab in the Bureau of Labor Statistics.