Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. with my family to do some sightseeing. We flew in to Reagan International airport late on a Thursday night. We stayed at a Fairfield Inn in Chinatown. While I highly recommend the hotel- the staff was friendly and the rooms clean and comfortable- I have reservations about recommending the area. Chinatown was pretty rowdy over the weekend. There are lots of homeless in the area. Typical of a big city and I’m not sure it’s different anywhere in the quadrant surrounding our nation’s government, but there might be better areas in which to find a hotel.
We had three days to fill and fill them we did! On Friday, we set out on a Hop On/Hop Off Trolley Tour. I always love those tours because you learn so much from the drivers. Each driver has a different perspective on the city. Plus, you can get off when you decide there is something you want to see, enjoy the stop and then get back on to head for another destination. Our first “hop off” was at the National Archives. After a short wait behind a school group, we had the distinct pleasure of viewing our country’s Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. It was neat to see all of those original signatures. We also visited the Air and Space Museum (so cool with all the flight history!) and saw the White House on Friday. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Washington Monument. After a great dinner at Woodward Table, we hit the sack early so we could get an early start the next morning.
Saturday morning, we met at the Grayline Bus Terminal for an all day tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home and then rode up to Arlington National Cemetery. While there, we had the awe inspiring experience of watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I feel everyone should see this somber ceremony. These soldiers display such reverence, respect, and dedication. I am so thankful for their service. After a delicious dinner at Legal Seafood, we again had to go to bed early but this time because we were so worn out!
Sunday was our final day in the capital city. We started at the Holocaust Museum. Words cannot describe this tribute to all those who lost their lives in the years leading up to and during World War II at the hands of the Nazis. If you only had time for one museum while in Washington, D.C., I would recommend this one. After that, we were looking for something of a lighter mood and something with a cafe for lunch. We headed for the Natural History Museum and found both. They had some great exhibits both permanent and temporary including a photo exhibit, a mammals exhibit, an orchids exhibit (I collect orchids, so I enjoyed this, but my family moved on), and the oceans exhibit. My daughters and I are great lovers of art, so lastly, we took a spin in the National Gallery of Art. We only had about an hour so we split up. I headed for the European gallery and the impressionist wing while my daughters went for Italian art. My husband and son found a very nice bench out front on which to wait for us. Everyone got what they wanted! For our last meal in Washington, D.C., we chose the historic Old Ebbit Grill. It was the best meal of the weekend. No wonder it’s so popular!
I think my favorite part of the weekend was the family togetherness. You don’t have to go international or expensive to make great family memories. Our meals were the most expensive thing we did. Remember all the Smithsonian museums are free to enter!
Let me know if I can help make reservations for your next family vacation! I’m Jeri May and family vacations are one of my specialties!