Washington DC with 10 year old

1,073 Views | 24 Replies | Last: 11 days ago by Charli
mustang90
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I am trying to plan a Spring break trip. I just don't know the best airport to fly into. We will be flying out of DFW or Love) BWI, DULLES OR REAGAN?
Also, using Hilton points so I don't know the best area (safety wise, as well as being close to all the DC things.
I would appreciate any help so I can get this booked. Also, is it too late to get White House tour, Pentagon... etc

Thank you!,
aggie90
Sweet Kitten Feet
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S
Reagan is the most convenient to fly into.
91_Aggie
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AG
Dulles is almost as far from DC as BWI. Reagan is closest to stuff in DC. Airport really doesnt matter if you are staying in DC downtown.
Baltimore and the drive into.DC from Baltimore will take you through less than desirable neighborhoods
EBrazosAg
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AG
I would fly into DCA unless difference is prohibitive. Make sure you do the Air and Space Museum at Dulles however. It and Mt Vernon are prime reasons to rent a car in DC. Otherwise Metro and Uber are all you need.
Aggie
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AG
Be ready to be suprised how ghetto DC and surrounding areas are
mustang90
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Y'all are awesome. Thank you so much! Booking DCA now
aggie90
mustang90
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Aggie said:

Be ready to be suprised how ghetto DC and surrounding areas are
Hopefully the experience will out weigh that, but ya I've heard that
aggie90
EBrazosAg
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AG
It's worth it.
Bullpen Chias
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AG
Took both my kids when they were about that age. GREAT trips. Once stayed near Pentagon and used Metro to the Mall. Other time stayed a couple blocks from the arena. I don't think you can go wrong either way. Fun to navigate the train. Convenient to walk from hotel. You'll have a blast.
mr83tr88
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AG
Highly recommend DC by Foot. The monument tour was fantastic! Also, all of the Smithsonian museums are worth the time. https://freetoursbyfoot.com/washington-dc-tours/

Best museum by far is the Holocaust Museum. It will make a very memorable impact!

You can request a flag (small cost) from your Legislator. You can request one flown on a specific date and a certificate with a special message. We did this for a very unique souvenir of our visit.

Alexandria is a great place to stay with lots of restaurants and things within walking distance, but also convenient to DC.
aggiegal99
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There's plenty to do in DC to keep you busy, but also consider taking the train up to Baltimore for the day. It's cheap and easy to get there, and Baltimore is a neat place, particularly Ft. McHenry. If you go there first then go see the actual star spangled banner in the Smithsonian American History museum, it's pretty powerful. My boys LOVED Ft. McHenry when they were that age. The USS Constellation is also in Baltimore Harbor, and that's cool for kids that age (and anyone!).

If you go by train, you're looking for the MARC from Union Station in DC to Camden Station in Baltimore because it's right by the inner harbor. You'll have to uber to Ft McHenry, but it's cheap. There's a great visitor center on the harbor and a free bus transport system around Baltimore.

Also, my very very very favorite thing to do in DC is rent bikes on the mall and ride the path to Gravelly Point Park (it's short and easy). From there, you can watch planes land at Reagan literally over your head, almost like you can reach up and touch them. I'm amazed by it every time!!

Edit: I've flown into all 3 airports. Reagan is by far the easiest and most convenient. Baltimore is fine, especially if you spend a day/night there before moving on to DC. My dad lived in Falls Church, VA off the orange line, and even when we've gone since he moved, we still stay there because it's easy, safe, convenient (we stay at the Econolodge which is not fancy at all, but convenient to the Metro and pretty cheap). We've rented a car from there to go explore the greater DC area. Mt. Vernon is amazing, but so is Harper's Ferry and any number of Civil War battlefields within a few hours of there.
75AG
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AG
mustang90 said:

Aggie said:

Be ready to be suprised how ghetto DC and surrounding areas are
Hopefully the experience will out weigh that, but ya I've heard that
I travel to DC monthly. The ghetto is being replaced with gentrification.
mustang90
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I booked DCA and Hilton Garden Inn in Georgetown. Now I'm wondering if I should have booked Alexandra?

Now working on our itinerary (while hoping Pats lose) so all those suggestions are great! My daughter is so excited!

aggie90
mustang90
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75AG said:

mustang90 said:

Aggie said:

Be ready to be suprised how ghetto DC and surrounding areas are
Hopefully the experience will out weigh that, but ya I've heard that
I travel to DC monthly. The ghetto is being replaced with gentrification.
Lol! Well....
aggie90
75AG
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AG
mustang90 said:

75AG said:

mustang90 said:

Aggie said:

Be ready to be suprised how ghetto DC and surrounding areas are
Hopefully the experience will out weigh that, but ya I've heard that
I travel to DC monthly. The ghetto is being replaced with gentrification.
Lol! Well....
Also, Alexandria may be a little cheaper (hotels), but travel to and from DC by car, taxi, UBER can be time consuming. Georgetown is a great location.
mr83tr88
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AG
We learned last March that 7-Elevens in the area deliver! That comes in handy when you don't want to spend a lot on food and want to have snacks on hand. It was awesome one night when we were so tired and didn't want to leave the hotel.
deh40
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AG
mustang90 said:

I booked DCA and Hilton Garden Inn in Georgetown. Now I'm wondering if I should have booked Alexandra?

Now working on our itinerary (while hoping Pats lose) so all those suggestions are great! My daughter is so excited!


We went in September and stayed at Hilton Garden Inn Reagan Airport (in Arlington). Very convenient to everything and we just used Uber everyday.
EBrazosAg
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AG
Georgetown is much better location than Alexandria.
aggiepaintrain
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AG
take a night monument tour, it's a great way to see most of them, the smithsonians are a must stop

I didn't like the metro or whatever they call the subway, I'd just use taxi or uber if I go again

you can probably get a tour of the capital via Flores office

whitehouse, no chance



Fire_Aggie
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AG
We have enjoyed the bike tours of the monuments with our son through bike and roll. They have day or night tours available. He has always enjoyed taking the metro from place to place in DC. We booked a capitol tour though Bill Flores' office a couple of years ago. You can also just go on your own through the capitol visitors center. We have enjoyed all the Smithsonian museums with him. The air and space annex at Dulles might be our favorite though. The national zoo has pandas, which is not that common for zoos. It is part of the smithsonian as well. It is a little farther out from town on the metro. All the smithsonians are free. Try to travel to the museums as light as you can to minimize wait time for security. We have also enjoyed the national archives, the Supreme Court, the postal museum and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (money) which are a little lesser known.
mr83tr88
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AG
Last time we visited, we used taxis while our friends used Ubers. We were traveling exact same routes. Every time our taxi was cheaper than their Uber. We found that interesting.

As a parent, I highly recommend using as much mass transit as possible. If is a great learning opportunity we don't get here.
ZachTheGoodAg
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AG
I've got several things to add. I know DC pretty well and we took our family there this past summer.

As to where to stay, it will usually be cheaper, by quite a bit, to stay just outside of DC, rather than in the District, and ride the Metro in each day. If you've not done it before, the Metro is clean, easy, and safe. You're probably safer on the Metro than when you come up top! For example, Georgetown is a great area, but rates will be much higher here and the nearest Metro stop is a bit of walk from Georgetown proper. If you plan ahead a little bit, you can buy preloaded Metro cards for everyone and have them mailed to you before you go.

As to airports, Reagan is much simpler to fly into. Dulles and BWI are quite a ways out. The Metro also goes to Reagan. Since you said you would be using Hilton points, here is what we did this last vacation. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn -Reagan National Airport. There is also a Hampton Inn just next door. Both had very good rates, being on the Alexandria side of the Potomac, They have a free shuttle to and from the airport (about a 10 minute drive), or you can take the Metro as it is just one stop away from Reagan. These hotels are in the Crystal City area of Alexandria. There are plenty of eating places you can walk to, the area feels safe for walking around, and Crystal City Metro stop is a 5 minute walk at most. Taking the Yellow line from there, it's about a 10 minute Metro ride to the Air & Space Museum and the Mall. You are just on the other side of the Potomac from The Mall and Smithsonian.

Air & Space would be high on the list for kids. Many kids like the Natural History Museum. One I would suggest that our family really enjoyed is the recently opened new International Spy Museum. It was accessible by Metro also. If you want to do a tour of the Capitol (and we enjoyed it), you will need to go online and secure a spot. If the kids are into zoos, the national zoo is on the Metro, too. We did a nighttime monument tour that we all really enjoyed. There are several different companies that do it. We did the one that leaves each evening from the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Ave and was very satisfied. I would also say the Arlington National Cemetery tour was well worth it and all enjoyed it.

If you get a hankering for some Texas BBQ while you're there, believe it not, there is a really good place several blocks north of the Mall, Hill Country BBQ. It was well worth it and was the real thing. Several easy places to walk to for food are near the hotels I mentioned. Big food court at Union Station and in the Metro area underneath the Spy Museum are easy places to take kids (not great food but easy) are other places we grabbed a bite where we could have some variety for different tastes.

I hope some of the above gives you some good ideas to follow up on and decide what would work best for your family. But for ours, staying where we did near Reagan and riding the Metro everywhere was a snap and we would do it again.

ZTGA
88agg
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AG
Contact you congressman's office and have them set up a tour for you. They'll do it if you do it far enough in advance. We did with our kids and it is a good tour and free.
bigh281
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AG
If your 10 y/o likes trains, I've flown into BWI and taken a cheap Amtrack into DC. Cool experience for someone who has never ridden a train before. DC has a lot of great things! Have fun!
Charli
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Lived in the DC area for years! Had so much fun visiting everything. I recommend getting a hotel within walking distance to the Metro- and just use that for the visit. We just made sure we were in a safe area (Alexandria was our hub) by "dark 30." Gee, I hope they sell the "weekly all you can ride Metro pass."

The Smithsonian Museums on the mall are the best, Museum of art had the best bathrooms (LOL) and got to try the gelatto up there! Bugsy's Pizza in Alexandria is pretty darn good. (owner mat still be Bryan Watson former NHL player).

Don't forget the national zoo!

Have fun!!!
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