I have the first week of July off and have been thinking oftaking my son to the Washington area to check out the Smithsonian and a few other things.
Since this falls on Indipendance day, I was thinking of arriving on the Saturday and checking out the festivities.
I would imagine it will be a popular location on the 4th. Am I nuts or is it worth the effort?
Whether it's worth it or not, I think you're nuts, Fred.
It's probably one of the more popular days to come here, but I haven't actually made it into the city for the festivities since I moved to the area in 2005, though. Wish I could tell you with first-hand experience whether you're crazy.
My brother-in-law is taking his family to D.C. for the 4th. There should be plenty of fun things going on.
Well, we will just wing it then. I figure I should bring a backpack with a couple of those little triangular fold up stools so we can just park ourselves anywhere if we want/need to.
Are there better/worse places to stay on the outskirts as far as how easy it is to get in to the city via subway? I probably don't want to be driving around Washington proper on that weekend.
Yeah, Metro will be your friend, even though it's likely to be crowded. As for where to stay, what are you looking for? Your main choices are:
Virginia: Vienna, Falls Church
Maryland: Rockville, Bethesda
Of these options, I'd probably pick Bethesda. It has a nice walkable downtown area of its own and is the closest to DC of the bunch. I've stayed in the Hyatt there, which is right on top of a metro stop. Looks like rates for the July 4th weekend are in the low $100s per night.http://www.bethesda.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp
I live in D.C., and I can tell you it gets quite crowded. But, the fireworks are great and there definitely is a lot to do. There also are a lot of places you can see the fireworks from without necessarily being right at the Washington Memorial. It will just depend on how close to the "action" you want to be.
In terms of where to stay, it really depends on how close you want to be. Vienna and Rockville are pretty good hikes to get in--a good 45-50 minutes by train. If you are willing to be that far out, though, you can also check out Gaithersburg, MD. There is an area called Rio Center which is actually pretty nice, and Marriot's headquarters are right there. Not surprisingly, there are a number of Marriot hotels near the headquarters.
Closer in, I agree with pmbuko--Bethesda is a good choice. "Downtown" Bethesda is nice and has good restaurants. Another area you can check is the Crystal City/Pentagon City part of Virginia. They are right across the bridge from D.C., Metro convenient, and have a bunch of hotels. Crystal City has a sort of poured concrete feel to it, but in my view it is nice enough and I am sure the suburbs aren't what you'd be making the trip for.
My wife volunteers at the White House visitor center here, and as a result knows a lot about D.C., things to do, etc. If there are any questions you have, I am sure I can get them answered!
Thanks guys. I did a little searching and found a reference to the Crystal City area. I found a DoublTree, which used to be a good business class hotel, but Crystal City is right next to the Airport.
I also found an Econo-Lodge (OK, not quite the same class) out on 66 right on top of a Metro Station. Its right on the route we would take to get in to Washington. Not sure what that area is like or the quality of that particular hotel/motel.
I talked to my son and he gave the trip idea a very enthusiastic "sure, why not". ::rolly-eyes:: For him thats a ringing endorsement, so it looks like this is a go.
The plan is to leave Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, stay in Washington for a couple of days, and then maybe head out to Chesapeake Bay for a couple of days.
The primary goal was to see the dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History museum and the Air and Space museum, but once you've driven that far...
I have up to a week if I want, so lots of time to see stuff. I love history, so any historic sites with period exhibits would be cool.
I was just in the DC area, and I can tell you that the Hezar-Levy (sp?) Air and Space adjunct museum is very cool. If you have a chance to get a tour of the history of helicopters from Bill, do it.
I basically walked around the whole time with the hair on the back of my neck standing up.
Schumacher-Levy. Dukes-Hazzard. I dunno. I feel like crap.
Udvar-Hazy would be the place. Packed full of flying things.
I'll tell my son we're going to the Dukes 'o Hazard museum.
That's it Fred, I'm calling you Cleatis from now on!
Just make sure you do not leave your bookbag sitting unattended - good way to get pushed to the pavement.