Washington DC during spring break
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Mar 23, 2013 9:29 PM Last Post By: Fudgy_the_Whale
Mar 16, 2013 3:30 PM
Washington DC during spring breakCall me crazy, but the family wants to go to Washington DC during spring break. That would be the one coming up in a couple of weeks. It's parents and kids ages 13 & 9 so we'll be doing the mall, capitol, Smithsonian, etc. We're not planning on getting a car.
What would be a good area to stay? It's late notice, and I'd like to be able to walk to our destinations, or be able to easily take the Metro. I can't tell from the Metro map what is the good stop for the place we want to go (or are there many?). I've looked at hotels and they're in the $300/nt range. REALLY? Would like to stay for less!
Also, any of you that did this trip with your child(ren), what do you recommend that we not miss?
Thanks for any ideas or information!
Mar 16, 2013 6:37 PM
Mar 16, 2013 8:44 PM
2You don't say specifically when you're going ("spring break" covers many weeks). The cherry blossom festival runs from March 20 to April 13. It's very popular and is the reason why hotel rates are so high; not to mention, spring is the most popular tourist season in DC.
You're not going to find anything walkable to the sites for less than $300 a night, unless you try Priceline. You'll need to look near Metro stops in Virginia or Maryland, specifically Bethesda, Crystal City, Pentagon City, or the stops between Rosslyn and Ballston inclusive.
Mar 17, 2013 5:40 AM
3You are going during HIGH SEason, between the Cherry Blossom Festival, and thousands of High School field trips for their spring break, hotels are not cheap. Add to this Easter Week, and lot of people take a long weekend.
But, the best area is usually the one that affords you the ease of walking and taking the metro, the Dupont Circle area is ideal, of over by the Sports Compex.
Check Priceline and Expedia.
The Holiday Inn is usually a good deal, $180 for the last weekend in March (Easter), great location to museums and Mall. Also, as are a few near GeorgeTown/Foggy Bottom, both great locations.
May I suggest Chicago as a back up, lot of great stuff to do, just a tad cooler. Hotels will be 1/2 the price.
Mar 17, 2013 5:57 AM
4It can be difficult to find affordable hotels in DC. Moreover, hotels are valued there in large part because of their ease-of-access to the nearest metro stop (remember that.)
I don't really know what to recommend, but $300/night sounds like it is the normal DC range,
Shop around and you'll find them in the $100 range but they won't be near the metro or for that matter near anything you want to see or do.
It sounds like in your case, you should find a cheap-o tel and hop a cab every day to the metro station. Budget $10-$20 for the cab each way. You'll be fine.
Two of the neat things about DC are that all the major sites are free, and cheap eats (super market salad bar, hot dog stands, pizza shops etc.) are readily available. So once you get accommodations worked out it really is a discount location. In some cities (NYC, Baltimore etc.) you've got to budget some major bucks per person just for entry fees and dining. DC's not like that.
Take the guided tour of the Capitol (new tours start every 15 minutes or so) The air and space museum is better with the guided tour but rocks either way. The Natural History Museum is one of the best in the world. The Museum of American History is hit-or-miss. I know nothing about art so I can't fill ya in much on the half-dozen free art museums there.
The Washington Monument is closed. You can see it but you can't go up it, but there are a number of monuments in that half-mile stretch, it should be worth a windy walk with you family.
The zoo is cool, but it costs money and there are equivalent zoos in many cities. The Library of Congress and Supreme Court can be skipped unless you have some particular interest.
Given your kids' ages it might be a good idea to try to schedule a 5-minute meeting with your congressman. (civics lesson sorta thing).
Yeah, DC hotels with easy access to the metro tend to cost to damn much. The rest of DC can be done on the cheap.
I've visited there a half-dozen times. I've lived there twice.
That's what it is
Mar 17, 2013 6:03 AM
Without knowing your exact dates and budget limit (in numbers), it's hard to suggest options.
Oh, and tours are suspended due to the sequestration.
Spy Museum. Expensive, but good for kids.
Mar 17, 2013 6:39 AM
it strikes me as though it was unfair to include NYC expenses and Baltimore expenses in the same sentence above.
Baltimore can be pricey for food entertainment etc.,, but is far cheaper than NYC. I love NYC but I day-trip it.
This has nothing to do with the OP, I just thought I should clarify.
As to DC, I think Bzook and Solo, I and the others have given you good advice.
Mar 17, 2013 11:15 AM
7Thanks so much for the replies! You've given me food for thought. The White House tours are not happening due to sequester, sadly I knew that already. We may drop the $300/nt especially since everything else is free, and we're not getting a car. I'll look at Priceline too.
We'll be going first week of April so it will be during the cherry blossom festival which I've heard is wonderful! We'll have to have a family discussion.
How horrid is the weather in DC in July or August? (We did Florida in August and NEVER need to do that again!)
Mar 17, 2013 11:42 AM
8How horrid the weather is really depends on your own tolerance. I don't mind DC in July and August. Yeah, it is hot and humid, but so is pretty much all of the Southeast and Midwest and even the Northeast so you just deal. Besides, you'll be inside museums much of the time where it is air conditioned.
Mar 17, 2013 6:24 PM
Hot, humid, sweaty.
I'm sure there are worse places on the planet (manila? saigon?)
The heat is not so bad but it's the fact that you can almost swim through the National Mall that gets you..
Basically you move from one air-conditioned museum to the next, You are glad when you are at home or in a museum, or at work.
It would actually be cool to do athletics (football or whatever) in hot sweaty weather like that. It's not overwhelming, but it's the kind of humidity that toughens you. I guess it isn't tropical or whatever, but make no mistake about it, most days it's not picnic-comfortable.
The (Potomac) River is really wide there. It makes the air a little more moist than you'd like it, but what the hey.
Mar 18, 2013 5:55 AM
10If it helps, even before the sequester, White House tours needed advance help from one's U.S. Congressional reps, and more people wanted tours than got on the list. Cherry Blossom season is a busy time for DC hotels. I agree with staying near a Metro stop, such as in Arlington. Within greater Arlington, we've stayed at the Hyatt in Rosslyn, and the Westin Arlington Gateway, and in Crystal City/Pentagon City, at the Doubletree, all through Priceline or Hotwire. All were within walking distance of Metro rail stations.
Mar 23, 2013 1:42 AM
Mar 23, 2013 6:03 AM
Mar 23, 2013 9:29 PM
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