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Trip List by TxAggieGirl

What to see, where to go, what to eat in DC

7 Jan 2008  Whirlwind trips to our nation's capitol
3.5 of 5 stars based on 5 votes

There's so much to see...get going!

  • 1. Omni Shoreham Hotel
    Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington DC, District of Columbia
    CHECK RATES!
    Avg price: $288

    My most recent stay was my second time at the Omni Shoreham. I love this hotel. The lobby is gorgeous and there were huge bouquets of fresh roses everywhere the whole time I was there -- red for several days and then yellow. You can smell them when you walk in! I also enjoyed all the historical information around the hotel about the things that happened there through the years -- presidential balls, the Beatles stayed there, part of Julia Roberts movie Pelican Brief shot there, etc....

    Valet, bellmen, concierge and front desk staff were all friendly and helpful. Checkout was at noon and I was just returning from an outing and still had to pack. The hotel was full, but they were gracious enough to give me an extra hour to get all my stuff together and didn't charge me a late check-out fee.

    Stayed in room with two queens and a view of the hotel's backyard, which is all lit up with lights at night -- very pretty and makes it feel like you're not in such a huge city. The beds were very comfortable with all white linens. The bathrooms aren't huge, but are very nicely equipped.

    Liked the desk and chair work area, where I spent lots of time doing work on my laptop. You get free internet if you sign up for their membership program -- I did it online a month or so before I went. Well worth it if you stay at Omni hotels even every once in a while.

    Despite all the great things I already mentioned, one of the best things about this hotel is its location. It's a block from a Metro station and tons of great restaurants -- bistro/bakery, Irish pub, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Mediterranean, Italian, Indian, etc. It's also not a far walk from the Zoo (6-8 blocks or so).

    It's not a cheap hotel, but is well worth the price.

  • 2. National Mall (The Mall)
    National Mall, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    First things first when you get to DC. Get a Metro pass, put several dollars on it, and DON'T put it near your credit cards or cell phone or it will get de-activated and you're SOL. Other than that....a great way to get around town.

    Went to DC for the second time in two years and spent some time on the Mall both times -- definitely not to be missed. If you're not a lazy-butt, you can take the Metro to a stop close to Ford's Theater and then walk to the Mall and White House. Then parking isn't an issue! Or take a cab....but whatever you do, go see these monuments.

    The Lincoln is impressive; the Vietnam Wall is simple and yet speaks so loud; the Korean Memorial is solemn and almost spooky, but very neat. The WWII Memorial is very moving and very nicely done. I could go on and on. The Smithsonians aren't to be missed either.

  • 3. Smithsonian Institution
    Smithsonian Institution Building, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Too many to choose from -- everything from natural history to air & space. Pick a couple and learn everything you could ever want to know about everything!

    Be sure to call ahead or check the website to find out if any of the museums are closed.

  • 4. White House
    White House, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    No public tours through the White House anymore (unless arranged through a congressman far in advance), but you can still take pictures outside the fence, and there's a small White House visitors center just a block or so away. It's got some neat little exhibits and sheds light on the personal lives of the presidents and first families.

  • 5. The Pentagon
    The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia

    On a recent trip to DC, I was able to take a tour of the Pentagon because a co-worker has an inside connection. It's really neat to see what it's like from the inside -- lots of exhibits along the walls, historical paintings, photographs, etc. Didn't get to see DEFCON 5 Command Center though.... Ha! ;)

    We also got to see the memorial room built where the 9/11 plane entered the building. Very cool and sobering. Nice to have a chance to remember those brave folks that died.

    Also got to take a quick cruise through Defense Secretary Bob Gates' office since he was out of the country. If those walls could talk..... :)

    For the lucky few these days, but if you have the opportunity, do it.

  • 6. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    The Holocaust Museum is not to be missed. We went on a Monday afternoon and only had two and a half hours before closing (at 5), so we were rushed, but it was so worth it. I could have spent hours and hours in there.

    It wasn't crowded when we were there, but I could see how it would be difficult to see everything if it was. Perhaps call the museum ahead of time and find out the best day/time to visit.

    The museum is four floors -- once you get there, they take you in an elevator to the top floor and work your way down. There is so much to see!

    The exhibits and videos were all so well done. It's all very moving and very emotional, at times. The things that made the most impact on me were the actual possessions of the Jews taken from them in the concentration camps -- their shoes, hairbrushes, umbrellas, luggage, etc. And the photographs are amazing.

    The USHMM is not to be missed. It will change the way you think about the Holocaust forever.

  • 7. National Archives
    The U.S. National Archives, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Go. Just go. See the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, a version of the Magna Carta (from our motherland), etc.

  • 8. Arlington National Cemetery
    Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

    Does this need explaining? See JFK and Jackie's graves, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (bring a hanky) and pay your respects to some of the bravest Americans of our time.

    Has its own Metro stop, so it's easy to get to.

  • 9. National Zoological Park
    National Zoological Park, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Lots of animals, lots of walking, and it's free! Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy it. Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

    Just a few blocks from the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan metro station.

  • 10. Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens
    George Washington's Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Fairfax County

    Go see where George and Martha lived. They've restored it to how it looked when the Washingtons lived there. Very neat. No photos inside, but you'll take it away in your head. The grounds are gorgeous and there's plenty to see and do. Leave a good part of a whole day for this jaunt out to Mt. Vernon.

    If you have a car, it's easiest to drive. If not, take the metro to the end of the line and then take the bus from there. Make sure you check the bus schedule, as they only run every hour on the weekends, so if you miss one, you're in for a long wait.

  • 11. Washington National Cathedral
    Washington National Cathedral, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    The National Cathedral is quite a sight to behold. The architecture, carvings, art and stained glass are simply gorgeous. We went on a tour, and it was just the two of us with our guide, an older gentleman volunteer. It was so neat to hear the stories behind everything and be able to ask questions.

    The main cathedral is breathtaking and the various chapels are all unique and beautiful in their own way. The War Memorial, Children's, St. John, Mary, and Holy Spirit chapel are all located on the first floor, while the Bethlehem, Good Shepherd, Arimathea and Resurrection chapels on on the lower crypt level. They each have their own stories behind them and are worth seeing -- there is an elevator for those that need it.

    We spent an hour or so on our tour and then attended the Friday noon service, which was really neat. We sat in the choir area and they close off the front part of the cathedral during the service. Check their website for times of services and other events that might cause the cathedral to be closed or partially closed.

    We also took the elevator up to the top level and there are great views of the city, the Potomac and the external architecture of the cathedral.

    Definitely a trip not to be missed. Accessible by bus or cab. Just make sure if you take a cab, have a number to call one to pick you up. They weren't hanging out the day we were trying to get back to our hotel and it took us a good while to flag one down.

  • 12. Bobby Van's Steakhouse
    Bobby Van's Steakhouse, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Great drinks, great food. Get the chilled jumbo shrimp, lobster and lump crab cocktails. You'll think you're in heaven. Great steaks and sides, and dessert too rich to finish. Delicious. Menu available online.

  • 13. The Capital Grille
    The Capital Grille, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    See and be seen. The place reeks of history -- great atmosphere and great food. Menu available online.

  • 14. Quarterdeck
    Quarterdeck, Arlington, Virginia

    Kitschy place with affordable seafood just over in Arlington. Stop here on your way to or fro the Cemetery.

    It ain't fancy, but it is good. Steamed crab? You bet....

  • 15. Medaterra
    Medaterra, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Some of the best hummus ever made and lamb dishes to die for. Nice atmosphere and a good martini list.

  • 16. Open City
    Open City, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Great little bakery & eatery on the corner just down from the Metro stop. Delicious pastries and a good place to catch breakfast, lunch or dinner. Hearty soups and yummy sammies, but they offer more substantial fare as well.

  • 17. Tono Sushi
    Tono Sushi, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    Delicious sushi in a small, cozy atmosphere. Two tables in the front of the restaurant with floor-pillow seating. Try the green iced tea!

  • 18. legal seafood
    Legal Sea Foods - Washington, DC - 7th Street, Washington DC, District of Columbia

    There are Legal Seafood restaurants all over the area, and we've visited the one in DC's Chinatown and in Crystal City. Both have a bustling atmosphere and delicious food. Try the clam chowder (served at presidential inaugurations) or the she crab soup before tucking into a bucket of steamers or the crab cake platter.