I love DC. I always have. It doesn’t have the same feel as Chicago or New York, but it does have it’s own very awesome vibe. I have been there when I was a kid, with my husband and now as a family. It really is an awesome trip and I would excitedly encourage anyone to bring their family to our Nation’s Capital.
My husband and I decided to take our boys on a long get away to DC this fall for a few reasons:
- Not every vacation has to be spent at Disney (a bad habit around us).
- Not every vacation has to be to Michigan (um…a bad habit in this family ;)).
- The Smithsonian Museums are free. YUP FREE. If we didn’t like one we could leave and go to another one.
- DC has the Metro which is clean, safe, not to pricey and making it so
easy to get around (yes even with kids)
- It’s 4 hours away from us
- Hotel prices are not horrible (especially when comparing to NYC)
So, off we went. Traveling with 3 boys ages 7, 4, and 3. My boys are awesome on car trips so that’s not a worry for us. We stopped a couple of times because we weren’t in a hurry. We decided to drive to Arlington National Cemetery first instead of our hotel because it just seemed easier than trying to check in and then go out.
If you haven’t been, Arlington is amazing. My boys didn’t completely get it, which is ok. They understood to be quiet, to be respectful (ok the 3 year old understood none of this but he was good at the time!), and I was really proud. They even made it through the Changing of the Guard (thanks to a well timed lollipop). We opted to pay for the trolley ride tour because it saved our kiddo’s some walking up hills (and the bonus of riding on a tram type car to amuse them).
We checked into our hotel after that. I have to say, I love Marriott. I don’t hotel it very often so I’m not sure if this Marriott is different or exceptional, but they are exceptional. We stayed at The Crystal City Marriott (bonus you can take the elevator to the basement and walk a block underground to the metro – EASY!). I promise you I am not being paid to say any of this (wish I was!), but the hotel was awesome. Beautiful room. Incredible service. Very affordable. LOVED IT. Checking in I think the employee took pity on me, she comped us a free kids movie! It was just so nice to be in a beautiful hotel and not get dirty looks because we had 3 young kids with us.
*I know that they have cancelled White House Tours for the time being* Another (free) fun thing we did was get tickets to the White House. We contacted our Congressmen 4 months prior to our visit (if you’re going during peak vacation times I think the recommendation is 6 months) to get
tickets. We could have, but opted not to, also gotten tickets to the Capital. We’ll go to the Capital one day, but my boys barely know who the President is…let alone Congress! The only “flaw” to the White House, is that it takes forever to find out if you are “in” and once you are given approval it can be yanked at any time. The other draw back? No bags (including diaper AUGH!), no strollers, no cameras. But, it’s the White House. Wanted to do it. It was interesting and quick. Not a lot of rooms to see, but at the same time you are walking in such a building of important history – walking where Abraham Lincoln walked you know?
We did a few Smithsonians and really had a great time doing that too. One thing about my kids is that they love a museum and I LOVE that about them. We did Air and Space (with 3 boys how can you not?), Natural History and some American History. It was really fun and I could go back with them and do some more!
Overall, DC does have a hustle and bustle about it like most major cities, but at the same time I found it incredibly friendly there! And kid friendly. While we were on the Metro on the way to the White House we were discussing which exit to get off of. A woman said, “Come with me I work right by it”. um ok. Can I tell you that she waited for us all to get off the train, get up the stairs, and then led us to the street to point us in the right way? Are you serious? I just felt welcomed by about everyone we met. If you have the chance GO! And you can even take the kiddos!