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Posted: 3/27/2003 5:08:01 PM EDT
My wife is going out about 5 days ahead of me for a professional seminar. I'll be flying out to meet her when the seminar is over and we'll spend five days touring heart of the worlds oldest and greatest republic. Neither of us have ever been to D.C. and we're both pretty excited. So I need some advise from people who either live in the area or have travelled in Washington D.C. Our Hotel is already booked, we'll be staying at the Weston Fairfax (on Embassy Row). Keep in mind that we'll be travelling with the budget of two indigent field mice (graduate student income) so there won't be many nights of $300 dinners followed by martinis with selected members of congress. Please name the "must see" sites and/or shows memorials, local non-tourist restaurants, short out of town trips, etc... I've already got a short list, but want to know what everyone here would recommend. Also, what can you tell me about the gun/weapon laws in D.C. proper? Can I carry a pocket knife of X length, etc...
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 5:21:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2003 5:21:46 PM EDT by NoVaGator]
You can't be on too tight of a budget of you're staying at the Westin Fairfax. That's a schweet hotel.... There are so many things to do in DC that you'll definely have to triage your sightseeing. Smithsonians are an obvious choice. You can call your congressman and set up a priviate Capitol building tour. The National Cathedral is a short cab ride from you hotel. The Brickskellar is near your hotel...it has the largest selection of beers in the world...thousands of 'em. You can also get buffalo burgers there. There are so many good restaurants in DC that you'll never be able to make up your mind...what type of food do you like. Feel free to IM me...
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 5:22:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2003 5:23:20 PM EDT by Wolfpack]
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 5:34:55 PM EDT
Don't forget: The National Spy Museum The National Firearms Museum
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 5:46:43 PM EDT
I would call Arlington Cemetary #1 on my list of things to do in DC. It is definitely high in "American Pride" as far as I'm concerned. I did eat at the "Congressional Cafeteria" in the basement of the Capital building. It was a very generous serving of BBQ ribs and side for about $5.00.
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 6:01:04 PM EDT
ROLLING THUNDER!!!!!!
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 6:04:03 PM EDT
Yes, to all the above. Make sure you visit your congressman/Senator's offices and tell them how wonderful your Senator is...remind them you are Pro second ammendment.[:D]
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 6:21:19 PM EDT
Holocaust museum, and air and space are two must see sights, the Enola Gay is there, just ignore the anti US propoganda mounted next to it
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 6:48:39 PM EDT
Thanks for all the advise so far. I didn't even realize that the National Firearms Museum was in Washington. That might get bumped up on the list.
Originally Posted By NoVaGator: You can't be on too tight of a budget of you're staying at the Westin Fairfax. That's a schweet hotel.... Feel free to IM me...
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PriceLine.com does wonders for a tight budget. [:)] We're pretty psyched about staying there, what makes it even better is that we're paying the same as if we stayed at the Best Western across the Potomac. Unfortunately the White House is closed to tours during wartime, so that's out of the question. I assume that Arlington will be decorated to the hilt for Memorial Day, so that's on the "to do" list. I suppose I should also ask what things and places to avoid. With only five days, I don't really want to waste time on something less than stellar.
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 7:03:20 PM EDT
One thing I would strongly suggest is taking an "Old Town Trolley" tour on the morning of your first day. It will give you a really good sense of where everything is, and the guides truly know everyting there is to know about DC. Every tourist that I've recommendrd it to has loved it. The National Firearms Museum is located at the NRA HQ in Fairfax, VA. You'll definetly need a car to get there.
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 7:32:44 PM EDT
Two places that usually don't make the lists... - Holocaust museum. It will definitely make a lasting impression on you. Easy to get to by using the Metro (subway). - Washington National Cathedral. I would have never thought to have gone there but someone asked me to take them there so that they could see it. Even if you aren't spiritual, the architecture is amazing (Indiana limestone construction). Picture this: you know the Washington monument? You could lay it on its side and it would fit inside the cathedral with room to spare.
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 7:40:44 PM EDT
The NRA’s National Firearms Museum is actually in Fairfax City, Virginia (just off the route 50 exit of Interstate 66). It’s pretty easy to get to during non-rush hours, but you will need wheels. This in turn will put you pretty close to the Manassas (Bull Run) civil war battlefield. However, unless you’re really into that kind of thing, you probably wouldn’t find it too exciting. And if you’ve got wheels, also consider Mount Vernon – again a pretty easy drive from DC. If you’re interested in such things, you could also take in the National Zoo. On a different note, DC has extremely stringent and hopelessly unsuccessful gun laws. Further, it is the wrong city to simply go exploring in!! You need to have a pretty good idea where you are going at all times. As long as you stay in the better areas, you should be OK. Normally the city is mobbed around Memorial Day with school class trips and such. I’m not sure that’s going to be true this year!
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 7:47:24 PM EDT
Visited for non business for a change awhile back. The Smithsonians were awesome. Parts were almost a religous experience. As was the Vietnam Memorial. Was for me anyway. I wish I gad known about the Brickskellar place. [smile] gaye I missed that. [beer]
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 7:49:10 PM EDT
Visited for non business for a change awhile back. The Smithsonians were awesome. Parts were almost a religous experience. As was the Vietnam Memorial. Was for me anyway. I wish I gad known about the Brickskellar place. [smile] hate I missed that. [beer]
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 8:59:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2003 9:04:44 PM EDT by Phlegethon]
I used to live in DC (one year), Bethesda (two years), and North Potomac (ten years); I was on the faculty at George Washington Univ. Medical School. You will have a great time in DC. If you have a car, don't forget to visit Mt. Vernon (G. Washington's residence) on the Potomac. If you're going to be in DC soon, you should not miss a stroll along the tidal basin to catch all the cherry blossoms in bloom (they usually start blooming around the end of March - but it depends on the weather). If you go to the Jefferson Memorial, you'll see this. It's a nice break from all the hustle of trying to get through the entirety of the Smithsonian complex. As stated before, you must visit the Brickskellar at least once since it is so close to where you are staying - you will not be disappointed. It's nothin' fancy ... just the largest selection of beer you've laid your eyes on, so go there thirsty. If you want to get out of the city and see some other local color, take a drive to Annapolis, browse around that city (Capital of Maryland, Naval Academy), and have a meal out there. If you wish to remian closer to town, then cross the Potomac and go to Olde Towne Alexandria for tourist browsing activities and good food. Also, M street in Georgetown might hold some interest for you if you've never been there, and it's just a couple of blocks away from your hotel. The Adams Morgan section of NW is also within walking distance of your hotel ... a good variety of cuisines with reasonably priced dining. When in DC, make sure you do NOT accidently wander into the southeast section of the city ... it's not safe. Try to stick to NW ... note that SW and NE can get a little dicey, too. Watch yourself during the night wherever you are. The cool thing about all the National Museums (Smithsonian), the National Zoo, etc. - they don't charge admission (our tax dollars paid for everything) - wander in and stay until closing. If you're into art, you shouldn't miss the National Gallery, esp. the East Wing. You could just walk along The Mall and visit those buildings that look appealing to you ... discover DC on your own terms. I suggest you go to AAA club and get a map of DC and a Tour Book (a map of the city and its environs is indispensible - don't visit DC without one). From your hotel you can walk to The Mall and most of the Memorials - but it will make for a long day. The best thing might be to walk to the DuPont Circle metro station and ride the metro down to The Mall - it's not very expensive and is a lot faster and les tiring than walking. You can also ride the metro out to Arlington, but you must switch from the red line to the blue line in order to accomplish this (you'll figure this out when you get a map of the metro routes). Here a link to the metro system map: [url]http://www.wmata.com/metrorail/systemmap.cfm[/url] Give my regards to the giant rats that inhabit the areas around Foggy Bottom - near the hotel you'll be staying at, and the Kennedy Center / George Washington University / Georgetown (you'll see them scurrying around trash cans at night). -- edited to add web link --
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 9:09:42 PM EDT
Mount Vernon is great......I dont remember how far out of DC it was, but it wasnt far. Well worth the short trip
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 9:11:06 PM EDT
I notice you mentioned weapon laws. Guns are illegal unless you registered it back in '74. Ammo has to be registered as well. Stun guns are the same as firearms for leal purposes. Pepper spray is legal. I honestly don't know if knives are really legal or not but I carry mine and so do many others. Note that some places like the archives where the Constitution and Declaration are displayed have metal detectors in place. Most museums don't have this issue.
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 9:13:58 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 9:22:33 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/27/2003 9:34:04 PM EDT
Been a mighty long time since I was there, (opening of the wall era) but I used to go up there almost every weekend (Would ride my motorcycle up from Ft. Bragg friday evening and stay at a friends house and leave on Sunday. Had another friend at Walter Reed) But anyway, when playing tourist I would start at the Wall and work my way around the mall and perhaps hit 2 of the museums per trip. Air and Space, and Natural history are great. Don't get confused and think the State Dept. is part of the mall though. The Iwo Jima memorial is really cool too. But I absolutely had to pay my respects at the wall each and every time. When standing down there and seeing all those names, it is truly a humbling experience.
Link Posted: 3/28/2003 12:24:41 AM EDT
I heard that the White House is closed to tourists. Tours thru the capitol building can only be arranged thru your congressperson. The National Archives where the Declaration of Independance and Constitution is stored is being renovated. I do suggest a tour thru the U.S. Printing & engraving, FBI building(there was a machine gun demo). They used ot have public tours of the Pentagon, but know what the status today. Everywhere we went there were metal detectors, that was before WTC/Pentagon attack of 9-11. I don't know what their policy is today.
Link Posted: 3/28/2003 12:57:50 AM EDT
Originally Posted By NoVaGator: You can't be on too tight of a budget of you're staying at the Westin Fairfax. That's a schweet hotel.... There are so many things to do in DC that you'll definely have to triage your sightseeing. Smithsonians are an obvious choice. You can call your congressman and set up a priviate Capitol building tour. The National Cathedral is a short cab ride from you hotel. The Brickskellar is near your hotel...it has the largest selection of beers in the world...thousands of 'em. You can also get buffalo burgers there. There are so many good restaurants in DC that you'll never be able to make up your mind...what type of food do you like. Feel free to IM me...
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WOW! I can't beleieve that I read about the Brickskellar on AR15.com. I live in Colorado now, but lived in the DC area from 1971 to 1989. After I got back from Active Duty in the USMC, we used to go get waisted tasting beers at the Brickskellar. Had a good buddy that used to collect beer cans, and we would drink till our hearts content, and give him all the cans. Used to let him order, so he could get cans he did not have in his collection!! Brings back memories!! Maud_Dib, I think that most of the folks here have given you some really good direction for what to tour in DC. It is a fantastic place, and you won't be able to see it all in 5 days. My favorites are the Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capital. Lots of fun, and most of the Simthsonian buildings are off of the Mall. It has the Vietnam memorial and the National Botanic Gardens and much more. National Air and Space Museum is my favorite Simthsonian Museum, but I also really like the Museum of Natural History, also. National Cathederal is really cool too. You could spend all 5 days at the museums alone. Go see the USMC Memorial also! Most of the sights are great, ENJOY, and have a great time!! Starsil9
Link Posted: 3/28/2003 5:39:10 PM EDT
Fantastic advise! I haven't been able to get in to the general discussion forums all day to reply, so I'll just say thanks for all the great advise so far. It's great to get the inside info from those in the know. But I have no idea what "Rolling Thunder" is. Can someone fill me in please?
Link Posted: 3/28/2003 5:54:15 PM EDT
Pentagon is still giving tours, I'd call ahead. You gotta see that building to believe it - its HUGE. Vietnam Memorial - what can I say.... NRA National Firearms Museum - they have a huge number of firearms on display - really it would take more than one day to go through it.
Link Posted: 3/28/2003 9:11:19 PM EDT
Rolling Thunder is the annual "Ride to the Wall" on Memorial Day Weekend... tens of thousands of motorcyclists ride in from all over the country, stage in one of the Pentagon's parking lots, and then make a solemn ride to the Vietnam Memorial to pay respects. It is awesome to witness, and more awesome to participate as a rider (I rode in it twice ... with police escorts from Gaithersburg to the DC limits - the motorcycle cops love doing the escort thing, too). It plays havoc with the traffic patterns in SW DC for the entire day, and even outside the district traffic can be disrupted briefly by long convoys of bikers making their way to "the ride."
Link Posted: 3/28/2003 10:26:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2003 10:30:04 PM EDT by BigJ491]
Originally Posted By Hoplophile: Ammo has to be registered as well.
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Per my good friend in the Secret Service, you can be arrested for unregistered ammo, but the catch is you can't register ammo in DC.
Pepper spray is legal.
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Also per my friend in the Secret Service, Pepper Spray IS NOT LEGAL in DC. Outside city might be a different story , but in the city, you can get jacked up for it. I would also leave the pocket knife in the room if you're going to go into any government buildings. There's a pretty high pucker effect there right now, and I'd hate to see you lose a nice blade, and/or get jacked up for it, especially out of town. That being said, there are some great restuarants in DC. If you're downtown by the White House, try Old Ebbitt Grille. It's pretty famous, as a lot of movies have been shot there (i.e. In the Line of Fire and many others). It's It's directly accross (East of the Treasury Building, which is the building on the East side of the White House. [url=http://www.rockbottom.com/RockBottomWeb/RBR/Index.aspx?PageName=/RockBottomWeb/Controls/Location/DisplayLocationRBR.ascx&SectionName=Root.LocationFinder.LocationResults.LocationDetails.OurPlace&LocationID=10057]Rock Bottom Brewery[/url] in Bethesda is pretty good. Brown Bear Brown is my fav ale there. The best breakfast I've had out there is at the Dough Roller, but it's in Crofton, which is about 40 min Northeast of DC, kind of a hike for you prolly. Here's a good link to some good photos of DC and the area. This might give you some good ideas for places to see. [url=http://www.kestan.com/dcstock/stockphotohome/index.htm]DC Photos[/url]
Link Posted: 3/29/2003 5:05:02 AM EDT
Originally Posted By starsil9:
Originally Posted By NoVaGator: You can't be on too tight of a budget of you're staying at the Westin Fairfax. That's a schweet hotel.... There are so many things to do in DC that you'll definely have to triage your sightseeing. Smithsonians are an obvious choice. You can call your congressman and set up a priviate Capitol building tour. The National Cathedral is a short cab ride from you hotel. The Brickskellar is near your hotel...it has the largest selection of beers in the world...thousands of 'em. You can also get buffalo burgers there. There are so many good restaurants in DC that you'll never be able to make up your mind...what type of food do you like. Feel free to IM me...
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WOW! I can't beleieve that I read about the Brickskellar on AR15.com. I live in Colorado now, but lived in the DC area from 1971 to 1989. After I got back from Active Duty in the USMC, we used to go get waisted tasting beers at the Brickskellar. Had a good buddy that used to collect beer cans, and we would drink till our hearts content, and give him all the cans. Used to let him order, so he could get cans he did not have in his collection!! Brings back memories!!
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Back in the day, my buddies and I used to go to the Brickskellar and "drink a country." The beers on the menu are listed by country. We'd pick a country and drink every beer from that country. Obviously, you couldn't pick Germany or England, but you could pick Argentina or Bangladesh, or somehting like that. Thay also have really good perogies there. I [i]wouldn't[/i] suggest walking from you hotel to the mall. First of all, if you're walking as the crow flies, you won't pass anything of note. You basically walk through GW University and the State Department area. with limited tourist time, it's best to get where you're going, rather than spending 30 minuts walking past nondescript office buildings. Take a taxi. It won't be more than $5. You might check the calendar and see what's going on at the Kennedy Center when you're here. Mt. Vernon is about 30 mins south of DC - you'd definetly need a car, but there are also tour buses that can take you there.
Link Posted: 3/29/2003 5:31:07 AM EDT
I'll be there for Rolling Thunder. Generally the area around the Mall on Sunday will be wall to wall motorcycles, The ride is actually on Sunday. Most of the bikes congregate at the Pentagon parking lot. We all leave the Pentagon at 12 noon. So if you wanna see between 250000 and 450000 bikes in one parking lot spin by and see why it is called Rolling Thunder when we start pulling out to go to the Mall.
Link Posted: 3/29/2003 6:13:26 AM EDT
Oh, forgot. You should also visit Ford's theater where Lincoln was shot and little house accross the street where they took him and the bed where he died. They have a little museum underneath the theater. Admission is free. It is the property of the U.S. Park Service.
Link Posted: 3/29/2003 6:29:50 AM EDT
Rolling Thunder sounds awesome! I'm glad we'll be there to witness it. With all this great advise I'm sure we can fill 5 days with activities. Thanks!
Link Posted: 3/29/2003 6:50:28 AM EDT
Go to the Brickskeller! A few days ago I had a lot of friends and family visit here in DC and we toured the monuments in a limo. It wasn't that expensive(cheaper than a cab), and it was a blast! You have to take a limo ride. You can get them for $55 an hour with a three hour minimum. Plus you can drink the whole time. Have fun!
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 9:48:01 AM EDT
I'm flying out in the morning! Just thought I'd revive this thread and ask for any last minute advise. The idea of going to D.C. under a high terror alert makes me feel like I'm walking into the lion's den. The idea of being stuck in D.C. because the aiplanes have all been grounded just popped into my head last night. I figure it might not hurt to have some local friends. So if anyone in the D.C. area wants to email me their name and number, etc... I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks!
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 11:31:09 AM EDT
Camelot Good Guys Royal Palace Bring lots' of ones [banana]
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 11:56:44 AM EDT
I lived in DC for 32 years. Shoot me an IM if you need any specific info on DC once you get there. I'd be happy to give you directions etc. to anythgin you want so see or visit. The Mall will be crazy on Monday, I mean crazy!!! Take the Metro around town DO NOT DRIVE you will get lost and will not be able to park anywhere, I guarantee it! I am sure you already know this but: KEEP YOUR GUNS HOME, EVEN AMMO IS ILLEGAL IN DC.
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 2:56:55 PM EDT
The govt has deployed anti-aircraft missiles in the DC area. Take a look at a pic of the Humvees with Stingers. They have a pic at the CNN website. [url=http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/05/21/terror.main/index.html]stingers in Washington DC[/url]
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 3:05:29 PM EDT
Definetly bring a raincoat! I'll IM you some contact info in case you need an quick evac or you're lost and need some directions.
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 3:05:44 PM EDT
Originally Posted By warlord: The govt has deployed anti-aircraft missiles in the DC area. Take a look at a pic of the Humvees with Stingers. They have a pic at the CNN website. [url=http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/05/21/terror.main/index.html]stingers in Washington DC[/url]
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That's not helping my anxiety any.
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 3:07:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By NoVaGator: Definetly bring a raincoat! I'll IM you some contact info in case you need an quick evac or you're lost and need some directions.
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Thanks! Hopefully I won't have to bother you at all. I'll let you know when I get that IM.
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 4:04:46 PM EDT
I just got back from a year in DC, thank you Michigan National Guard. My advice is to try and take the metro, the local subway,as much as possible, parking is non-existant in DC, esp around the Smithsonian. Traffic is crazy and 495 shuts down during rush hour. Avoid Georgetown, Bethesda is pretty nice, but if you want to save money there are plenty of cheap places to eat. A good place to start is the neiborhood of Adams Morgan-take the green line to the columbia heights station and simply walk down to columbia ave. There are a bunch of reasonbly priced restaurants and pubs. Ditto for the area around Dupont Circle, there's a bunch of funky shops and bars, my brother manages "Teaism", a tea house there. If visiting any of the meusums, pack light as you have to go through a search. The NRA meusum is worth the trip, it's pretty neat. Baltimore is only an hour away and it's waterfront is a tourist mecca. DC has a tremendously high crime rate-due to gun control and lack of police presence. But if you stick to the tourist areas you shouldn't have a problem. The FDR monument is pretty cool too, it's right off the potamac and by the fish market. Have fun, DC is a great town.
Link Posted: 5/21/2003 4:05:27 PM EDT
I just got back from a year in DC, thank you Michigan National Guard. My advice is to try and take the metro, the local subway,as much as possible, parking is non-existant in DC, esp around the Smithsonian. Traffic is crazy and 495 shuts down during rush hour. Avoid Georgetown, Bethesda is pretty nice, but if you want to save money there are plenty of cheap places to eat. A good place to start is the neiborhood of Adams Morgan-take the green line to the columbia heights station and simply walk down to columbia ave. There are a bunch of reasonbly priced restaurants and pubs. Ditto for the area around Dupont Circle, there's a bunch of funky shops and bars, my brother manages "Teaism", a tea house there. If visiting any of the meusums, pack light as you have to go through a search. The NRA meusum is worth the trip, it's pretty neat. Baltimore is only an hour away and it's waterfront is a tourist mecca. DC has a tremendously high crime rate-due to gun control and lack of police presence. But if you stick to the tourist areas you shouldn't have a problem. The FDR monument is pretty cool too, it's right off the river and by the fish market. Have fun, DC is a great town.
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