Washington DC on a Tight Budget

We Need a Plan

We had come to visit my daughter for Christmas and the New Year in Fredericksburg Virginia and being so close to Washington of course we wanted to visit the Nation’s capital and some of the most famous sights associated with it.

As always the first place that we looked at was the internet where there were many tours to choose from but when you multiplied the cost of even the cheapest of these tours by the seven of us in our family group the price was in the hundreds of dollars.

Now I don’t know about you but we are ordinary folk for who even one hundred dollars is a lot of money. So we needed to have a plan in order for our visit to Washington to be done as economically as possible for a group our size and below is our plan and the tour we made using this plan..

The White House

Source

Our must see list

Using the itinerary of some of the organised tours we found on the internet as a guide we made a list of the sights that we most wanted to see as we figured that the most popular sights would all be included on the paid tours.

 

This is the list of our must sees that we came up with
  • The Whitehouse  
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • The Washington Monument Reflection Pool
  • The Washington Monument

 

As long as we could visit these places then we all felt we would be happy with our day in Washington and if we could see more than this then it would be a bonus.

The Map

All our must see sights are in this area
All our must see sights are in this area

Where are the sights that we want to see?

We looked on the maps on the internet to see where the sights that we wanted to see were located and we found that they were quite close to one another and they were also free to visit. This was a real surprise as many of the museums and interesting sights in the UK and Europe are often quite expensive to visit, especially if they are interesting sites like the museums.

 

How to get there

The next thing we looked at was how to get there, we looked at public transport and it was not too expensive however, if you multiplied it by seven people it soon became so.

So we decided that for our group of seven it would be much cheaper to go in by car and pay for parking somewhere near the sights that we wanted to see.

How to get around when there

As one of our aims was to get around as cheaply as possible and still see the sights we wanted to see we decided that in our case our tour would be one done on foot.

This was a decision that suited our family group as we are all relatively fit and mobile and the sights that we had chosen to see were relatively close together and we figured that we could walk from attraction to attraction fairly easily.

While seeing the sights we did come across a tour that was being conducted on that unusual looking mode of transport known as Segways.

They looked like they might be a lot of fun but with a family group like ours with youngish children and the mechanically inept like me this would not be a practical transport solution for us and also it would turn out to be quite expensive no doubt for seven people.

 

Segways

A Segway tour passing by
A Segway tour passing by

Where to park?

We needed a place to park that was close to the places we wanted to see our son-in-law knew just the place and took us to the Ronald Regan Building which was only a short walk from the Whitehouse. The cost of our parking for our sightseeing day was $22 which I thought was not too bad considering the convenience of being right on top of the places we wanted most to see. 

 

One thing took me by surprise though, which was because this building is a federal building we had to show ID to park our car of course everyone in our party had theirs except me. It never occurred to me that I would need to have ID in order to get into a car park, and when we came to enter the building on our return we had to undergo a search and a pat down. It seems that since 911 that every time we visit the USA we have to go through the more and more such security checks.

 

I wonder if any terrorists have actually been caught using these security methods? While we were on holiday there was someone on a plane out from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, which is one of the most heavily secured air facilities in the world who had tried to set off an explosive device on a plane on Christmas day as it came into land in Detroit. The explosive device was strapped to this guy’s leg and it was similar in type to the one that the failed shoe bomber had used. It turns out that this guy’s father a Nigerian banker had reported his son’s "radicalization and associations" to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria but nothing had been done with this information.

 

Enough of this let’s get back to Washington and its delightful attractions

National Christmas tree

We exited the Ronald Regan building onto Pennsylvania Avenue and as we looked to the right we could see the Capitol Building in the distance.

With the Capitol Building to our backs we started our walk towards the Whitehouse.

On the way, passing by the most impressive Hotel frontage of the Willard Inter Continental hotel.

In only a few minutes we were by the President's Park where the National Christmas Tree with all its adornments stood.

Because we were visiting during the day the tree did not have any of its lights on so I am sure we did not see it at its best.

The tree was much smaller than I imagined it would be but I should imagine that it would look much more impressive in the dark and all lit up.

As you can see from these photographs we had a beautiful sunny day for our trip there was hardly a cloud in the sky all day.

The Capitol Building
The Capitol Building
The Willard Inter Continental
The Willard Inter Continental
The National Tree
The National Tree

The Whitehouse

Of course the top of our list was the Whitehouse you could not visit the capital and not see the Whitehouse.

The day we visited was extremely cold with sub zero temperatures and we were all wrapped up against the weather. Even though well wrapped up the wind stung what little flesh that was left uncovered.

You can tell how cold it was by the fact that I did not take off my hat when my photograph was taken.

The hat and the scarf I wore did not flatter me at all and normally I would remove such items before my photo was taken.

However, the cold was such that I would rather be photographed wearing these things than suffer the cold for the time it took to take a photo.

Just to satisfy your curiosity here is a photograph of me all wrapped up just so that you can see what I mean.

As I told you it makes for a far from flattering photograph, but it was far better than suffering from the icy blasts of wind that was whipping about that day.

The Whitehouse

The White house
The White house
All wrapped up and I was still cold brrrr
All wrapped up and I was still cold brrrr

The Washington monument

From the Whitehouse we made our way to the Washington monument. The Washington monument took thirty six years to complete stands 169 meters high (555ft 5inches) and was built to honour America’s first President George Washington.

 

It is not until you get up close that you get some idea just how big this monument is and what an enormous fete it was to build it. The monument was finally completed on December 6th 1884 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Lincoln Casey.

 

The views from the top are supposed to be spectacular although admission is free tickets are required which are obtainable in a number of ways including online at

 http://www.recreation.gov/tourParkDetail.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=77811

 

Though admission is free there is a handling charge for booking a ticket.

 

The Washington Monument

The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument

The World War II Memorial

Even though all these tourist sights are relatively close together there is still a lot of walking involved.

If you choose to follow our example and do the tour on foot then you need to be fairly fit and it would really pay you to have on a decent pair of shoes.

From here we made our way to The World War II Memorial which was built to honour the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the United States.

The Reflecting Pool

Next we made our way to the Reflecting Pool which had frozen over all save just a narrow strip of about 18 inches down the right hand side as you look towards the Lincoln Memorial.

 

The reflecting Pool is very impressive it is 2029 feet long by 167 feet wide and it is 18 inches deep at the edges and 30 inches deep in the center and it takes an astonishing 6,750,000 gallons of water to fill this pool

 

The Reflecting Pool

Iced over
Iced over

Lincoln Memorial

Reading the Gettysburg Address with the Statue of Abraham Lincoln in the background
Reading the Gettysburg Address with the Statue of Abraham Lincoln in the background
The view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
The view from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
View on the day of the rally in 1963
View on the day of the rally in 1963

The Lincoln Memorial

From the reflecting pool we made our way to the Lincoln Memorial, this was my personal must see sight in Washington.

I have always wanted to see this particular statue of President Lincoln for myself, I have seen so many photographs of the Lincoln Memorial.

This Memorial has also featured many times in news articles as many famous rallies have been held in this area.

One rally that has stuck in my mind is the one that took place August 28, 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

It was during this rally that Martin Luther King Jr made his now famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech which he delivered standing on the steps of this memorial.

It is impossible to hear and see this speech being made without being moved and inspired and the images of that day are so strong that it made this place an absolute must see for me.

I took a photograph looking out from the top of the steps imagining what it must have been like to actually be there on that on that day in August 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr delivered this famous ‘I have a dream ‘speech.

Here is the photo that I took and one taken on the day of the 'I have a dream' speech.

Standing there taking this photograph I could almost hear Martin Luther King saying I have a dream and hear the crowd responding.

It must have been a tremendous experience to be there with thousands of other people as history was being made.

I wonder if those hearing that speech on that day had any idea how important and memorable that speech was.

Martin Luther King was a great man who I greatly admire and I think that this location was an ideal place for him to make that speech.





Martin Luther King's speech

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Our next stop was the Korean War Veterans Memorial this Memorial is dedicated to the American men and women who served in the Korean War.

It is a most impressive Memorial consisting of a group of 19 statues in a kind of V formation of a little larger than life size soldiers who are out on patrol facing an American flag.

As you gaze on this group of soldiers out on patrol it almost feels like they could quite easily suddenly come to life and finish their patrol.

To one side there is a large granite wall which has a mural etched into it of the faces of 2,400 unnamed soldiers with a reading that reminds the onlooker that “Freedom is not free” and the faces that are etched on to the wall brings home to you in a vivid way that it was real people with families who had paid the price.

Close by a Pool of Remembrance honours all soldiers who were killed, wounded or missing in action.

This was a sombre Memorial and the statues depicting the soldiers were amazingly life like captured in a very realistic way.

Korean War Memorial

Soldiers on Patrol
Soldiers on Patrol
Etched Faces
Etched Faces

Hot Dogs

What did this day out cost us?

Did our plan work out well? Did we have a great day out? The answer to both of these questions I am sure you will agree is a resounding yes!

By the time we had seen all of the above sights we were all very cold and tired from all the walking that we had done but very satisfied that it had cost us nothing save the cost of the car parking fee of $22 and a few dollars for a couple of hot dogs from a stall not far from the White House.

We made our way back to the Regan building in which there is a large food hall with food at a realistic price, so ended a day in which we saw all that we wanted to and more in bright sunshine and in the wonderful company of my family.

Washington has now become one of my most favourite cities which sometime in the future I intend to explore more deeply.

My other Travel Hubs

If you have enjoyed this hub you might enjoy some of the other places I have visited and written about.

 The Indian Dwelling at Manitou Springs

I loved Colorado and I loved seeing the Anasazi Indian Cliff dwellings at Manitou Springs. These authentic Indian Cliff dwellings are situated off Route 24 just west of Colorado Springs where we were staying and are located at the foot of Pikes Peak nestling under the red sandstone overhang which protects them.

 Tombstone Arizona

If you are looking for a page full of facts figures and history then this is not the page for you and there are plenty of other sites on the web already that can give you that. As someone who has been a tourist in America many times this hub will give you a typical tourist’s view of a visit to Tombstone as seen through the eyes of someone that comes from another country.

 Guadalest Spain

Guadalest or to give it its full title El Castell de Guadalest has to be one of the most photographed towns in all of Spain and no matter what time of year you visit there always seems to be some tourists about.

 Guadalest part two the Old Town

Welcome to part two of my hub on Guadalest in this hub we are continuing where we left off at the ‘Portal de San José’. The upper part known as the Castle village is entered through this 15 meter long, man made, tunnel through solid rock called the ‘Portal de San José and it is a much photographed part of Guadalest as the tunnel frames photographs wonderfully.

 Easter in Villajoyosa Spain

Villajoyosa is a small seaside town on the Costa Blanca in Spain. It is a delightful mixture of the old and the new. The old dates back to the 1300’s and the new is being built all around us as I write. Villa as it is often called by the locals is a fishing port that still has a beautiful harbour and marina plus a working boat yard.

 Villajoyosa Moors and Christian Fiesta

I cannot believe that it is July again already, and things are beginning to hot up in Villajoyosa in more ways than one. The Spanish are saying that the hot weather we are having at the moment is more like August weather than July weather and the temperature looks set to rise some more. Two days ago it was the presentation of the two Kings ready for this year's Moors and Christians fiesta.

 Shoshone Falls Idaho

This guide to Shoshone Falls is not a typical tourist guide as I am not a travel writer, I don’t work for a travel agency I am just a simple tourist and this article is written from a real tourists’ perspective. What you read is our own personal experience as tourists who were actually visiting Shoshone Falls and hopefully you will get a more realistic idea of what is on offer than that which is from the some blurb written by someone with a vested interest. I hope the photos will also give a proper taste of what is actually there.

 The Real Grave of Billy the Kid

This hub is designed to give you a real tourist’s eye view of the Billy the Kid tourist attraction. So often the stuff written about these places are written either by travel writers or tourist information places who either are paid for their opinions or want to encourage you to go so that they can part you from your money.

 A very Special day in St George Utah

This is another of my travel hubs and as usual it was a fly-drive holiday with only the first and last nights accommodation booked. What follows is from the perspective of an ordinary family of tourists on holiday, I hope that you will enjoy your virtual trip to St George in Utah with me.

How To see Washington on a Tight Budget

We had come to visit my daughter for Christmas and the New Year in Fredericksburg Virginia and being so close to Washington of course we wanted to visit the Nation’s capital and some of the most famous sights associated with it.

More by this Author

  • A Tourist’s Guide to ‘The Real Grave of Billy The Kid’
    27

    This hub is designed to give you a a first hand real tourist’s eye view of the Billy the Kid tourist attraction. It includes photographs, videos, information and an honest account of our experience

  • The Miami Police Museum
    36

    The Miami Police Museum is a must see place to visit. This article tells of the interesting things that you will find on a visit to this museum. The article has lots of photographs of some of the fun and interesting...

  • EDITOR'S CHOICE
    Working Class Life in the 1940s - Wash Day
    51

    what wash days were like sixty years ago before there were such things as automatic washing machines. Read this first hand account of what it was like in a working class home in Britain on wash day.


Comments 20 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I don't think I will ever get there so I thorough enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hello hello I am glad that you have enjoyed the photographs and this little mini tour of one small part of Washington. Thank you also for leaving your kind comment I really appreciate it.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 6 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Great hub Maggs!

I gotta say you look sooo sexy in that hat and coat (Oooh-la-la!!) I'm surprised they let you publish that! Hahaha! I do so love your travel-logs. You cover everything so well, and take great photos! Love it when your hubs come out! Thank you!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

What a real joy it is to see your name once again in my comments, I thought that you would like to see the hat,six layers of clothing and the scarf rather than just hear about it lol. I look nearly as wide as I do tall lol.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Maggs224, Wonderful informative hub! Great photographs of some of the historical sites of Washington ... Dr. Martin Luther King "I Have A Dream" speech was a real treat! Thank you for sharing, Blessings!


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

maggs224-

As always ,a wonderfully interesting hub.Thank you for such a precise guide to Washington-I may go someday!

You look ever so cool in your hat and scarf,sure beats having your ears frozen off!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

hi DeBorrah, thanks for your comments, you are such an encouragement. How wonderful it would have been to have been part of that crowd listening to Dr Martin Luther King's speech.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

hi itakins, you are right it does beat getting your ears frozen off brrr. I know you like nature and cats, you might like the photos in my latest hub I'm off now to read your hub http://hubpages.com/hub/Want-To-Make-God-Laugh-Tel...


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Thank you for reminding why I love the Capital of the USA...I've been to D.C more than you have but somehow you have managed to come away as an official tour guide! I'm glad you got a chance to enjoy the sights....Around here anymore D.C. means politics! Great hub Maggs!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Thank you Ann Nonymous for you comments I am glad that my little hub has managed to rekindled your love for this beautiful city.


The Rope profile image

The Rope 6 years ago from SE US

Great hub as always! Your pics and writing did a terrific job - maybe we can ship it off to the visitor's center! Glad you enjoyed the city, it is a wonderful place to visit and each time you come, you'll find more to love.


SusanVMUSA profile image

SusanVMUSA 6 years ago

Great hub and pics! DC is an awesome place to visit.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

@ The Rope Thank you for the compliments, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the positive feedback.

There are so many wonderful things to do in this city and so many things are free I look forward to coming back to visit many more times in the future.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

@SusanVMUSA You are absolutely right DC is an awsome place!!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

I enjoyed this very much. I first visited DC with my parents in 1960. We had traveled across country by automobile. Of all of the places we stopped, the $25 we paid for a motel in Virginia was the highest (and most outrageous) lodging fee we paid.

Mom had thoroughly researched the points of interest to make the most of our brief time there, and we saw a lot of the same things you did. No WWII or Korean monuments at that time. but we did go to Arlington, the mint, and the capitol where we sat in the senate gallery for a few minutes. (Lyndon Johnson was speaking.) Also did the white House tour.

Several years later we got a chance to take our young boys to Washington. The view from the top of the Washington Monument is unforgettable.

I enjoyed your icy tour very much. Both times I visited it was sweltering and humid. I'm glad you got a chance to do this on your visit to the US. It is a special place.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Hi Rochelle wow $25 that was a lot of money back then, but you are right it is a special place to visit.

We enjoyed our visit to DC all the more because we were with family and we all had a great day out thats one of the boys, young Vaughn, in the reflecting pool photo.


Trusted Marketing profile image

Trusted Marketing 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Nice post. There is so much to see one can get lost and still have a good time finding your way back.

And so many areas are free. Makes for a good vacation.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

Yes there is much more to see than I thought there would be and I have learned more since I have been back home. We shall certainly go back for more but this time I will have a much bigger list of 'must sees' especially the free ones.


Jay C OBrien profile image

Jay C OBrien 2 years ago from Houston, TX USA

I see Lincoln differently. Let us consider what Lincoln said and did. Lincoln had over 500,000 people killed for his goals in the civil war. Do not forget the widows and orphans from the war.

Let us take a look at the Gettysburg Address from the viewpoint of the New Testament.

Lincoln says his purpose is to: “dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place to those who here gave their lives that nation might live.”

Would Jesus have consecrated a killing field and advocated killing again and again? Lincoln places nation above God. Who was/is more correct, Lincoln or Jesus?

Jesus taught to love one another. His final command to Peter was: sheath your sword. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love your enemies. All of these teachings go against fighting and killing in combat. Jesus never strapped on a sword. We should not dedicate land as sacred if killing was involved.

Alternatives to fighting existed such as: The Underground Railroad, public education against slavery and private Christian education against slavery. Given time, the attitudes of people, even in the South, change.


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain Author

@Jay C OBrien You are right we do see Lincoln in a different light but I thank you for sharing your own views :D

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working