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Travel in Washington, DC

Updated on January 5, 2018

The White House

The White House
The White House | Source

Visiting Washington DC

My family and I moved to the Washington DC suburbs from the Midwest last year. There are so many things to see and do around the DC area.

Most events are free and the Metro provides a wonderful mode of transportation for a reasonable price.

My family and I have been scouring the DC area for fun things to do and have found a plentitude of family-friendly activities.

There are tons of things to do with kids in Washington DC and the surrounding area including museum tours, seeing the monuments and learning about our history and government.

You can even go to a printing press to watch real money being made!

The Dulles Airport At Dusk!

The Dulles Airport At Dusk!
The Dulles Airport At Dusk! | Source

Washington DC Airports

There are 3 major airports surrounding Washington DC. The closest is the Reagan National Airport. It is just over the Potomac River from DC on the Virginia side.

It is so close that you can see the National Monument, the Capitol Building and the Lincoln Monument while you are landing. It is not a very large airport since it is in the city.

If you would like to fly into Virginia, the Washington Dulles Airport is a half an hour drive from DC. You could also take a taxi to the Vienna/Fairfax Metro station and ride from there.

If you would like to fly into the Maryland side of DC, the Baltimore Washington International Airport is only a half hour drive from DC.

Both the Washington Dulles Airport and the Baltimore Washington International Airport are large in size, so allow about a half hour or so just to find the exit doors after you land.

Getting Around DC: The Metro

There are many ways to get around Washington DC. I do not recommend driving since there are awful traffic jams everywhere at all hours of the day.

Even when you do finally manage to get to your destination, there is usually no parking or it is very expensive to park and you end up walking a distance anyway.

The best way to get around Washington DC is by using the Metro. You could buy a round trip ticket, a one way ticket or a day pass.

If you will be hopping on and off at different locations, I would recommend getting a day pass. You will end up saving a lot of money that way.

If you just want to go see the Smithsonian's, You can buy a round trip ticket to one of the Metro Stations that are around The National Mall.

There is always someone there to help you figure out how to buy the tickets, which is very nice.

You can use credit cards in the Metro Ticket machines, which is a huge convenience for those of us who do not carry cash.

The Metro's are clean and there is plenty of space if you are not traveling during rush hour.

One word of caution: The metro route map is close to the doors and on the pillars in the metro station. Sometimes it is hard to see.

Keep watching for the metro stop you want to get off on or you may end up on the metro for longer than you would like.

Washington DC Museums: The Smithsonians

All of the Smithsonian Museums are free! They are all located on the National Mall. If you get off the Metro at the National Mall, you can spend days there and still not see everything.

One of my kids favorite museums is the Museum of National History. It is a two story museum filled with so many neat things! They have prehistoric dinosaur, animal and human skeletons.

They have an ocean area with deep sea creatures. They have a huge gem area that also includes The Hope Diamond.

It is the largest blue diamond in the world! The Natural History Museum also has a great bug museum area that shows children how bees make honey.

They have a real hive there with glass so the kids can look through and see the whole process before their eyes!

The National Air & Space Museum is another great museum to bring kids to in Washington DC. They have real planes and space ships that are no longer in use.

You can go on board some of the older planes. They even have one of the former President's old planes there for you to tour!

The National Zoo: Where To Bring Kids

The National Zoo is completely free. The best way to get there is by Metro.

If you do drive there, you will end up paying a hefty fee for parking and there are not many parking spaces. We drove and ended up waiting for a parking spot for a half an hour.

There are over 2,000 animals at the National Zoo. Their biggest attraction is their Giant Pandas! The kids love it here. There is plenty of space for them to roam and plenty to see!

Picture Of Lincoln Memorial

Picture Of Lincoln Memorial
Picture Of Lincoln Memorial | Source

Washington D.C. Memorials

You will need more than a day to see all of the Memorials in Washington DC. Most monuments are within walking distance of each other.

Go inside the Lincoln Memorial and take pictures. If you go below the monument, there is a nice souvenir shop.

The National World War II Memorial is a beautiful place to bring children. They can watch the fountains put on a show or search for their State's column.

The Washington Monument is the largest monument in D.C. and it is located directly in the center of the District.

If you get lost, it is a great focal point to get you back on track.

The White House

The White House is another great place to see while you are in D.C. Pennsylvania Avenue is now closed off in front of the White House to keep spectators at a further distance.

If you call or write to your state's representative in advance, you may be able to get a tour of The White House.

If you would like to go on a White House Tour, click here to go to the website and get more information.

Have you ever visited Washington DC?

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    • GClark profile image

      GClark 5 years ago from United States

      Great guide to visiting Washington,D.C. Have to say I am embarrassed to admit that with all my travel throughout the US, Canada, and Europe that I have deliberately bypassed visiting Washington,D.C. due to the incredible traffic, both at the airport and in the city. The fact that it had also in the past been nicknamed the "Murder Capitol of the US" may also have influenced me. Maybe it is time to reconsider.