DC is driving me nuts! We will be there in just a little more than two months and I’m not allowed to book much. I keep running into “Reservations will be available 30 days beforehand.”
Then you add in that we’ve requested a couple of tours that require your Rep. to get the tickets for you, and it feels like plans are in limbo since I’d obviously cancel other stuff if we get the tour tickets. So, even things like a could book I’m holding off.
Just thought that this would be the one group that could understand. I obviously have our VRBO and transportation picked out.
The reservations stuff in DC is rather new. Was not necessary years ago except at the African-American museum and the Holocaust museum
I understand your pain! We are there in early June, and I’m in limbo on plans! I’m trying to pretend like I’m flexible, and it doesn’t matter that I don’t know exactly what’s meant to be happening. Neither of those are true
Even for the Washington Monument Elevator?
I’ve also decided that we are going to rent scooters for a few hours from this place where you rent directly rather than just off the street. These are safe to use in the mall, since they won’t run out of juice in the middle. But, I don’t even know what day since I don’t know the other plans. And it is a mere 2.5 months away!
One part of planning that is easy is transportation. We will drive there and we got a VRBO with driveway parking. It doesn’t seem to be a car friendly city, so we’ll just leave the car there. I love subways, but the DC Metro is so expensive and since there are three of us, Uber etc. will be cheaper. So, inside the city, we’ll just get a car.
Did you try for the White House tour? I’d really like that, but I’m trying to not hold my breath.
Yep. I’m told I’ll get an email about 2 weeks prior
Count your blessings! when I moved here more than 20 years ago, they gave timed entry tickets to the Monument out IN PERSON on the morning of.
You are correct. The Washington Monument requires a ticket and has for a while (I think my daughters employer donated the elevator repair - among other things in DC)
Well, The Monument elevator now has tickets released 30 days in advance, then some more on 24 hours ahead, then a few the day of.
So, I guess I should count my blessings that I can get them ahead at all.
That is something I am really looking forward to. Do I try for two different days since I won’t hear until two weeks before on the White House Tour? Then am I able to cancel the one I won’t use if by some chance I get a White House tour? On the other hand, I guess I should assume no WH tour since I live in Texas and I’ve heard Other Party is usually put at the end of the line.
I’d read the 2019 book from the library and I was holding out, hoping there would be a 2023 before our trip. But, I broke down and bought 2019 from Amazon.
I just realized I hadn’t spec’ed which companies book I bought. But, we all know.
Oh no - that was down for years and then the earthquake damaged it. Has been completely hit or miss the entire 22 years I have been in the area!
Are you asking your Reps for a White House tour or a Capitol Tour. Assume, for planning purposes that you won’t get the White House tour. Regardless of party, those are very, very rare. The Capitol will be easy and hopefully they can get you that date/time sooner than later!
Scooters are a great way to get around the mall! I used to bike it, but that was before scooters.
Ubers are pleniful. Another option is the DC Circulator. Much more affordable and convieninet than theh metro. Interactive Map - Washington D.C. Circulator
You are right about it not being car friendly. The only exception to this is at night (like after 9:00). If you want to see the monuments at night, usually you can park right along Constitution later at night.
I highly recommend the Library of Congress in addition to the Capitol - I am biased but I think they are both way prettier than the White House (with the LOC being the prettiest of the two).
I suspect that it might have been the Library that I requested as the other tour. It was a toss-up, but we own more books than the local library (literally) so probably the library.
I feel your pain planning for DC!! It has been far more challenging to me than WDW!! I leave on Thurs for 5 full days! Lots of reading, note taking, boxes to check and alarms set on my phone to RD tix!! Be ready to go for Wash Monument right when it opens!! Tix were gone within 20 min!! I planned my days by location. White House Tours are tricky. I did the online request but was busy and missed the White house response requesting all info on parties soc security numbers. They only give you a few days to do it. I called the number on from house rep and she said I was unlikely to get now that it was 2 monthes out not 3. But I wouldn’t know until 2 weeks before!! Plan everything as if you dont get WH tour. too many ressies to get. The 1st day we get in around 830am I planned Fords Theater 1230pm, old post office, National Archives and WH visitor and whatever else in between. I added African Amer M tix for 3pm Old Ebbitt Grill for 515pm Well… wouldnt u know I got some pixie dust! An email last week!! I GOT the WH tour for 11 am that day!! I have no idea how this will all work out but lots of planning for sure and that’s only day 1!! I can’t even tell you how much planning time this took! DC trip hacks has awesome you tube videos and if u go on the website here there is awesome info includin each museum and what not miss! BTW i did get 2 monument tours because again its hard to know… there is a ranger led bike tour NPS at 10 on the day I got 930 tix so I had to rope drop another day… you should see my pencilled in and erased sheet of paper! Good luck planning!
I’ll check out out the DC Hacks Videos
Squee! I just got the Capitol Tour time. Apparently I’d requested White House, Capitol and Library. Library doesn’t do reservations right now. So, I’ll take the reasonable assumption of No White House Tour, and I can proceed with planning! I’ll do like I did for Disney dining, and try for earlier in the trip for the Washington Monument, so that I’ll have multiple shots at it.
I’ve lived in the DC area almost 15 yrs. If something doesn’t work out there are lots of mostly free alternatives that are equally as grand, and close by.
I haven’t tried for several of the things listed here, like White House tour or Washington Monument. You actually taught me a lot here with this thread.
Some places I like that often get overlooked: Hillwood, Ford’s Theatre, Phillips Collection, Postal Museum, Dumbarton Oaks, Old Post Office tower (a decent substitute if you can’t get up the Wash Monument).
One of my favorite places is the National Gallery. There are so many different kinds of art and 3 places to eat. One is a gelato bar (and a cafe too) that has an indoor waterfall. That’s next to the walkway that leads to the east bldg which has an installation by Leo Villareal where you stand on a moving walkway while lights move around you. It’s a magical experience. I recommend this to everyone who comes here. Almost none plan it ahead of time.
I didn’t read all the posts and see plans for some of the things I mentioned. I’m sure it’s because you’re liners and researched everything. So many friends come here and only know that monuments and Smithsonian are here.
I’ll never forget the earthquake that damaged the Monument because it was the day we found out that DD11 was a girl. We’d just gotten home from the ultrasound and the house began to shake. Things were mostly ok but we did have some things fall off shelves and break. Then the Monument had scaffolding on it for years…I honestly had no idea an earthquake could happen out here.
Re transportation, I’ve found it fairly easy to get a taxi. Most are red. I just spent 4 days doing DC stuff with my daughter over spring break and we took several taxis, mostly between Georgetown and DC.
Also, when we were there i was surprised to see temp fencing all around the grassy part of the Mall. It keeps people off the grass because they’re trying to improve the grass. It means the other walkways are more crowded than normal bur it’s still such a big area that it’s usually not too bad.
I got my tour notification exactly 2 weeks out. It’s so nerve racking and makes it hard to plan. I booked Air and Space ahead for the afternoon since yours are usually in the morning and you can move your reservation off necessary. The WH was really neat though. We requested exactly 90 days out.
And tip - the tickets say to use restrooms at the visitors center but there was long line to get in there so a guard told us to go the Ronald Reagan bldg across the street. You do need to go thru security to enter but there was no line.