Washington DC staycation with daughter

As some of you know, DS16 is going to Italy with a school tour this spring break. So, I planned for the rest of us (DH56, DS14, and DD11 and me, DW47) to go to Philadelphia, which I just visited with DS16 last August briefly. Well, things didn’t turn out that way, b/c DH and DS14 are really worn out from all sorts of stuff (we’re prepping to move in town) and I completely agreed. They just want to stay home.

So, I cancelled the Philly but still wanted to do something. DD11 also definitely was disappointed and wanted to do something. This was just a few days ago and spring break starts just before Easter. I decided, quickly, that I didn’t feel like taking the train into Philly without everyone else, b/c there are so many things there I’d like for the whole family to see someday. So DD11 and I decided on 3 nights in a fun DC Kimpton hotel and to go do museums and stuff. It was my idea but DD quickly caught on and is excited about it. Back when we did a lot of museums as a family, such as Natural History (before the big 5 yr shutdown to revamp the dino skeletons), she was a stroller baby so she doesn’t remember much.

Tentative plan is: Natural History, Planet Word (DD went on a field trip there and wants to go back), zoo (we’ve actually never done this in 14 yrs living here!), and cat cafe (in Georgetown). We used to go to the cat cafe all the time pre pandemic and want to go back. I also know a lot of fun, fast / casual type restaurants in Georgetown that would appeal to an 11 yr old.

I could easily see putting in another museum or two if we are quick at something. Or, if it rains we will not do the zoo in the rain. I’ve been to most of the museums I like multiple times so this is all based around what will be most fun for DD11.


Had never heard of this! Very cool.

I’m looking forward to hearing about your trip!

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When will you be there? I’m bringing my fam next week! We’re doing Air & Space on Friday 4/7, the zoo on Saturday, and African American on Sunday!

I love the Kimptons in DC. I’ve stayed at most of them at one point or another but we’re staying at a residence in in DuPont this go-round so we can have two bedrooms and a kitchen for Easter fun!


I’m going Apr 11 - 14; wanted to do Easter with everyone at home. DS16 leaves for Italy on the 8th and so can’t go earlier (it’s very weird missing him for Easter…but he’ll have Easter in Rome!). I hope you have a wonderful time!

DD11 actually has a field trip to the African American museum earlier in the week than you’ll be there. I wanted to go but was too late, as it was a popular trip to chaperone. All those are great choices, we’ve been several times to the Air and Space and African American.

I think I can say this without any “spoilers:” to me, as a museum professional, the African American museum is really moving b/c the people talking seems more important than the objects. You’ll see when you are there. In many of the spaces you hear people talking (recordings) and it seems a lot more real than if you are just looking at things.

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Yes. I lived in DC for ten years and travel there frequently for work. But I haven’t brought the fam in four years (and my son wasn’t born then!).

But super proud of my DD7 as I gave her the options of the museums and she chose that one (which I’ve been eager to see since it opened). We’ll see how long they can stay focused there…

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There are several different parts of the African American museum that are vastly different than each other. The main one to see is the one that starts in slavery and ends around the civil rights movement. It is incredibly powerful but, of course, difficult. But the way things are structured is really amazing. And if you find that that part of the museum is too much for DD7 go to the parts that are about famous African Americans and it is a whole different thing. The cafe is also really great, at least when I was last there a few years ago.


I’ve heard of the cat cafe, but I never heard of Planet Word. Had to look that one up!

Enjoy your staycation!

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I had never heard of Planet Word until recently. I think it’s new. My DD11 had a field trip there where they wrote poems.

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I think the Zoo requires timed entry passes now. Just an FYI. Thought I saw that on local DC news

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You are correct, and I got them. But if it rains I’ll try to move to another day.

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Update: I did a little more research and realize that we are still in cherry blossom festival time, despite the blossoms having had peak bloom March 23. Festival ends Apr 16, we are there 11 - 14. So, I will adjust expectations, as there will probably be bigger crowds than I had counted on. But we are doing some off the beaten path DC things, such as Planet Word and the cat cafe, so we won’t always be in a very crowded museum. And we can always jettison something that is too crowded, since we can go back during a low crowd time. I have a history of doing a big DC day out in early Sept, for example, b/c that is when everyone has just gone back to school and tourist stuff is a ghost town (these are usually solo). It’s also the best time for my staycations b/c the hotel prices are so low (at least in the past). But this one is entirely based around DD11 being off school, and the opportunity to do a weekend type getaway in the middle of the week when it will probably be less crowded than a weekend, despite the holiday. From what i found actual Easter and Easter Monday will be very crowded and then the next weekend, but when I’m there is sort of a lull.


Planet Word is very close to where I am staying so I hope to see it in 1 of our days there. It is a very interactive musuem and a big hit with kids from what I read.


We went today. I planned 3 hrs there because DD11 is obsessed with it since going on her field trip there but it only took 1 hr. Of course, if she’d never been it could easily have taken longer. We did most of the things.

The biggest hit with her is a room where you can request a song and do karaoke. They have “Let it Go” as well as a Moana song. (But fyi also some songs about difficult subjects with curse words.) My DD requested the song but many kids went up to sing together.

Go into all of the bathrooms if you want to see some cute theming.

We had the online reservations but I noticed that they seemed to be good about accommodating walk ins. We came in at 2 pm.

After seeing the museum I asked the staff where we were to get my bearings since I hadn’t thought the day through very well. It was something like a 12 min walk to the portrait gallery so we went there until our next planned activity. I would have also considered the Renwick but it’s temporarily closed.


Teeny tiny trip report:

What we ended up doing in DC over 2 full days and 2 half days, which was mostly based on what DD11 wanted to do:

–Crumbs and Whiskers cat cafe in Georgetown, twice :slight_smile:
–Planet Word
–Natural History Museum, although we didn’t get there early enough to even try for butterflies
–National Gallery of Art
–Portrait Gallery, briefly

Where we stayed:
Kimpton George close to Union Station

–Liked hotel mostly, although got approached by some aggressive people at Union Station, this was not unexpected from what I’ve read / experienced there before
–Hotel is themed to George Washington and is very cute; I like Kimptons and this is my 3rd. The Monaco over by the Portrait Gallery is a bit fancier and bigger.
–I didn’t take into account that we’d have to be changing trains to go everywhere, and that was a lot of work. Next time I’d stay somewhere where I could just take one train each way if possible.
–We did take taxis to Georgetown twice and a few other places. It was easy to get a taxi. I had a lot of trouble getting rideshare or taxi in Philly last August so I could tell the difference.

–the unseasonably hot temps really did a number on me even though I planned and packed for it
Going from 60s to high 80s with no in between was too much
–I’ve never seen so many tour buses and food trucks on the Mall, ever, but I usually avoid going there around spring break time (we’ve seen cherry blossoms a couple of times so didn’t go there for that)

–I was thrilled to finally see the new dinosaur skeleton exhibit at Natural History. The last time we were there was right before it closed for 5 yrs, in 2014, and it reopened in 2019 but we hadn’t been.

–I was also thrilled to go back to Crumbs and Whiskers after not going for 3 yrs due to the pandemic, and also just that we live pretty far away. It was the same delightful experience I remembered. We went twice b/c my DD11 was so happy with it the first time.

–First time ever at zoo! Have lived here almost 15 yrs. Wish we’d had more stamina for the zoo but it was too hot. In fact the red panda we wanted to see wasn’t out b/c it had to be inside in AC. Saw the famous large pandas. Was thrilled to get a video of a panda moving around and doing stuff–until he decided to use the bathroom while I was videoing. Of course, about 50 other people were doing the same thing.
I want to return to the zoo to see the big cats, as we only saw one cheetah. The other big cats were on the opposite side of the zoo and we just didn’t have the stamina. But there is another pedestrian entrance to the zoo on that side so I’ll plan to do that next time. I definitely want to go back, as we saw maybe 1/6 of what is there.

–I will also plan to go back to Natural History specifically to see the butterflies during a non popular tourist time. I’ve found that very late August and Sept are good times for things like that b/c so few want to travel when it’s the beginning of school.

–I’m an art historian and was thrilled that DD11 decided on the National Gallery for the last stop, although the Postal Museum would have been a lot easier b/c it’s next to Union Station. I definitely noticed that the galleries right next to the main entrance, with Impressionism, were horribly packed but everything else was ok. Some of the other very interesting areas were actually almost empty.

If you go, be sure to check out the waterfall by the gelato cafe downstairs, and the walkway to the east bldg that has a Leo Villareal installation. Basically, there are lights shining in different patterns all around you as you are on the moving walkway. I love this and do it every time I am there.

–Overall DD11 really had a great time which was the goal. I also wanted a spring break trip and this was a good one. I’d do it again. But I will hope for the cooler weather that is typical of our spring breaks.


Sounds like you had a fantastic time! I love Washington DC!

I’m wondering why there is a specific section on the forum for DC. If there was one for NYC, maybe I would report my upcoming trip.


I don’t know why, but it’s been there since I started with TP.


If you read the oldest post in the DC section, it’s dated Dec 2015. I think TP was putting a push on publicizing the UG to DC. DC is still an active title, even though the last edition was in 2019.

“The Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C. is one of the latest titles in the Unofficial Guide series. TouringPlans authors Len Testa and Brian McNichols contributed to this title, and DC will be added to our site as our newest subscription.”

Looking on Amazon, the only UG to NYC I found is dated 4/19/2010.
Looking at the UG site https://theunofficialguides.com/, the only non-Disney/Universal books they list are for Vegas and Washington, DC. I suspect the NYC title was discontinued.


I hope you report anyway, maybe in La Cava?


You are so sweet. I may post some highlights on the daily thread… :blush:


If you do that could you please link it here so I’ll see it? I don’t usually view the daily thread. Thanks!

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