Itinerary making is not to be taken lightly. I spent many hours on this and went through multiple drafts before settling on this one. Of course, we made little adjustments throughout each day. And then, each night we went over the next day's schedule and made changes.
Regardless, here is what we ended up doing each day. The pedometer on my phone showed that we were walking an average of 15 miles a day. We packed it in from early am to late pm. And we all survived, learned a lot and loved all the exploring.
Flight from MSP to Baltimore/Washington 8:05 ET
Taxi to Senate Office Building – 7:45am
Breakfast with Sen. Al Franken (for MN constituents – check with your Senator) 8:45 am
Capitol Tour with Franken staffers
Walk around Capitol and down toward the National Mall
Unplanned stop at National Botanical Gardens for bathroom break – beautiful place for a quick rest
7 to 9 Lincoln Assassination Tour
Taxi to hotel
Taxi to Senate Office Building – 8 am
9 to 10 am Breakfast with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (for MN constituents)
10 to 12 Senate and House Chambers to observe business being conducted
12 lunch Wicked Waffle
Stumbled upon Farmers' Market on 15th & K Street & meander through Lafayette Square and past White House on way to tour
2 – 6 pm DC by Foot All in One Tour (National Mall and Tidal Basin)
6:30 Meet friends at the Willard Hotel for dinner in drinks – Café du Parc
Taxi to hotel
Rosslyn Metro Station to buy DC Circulator week passes $11
Breakfast at Wicked Waffle (yes, again – it was good, cheap and quick)
10:45 arrive at White House for 11 am Tour – takes a while to get in through security checkpoints, but once inside it's a self-guided tour that you can go through at your own pace. We took our time – how many times in your life do you get to spend time in the White House!
1-4 American History Museum – eat lunch there
4:30 to 7:30 Natural History museum
Take bus back to hotel
Taxi to boat dock 7:45 am
Board Spirit of Mt. Vernon at 8:15 am
8:30 to 3 pm Potomac River (1.5 hrs to Mt. Vernon 3 hours at Mt. Vernon and 1.5 hrs back). Lunch on boat after Mt. Vernon
Walk to museum
3:30 to 7:30 Air and Space Museum
Dinner – Ledo's Pizza at hotel
10 – 12:30 DC by Foot Arlington National Cemetery Tour
Lunch Plan B Burger
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
Breakfast at hotel – slower morning
12 (arrive at 11:45) National Archives
3-5 Ford's Theater
10 White House Visitor Center
12 Newseum – lunch onsite
4:00 to hotel to get bags
5 town car to airport
Flt home at 8:40 pm.
And a whole lot of walking in between and around and to and from…
What got pushed off the schedule due to time was the National Gallery of Art, and I really regret this.
While there were a few things we really enjoyed seeing at American History and Natural History Smithsonian museums, we were not greatly impressed by these museums, as a whole.
I must say that in my mind's eye my 8th grade self was greatly impressed, but I had not seen much of the world at this point in my life. And my children have at their young ages already been to many impressive places and museums and exhibits. So, they are certainly wonderful museums, but we were simply underwhelmed by them and I wish we had instead gone to some of the many art museums.
We stumbled upon a beautiful sculpture garden and a sunken garden, farmers' market and the National Botanical Garden in our meanderings and relished in these little finds along the way. Everywhere we went we made friends and found helpful, kind, patient people.
We definitely took more time than planned at some places and less time at others. So, in the end it worked out. We chose to do a tour everywhere possible. We always got so much out of each of the tours – information, stories, tips we would have never known about on our own.
Each of us had input regarding what made it on to our schedule. This is why Madame Tussauds Wax Museum ended up on the itinerary. My 7.5 year old son had seen a kid Youtuber do a review of it and REALLY wanted to go. I was not thrilled with adding this, but it was his No. 1 pick! And I have to say it was a really nice surprise. We were all so glad we went. I'll add more about this in the next post of our thoughts, reviews and tips. Over and out…