Washington DC and The Smithsonians.
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Anybody have good knowledge of the area? We are foregoing a "Big" WDW trip next year ( dont worry we still have 2 small trips) and want to take DD14.
We also want to travel with our dog. Maybe.,
What areas to stay? Any resources?
When are you planning on visiting? Spring time is great because you can see the Cherry Blossom Festival. Touring the Smithsonians and Monuments is a lot of walking, so it's more comfortable to do it when it's warm, but not too hot. Best part is all of those are free!
Cherry Blossom Festival is going on right now....so you will probably miss that. The trees are already bloomed as we have had such a mild winter here. The museums are all great and free. The food inside of them, including the McDonald's in the Air & Space, is not that cheap. Just a little FYI. Not sure about how well this trip would work with the god and if there are a lot of hotels that can accommodate pets. If you do plan on staying in the city, my suggestion is to stay near the museums or near a Metro station and use that as your means of getting around. You can reach the zoo (which is also free and has cute pandas) by Metro as well. The traffic in and around DC is HORRIBLE!!!! Especially during rush hour times. I live an hour and a half away, and lots of people here travel into the city and surrounding areas for work.
I've been to DC a few times as my friend lived in Alexandria, VA. The Metro is a great way to get around. If you have a smart phone, download their app. It's free and shows what trains you need to take and the next train times. It worked great.
There is lots of walking. We did a night trolley tour that I really liked. The tour guide talked about the history and you got to see a wide area in a short amount of time. If going to the Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, get there at opening as it gets crowded.
Last time, we stayed in Arlington, VA at the Crystal City metro stop at a Sheraton. I liked the location and the metro stop was connected to our hotel via an underground shopping mall. It was very convenient.
If flying, you could fly into Reagan airport and not have to rent a car as it's connected to the Metro. Dulles is quite a ways away and takes about an hour to get to DC.
If you are driving there I would recommend going to the National Arboretum since they allow dogs. You can also take your dog around the Mall but not into any buildings. I live about an hour away from DC so I have never stayed but usually go one Sunday a year. I am sure they have dog friendly hotels. We have taken roughly 1 road trip a year where we take our dog along. AAA puts out a book and there are a few websites you can check. Of course you still have to call and make sure they still allow dogs and what size they allow. I recommend the Zoo which is on Connecticut Ave outside of downtown. My favorite Smithsonian Museums are Air and Space, American History, American Indian, and Natural History. There is a branch of the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport and I believe the Space Shuttle Discovery will be on display there soon. You can't go into the Washngon Monument due to the damage from the Earthquake but I would look at it up close as you walk to the WWII Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. If you have time the Spy Museum is nice. It is not that far from the other attractions. I like the National Archives where you can see the Declaration of Independence. It is right behind the Museum of Natural History I think. Good luck!
Check with one of the suite hotel properties - Residence Inn, Staybridge, Summerfield, Homewood Suites, etc. - they often have pet-friendly policies. Also, there are large- chain boutique-style hotels that allow pets. We have a Lab puppy - nicknamed "The Hooligan" and he isn't ready to stay with our beloved pet sitter yet, so he comes with us. Hotels are friendly to us because he is walked regularly, takes his crate, obedience-trained and Finnegan is closely monitored during the stay.
Also, a second recommendation for the Metro system in DC, along with the hop-on, hop-off tour bus around Washington, D.C. The Metro was easy to use, convenient, affordable from Gaithersburg into DC. We loved the hop-on, hop-off tour service - we had specific places to visit, but wanted to glimpse all of the must-sees. The bus comes by regularly, set-schedule to a meeting point, so you can stay for as long as you want/don't want and return to your hotel as you please.
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