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We have a family vacation planned this summer to go to Washington D.C. I've been making plans and reservations for various tours, etc. We have tours setup through our Senator for Pentagon, Capital, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Library of Congress & FBI HQ. We are still waiting to hear back about a White House tour. We also plan to see the monuments & some of the Smithsonian Museums. We have never been to DC, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to navigate into the city each day. We are staying in Old Town Alexandria, VA. I expect we will be taking the Metro, it looks like either Blue or Yellow line, depending on our destination of the day. Then I'm guessing we will take the MetroBus around town if needed during the day.

I guess my question is, what is the most economical way to ride the Metro in our situation? We are a family of 4 and will likely be going into the city at least Mon-Thurs of the week that we are there. Possibly Friday also, but definitely M-Th.
 

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I’ve only been into DC once when our coin club went to tour the coin collection in the Smithsonian. We were going to stay in Alexandria but since the hotel prices were so high we stayed in Fredericksburg instead, hotel prices 1/3 of what they wanted in Alexandria. There was a Metro station directly across from the hotel that we should have used. Instead we jumped back on I-95 and took it into DC, we went on a Saturday and the traffic was terrible parking was very limited. We did find parking near the Smithsonian, after viewing the collection some of us continued to the WWII memorial, Korean War, the Vietnam Wall and the Holocaust Museum (most humbling museum I have ever been in).
 

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https://www.wmata.com/fares/farecard-options.cfm

Look here (^^^^) for a starter.

It really depends on how many trips you think you're going to take and if they'll be at peak or off-peak times.

The nice thing is that once you get the initial card, you can add $$ to it at any time, as needed. Whenever I've gone to DC I've had at least $5 left on my card and I just pass it off to someone who looks like they would appreciate it as I leave the Metro at the airport.
 

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^^^^^^^What gasmitty said^^^^^^^^

IMO the Metro is by far the cheapest and easiest way to travel in D.C. and a daily pass is likely the cheapest, I think it;s around $6.50 or $7.00 per person. It used to work for both the subway and buses, however it's been a few years since I have been there. Driving is a nightmare there particularly for parking. The places you have mentioned excluding the Pentagon and possibly the Bureau of Engraving (which I'm not familiar with offhand) are all on or near the Mall. I highly recommend you visit Arlington Cemetery and observe the entire ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown. I've been five times and it still chokes me up. The Kennedy burial site and Audie Murphy's grave are close also. Just make sure you wear your most comfortable shoes. If you like Irish food Murphy's on King St. in Alexandria is the best. They also have American sandwiches and burgers etc.
 

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We have a family vacation planned this summer to go to Washington D.C. I've been making plans and reservations for various tours, etc. We have tours setup through our Senator for Pentagon, Capital, Bureau of Engraving & Printing, Library of Congress & FBI HQ. We are still waiting to hear back about a White House tour. We also plan to see the monuments & some of the Smithsonian Museums. We have never been to DC, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to navigate into the city each day. We are staying in Old Town Alexandria, VA. I expect we will be taking the Metro, it looks like either Blue or Yellow line, depending on our destination of the day. Then I'm guessing we will take the MetroBus around town if needed during the day.

I guess my question is, what is the most economical way to ride the Metro in our situation? We are a family of 4 and will likely be going into the city at least Mon-Thurs of the week that we are there. Possibly Friday also, but definitely M-Th.
Lots of great history and things to see in DC. I recommend the National Air and Space Museum on the capitol mall. (It happens to be the most visited site in the world.) You can see the original Wright Flyer and you can swipe your finger across a genuine moon rock!

And much much more. You will love it!

While in the DC area, check out Annapolis, Maryland (one of the prettiest places in the US); and, if you have time, (if not, try to make time) take a tour of the U S Naval Academy! You will never forget it.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, Air & Space Museum is on the list of things to do. Along with a visit to Arlington and the Tomb of the Unknowns. I had not thought of a tour of the Naval Academy. We'll see how our itinerary plays out and if we can work out time to see it also. I've heard that a week is just enough time to barely get started touring DC.

The Holocaust Museum and the war memorials are also on the list of things to do. I've heard that the Holocaust Museum, while very humbling, is definitely worth the time to visit.
 

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Thanks also to @gasmitty and @OlCop. I don't even plan to drive into DC from Alexandria. Between traffic and parking, I just don't plan on it. I've looked at the Metro website and if guess I need to figure out how many trips each day we may use it for. I had forgot about checking with the hotel desk when we get there for their recommendations.
 

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I haven’t been to DC in years. Last time was early April ‘01.Cherry Trees in full bloom. Stayed at a Hilton right up the street from the White House. Turns out the Rose garden was open to the public as well as the Main floor of the White House. Saw the Blue, Red, Green, and Gold rooms. A very rare experience.
Didn’t have time for the Smithsonian, my one regret, but seeing all the memorials and Arlington National Cemetery made up for it.

The Wall and the Lincoln Memorial make you really feel.
Took cabs and trolleys.
 

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Good advice from all above. I’ve been probably 15 times. We see something different each time and still have more on our list. Finally did the White House last trip, glad we went, it not my favorite. Don’t forget Fords Theater. Some places are free, and some cost. Starting with your reps office is sound advice, they can help you schedule tours of the capital etc that you can’t get by just showing up. I will also recommen the “duck boat tour” as a mid week break from walking. They drive you around town and I to the Potomac. They even let my kids steer the boat. It gets hot here, so plan on buying lots of water! Don’t forget the national archives. It sounds like you have done well so far, but plan on going back as there is so much to see
 

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A few years back, I was passing through DC on my way back to PA from Williamsburg VA. I wanted to see the Air and Space Museum, and especially get my picture by Space Shuttle Discovery. The traffic was impossible and impassible. What I thought would be a simple 1/2 hour diversion off the highway turned into 6 hours extra for me to get home to PA, without ever getting close enough to the museum to stop. We never even crossed the Potomac.

Lesson learned, was to stay well outside the city and take the metro in. Hopefully, it is not difficult to get to your hotel in the first place. Plan accordingly. I want to say the traffic was all within the I495 beltway, it looks like you are on the fringes.

Have a great time! Say "hi" to Space Shuttle Discovery for me! I hope to get up there sometime soon, maybe this summer!
 

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I highly recommend the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax. It's amazing. I've taken people there who are not even into guns and they were impressed. If you are into guns, it is a must see. Nice gift shop too. It's free and parking is free. It's not near any Metro stops, so you will have to drive or take a cab.

Also, don't have even as much as an empty shell casing on you in DC unless you have a CC permit. And even if you have a permit, you can't take it on the Metro or into any federally owned buildings. People have been charged with felonies for inadvertently having any part of a gun or ammo on them and some of the places you are going may have metal detectors. Maryland is pretty bad also. Virginia is OK.
 

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I highly recommend the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax. It's amazing. I've taken people there who are not even into guns and they were impressed. If you are into guns, it is a must see. Nice gift shop too. It's free and parking is free. It's not near any Metro stops, so you will have to drive or take a cab.

Also, don't have even as much as an empty shell casing on you in DC unless you have a CC permit. And even if you have a permit, you can't take it on the Metro or into any federally owned buildings. People have been charged with felonies for inadvertently having any part of a gun or ammo on them and some of the places you are going may have metal detectors. Maryland is pretty bad also. Virginia is OK.
Thanks for the reminder about even shell casings. I knew I would not have a firearm with me, even in the truck, in DC. I need to make sure to clean it out before we go. There's likely to be a shell casing or 2 in it.

I had not thought of the NRA Museum. I don't know if that will work out for this trip or not.

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I lived in Fairfax County, VA back when I was stationed at the Pentagon. Believe me, take the Metro! Unless they have changed, you can reload your card as necessary. Take the Trolley Tour. It follows a route with several stops. You get off, see the sights, then catch the next trolley. Note: you will NOT see everything that there is to see, so don’t even try.
 

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Metro is the way to go for sure with Uber plentiful for destinations in between. If you will be in town over a weekend consider get on the list to see the sunset parade at the Marine Barracks at 8th and I streets in DC. That is the USMC band and the silent drill team.
 

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We'll be there from Saturday- Saturday, we'll look into the sunset parade. Have never used Uber. Is it feasible for a family of 4? Most of the Uber drivers I see around here are in older, high mileage peanut-sized cars, like they were delivering pizza the day before. We are all also relatively fit and able to walk a good bit, so I expect we'll be doing that quite a bit too.
 

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Definitely use the metro. Once your on the mall (lots of walking) you will have access to most of the popular exhibits. For sure visit Arlington Cemetery, and the Tomb of the Unknown. Also a trip to the district would be incomplete without visiting the National Cathedral (not on the metro) Wisconsin Ave and Massachusetts Ave. Another must see is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in North America. On the metro, Northeast near Catholic University, very impressive. Union station is also something you should see.
 

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You can easily spend a full week in the Smithsonian and still not see everything that is there. We spent several days "doing DC" with some of the kids many years ago when traffic was not totally impossible like it is now. The best we could do was quick in and outs of places like the Smithsonian (that means spending only 1/2 day), but we did see all the memorials and the changing of the guards at Arlington. Those things were worth the trip.

We drove our own car from the suburbs where we had motel rooms into DC and almost got arrested because we took a wrong turn and wound up "attempting to enter" the Pentagon parking lot THREE TIMES in a row. :banghead:... Definitely use the metro!
 

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My grandparents lived in the DC area, so I saw all of the sights more often than I needed to see them. Traffic was nothing back them. Chariots don't take up much room.

Last time I was there was when sonny completed the State Department security service agent course. That fulfilled my life's requirements for that place. Traffic is impossible. Metro rules.
 
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