Washington DC: Weekend Warrior Trip
When my sister and I travel, we cover some serious ground!!! We go hard all day and eat well at night!!!
DC was no different… We hit the ground running and wore the poor kids out!
DC is a lot of walking… So I will preface this post with… “Leave the cute clothes at home and bring your work out gear”
This was so liberating for me until I met a US Senator in my yoga clothes… Then I felt a little rude! Disclaimer: Ignore all fashion choices in this post, we look like major dweebs!!!
Point being, leave the cute little sandals and get your Nikes ready! I would easily guess we walked at least 15 miles in 3 days and those poor kid’s legs were taking two steps for every one of mine!
We left school on a Thursday afternoon and drove straight to DC… About 5 hours for us, only stopping at a Chick-Fil-A and a Dick’s to be sure one of the kids had good walking shoes. Of course, I drove because my sister doesn’t understand cruise control and either I get sick or she get a ticket. I used to live in DC so I knew our hotel was just over the 14th Street Bridge but thought “Wouldn’t it be so cool to drive in over the Memorial Bridge at night and let the kids see all of the monuments?” Yes, that would be cool if I would have made my turn off the GW parkway, instead we ended up way out of the city with nowhere to turn around. Olivia said “Mom I thought we were going to the city not the country??” I got us back in the city and then navigated all through DC across town, back to 14th Street and easily made the easiest route into the most difficult!
DC is a very easy city for me to navigate, but I lived there… One of my favorite things to have is a Streetwise laminated map… They have them for every city and yes I know its 2016 and we all have iPhones but mine is flaky in cities and I need the map visual to get my directions in check. They have been major lifesavers!! I always try and familiarize myself with a map ahead of time and then I have a pretty good grasp on a city after that! The metro is so easy to navigate… My kids LOVE public transit!
We chose the JW Marriott for a few reasons…
1) They had a really great rate that weekend for card holders
2) I like to earn points
3) We had a super early appointment for the White House tour and it was the closest we could get and perfectly located on the Capitol side of The White House, another early morning appointment. (Well, the Willard was a little closer but I will gladly walk a few extra steps for the money saved!!)
J.W. Marriott Washington DC: Quick review
GREAT LOCATION, we were in walking distance to a good amount of the major attractions, as in The Mall (Smithsonian Museums) The White House, The Capitol, The Metro and so much more. What we weren’t in walking distance of, FOOD!! Sometimes in cities, especially when you stay in very business style hotels, quick cafes for kids can be somewhat hard to come by on the weekend… Then to make it worse, the Concierge Level is closed on the weekends… Thanks, but now I have to feed my kids at the lobby Starbucks or sit down at the hotel restaurant and pay dearly. There is Old Ebbit Grill close by, it’s a DC classic.
Our rooms were small but had a great view and were updated. I have been in much nicer JW’s but this one is an older hotel and the price was well worth it! The location made for great little walkabouts at night to see The White House all in lit up! However not well situated for finding shopping or anything with character.
Also, there is an indoor pool, nothing too spectacular, but we were so hot after tirelessly walking all over the scorching hot Mall and Paddle boating, and only surviving off refreshment stand pretzels and Cokes, the quick dip did the trick to bringing the kids back to life! (If you have a crab, put it in water!)
On Our Agenda:
We walked to the Capitol and met U.S. Senator Thom Tillis at the Senate Steps… my sister has connections! It was a great experience… He had a photographer there and we were able to chat and let the kids ask some questions and take pictures (remember, I had on yoga clothes, embarrassing)!
We were then taken on a tour by one of his assistants… Poor girl, it was her first day. It was so interesting but I can imagine the inside is much more spectacular when it isn’t under construction… It just wasn’t as grand as I imagine it will be when it is finished… There was some giant balloon thing covering the dome. (I’ve heard it should be completed by the 2017 Presidential Inauguration)
DC is all about the museums, so we hit them hard! (Disclaimer: I am not a fan of museums, I hit the highlights and keep moving… To the point that it’s somewhat embarrassing) I am still disappointed we missed the National Gallery but there is always next time!
THE WHITE HOUSE:
This was the first time I have ever been in The White House… What a cool experience! It was a Saturday Morning and the girls were sure Sasha and Malia were going to come downstairs and play because the Secret Service guy told them they were home!
It was so beautiful and timeless. Until this…
Apparently, Michelle had just “redecorated” the family dining room and even my 12 year old nephew knew it was ugly! It was so awful and out of place… there were emerald colored rooms fit for royalty and then I can’t even describe how bad this was!!!
Her sense of style is about as good as her husband’s sense of patriotism, but that’s another story!! She left her mark I guess!?!
There is so much to do, it can be hard to decide… I usually let the kids plan and then give my opinions and persuade them to do what I think the need to do!
Jules, my 5 year old wasn’t up for the half marathon of walking in the heat so my husband brought her up for the night on Saturday! We hit the Zoo and some other fun sights and she was able to get the gist of DC without Capitol tours and endless walking!
The Pandas at the Zoo are adorable and worth the visit (remember, you can Metro but its hot and my kids would have been pooped before we even started) We drove up and what do you know?!? We found a Shake Shack!!!
One of my girls favorite things to watch online is the panda cam… we watched before we went and they were so excited to see them in person!
Another fun night outing is Georgetown…
The hustle and bustle is fun and the kids loved some of the shops… I was able to show the kids where I worked when I actually had a life outside of them… This baffled my 8 year old! “Mom works??”
We also hit Carmine’s for dinner one night… Over by the 7th Ave an E Street… It’s big, loud and family style and the perfect atmosphere for a family!! It was easily walkable and fun to pass the food around the table!
Some other great option for dinner with kids is Clyde’s in Georgetown. Maybe try something different, DC is a melting pot of culture, China Town is fun and the kids will be thoroughly entertained
All and all, it was an amazing trip… Every kid needs to go to DC at different stages of life! I never went as a child and my first trip was when I was 18 to visit a school ended up moving there, I still never really saw DC until I had kids and saw it through their eyes!