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I had the good fortune to be able to visit our nation's capitol for Mother's Day weekend in
May, 2001.  I loved the trip and would highly recommend this for anyone.  There is
so much to see and do and almost everything is free. 
I do have a few tips for those who have never been there.  One thing for sure.   Do not stay
at the Sheraton National in Arlington, VA.  That is enough on that subject, just trust me.
First of all I would try to fly into National Airport rather than Dulles, it is much closer, but
is usually expensive.  Check the prices to Baltimore Airport it was $400 cheaper when I

I would suggest National because you may be able to avoid renting a car if you fly into
National airport, Baltimore is a little farther out and it is hard to get  shuttles to your
hotel.  Depending on the number of people going, I would say the airline savings would
override, by a lot, the cost of a rental car.   

The most important tip of this article is this:  STAY ON THE MALL.  Get a hotel near or
on the Washington DC Mall.  This is where everything is located.  You will do lots of
walking and will need a midday rest unless you are very young.  Kids really need a
rest in the middle of the day.  If you are staying outside of DC it takes too long to
get back and forth on public transportation and most of the attractions close fairly
early.  Also if you want to visit the White House, you have to get to the White House
Visitors Center at the crack of dawn and this is hard to do if you are staying in VA.
Washington is covered with stairs, lots and lots of stairs.  You will be really tired so
do stay on the mall, there is a fairly nice Holiday Inn 1 block away from the Smithsonian
Air and Space Museum. 

You are perfectly safe riding on the Metro in DC.  I was a little nervous about getting on
a "subway" but it was clean and well policed.  It is also really inexpensive and you can
take this to Arlington National Cemetery if you like.  The changing of the guard at the tomb
of the unknown soldier was really something to see.  The young service men (I didn't see
any service women) were the most polite young men I have ever met. 

The other very nice convenience in Washington is the Tourmobile.   For $18 per day
(when I was there)
the tourmobile drives all over DC, stopping at all points of interest
every 15 minutes.   This would be great for one day when you want to go to
Arlington or to the FBI building.  The tour guides are very knowledgeable about DC
and are a good source of information. 

I do recommend that you fully enjoy the places you have time to visit and not try to
cram in all of the sites without enjoying them fully.  It would take weeks to see everything.
My favorites from my visit were The Library of Congress, The National Art Gallery, The
Holocaust Museum (not for little kids) and The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
I saw the Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum, it was pretty impressive.
Also both the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum have IMAX theaters.
They show BIG screen movie shorts on a bunch of great subjects.  There is an admission
charge for these, but they are worth it. Some parts of the Holocaust Museum require
tickets, but they are free.  This just helps keep the number of people limited in some parts
of the museum.  If you want to see the whole thing, go there first and get tickets for the
time you want to attend.

There are a bunch of great restaurants in DC, but I was tired and did not get to
try some of the more popular ones.  I suggest you go to Yelp and check out the
reviews.  They are conducted by regular people.  Leave a few of your own reviews for
people visiting your town.  There are sidewalk vendors everywhere so you can get an ice
cream, hot dog or a beverage just about anyplace.
Sometimes this is a good choice if you just want something quick and don't want to
interrupt your day by going to a regular restaurant. The restaurants inside the Smithsonian
Museums are terribly expensive and the food is pretty bad.

If you can't decide where to take your next vacation, I strongly suggest Washington, DC.
As a native Californian, who had never been on the east coast, I completely enjoyed this
vacation.  All the people I met were friendly and helpful,  I almost don't mind paying taxes
anymore. I met a real General and he was a sweetie, not at all what I had in mind.
General Steve and his friend helped me find a Safeway in Arlington.  She worked at the
Pentagon and gave me some passes for the Capitol gallery. 

If you live near DC, go see your sites,   if you have already been to DC, come to California! Weekly Promo Offer 728 x 90

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