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Won't somebody help a hapless tourist?

Next weekend, I'll be attending the Shore Leave convention just outside Baltimore. While I'm in the area, I'm planning on spending a day in DC. I already am considering taking Kevin up on his standing offer for lunch to all of us on staff here, and have talked to another DC blogger about saying hi.

And, of course, I plan on a bit of time at the Smithsonian.

Anyone got any suggestions of other places and/or people I should look up?

Comments (44)

plan on spending more than ... (Below threshold)

plan on spending more than a bit of time at the smithsonian. the air and space museum by itself can take half a day or more.

Go to the Spy Museum. I ju... (Below threshold)

Go to the Spy Museum. I just went there recently and loved it. It was the best! I spent about 5 hours there and probably could have spent a couple more. My kids loved it as well (14 and 10 year old girls) and afterward you can walk around the corner to the Ford Theater and the Hard Rock Cafe.

The Spy Museum is a definit... (Below threshold)

The Spy Museum is a definite yes. There's never enough time to see the Smithsonian. Check their web site to see what's open and what's not. You must hit both the Jefferson and the Lincoln Memorials. And why not a White House tour (lol)?

But there's plenty to do in Baltimore. No need to hit DC unless you plan to stay a few days. And I bet you'll find more strip malls like your favorite one in NH in the Baltimore environs.

Consider this, a man goes t... (Below threshold)

Consider this, a man goes to BWI, gets on the lightrail, hops to the metro travels to the dc, changes to the orange, gets off at banana republic, eats at california pizza, travels back to the start point, takes a short break on the potty, returns to whence he came and gets back to his temp residence.

That will be JT

The Library of Congress has... (Below threshold)

The Library of Congress has a beautiful bust of Ezra Pound. Kiss it for me?

Loved the American History ... (Below threshold)

Loved the American History museum.

I would recommend the Natio... (Below threshold)
Eneils Bailey:

I would recommend the National Zoo. But call ahead and make sure they are in session.

If you are into aerospace t... (Below threshold)

If you are into aerospace then the new Aerospace museum out near Dulles Airport is a good place to visit.


Make time to attend the Hol... (Below threshold)

Make time to attend the Holocaust Museum. You will be forever changed.

I agree with AJstrata. Mak... (Below threshold)

I agree with AJstrata. Make the Aerospace Museum at Dulles a "must see" also.

My faves are the Air & Spac... (Below threshold)

My faves are the Air & Space Museum, Spy Museum, Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of American History. I also like the National Zoo, but its away from the others.

I forgot to mention that th... (Below threshold)

I forgot to mention that the 3D African Safari IMAX movie at the Natural History Museum and the Mars IMAX movie at the Air and Space Museum were both excellent. I loved seeing the animals in their natural habitat, a nice change of pace from seeing them dead or in cages (the zoo).

Definitely take in the WW2 ... (Below threshold)

Definitely take in the WW2 memorial, since you seem to like the history of WW2. Then if you have time, go to the Vietnam Wall. That is what I would do if I was going to DC.

Another vote for the Air & ... (Below threshold)

Another vote for the Air & Space Museum. Also, stop by Congress and visit the office of your Congressman or Senator(s). Take in the visitor's gallery at the House or Senate.

Also, DC in July? Are you INSANE? The climate is brutal.

Dulles is definately a go t... (Below threshold)

Dulles is definately a go to. If you are willing to go afar (or if you are driving down) Aberdeen Maryland is kinda neat.

Going to top of Washington ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Going to top of Washington Monument could mean 4 hours standing in line.

Go just across the state line into arlington instead and watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Also vietnam wall is right in the area of the Smithsonian.

Jay,I'm a voluntee... (Below threshold)


I'm a volunteer tour guide - I give a 3 1/2 4 hour walking tour that starts downtown at 9:00 on Saturday mornings. It goes around the White House, Washington Monument & the various memorials (Jefferson, FDR, Lincoln, Korea, Vietnam & WWII). And it ends near the Smitsonians if you want to hit them in the afternoon. Let me know if you're interested.

I've been to D.C. 4 times n... (Below threshold)

I've been to D.C. 4 times now as a tourist. Once on a tour, as instructor; the other 3 times as a regular US tourist in searching for historical information of America.

The last time, my 'little brother' (47) and I took our dad, (83) to the capital in honor of the opening of the WWII memorial, (he has purple heart from injuries acquired in the 3rd wave of Omaha Beach).

My 'must sees'(in no particular order):

US Holocaust Museum
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Memorial
Korean Memorial
National Law Enforcement Memorial
Arlington National Cemetary
All the Smithsonian Museums
Vietnam Memorial
The First Infantry Memorial

D.C. has a whole lot of gre... (Below threshold)

D.C. has a whole lot of great musuems, of course...But I'm partial to the National Air & Space Museum. In addition to all the amazing artifacts they've had there for years--the Spirit of St. Louis, an X-15, etc.--they've recently acquired the X-Prize winning vehicle, SpaceShipOne.

Have a great trip!

Jay,all those sugg... (Below threshold)


all those suggestions are great.. if you are interested in the smithsonian , I would suggest going to www.si.edu and seeing specifically which exhibits you want to see, I am a member and attend often , the exhibits are so large that you can spend a day at any museum and then leave town only to hear about something you would have loved to see, but missed...

if you goto Natural History the Lewis and Clark will be a winner as well as the dinosaurs.

for American history the star spangled banner and in the cases pop culture tv and movies are a winner.

i would join you but have the inlaws in town that weekend.

If going to the Spy Museum ... (Below threshold)

If going to the Spy Museum (which I think is great), you might want to make it a double-header. You can stop in at the National Cryptologic Museum (run by the NSA) on your way to DC from Baltimore. It's just off the Balt-Wash Parkway and is rarely busy. You can find it online at www.nsa.gov/museum/index.cfm - and they have some pretty great books for sale there.

Err...what the heck is the ... (Below threshold)

Err...what the heck is the shore leave convention? To someone like me (Merchant Mariner) or even a Navy Seaman, shore leave is awesome, because while tied up in port, we get to have a few days off to wander around without having to come back to the ship that night...

You, a WWII buff, MUST see ... (Below threshold)

You, a WWII buff, MUST see the WWII memorial. Also, you can purchase an awesome dvd of the making of, etc.

Stay at my sister's house in Virginia. She loves company, and my brother in law can give you a behind-the-scenes tour of the Pentagon. I almost got shot there once because of an enormous metal clasp on my purse that caused the alarms to keep going off and made the security guards VERY nervous. Stormin' Norman was in the house, and I actually saw him in his outer office!

I keep hearing that 1600 Pe... (Below threshold)

I keep hearing that 1600 Penn Ave has some pretty good grub.

JT,Take the time t... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves:


Take the time to see Sunset Parade at Marine Barracks, 8th and I street (HQ USMC). If you are going to be in town for a few days, take a day trip down to the State Capitol of Maryland, and take a tour there of my Alma Matter.

Out Here
Rodney Graves
[email protected]
USNA '87

Check out the Navy Archives... (Below threshold)

Check out the Navy Archives. All former sailors, coasties, and Marines can register their names in their database. I did that for my dad (Navy) for his birthday a few years ago.

Geez JT, I think that you h... (Below threshold)

Geez JT, I think that you had better skip going to B'more and head directly to DC. That way you can get a chance to see all of the sights that have been suggested here. Oh BTW, is Ducky making the trip too?

Try FORDS THEATRE on 10th s... (Below threshold)

Try FORDS THEATRE on 10th street between E Street and F Street just 2 or 3 blocks away from the Smithsonians on the Mall. Great history with a neat museum featuring the murder weapon itself. Also just a block or two to the south of Fords Theatre in the direction of the Smithsonians you might want to take a detour into the OLD POST OFFICE TOWER. Inside its mostly a large food court with mumerous shopping outlets but you should take the FREE ride up the elevator to the top of the tower itself. It is I think the second tallest structure in DC itself outside the Wahington Monutment and maybe the Capital Rotunda and the view is fantastic and alot better than the Washington Monuments.

BTW..THE OLD POST OFFICE TO... (Below threshold)

BTW..THE OLD POST OFFICE TOWER is on Pennsylvania Avenue between 10th and 12th Street..Right next to it on 14th Street is the Ronald Reagan Building. You can take a tour. Nothing great but it is cool to see. If you hit any of the populat Smithsonians be prepared for annoyingly large crowds.

Jay, If the weather's nice ... (Below threshold)

Jay, If the weather's nice consider taking a duck boat tour. They are great WWII era open-air amphibious vehicles that take you through the streets of DC and down the Potomac River and a bit of Virginia as well. The tours leave from the grand Union Station which is worth a visit all by itself. Lotsa fun!

And if you have any time le... (Below threshold)

And if you have any time left look up Murtha and him a kick in the ass and charge it to me.

Check out Don Rumsfelds hou... (Below threshold)

Check out Don Rumsfelds house on the eastern shore. For directions just look in the NYT's even tells you how to get up close and personal by showing where the security cameras are located.

I just finished reading all... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

I just finished reading all of the above comments, and my first thought was "Isn't it great how much Americans love their country?".

Stay in Ballmore and feast ... (Below threshold)

Stay in Ballmore and feast at the crab shacks -- now this is Maryland food! Then try some BBQ. What ever you do, stay away from the clam chowder!

The Nsval Academy and US Naval Institute are great places to see.

Oh, and go by train. See how badly they have deteriorated while under control of AMTRAK.

Boy, reading those comments... (Below threshold)

Boy, reading those comments was fun. My kids go to college in D.C. and my inlaws lived there for many years. Lots of those places are fun:spy museum,air and space especially, IMAX movies are terrific(the one actually done on the space station will blow your mind. But with limited time I would start at the Lincoln Memorial, then the Korean war memorial. Walk across from the FDR memorial to the Jefferson memorial. These are all awe inspiring remembrances of what makes are country great.Reading the words of heroes is uplifting. It is also a beautiful walk with lots of shade and plenty of places to buy water.Count on it being 90 degress and humid. If you are lucky you will get caught in a thunder storm and get drenched to cool off. The holocaust museum is a wrenching experience but definately not a fun afternoon especially if you are jewish. The art museum can take a whole day but has some of the most famous paintings and american history museum has lots of fun exhibits and if you are into politics is a must. Be inspired and have fun and its all free except for the food which is surprisingly good for a museum cafe.

If after all that you can s... (Below threshold)
David Hecht:

If after all that you can spare ten minutes, drive over to the Virginia side and spend a few moments at the Iwo Jima memorial.

Dave Wissing runs a nice co... (Below threshold)

Dave Wissing runs a nice conservative website (the hedgehog report) out of Baltimore, often throwing in posts on local Maryland elections.


I have to repeat the recomm... (Below threshold)

I have to repeat the recommendation made to see the Holocaust museum. I am a museum freak and I think it probably the best presentation I have ever seen.

JFK happened to mention to ... (Below threshold)

JFK happened to mention to the superintendant of Arlington National Cemetery that a certain spot there was the best view of DC, and indeed it is.

And that is where he is buried.

Man, I am just full of morbid suggestions here.

If you contact your area co... (Below threshold)

If you contact your area congressman, they have free tickets to tour the White House. It's well worth your while. Also, ditto on the Spy Museum and Holocaust Museum.

If you go to the White Hous... (Below threshold)

If you go to the White House, be prepared to bring *nothing* in. And they don't have lockers.

You might check to see if the flag that hung over the Pentagon after 9/11 is still hanging in the American History Museum entrance. It is inspiring and moving.

WWII and Viet Nam memorials are a must, as is the Lincoln Memorial. For the most bang for buck, the Mall is the best - more things in less time.

National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

You can rent a bicycle by the Old Post Office building. Do that, and ride from museum to museum. Comes w/ free map & lock.

Great little art gallery right across from the Old Executive Office building.

Have Fun!!

My vote is for Annapolis. ... (Below threshold)

My vote is for Annapolis. 30-40 minutes southeast of Baltimore. Amazing history, Naval Academy, great sailing. It's my second home as I spend a lot of time there on business.

I was down in the DC area t... (Below threshold)

I was down in the DC area two summers ago and went to the Udvar-Hazy Center Center at Dulles, which was great, but you also might also want to consider going to Mount Vernon. It's not that far out of town (~15 mi) and the drive along the Potomac from Alexandria is nice. You can also stop at Arlington Cemetery on the way back and see Robert E. Lee's place. If you're a Civil War Buff, Manassas where the 1st and 2nd Bull Run battles took place, is not to be missed (~30 mi).

So much to see, so little t... (Below threshold)

So much to see, so little time.

It's not perfect by any means but depending on your schedule, consider taking one of the D.C. bus tours.

There's a lot of getting on and off, but it helped Da Kid and me figure out what our priorities would be for the week we were up there. Via the bus we had time at Arlington (including the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns), the Iwo Jima Memorial; the Lincoln Memorial, The Wall, the Korea Memorial (the WWII Memorial wasn't open yet); a tour of the Capitol, a presentation at Ford Theater (including the hotel across the street where Lincoln died plus the Lincoln museum); two hours at the Air & Space Museum . . .

Forget the White House or the Pentagon unless you have an invitation for the latter. The daily passes for both were gone by 6 ayem each day.

IF you have to choose one, while not recommended the Air & Space is doable in one day.

Wear comfortable shoes.






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