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Cherry Blossom Festival

SunSandGirl

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This is our 1st time going to the Cherry Blossom Festival. We are going over Easter weekend (4/7).

We are staying at Wyndham National Harbor.

Does anyone have any helpful information?

Must see or do?

Good restaurants that aren't too expensive?

Transportion/parking tips?

Thanks!
 

Talent312

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In one weekend, even a long weekend, you won't even begin to scratch the surface, but pick-up one of the trolley's that hits the highlights around the National Mall and Arlington Nat'l. Cemetary and you can hop-off, hop-on all day long.

We found that a hand-held GPS (auto or phone) was a great help in keeping us oriented, pointing us to our next site, and deciding what was in walking distance. Also: Go online to get maps of the Metro subway system and the National Mall sites.

For Dining while at the Mall...
(1) The big cafeteria in the basement of the National Gallery of Art is the best thing going.
.... Fairly good food, wide selection and decent prices.
(2) Runners-Up: The cafeterias in the American History Museum and basement of the Supreme Court.
.... Nice gift shop at the Supreme Court.
(3) Restaurants: Go to Georgetown or Alexandria. Fommers (www.frommers.com) has recommendations.
(4) Fast Food: Its hard to beat the burgers at any "Five Guys."
.... There's one at the McPherson Sq. Metro exit on K Street.

It took us a week to do this:

The Mall...
(1) Smithsonian Museums: Air+Space & American History are crowd-pleasers.
(2) Capitol Hill: Congress, Library of Congress & Supreme Court (all in one stop).
(3) National Archives.
(4) The Memorials: Lincoln, Jefferson, Vietnam, Korea & WWII.
.... Tours of the Archives & Congress can be reserved in advance at websites.

Arlington...
Take the trolly to the Tomb of the Unknowns, Kennedy graves and Robert E. Lee House.

Elsewhere...
(1) Ford's Theatre where Lincoln was shot is worth the diversion.
.... See a show or tour. Cross the street to the house where he died... walk into the bedroom.
(2) The Kennedy Center: See a show or do a tour.
(3) A performance of the Capitol Steps (walk-in tickets available).
(4) White House: Reservations are a hassle... you have to go thru a member of Congress or Senator.
.... You cannot bring a camera or much else, but can bring a cell phone. :ponder:

Further Afield...
(1) Washington's Home at Mount Vernon: The "National Treasure" tour took us into the basement.
(2) Possible Options: The Naval Observatory and the National Zoo.

Google is your friend. Google the place names where you might go for directions+hours.
 
Last edited:

Laurie

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We did get the White House tour reserved over a Cherry Blossom weekend thru our congressional rep, and not that far in advance, but do it right away if that's something you'd like.

Thanks Talent 312 for this info, I'm gonna print it out. Been to DC many times, but never as a tourist, and potential # of things to see and do are overwhelming. We're hoping to get to the Holocaust Museum as well.
 

MULTIZ321

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In one weekend, even a long weekend, you won't even begin to scratch the surface, but pick-up one of the trolley's that hits the highlights around the National Mall and Arlington Nat'l. Cemetary and you can hop-off, hop-on all day long.

We found that a hand-held GPS (auto or phone) was a great help in keeping us oriented, pointing us to our next site, and deciding what was in walking distance. Also: Go online to get maps of the Metro subway system and the National Mall sites.

For Dining while at the Mall...
(1) The big cafeteria in the basement of the National Gallery of Art is the best thing going.
.... Fairly good food, wide selection and decent prices.
(2) Runners-Up: The cafeterias in the American History Museum and basement of the Supreme Court.
.... Nice gift shop at the Supreme Court.
(3) Restaurants: Go to Georgetown or Alexandria. Fommers (www.frommers.com) has recommendations.
(4) Fast Food: Its hard to beat the burgers at any "Five Guys."
.... There's one at the McPherson Sq. Metro exit on K Street.

It took us a week to do this:

The Mall...
(1) Smithsonian Museums (Air+Space & American History are crowd-pleasers).
(2) Capitol Hill (Congress, Library of Congress & Supreme Court).
(3) National Archives.
(4) The Memorials: Lincoln, Jefferson, Vietnam, Korea & WWII.
.... Tours of the Archives & Congress can be reserved in advance at websites.

Arlington...
Take the trolly to the Tomb of the Unknowns, Kennedy graves and Robert E. Lee House.

Elsewhere...
(1) Ford's Theatre where Lincoln was shot is worth the diversion.
.... See a show or tour. Cross the street to the house where he died... walk into the bedroom.
(2) The Kennedy Center: See a show or do a tour.
(3) A performance of the Capitol Steps (walk-in tickets available).
(4) White House: Reservations are a hassle... you have to go thru a member of Congress or Senator.
.... You cannot bring a camera or much else, but can bring a cell phone. :ponder:

Further Afield...
(1) Washington's Home at Mount Vernon: The "National Treasure" tour took us into the basement.
(2) Possible Options: The Naval Observatory and the National Zoo.

Google is your friend. Google the place names where you might go for directions+hours.


Talent312,

Thanks for this great synopsis!

Richard
 

TSPam

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Hi,
Just to let you know, the actual cherry blossoms are expected to peak this week, two weeks earlier than usual. There is a web site that tracks them.

I am in Williamsburg now and most of the blossoms here are just finishing and the magnolias are also dropping their flowers. Very early spring!
 

chapjim

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From the entrance to Wyn NatHarbor, go up the hill to the cross street. There's a bus stop where you can catch a Metro bus to the Branch Avenue Metro station. That's your gateway to the District. Check hours of operation for the bus and Metro rail so you don't get stuck in DC late at night.

There are some decent restaurants in the National Harbor development close to Wyndham. As has been noted here often, they are "night out" restaurants, not family oriented places. No Applebee's, TGI Friday's, Outback, etc. No restaurant you've ever heard of is at National Harbor.

Metro has day passes so your best shot for a variety of affordably priced restaurants may be Crystal City or Pentagon City in Arlington (both on the Blue and Yellow lines). There are about a dozen small restaurants in one block of 23rd Street around the corner from Eads St. Just from memory there are about six Italian places, Mexican, Thai, Ethiopian, sushi, an Irish pub, a sports bar and a gay bar. Crystal Drive, where 23rd Street ends, has a number of very good, but a bit pricier, restaurants.

Pentagon City and the nearby Pentagon Row have quite a few restaurants and there is a fairly large food court in Pentagon City Mall (Fashion Center at Pentagon City), which itself is quite a nice shopping site.

Considering the amount of walking you will already have done, all of these places are within walking distance of the Metro stations.

The restaurant lists are incomplete and a bit outdated but here are two sites that might help:

http://www.dc4me.com/neighborhoods/Crystal-City-and-Pentagon-City

http://www.urbanspoon.com/n/7/617/DC/Crystal-City-Pentagon-City-restaurants
 
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Twinkstarr

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We did get the White House tour reserved over a Cherry Blossom weekend thru our congressional rep, and not that far in advance, but do it right away if that's something you'd like.

Thanks Talent 312 for this info, I'm gonna print it out. Been to DC many times, but never as a tourist, and potential # of things to see and do are overwhelming. We're hoping to get to the Holocaust Museum as well.

We just our confirmation on the White House tour from our Congressman's office on Friday for our trip. We had been confirmed for the Congress tour months ago.
 

rrlongwell

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Hi,
Just to let you know, the actual cherry blossoms are expected to peak this week, two weeks earlier than usual. There is a web site that tracks them.

I am in Williamsburg now and most of the blossoms here are just finishing and the magnolias are also dropping their flowers. Very early spring!

Just got back from National Harbor. The cherry blossoms look great in front of the WWII Museum.
 

Nolathyme

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Went to the tidal basin (the center of the Cherry Blossom Universe) and the blossoms are out (probably 70% full).

For restaurants.

Old Ebbitt Grill on 15th st (3 blocks from Constitution) go early for lunch or dinner or wait in long lines

Mitsitam Cafe in the Native Indian Museum (For native American food you don't/can't make at home) - get there at 11 or wait in long lines
 

javabean

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You should also consider the "Monuments by Moonlight" evening tours. There are many to choose from. They can be booked in full size coach busses or on trolly style vehicles. You can choose 1, 2 or 3 hour tours. We did a 2 hour trolly tour on a beautiful clear evening and it was wonderful. You spent some time driving around and some time stopping and getting out. We have visited DC a number of times and this remains one of our favorite memories.:clap:

I personally also like visiting the library of congress and doing a tour. The architecture is wonderful and the tour is informative . It is a hike to the top of Capitol Hill so don't put in on the top of your to see list.

I was disappointed in the tour of the Capitol. A lot of time was spend in order to see a very few areas of the building. Also, security is very, very tight. I saw women have to toss bottles of perfume along with water bottles etc.

While you are at National Harbor keep an eye out for any huge military ships that might be coming in. They have to raise the drawbridge on the beltway. It is pretty impressive.

Thanks for all the great suggestions and links posted so far.
 

Talent312

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You should also consider the "Monuments by Moonlight" evening tours.


One evening after dark, I and some buddies from home walked out to the middle of the Mall.
We, sat down on the grass and just talked for an hour or so. It was way cool to see the monuments lit up.
 
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