1) Washington DC is not easy to navigate. I am used to Wilmington and Philly which have semi-logical grid systems and TONS of signs for local tourist attractions. You’d think DC would do the same, right? NO. Do your homework ahead of time.
2) Your GPS isn’t going to keep up, by the way. That’s if you’re getting a signal at all. So do your homework ahead of time and then PRINT IT OUT.
3) So after getting lost (and winding up in Virginia) and our GPS cutting out, we did eventually track down where we wanted to be. But parking? Was a nightmare. Metered spots had a 2-hour limit. We finally found a lot to park in… that was about a half-hour from the Mall. WHERE DO PEOPLE PARK IN DC?!
4) And after all that, most museums closed at 5:00, so after eating lunch we only had time to really do one museum. We went to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, which we’d actually been to before but knew would be universally appealing to our bunch.
Since the Smithsonian Museums are free and parking wasn’t terribly expensive, I’m reluctant to call our daytrip a total failure, but it wasn’t a good representative experience at all. So we’re gonna have to try again!
There are tons of things I want to do in Washington DC with the kids— I’ve never seen the Jefferson Memorial or the Washington Monument (well, I saw it from a distance), I’d like to hit a bunch of the Smithsonian museums and the gardens, and I’m particularly eager to check out What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet at the National Archives.
Next time we’ll take a train down and fully avoid the hassle of parking and navigating.
Unless you have some helpful hints for me? Pretty please?
Sorry you had such a difficult time. I’ve never visited DC but it’s on my list of places to go. Last week I had the same issue in downtown Fort Worth with my GPS. I hate one way streets and was having some anxiety trying to find our way out when my GPS couldn’t keep up, by the time it told me where to go I was passed that street. Glad the museums were free so you didn’t waste too much money. Better luck next time!