Washington DC w/Kids Itinerary

Our Washington DC Trip Information
It was our girls’ first visit to DC, so we hit the highlights…
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. I booked it through Hotwire.com and we paid $159 a night plus tax, plus parking...we parked around the corner at $18 a day as opposed to Hyatt's valet parking garage at $40 a day. 
The location was great! Click for a map.

We were right at Capitol Hill, near Union Station. We *walked* everywhere, which was interesting! Being at one end of the mall meant that we sometimes walked for 30+ minutes to get to the places farthest away (Bureau of Engraving, Lincoln Memorial, Wash Monument, White House), but we were only about half way from the Smithsonian Museums, and obviously just minutes from the Capitol. 
The hotel was 70's style-ish...we didn't have a good view...room was a little dusty and older. The kids thought the lobby was neat. Pool was packed in evenings, had it to ourselves in the mornings. We never ate any of the hotel restaurants. Staff, especially concierge were outstanding. They charge $30 extra for a fridge for the stay (we used a cooler), and internet is another $10 a day if you want that...I felt they could have included those. But, again, the location was great (staff too), price was right (through Hotwire) and that mattered most.
I just checked the map and the Holiday Inn seems to have a great location as well...more in the middle of the mall, I don't know anything about the hotel other than location. 

You could choose to stay just outside walking distance from the sites and save a bundle, but then you’ll need transportation into the downtown area.
You should contact your representative right away regarding tickets to the Capitol, White House, Library of Congress (we skipped), Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and others. **For some of these you have to get tickets through a congressional member and it can take up to 6 months.  You have to fill our security forms for the White House visit.  We visited DC in February 2010 – I contacted Rosa DeLauro’s office in October 2009.

We ate all breakfasts from our cooler…some lunches & a dinner too.  We were exhausted each night and went to bed early.  (Paul did head out to take some photos of the buildings at night.)  If you have more stamina there’s a lot to do at night, too.  We moved at the girls’ pace (ages 7 & 11), so we didn’t do “in depth” visits at the Smithsonian museums…American History was their favorite, followed by American Indian and then Natural History.  It also was not crowded in February, so we moved pretty easily and at a relaxed pace. 

We were not particularly interested in finding *hot spots* for dinner…being tired, girls wanting to swim, finding gluten-free pizza, snow covered sidewalks, and our budget kept us close to the hotel – we used Union Station 3x for dinner.  However, there are some wonderful restaurants to explore!
Our itinerary:
Left Connecticut at 5:30am
Arrived in DC at 10:30am
Checked in at hotel, ate our packed lunch in room, went out in city (turned out to be the only relatively warm day)
Dinner at Union Station (America {it was so-so})
10:30am tour of Capitol Building
Steps of Supreme Court (it was closed for President’s Day, and the girls are young and not too interested in this…saving a tour for another visit)
Back to hotel room for lunch
National Archives (just to see Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights)
Dinner at Union Station (Uno {eh, you know what you're getting with Uno})
Swam before breakfast
Washington Monument (reserved tickets at recreation.gov)
(too cold to do Lincoln Memorial)
Smithsonian Air and Space (lunch in McDonald’s there)
*this was the kids’ least favorite museum
Dinner by the hotel pool (Paul picked up take out from Uno at Union Station)
Left hotel at 7:15am
Bureau of Engraving and Printing Congressional tour 8:15am
The White House (11 am tour, but we got there early and went on 9:30 or 10am tour)
White House visitor’s center (for a moment)
Ronald Reagan building souvenir shop (for a key chain Emma was looking for)
Walked by the FBI building (can no longer tour it)
Hard Rock Café for lunch
Ford’s Theater (on same street as Hard Rock)
Kids “skated” length of the frozen reflecting pool
Stopped at Museum of American History again so kids could go back to Transit Exhibit which they loved!
Walked back to hotel
Dinner (kids had gluten-free pizza from Uno *again* Paul and I ate from our cooler)
Swam in morning
Had extended check out so we could keep bags and car in place
Lunch at the Mitsitum Cafe (a must!)
Checked out at 2:30pm
Home at 9:30pm

If the city weren’t *covered* in an historic amount of snow (which was *amazing to witness*)...we would have strolled through the Sculpture Gardens, we just skirted outside them…

And, that’s a wrap!  Everyone wants to go back.  I’ve heard good things about Newseum and Spy Museum.  I’d like to hit some of the art museums and take the kids to the Naval Yard, the Kennedy Center, the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Georgetown, Embassy Row… among other things.

I hope you find this information helpful! 

Washington D.C. is a great family vacation destination.