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How many days to spend in DC

Paphos, Cyprus
Level Contributor
59 posts
39 reviews
24 helpful votes
How many days to spend in DC

Hi Everyone,

I am planning to visit Washington DC during end of June or beginning of July 2022, with my wife and 6 year old son. Would you please advise on how many days we should spend in DC in order to see most major attractions without having a very intensive schedule? We were looking to opt for a White house tour but as i have seen its also temporarily suspended - hopefully it will be reinstated until summer next year but no one knows (safety comes first).

PS: We are coming from Europe and aim to visit Orlando and DC. It seems that we would be in the US on the 4th of July. In which of the two states would you recommend being on that day?

Thank you very much in advance

Edited: 22 November 2021, 08:40
4 replies to this topic
Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington, Washington DC
Level Contributor
18 379 posts
140 reviews
290 helpful votes
1. Re: How many days to spend in DC

Definitely spend the 4th of July in Washington DC.

Depending on your interests (and the time you have available for this trip), I would allow 4-7 days for your stay in DC.

Wilmington, North...
Level Contributor
2 611 posts
2 reviews
2. Re: How many days to spend in DC

Agree with 4-7 days as there is plenty to do in and around DC.  The zoo, Air and Space and Natural History museums are kid favorites.  plus you'll find some of the best food in the US with varied cuisines.

Things to do:


Definitely DC for July 4th.  The National Mall will be crowded with traffic and public transportation after the fireworks so it would be best if you had a hotel within walking distance.  A hotel in the Wharf area may be a good option depending on how far the little one can walk - say about a half mile from the Mall.  It has kid friendly activities. Someone may be able to verify if you can see the fireworks from the Wharf.


Keep in mind that Orlando will be miserably hot and humid.  The theme parks usually involve much time spent waiting in lines for rides and taking transportation between parks and lodgings.  I would consider enjoying either Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens, both in Virginia, or even better, somewhere in the slightly cooler north.  Maybe Hershey Park in Pennsylvania which is an easy drive from DC and near beautiful, fun and interesting Amish Country in the Lancaster area.


Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
18 805 posts
2 reviews
1 helpful vote
3. Re: How many days to spend in DC

4 th in DC is a good place to be.

If you hit DC around the 4th there are special events occurring ( based on tradition…Covid coukd affect this).

The smithsonian museums have a cultural event on the mall for aweek or more leading up through the 4th.

On the 4th there is a morning parade. In the evening there is a fireworks display on the mall roughly over the washington monument. You see the top half of the mon7mrnt you will see fireworks.

Also on the mall is a free concert by the national symphony on the steps of the Capitol facing the monument. Thus is nationally aired by PBS. It starts at 8 pm. Around 9 pm the fireworks start so you can hear the concert and watch the fireworks. On the 3rd there is a rehearsalatthe same location. Both will have you go through security check points.

The mall for fireworks on a night evening will have over 100,000 people. Ifyou get an evening downpour the locals don’t go. The fireworks will still happen in a light rain.

On the smithsonian there are a bunch of museums that are generally free to enter. Special exhibits might require a reservation and/ or a fee.

Some of these are…American museum, natural history museum, African American musrum, national art gallery, Holocaust museum, air and space musrum, Native American museum.

There are ticket required tours of the washington monument and bureau of printing and engraving ( how money is made).

Then you have White House and Capitol. Thry have visitor centers but I do t expecttours available. There is the library of Congress.

On the west side of the mall are war memorials and Lincoln and other memorials..

Off the mall us the international spy museum, the national zoo, and other museums.

In Baltimore’s inner harbor area there is the national aquarium ( one of the best in the country). Also here are boat activities and Ft McBride ry made famous in war of 1812.

At Dulles airport is smithsonian air and space museum 2 or udvar-hazy. It has numerous airplanes and one of the space shuttles as well as IMAX movies. The air and space on the mall has a movie theater that you have to pay extra tower movies of about an hr but these are not imax ones.

For a visit…

On the first or last day look at doing udvar-hazy since you’d likely fly in/ out of Dulles fir a direct flight.

2 days for the stuff on the mall

1 day for zoo and off the mall things

1 day for baltimore

1 day for the 4 th of juky stuff

Witha rental car….

Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown ( about 3 hr drive without traffic)

Beaches of assateague, ocean city, md, Delaware beaches

Shenandoah national park in the mountains

Various battlefield locations for revolution, war of 1812, and civil war .

Myt vernon..home of George Washington

Charlottesville..home of Jefferson at mo ti cello

Hershey’s park and Amish country and Gettysburg in harrisburg/ Lancaster area about 90+ min drive to the north

The weather at thus time will likely be 90 and humid. It can be hotter with temps near 100.

Orlando will be very muggy with highs around low 90s.

Washington DC
Level Contributor
7 924 posts
67 reviews
65 helpful votes
4. Re: How many days to spend in DC

I think four is a good number and would do things special to DC and the federal govt. I wouldn't stay seven, that's a pretty long time to be in one city, for me. I also wouldn't spend my time going to the zoo (I don't part5icularly like the National Zoo but in any case, you can see zoos in lots of cities) nor Baltimore, which I don't like. It is a very high crime rate city and I don't think there is anything that special to see there. I"ve seen better aquariums, but that's the only thing I can think of as you can see plenty of art in DC.

Both DC and Orlando are going to very very hot and humid in mid-July, most likely.

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