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Late December Visit with Kids

Georgetown, Kentucky
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643 posts
19 reviews
50 helpful votes
Late December Visit with Kids
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Me, my husband, and two kids (ages 9 and 11) are considering a 3-4 night trip at the end of December (around December 28- Jan 1). We want to see the Smithsonian Museums and Arlington Cemetery and maybe Mount Vernon. We would be driving so we will have car, but I expect we would not use it unless its to get to Mount Vernon or maybe Arlington Cemetery.

We have traveled for Washington DC at the end of December over 10 years ago and found it be a good time as far as crowds and hotel prices. I know it will be cold.

I have booked a refundable reservation at Hyatt Place National Mall. I was thinking this would be good since its walkable to the museums where we would spend a lot of our time. It looks like we could also walk to restaurants at the Wharf. Would these be a good location? I am also looking into whether there is a similar hotel with an indoor pool for the kids. We prefer to walk instead of taking the metro but will take the metro if needed. We went to NYC in December 2019 and the pre Christmas crowds in the subway really stressed us out. Maybe Washington DC's metro is less crazy?

I know things are different with Covid and I found we need a timed entry for the National Archives and the Holocaust Museum. We went ahead and booked those. It seems we need one for Washington Memorial but we can't book it yet. Are there others that we need? I tried emailing my representative for tours of the White House etc. I haven't heard back but I read that these tours are not happening right now due to covid.

Also - I was wondering if you have recommendation on things to do with 2 kids We think they will love the museums but I think it would be good to have some different activities planned as well.

6 replies to this topic
Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington, Washington DC
Level Contributor
18 380 posts
140 reviews
290 helpful votes
1. Re: Late December Visit with Kids
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The National Zoo and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture also require timed tickets.

All of the various Christmas decorations will still be up, so you might enjoy seeing the National and state Christmas trees on the Ellipse. The outdoor exhibit (with train) at the US Botanical Gardens should interest the kids as well.

There are family-friendly activities at National Harbor, many of which require tickets. For info, see:

https://www.nationalharbor.com/events/annual-events/holidays/

There are currently no tours of the White House or US Capitol.

Finally, if you are ice skaters, the rink at the Sculpture Garden is nice. Check their website for ticket info.

Edited: 28 November 2021, 03:24
Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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75 396 posts
49 reviews
112 helpful votes
2. Re: Late December Visit with Kids
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“ I know things are different with Covid and I found we need a timed entry for the National Archives and the Holocaust Museum. ”

Note the Holocaust Museum is recommended for ages 11 and above. Pre-Covid they recommended the Daniel’s Story exhibit for younger children over 8. But that’s temporarily closed.

Georgetown, Kentucky
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643 posts
19 reviews
50 helpful votes
3. Re: Late December Visit with Kids
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Thanks for the recommendations. We will skip the Holocaust museum if the kids exhibition is closed. My 9 year old daughter loves history and reads a lot of historical fiction and non fiction. She has read two historical fiction books set in Europe during the holocaust-one from the perspective of two Jewish kids amd one about a dog who helped soldiers on D-Day. So she knows in general what happened but I imagine full museum may be too much.

Clairton...
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2 311 posts
21 reviews
32 helpful votes
4. Re: Late December Visit with Kids
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RE: "We prefer to walk instead of taking the metro but will take the metro if needed" Just remember that your kids are younger, and walking around DC can be exhausting. I was there last weekend, rode the Metro often, and had no issues whatsoever. Even during the morning and late afternoon "rush hours" trains were not crowded as many offices still have to return to work. Do know, though, that some of the lines are experiencing delays due to repairs, so plan accordingly.

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1 193 posts
5 reviews
1 helpful vote
5. Re: Late December Visit with Kids
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With the exception of rush hour, the DC Metro is less crowded than the NYC subway. I wouldn't hesitate to use the Metro.

Washington DC
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7 924 posts
67 reviews
65 helpful votes
6. Re: Late December Visit with Kids
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yeah, I agree. NYorkers use the subway more as not as many people there have cars as in DC. Also, DC has a lot more people now telecommuting, I suspect. Plus, DC isn't really a magnet for tourists at CHristmas like NY is. I remember once I was in NYC pre-Christmas, and the crowds were so thick on some of the main N-S streets from Central Park south that you had trouble walking through them. Due to Christmas windows, I guess, but it was really bad, and then a lot of people go for theater, Rockettes, etc., just more than DC attracts as crowds.

Unfortunately, all the special holiday things I can think of are over by CHristmas.

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