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Absolute "must sees" for short trips to DC and NYC
Old 02-28-2016, 01:49 PM   #1
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Absolute "must sees" for short trips to DC and NYC

Hi all -
We're doing a domestic summer trip this summer to visit family/friends in Philly. At the kids request we tacked on 3 nights in DC at the beginning of the trip and 3 nights in NYC at the end.

Kids are obnoxious teenage boys age 13 and 15 who think they are experts at everything. That said - they're also bright, curious, and not completely bored by learning/seeing new stuff.

For DC - we have 2.5 day - 2 full days and plus an afternoon and morning on either end. We're staying in the Foggy Bottom area so have good access to the Silver, Orange, and Blue lines.

What are the must sees? Thinking of concentrating on the mall... but don't want to miss something really cool, just because we didn't know about it.

For NYC - again 2.5 days... arriving mid day on a Saturday, flying out late afternoon on Tuesday.

-Kids have specifically requested to climb the crown of the Statue of Liberty - I already purchased the reserved time slot for that on Monday morning. I was thinking either the Nat. History museum and Planetarium. I'll try to get us cheap broadway tix day off, one of the nights. We'll check out ground zero and the new trade center building.

We're open to suggestions.
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:06 PM   #2
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The Smithsonian.
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:10 PM   #3
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The NY Metropolitan Museum of Art is an amazing place. Empire State Building is a nice tourist attraction. Staten Island Ferry. A Broadway show is a good option, you might check Radio City Music Hall. A slice of NY pizza.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum might be especially interesting to teenage boys.

Edit to add: lunch at Carnegie Deli.
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:20 PM   #4
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The Smithsonian alone is good for a couple of weeks. I think there are more really good ethnic restaurants in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood than anywhere else in the world.

Grand Central Station and the Wall Street area are worthwhile if you've never been there.

Look for the TKTS kiosks around Times Square. I always used to go there for cheap Broadway tickets for that evening's shows. Whatever isn't sold by the morning of the show is available there.
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:26 PM   #5
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You might also consider the Circle Line, a narrated river cruise which circles Manhattan Island. Gives you a really good perspective of the city from all angles, and it is amazing at how varied it is, especially the northern tip and along the Hudson River with those amazing cliffs.

A walk through Times Square and also visiting Central Park might also interest them. If you are anywhere near a Papaya King the boys might enjoy a hot dog. Another vote for NY pizza. If anywhere near the lower Eastside, Katz's deli. Lower Eastside also has the Tenement Museum. I really like the idea of a Broadway play! So many choices, so little time.
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Old 02-28-2016, 02:41 PM   #6
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DC: Capitol (new visitors center); Lincoln Memorial; Library of Congress and White House tour (your congressional rep office can get your tours and tickets); Old Town Alexandria for lunch or dinner.


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Old 02-28-2016, 03:18 PM   #7
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I was thinking about Staten Island ferry or Circle Line cruise - but I figure with the Statue of Liberty ferry and our limited time frame - we can sort of check that box.

In NYC we're staying on the upper west side if that helps with ideas. I've been to NYC a lot - and DH and I spent a child free week there 6 years ago. I'm comfortable with public transit and walking.

Thinking about doing the cloisters again - but that's so far north it doesn't combine well with other sights... and given our limited time I'm trying to combine as much as possible.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:22 PM   #8
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For DC, the Spy Museum was better than I expected. It's not part of the Smithsonian, so there is a fee. They have a package that includes a group experience with spy-craft activities, which we enjoyed with our daughter. Based on your description of your two boys, I think this would be right up their alley. There's also a package with a walking tour of relevant sites, but it was freezing outside (literally) when we were there, so we didn't do that one. The Spy Museum is closest to the Gallery Place / Chinatown metro stop on the yellow line.

I also like to visit the National Archives occasionally. There's just something about seeing the original documents that gets to me. Archives has its own metro stop on the yellow line.

Other museums to consider on the mall are the Air & Space Museum and the Museum of American History. Maybe Natural History if you're not going to see the one in NY or if you feel a strong need to see the Hope Diamond.

You could also walk around the tidal basin and enjoy the monuments. You can see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, WWII, Jefferson, FDR, MLK, Korean War and probably a couple of others on an urban hike of about 3 miles. Or you could rent bikes from one of the Bikeshare stands and do it that way.

There's Arlington cemetery. The changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldiers is very moving, and there are a lot of interesting monuments and stories behind them throughout the cemetery. Arlington is on the blue line.

The Marines do Evening Parade at 8th & I (you need tickets for this).

There's also the White House, the Capitol, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, etc -- way more than you can cover in 2.5 days, but hopefully this gives you some ideas.
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:36 PM   #9
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In NYC go to ground zero and the 911 museum. Emotional but very educational. Central Park is also a must.

In DC Lincoln Memorial, WWll Memorial and Smithsonian.

Enjoy!
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:38 PM   #10
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I went to college on the upper West Side but that was almost 40 years ago...yikes!! Lots of bodegas and delis there and also Zabar's. The Cloisters is one of my favorite museums. A subway ride up there would be educational in and of itself. I don't know how far up on the West Side you will be staying but there is also Grant's Tomb.

Could you combine a trip to the Statue of Liberty with Ellis Island?
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:43 PM   #11
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Thinking about doing the cloisters again - but that's so far north it doesn't combine well with other sights.
Oh, please don't discount it. The Cloisters is one of my absolute favorite hidden gems. First visit was over 50 years ago and I've gone back many times since. There are always new things to see, and it just brings such overwhelming peace to my soul.

Also, on my last visit just a few years ago, I found a really delightful little restaurant practically next door to the Cloisters.
New Leaf Restaurant
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Absolute "must sees" for short trips to DC and NYC
Old 02-28-2016, 05:08 PM   #12
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Absolute "must sees" for short trips to DC and NYC

I liked the Newseum museum in DC. Mostly current event type displays that teens would be familiar with and interactive displays like making a tape of yourself broadcasting the news.

The TKTS south seaport is the forgotten TKTS outlet it seems and there has never been more than a few people in line (I go right when it opens though). It's also close to the Brooklyn Bridge.

I'll give you a half/full day suggestion for NYC. We love going to Charles Southern Kitchen in Harlem https://www.google.com/search?q=char...#istate=kp:xpd You can take the subway/walk there, eat lunch (it recently made its way into Lonely Planet European edition so there may be a little wait). The M10 bus stop is right in front of the door. Take the bus down to 125th St and get off to see the Apollo Theatre and visit the surrounding stores to look at cool tennis shoes . When you're done get back on the bus and ride down to 72nd St and CPW. You will be right in front of the Dakota. The museums are near here. The entrance to Central Park at 72nd St is where the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon is located. From here you can meander diagonally thru Central Park and pop out on the corner of 5th Ave and I believe 59th St. If this is in the summer there are always buskers on the corner dancing that my teenage son loved watching. Continue your stroll down 5th Ave looking at the stores and cathedrals. Before you know it you will be near Times Square.

ImageUploadedByEarly Retirement Forum1456700836.435144.jpg $10.50 One entree, 2 sides, includes tea or lemonade. You won't leave hungry and will enjoy the walk.


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Old 02-28-2016, 05:19 PM   #13
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DC -teen boys - Air and Space, a ride on the metro and riding one of the really really deep escalators out of the metro (DuPont Circle I think is pretty good).

NYC - Nat Hist Museum, Central Park, rent a row boat, KATZ's deli over Carnegie, Grey's Papaya Hot Dog, definitely pizza - many possible places use Yelp to help you find one near you, and last but not least get a choc chip cookie at Lavain Bakery at 74th and Amsterdam. For this last suggestion, your kids and you will thank me.


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Old 02-28-2016, 05:29 PM   #14
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If the boys have any interest at all in aviation do not miss the Air & Space museum on the mall in D.C. It has everything from gliders before the original Wright Flyer to a copy of the Apollo 11 lunar spacecraft and beyond. I have spent several days there, not all at the same time.

You probably don't have time this trip but the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport is worth the day trip it deserves. Lots of early aircraft, WWII aircraft, the Enola Gay that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, and the SR-71, among many others. There is also the Discovery space shuttle on display.

As with the Air & Space museum I have spent several days there (not all at the same time) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although they do have restaurants on both premises it is grossly overpriced so best to plan on eating elsewhere before or after your visit to either one.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:41 PM   #15
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I'm a big fan of the Museum of Natural History in either city. Love the mall in DC. Times Square in NYC is fun.


If you can get up and going very early, go walk the grounds of the National Zoo in DC when they are feeding the big cats. Unfortunately I don't remember how early...maybe 7 or 7:30? I happened to be staying in a hotel nearby and went for a morning run, and heard this roar from a lion in the distance that chilled me to the bone. Same with the tigers. Unforgettable. Went to them and they were pacing around waiting for their food. Totally different from mid-day when they are hiding or sleeping or sitting there bored swatting flies with their tails.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:53 PM   #16
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Urn2bfree jogged my memory. It is Grey's Papaya Hot Dog (not Papaya King). That Levain bakery sounds great. I wondered how I missed it in my student days but I see it wasn't opened until 1994. My most recent trips to the Big Apple were with my late aunt, and we stayed in Midtown near the theaters and saw half a dozen plays in 5 days. We didn't spend time hunting restaurants as the theater was the reason for our trips so had breakfast and dinner in our hotel to save time and energy.

In my student days we liked Original Ray's for pizza but I have read so much recently about all sorts of Ray's claiming the title that it confuses me. We went to one in Greenwich Village and then another near Lenox Hill Hospital.
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:00 PM   #17
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I was thinking about Staten Island ferry or Circle Line cruise - but I figure with the Statue of Liberty ferry and our limited time frame - we can sort of check that box.

In NYC we're staying on the upper west side if that helps with ideas. I've been to NYC a lot - and DH and I spent a child free week there 6 years ago. I'm comfortable with public transit and walking.

Thinking about doing the cloisters again - but that's so far north it doesn't combine well with other sights... and given our limited time I'm trying to combine as much as possible.

Take a walk over the highline park since you will be in it's general vicinity. It's something unique that you won't find in other places.

http://www.thehighline.org


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Old 02-28-2016, 06:11 PM   #18
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Kids are obnoxious teenage boys age 13 and 15 who think they are experts at everything.
I think noting your children's sex while describing their attributes is pretty sexist of you.
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Old 02-28-2016, 06:44 PM   #19
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:09 PM   #20
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The 3 prettiest indoor spaces in DC are: Jefferson Reading Room @ Library of Congress, Union Station, Whistler's Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery (unfortunately the museum is closed until 2017 for restoration).

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History has the well-known Hope Diamond, but the rest of the gem collection is quite impressive, and the mineral collection adjacent to it is vast and equally impressive.

The National Gallery of Art has a wonderful collection, and is rarely crowded except for special exhibitions.

If you like Asian art, the Smithsonian's Sackler Museum is excellent.

The Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian has 2 branches, one in DC (near the Air & Space museum), the other near Battery Park in lower Manhattan. The one in NY has a superb semi-permanent exhibit of amazing objects from indigenous groups throughout the Americas, "Infinity of Nations". Like the Smithsonian museums in DC, the NY branch is free and open every day of the week, unlike most NY museums. The building itself is magnificent.
Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian | National Museum of the American Indian

I've been mostly disappointed with the DC branch, but there is a an exhibition there until June, 2018, that is outstanding, "The Great Inka (sic) Road". The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire | National Museum of the American Indian

The Smithsonian American Art Museum/Portrait Gallery share a beautiful building off the Mall next to the Gallery Place Metro stop (across from the Spy Museum). The combined museums have later hours than the others, 11:30am-7:00pm on most days. The glass and steel covered courtyard is beautiful.

If you've never tried Ethiopian food, the DC area has more Ethiopian restaurants than probably any other city in the US. There are several on U street, 18th Street, & 9th street. Your boys might like it because you eat with your hands, using the injera flat bread to scoop up the food. It's spicy but usually not excessively so.

In NY, I agree that the TKTS South Street Seaport location has a MUCH shorter line than the Times Square location.
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