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Family Trip to NY/DC - advice/tips?

Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Backstory: My wife and I are from Maine and have a 7 year old son. We can't really do Disney like we hoped this year, so instead we're going to drive and do NY and DC. Neither of us have been to NY and we've only done a very brief 5 hour stint to DC so both areas are essentially new to all three of us. My wife is also considering boucing up one night to PA to see Gettysburg (she used to be a Civil War buff).

We're looking to start the trip in July, on a Sunday and come back to Maine on Saturday or Sunday - so right around 7 solid days. Obviously we want to see the Statue of Liberty, Times Square (and by extension my son wants to see the Nintendo store). In DC we want to do a museum and the typical sight seeing stuff. My wife wants to see a beach in Jersey out of our guilty pleasure of the Jersey Shore (I know, I know) and I'd like to hit Jay & Bob's Secret Stash just to pick up Kevin Smith signed posters and stuff without shipping/etc.

A.) How would folks break up the time? If we don't do PA, I was thinking 4 nights NY, 2/3 nights DC.

B.) What activities are absolute must do's in both areas?

C.) Where would people stay? We'd like $150/night with some form of breakfast/pool included. I was looking at
lLa Quinta Clifton
Which has free parking/pool/breakfast/shuttle to public transportation..followed by...
Comfort Inn Arlington
Outside pool, decent price...

Any feedback on those options/areas?

D.) Any last things we should know travelling to either area?

Crap - I had links to the hotels in my first version of this - I'll add them back in later today...

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Posts

  • Pure DinPure Din Rhode Island Registered User regular
    My opinion is more time in DC, less in NYC. Times Square or the Nintendo store aren't really places you can spend more than an hour or so looking at, and DC has a lot more stuff to do that's free. Also the Statue of Liberty is closed for renovation, so you can't actually go inside it right now.

  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    You might want to check out the Intrepid Sea & Air Museum. By July the Enterprise should be there (it flew in to JFK this past weekend), and it's a nice museum overall.

    Edit: Also check out the Museum of Natural History.

    minirhyder on
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Yeah DC is far more touristy than NYC.

    NYC is where you go if you want to shop.

  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    The Comfort Inn off Glebe Road in Arlington is kind of a long walk to the Metro. It's definitely doable, and there's a bus to the station that runs along that street on a regular terrible WMATA schedule. Just be aware it's a bit of a hike (especially in the summer heat). There's also not really any nightlife (restaurants, etc) that are in easy walking distance.

    Though if you think you're going to be driving it pretty much sits on top of the highway into DC and the exit towards the city bounds one side of the building, so that's a plus.

    edit- Unless you're talking about the other Comfort Inn in Arlington, which is by Shirlington and has no public transit anywhere near it.

    adytum on
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  • Lindsey LohanLindsey Lohan Registered User regular
    adytum wrote: »
    The Comfort Inn off Glebe Road in Arlington is kind of a long walk to the Metro. It's definitely doable, and there's a bus to the station that runs along that street on a regular terrible WMATA schedule. Just be aware it's a bit of a hike (especially in the summer heat). There's also not really any nightlife (restaurants, etc) that are in easy walking distance.

    Though if you think you're going to be driving it pretty much sits on top of the highway into DC and the exit towards the city bounds one side of the building, so that's a plus.

    The reason we chose it was because it seemed easy to get in and out of and they have transportation to the metro - I'm assuming a shuttle bus of some sort.

    We were originally thinking more NY than DC because we didn't know how much tolerance a kid will have for monuments and history so we thought the bright lights of NY would maybe be more exciting for him. Both hotels are essentially the same price so there's really nothing preventing us from rethinking that though.

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  • minirhyderminirhyder NYCRegistered User regular
    The bright lights of Times Square will take a bigger toll on your kid than the light will justify. Being July it will be super hot and humid, and packed with tourists. It's just an awful, awful place to be for anybody.

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    adytum wrote: »
    The Comfort Inn off Glebe Road in Arlington is kind of a long walk to the Metro. It's definitely doable, and there's a bus to the station that runs along that street on a regular terrible WMATA schedule. Just be aware it's a bit of a hike (especially in the summer heat). There's also not really any nightlife (restaurants, etc) that are in easy walking distance.

    Though if you think you're going to be driving it pretty much sits on top of the highway into DC and the exit towards the city bounds one side of the building, so that's a plus.

    edit- Unless you're talking about the other Comfort Inn in Arlington, which is by Shirlington and has no public transit anywhere near it.

    What? That Comfort Inn is like 5 blocks from the metro according to google maps. Also, if you're staying in Arlington you're 10-20 blocks from the highest concentration of restaurants in Virginia, not including King Street in Alexandria.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Note: I lived in Baltimore for 9 years and now live in Jersey City.

    It really depends on what turns you guys on. DC is great for seeing museums and the zoo, because they're big and free. DC is pretty shitty for shopping, seeing cool culture things, and any sort of nightlife. NYC has everything and is overwhelming, which can be its own experience.

    I think you can definitely do the plan you outline and see the things you want to see. I'd suggest hitting NYC first, then leave in the morning to drive to Gettysburg (Woo, avoiding tolls by going the "long way"!), spending the day checking out the battlefield, and then continue down to DC that night to check in to hotel. North Jersey to DC is about 4 hours, and adding Gettysburg only adds 45 minutes of driving time. You can see the main stuff in Gettysburg in an afternoon.

    Then stay in DC, see a couple museums (your kid will probably like Air & Space) and the zoo, and then drive up to NJ. You can go to any of the shore points, really, and then come up the Garden State Parkway to hit up Jay & Bob's Secret Stash. Seems like a nice little loop.

    As for the logistics, I suggest figuring out what you want to do in broader strokes. Times Square is 30 minutes, the Nintendo store is maybe 45 minutes, and "sightseeing" is different for many people. What kind of things turn you guys on? New York has everything, which is why it's a good place to visit -- those tourists people complain about are there for a reason -- but you have to put some effort into what you want out of NYC, lest you simply spend a lot of money.

    For example, the next time my parents come to visit, we're going to see standup comedy, maybe go to a zoo, and might head to Brooklyn for pizza and/or Coney Island. For someone visiting who's never been, though, a better trip might be the Circle Line boat tour and a horse carriage around Central Park. Maybe y'all would want to spend a day in the Natural History Museum, or just soak up the neighborhood vibes in the West Village.

    DC is easier to plan because it's all based around the Mall and is more destination-y. People only visit DC for the Smithsonians, the monuments, and the zoo.

    EggyToast on
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  • CyberJackalCyberJackal Registered User regular
    Depends on which Comfort Inn we're talking about... There's actually two on Glebe. The one on North Glebe is a short walk to the metro. The one on South Glebe is not close to a metro at all.

    For the monuments, the OP should keep in mind that the distances involved are further than you think. Going around the tidal basin to see all the monuments is a trip of several miles. Also, it's going to be hot and humid in July. Plan accordingly.

    Some kid-friendly stuff in DC would be the Air and Space and Natural History museums, the zoo (which may not be so pleasant, depending on the weather), and perhaps the Spy Museum (this is privately owned and has an admission fee). Also, if you enjoy the Air and Space museum and want to see more, check out the Udvar-Hazy center out by Dulles. It's a "companion facility" to the main museum, but it's pretty cool in that it has a ton of full sized aircraft to check out. Admission is "free", but there is a parking fee (and if you go, you'll want to drive).

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    I think you guys are selling NYC short..though then again, the kid is probably a big factor on what you can do.

    Anyways, if you do decide to go to NYC, unless you're willing to take cabs when your kid gets tired, try to stay near the rail lines. Especially in July, with the crowds and everything, even a couple of blocks of walking can be draining.

    I didn't do the Statue of Liberty tour, as it just felt like overpriced, plus there can be tons of people waiting. Instead I just took the ferry that's right next to it. It's a couple of bucks, and gives you a great view of the status and the city. You can also get on sightseeing boat tours.

    Out of the two, I thought that 30 Rock was better than Empire State. I preferred the view in 30 Rock(you get Central Park) while Empire State didn't have anything really memorable.

    Around the Nintendo store you'll also find a neat Lego store, and also a Hershey Candy store.

    I honestly loved my time in New York, but I imagine it's better as a couples or singles vacation rather than a whole family one tour.

    Spoiler:
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    adytum wrote: »
    The Comfort Inn off Glebe Road in Arlington is kind of a long walk to the Metro. It's definitely doable, and there's a bus to the station that runs along that street on a regular terrible WMATA schedule. Just be aware it's a bit of a hike (especially in the summer heat). There's also not really any nightlife (restaurants, etc) that are in easy walking distance.

    Though if you think you're going to be driving it pretty much sits on top of the highway into DC and the exit towards the city bounds one side of the building, so that's a plus.

    edit- Unless you're talking about the other Comfort Inn in Arlington, which is by Shirlington and has no public transit anywhere near it.

    What? That Comfort Inn is like 5 blocks from the metro according to google maps. Also, if you're staying in Arlington you're 10-20 blocks from the highest concentration of restaurants in Virginia, not including King Street in Alexandria.

    Which one? The Ballston one is a lot longer of a walk to the Metro than it looks like on a map. It's not impossible, but with a young kid in the middle of summer? It could get old really fast, depending on the family. It's just something to consider.

    The one in Shirlington/Pentagon City is nowhere near the metro, and the only shopping center within walking distance is accessed by a long walk around or through a nasty industrial park.

    edit- I think the OP is talking about the Shirlington/Pentagon City, because I don't recall the Ballston Comfort Inn having an outdoor pool. Google maps seems to confirm. If your decision is between the two, go for Ballston, not Shirlington/Pentagon City.

    adytum on
    etxvv5.jpg
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    adytum wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    adytum wrote: »
    The Comfort Inn off Glebe Road in Arlington is kind of a long walk to the Metro. It's definitely doable, and there's a bus to the station that runs along that street on a regular terrible WMATA schedule. Just be aware it's a bit of a hike (especially in the summer heat). There's also not really any nightlife (restaurants, etc) that are in easy walking distance.

    Though if you think you're going to be driving it pretty much sits on top of the highway into DC and the exit towards the city bounds one side of the building, so that's a plus.

    edit- Unless you're talking about the other Comfort Inn in Arlington, which is by Shirlington and has no public transit anywhere near it.

    What? That Comfort Inn is like 5 blocks from the metro according to google maps. Also, if you're staying in Arlington you're 10-20 blocks from the highest concentration of restaurants in Virginia, not including King Street in Alexandria.

    Which one? The Ballston one is a lot longer of a walk to the Metro than it looks like on a map. It's not impossible, but with a young kid in the middle of summer? It could get old really fast, depending on the family. It's just something to consider.

    The one in Shirlington/Pentagon City is nowhere near the metro, and the only shopping center within walking distance is accessed by a long walk around or through a nasty industrial park.

    edit- I think the OP is talking about the Shirlington/Pentagon City, because I don't recall the Ballston Comfort Inn having an outdoor pool. Google maps seems to confirm. If your decision is between the two, go for Ballston, not Shirlington/Pentagon City.

    No, the Ballston one isn't a long walk to the menu. It's really not. Unless you don't know how to walk. If it's the Shirlington one, then yes, Shirlington isn't near a metro.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    Gonna have to disagree, then. It was far enough to be a pain to walk over and over.

    etxvv5.jpg
  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    When you're in the Metro in DC, stand on the right side of the escalators. If you're on the left side, walk up/down.

  • HypatiaHypatia Registered User regular
    One thing that might be worthwhile is making the time to see a Broadway or off-Broadway show while you're in NYC. There's definitely some kid-friendly stuff and I always felt like it was one of those really cool experiences that I had when I was little.

  • CygnusZCygnusZ Registered User regular
    You could probably spend two full days in the national mall alone. You can't take a child there, but the Holocaust museum is excellent as well. When I was a child my father took me to see the senate in session, and it was memorable experience having to walk over to our senators office to actually ask for tickets.

    I agree strongly that while in New York you should see a show, just do your research and make sure it's something the kid will be able to take. I also think that Bronx Zoo, Central Park, FAO Shwarz store, Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art (which has stuff like historical weapons, musical instruments, a reconstructed Egyptian temple etc.) are totally child friendly. Now, this could be little expensive (or not, there may be cheap seats), but I'd consider taking him to see an opera at the metropolitan opera house if he's mature enough. I've also heard good things about taking the walk across the Brooklyn bridge, and maybe Cony Island would be an option as well.

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