Washington DC this Summer for Seniors

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If you haven’t visited Washington DC yet, this summer would be an excellent time to plan to spend time in the capital city of one of the greatest countries in the world.  With its wide boulevards, historical and modern architecture, museums, hotels and amazing restaurants, there is plenty to do.  You’ll need at least a week in Washington to get a good taste and feel for this magnificent city.

Touring Washington DC this summer is an exciting prospect for anyone. Whether you want to visit museums or the capital city, you will find a tour company that offers discounted rates for seniors. That’s the good news.  The companies create tours using their buses or public transportation and provide options that suit your special needs. Here are some tips that will make it easier to plan your visit to Washington.

Washington is a very walkable city, but you can also find many bus tours. Here is the Washington Memorial as seen from Pennsylvania Avenue.

Dining in Washington

Washington can be very expensive place to eat but it’s got some of the best restaurants.  During the day if you are touring around the city on foot or on a Big Bus tour, your best bet for a quick, tasty bite is the food trucks at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue near the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  There’s a great selection of food, from hotdogs to burgers to the exotic falafel, served by the trucks.  For dessert, there’s a ice cream from the ice cream truck.  All the food trucks offer the best deal for cheap dining in Washington.  If you pick up lunch at one of the food trucks at 14th and Constitution and it’s a hot day, there’s a park area where you can sit and enjoy lunch under the shade of the trees.

We highly recommend the Big Bus tours as a wonderful way to get your bearings of the city.  On a Big Bus tour, you’ll be able to see all of the top tourist sites.  Buying even the basic ticket will give you 24 hours to complete a full tour of the city if you need more than a day. It’s best to “hop” on the bus early in the morning because there are so many sites to see in a day in Washington.

If you’re looking for a tour company that operates sightseeing shuttles to the important sites. These include sites of presidents’ graves in Arlington and Washington Cemetery. Seniors who cannot easily move around can listen to the narration and look through the wide windows. Get off the bus at the places you want to see the most.  The tour bus companies include this in their packages to ensure tourists have a complete experience. Other tour companies also include visits of the National Cathedral, Georgetown, and the Zoo. During these tours, you will be able to cover most sites in Washington.

The United States Capitol Building and Capitol Hill

This is the number one site in Washington most recognizable by its classical white dome and pillars.  It was built between 1793 and 1812 and then later enlarged.  This is a site you should not and cannot miss in Washington.  It is the most familiar symbol of the United States.  Not only is the complex’s architecture breathtaking, but it will inform one of the politics and history of the U.s.  Go to the Capitol Visitor Center, the latest addition to the complex. The impressive center is almost three quarters the Capitol Building, and visitors are allowed to tour 8:30am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Saturday.

The White House

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If you want to visit the White House, you’ll have to book a tour at least three months in advance.

Do not forget to visit the White House, built in 1792 and then later rebuilt after being set on fire by the British army in 1814.  It was then rebuilt in 1818.  It is which is open for tours from Tuesday to Thursday. Visitors will be able to better understand how the president works and lives. You’ll see the East Room, one of the largest rooms, which is used for press conferences, entertainment, and large dinners. Next time you watch a live press conference, you’ll be able to relate.  At times, a tour of the gardens of the White House is available but there are always long lineups for this.

The Washington Monument

At 555 feet tall, the Washington Monument cannot be missed almost wherever you go.  It is also a powerful symbol of the capitol.  If you wish, you can take an elevator ride to the top of the Washington Monument for panoramic views of the city.

The Lincoln Memorial

This is the most famous memorial in Washington.  The solemn and gigantic figure of President Abraham Lincoln (19 feet high) is seated in a stately chair staring down at all who visit the memorial.  This sculpture was created by the talented sculptor Daniel Chester French and finished in 1922.

The Martin Luther King Memorial

Another memorial offered on all the bus tours is the Martin Luther King Memorial.  It’s a solemn site in honor of this hero.  It is touching to read the quotes of Martin Luther King on the wall which surrounds the large sculpture of the man.  It is a peaceful environment for a walk and contemplation.

Newseum

The Newseum is a museum on Pennsylvania Avenue NW which offers a fascinating collection of the history of journalism.  From the very start of print journalism with the early newspapers, the printing presses, to the story of journalists who covered the Vietnam war, the issue of censorship, digital journalism, to the dangers modern journalists are exposed to when doing their work, it’s all in this museum.  A very fascinating exhibition and worth the entrance fee.

Seniors enjoy a discounted entrance fee at the Newseum.  Tickets are $19.95 plus tax for for seniors to see the Newseum.  Tickets can be purchased in advance, from the website of the Newseum or at the entrance area of the press museum.

Visit the Smithsonian

Washington is a city of museums whether it’s art, science, or history or whatever may interest you. One of the wonderful things about the museums of Washington that the museums associated with the Smithsonian Institute offer free entrance.

The reason for the free entry to the museums is that a British gentleman by the name of James Smithson, a scientist and philanthropist who never visited the U.S. left his entire fortune in the 1800s to found the Smithsonian Institute.

The Smithsonian Institute is the largest museum complex and research organization in the world. It consists of 17 museums, galleries, research centers, and the National Zoo.

You can begin your tour at the Institution’s building where you can pick a map and a guide.  You can then visit the museums you find most interesting.  Everyone is bound to find something that they like as the complex covers a variety of subjects, such as art, culture, science and space exploration. Make sure you visit the Albert Einstein Planetarium, a highlight of the Smithsonian. Some of the other museums that belong to the Smithsonian Institute include the National Museum of History, the National Museum of African Art, the National Air Space Museum, the National History Museum, the American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery.  There’s so much to see and that’s why we recommend at least a week to take it all in.

Every retiree, or senior should visit Washington DC at least once in life, if you haven’t already.  Bring your camera and book your hotel ahead of time because hotels fill up quickly, especially in the high season.  It’ll be a lot easier if you prepare your itinerary to include the sites you’d like to visit beforehand. In this way, you can choose a tour or package that includes everything you want to see.  Washington DC, the capitol of the United States of America should be on everybody’s bucket list this summer.

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