For part of our spring break adventure this year we decided to do DC. If this isn’t on your list to do with kids, it really is an incredible trip. As a deal lover I was very thankful that the best things to do were absolutely free. Start searching for bargains on airline tickets and hotels/VRBO’s!
I put together a few tips to make your trip as memorable as possible.
1. Contact your Congresspeople as far in advance as possible. They can request tours for you, including tours of the White House (those these aren’t guaranteed and we didn’t get them this time…good excuse to go back!). Sam Sabol in David Schweikert’s office gave us a fascinating tour of the capitol. All of us learned so much about our government and state representatives. David Schweikert himself met us partway through with his beautiful daughter Olivia and took us down a secret set of stairs to show us the crypt meant for George Washington (it’s empty since he’s buried at Mount Vernon). Even though we aren’t in Raul Grijalva’s district, he still signed us up for a great tour/discussion through the Supreme Court. He also gave us passes to see the House and Senate in person. I wrote to Kyrsten Sinema’s office and she invited us to a coffee she was hosting while we were in town. It was so much fun to actually meet the people who represent us.
Here’s a list of who was helpful to us (it’s definitely worth a try to contact all of the AZ congresspeople):
District 6 Representative David Schweikert: Head over here to fill out a DC Tour Request Form.
District 3 Representative Raul Grijalva: Head over here to fill out a DC Tour Request Form.
Senator Krysten Sinema: Head over here to contact her office. They also offer a meeting request option.
2. Visit as many monuments and memorials as you have time for. The Washington Monument elevator is closed for a few more weeks but if you’re visiting later than that, head over here for information about how to reserve passes for $1.50.
3. Go to as many Smithsonian Museums (and other museums) as you can! There are 19 museums, galleries, gardens, and zoos to see and each is worth seeing. We loved the American History Museum (where else can you see the original Star Spangled Banner and Dorothy’s slippers?!). Head over here to request free timed passes to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. The United States Holocaust Museum is not a Smithsonian Museum, but still free (and incredibly powerful). Head over here to request online tickets (you’ll pay a $1 fee for reserving online).
4. Eat lunch at the Supreme Court or the Longworth Building Cafeteria. The food is pretty good and not crazy expensive. You’ll be eating among some powerful people.
5. Go to Arlington Cemetery and pay respects to the brave men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is something every American should see in their lifetime, the Changing of the Guard happens every hour. The Eternal Flame burns at the grave site of John and Jacqueline Kennedy.
The more we’re all interested in our government, hopefully the better it will be.