We spent 5 days on our East Coast trip in Washington, DC. It resulted in 5 days of walking. They even have these “I walked my feet off in DC” keychains made just for tourists! For those who haven’t been before, here are some tourist tips on how you can save your feet.
1. Wear comfortable shoes.
Despite seeing all those people in amazing designer suits and heels, you’re sightseeing, so save your feet! You may stick out like a tourist, but runners are your best friend on this trip.
2. Maps can be deceiving.
Even though most of the museums are located on the National Mall and next to each other, it is similar to Las Vegas in terms of size and hotels. Walking within a museum will take you hours depending on how much you want to see in a museum. Don’t expect to see all the museums in one day otherwise you will be really tired. Those with families, I would recommend at least 3 days on museums. Those without and energetic, split it into two days still (each day pick 2 or 3 museums and then hit up 1 or 2 monuments near the mall).
To tackle the National Mall, start at one end and work your way down towards the other end, but not all in one day.
3. Consider transit.
Taxis can be expensive, especially considering there are traffic jams during the rush hour times. Consider the Metro or local tour bus companies. If you don’t mind the cost, consider a hop-on hop-off company such as DC Tours. It will take you from one tourist attraction to another conveniently. For those considering a cheap DIY alternative, take the Metro as much as you can. For a five-day trip, I would recommend the unlimited Metro pass for $47 for 7 days worth of Metrorail. Considering the Metro charges by distance of train stops, it’s best to purchase the unlimited pass so you have the freedom to hop on and hop off whenever you like. We decided against it (instead paying a specific amount estimated per itinerary) and walked a lot more. You can get a SmarTrip pass as well at any CVS drugstore, which is a smart card that saves you money if you want to go the non-unlimited route. Google Maps can be your best friend when it comes to transit and its’ routes/schedules. We used it a lot!
4. Take interesting sightseeing rest breaks.
We planned our meals in between tourist attraction areas so we could enjoy the sights, yet eat and rest our feet. For example, one of our stops was trying a hot dog food cart on the National Mall, but we took our food and rested in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, which we weren’t planning to stop at but gave our feet a rest. For a bathroom break, we decided to go to the National Archives, which turned out to be where they house the original Declaration of Independence document.
5. Do your research before and book a hotel near a Metro station.
We stayed at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, which was right next to a Metro station, Woodley Park. At the end of each day we were glad to be closer to a Metro station. Also, our hotel location was easy accessible to a CVS drugstore, McDonald`s and a large variety of restaurants. Makes it more convenient when you are tired and not wanting to think about where to eat to just head back towards the hotel and eat around there.