Touristing During the Day
May 17, 2023 8:16 AM   Subscribe

I have three weeks approximately where I will have lots of time during the day to do touristy things without my toddler. What sorts of things are better to do during the weekdays than on weekends? Where should I visit to find these things? Do you have any specific DC things where going during weekday is so much better than weekend or at night (or not even open).
posted by sandmanwv to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Generally museums tend to be only open during the day and less crowded on weekdays than weekends.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:36 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]

In general, yes, although especially this time of year the museums are filled with tourists, so the difference between weekdays and weekends isn't as large as during the quieter months. I'd look at the smaller museums.

It's often easier to get into hot restaurants for lunch, and you could take advantage of the early happy hours, such as Old Ebbitt's 3-5 pm Oyster Happy Hour.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:56 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]

Just to clarify, did you mean Washington, DC? Because the tagged location is for Columbia. Assuming that you meant the former . . .

Do you have any specific DC things where going during weekday is so much better than weekend or at night

Any of the Smithsonian museums are going to be less crowded during the weekday than weekends. What are you into? I've been to Air & Space so many times at this point that I'm pretty over it and I prefer the art galleries to natural science, but YYMV. The museum of African American History and Culture is great and will be less busy during the week. They require a timed entry pass.

The National Portrait Gallery is my favorite sleeper museum (it's outside of the main Smithsonian area) and despite the name has a very good modern art collection and is in a historic building if you're into architecture.

If you like modern art, check out the Phillips Collection. It's never terribly crowded in my experience, so I wouldn't necessarily target it for a weekday visit. I believe they require a timed ticket or reciprocal membership in an art museum.

The Holocaust museum is good but depressing and I wouldn't take a toddler there so that's a good opportunity.

The National Postal museum is a favorite of some and off the beaten path.

If you enjoy architecture, check out the Octagon House.

If you enjoy libraries, check out the Library of Congress.

The zoo and botanical gardens are fine but not that unique if you have a major one near you.

Artechouse has immersive art experiences.

If you're interested in LGBTQ history, there's some guided tours of the major DC sites.

Renting a bike and going around the mall area is nice, weather allowing. Same thing going on a kayak or canoe tour of the canal system.

Is anything playing at the Folger or Kennedy Center that's of interest? The Black Cat in Adams Morgan has good shows in the indy rock genre and there's a lot of good food nearby.

I'd tell you to check out the National Geographic museum but it's currently closed. I find the Spy museum to be way overrated but a lot of people like it.

If you're a foodie, look into lunch or dinner at any of José Andrés' restaurants. None of them (other than Minibar) will be life changing but they're all good, depending on your tastes. The Michelin starred restaurants are all worth considering if you're into that.

If you have a car, there's plenty of day trippable hikes in the surrounding areas of VA and MD like Great Falls, but honestly, they're not that different than what you'll find pretty much anywhere.

If you have non-hostile representatives in Congress, their offices can help arrange visits.
posted by Candleman at 9:03 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]

You might want to ask the mods to edit this to indicate the location in the title or question text :)
posted by staggernation at 9:03 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Non-museum touristy things done better during the day AND without a toddler? Kayaking down the Potomac. War memorials along the Mall. Go to Georgetown or another of the nicer non-central DC areas and walk around for higher-end shopping for adult items including make-up, clothes and jewelry end with a drink and a book in an outdoor space.
posted by beaning at 10:22 AM on May 17

The National Arboretum is kind of far out but is very pleasant, don't miss the bonsai room. If you don't have a car you'll need to use the (now free!) bus system.
posted by Maecenas at 11:07 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]

I second kayaking.

Also grab lunch at some popular restaurants! They usually have an abbreviated but still tasty menu at a lower price. Summer is always busy but weekday reservations are easier than weekends. For example I’ve recently enjoyed a bento box lunch at Cranes and at Le Diplomate.
posted by inevitability at 11:16 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]

If you have a car (you could also do this with a child, but) I highly recommend Brookside Gardens, the Montgomery County, MD botanical gardens. Free parking. Better than the Arboretum.
posted by atomicstone at 12:43 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

King Spa
posted by oceano at 1:15 AM on May 18

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