Boston/Washington DC travel questions

Travelling with my parents in their 60s and my 5yo so the itinerary has to cater for both. We are arriving in Boston on July 01 and leaving washington DC on July 07. Here are my questions.

  1. Should we plan 2 days in Boston, 4 days DC or 3 days in each city? In Boston we mainly want to visit Harvard Univerisity and MIT and maybe walk around the CBD (the free Trail), so I guess 1 full day is enough? Problem is I am still tossing whether I should fly or train to Boston from NYC (budget issue), so we may get to Boston quite late on the first day. We will fly from Boston to DC.

  2. What is must see in DC? Have to be suitable for both elderly and 5yo too. Museums would be good, but my parents don't understand English much so I am afraid that they will get bored.

  3. Since we are arriving just before 4th of July, are most of the major tourists places still accessible or they will be closed for celebrations or protests? Do they just happen on the day or will they last a couple of days?

  4. Does DC have passes like NYC explorer pass that you can enter multiple attractions?

Thank you very much in advance!!

Comments

  • +3 votes

    There are a lot of free, high quality Smithsonian museums in DC. No need for an explorer pass!

  •  

    Air and space museum in DC is awesome. If your parents speak Spanish there will likely to guided tours they can go on

  • +1 vote

    Lookup Cheap Chinatown buses for transport between the cities

    •  

      Lookup Cheap Chinatown buses for transport between the cities

      Then look up some of the accidents they've had

  •  
    1. I’d do 3 days in each. You should try to book in a tour of Harvard and MIT. They are on opposite sides of the city . Could probably do both in one day but your 5yo might be bored of universities. Take a train to Boston. So much easier than dealing with NYC traffic to the airport.

    2. Smithsonian museums. Definitely air and space. Native American is meant to be incredible as well. What languages do they speak? It’s pretty touristy and they usually have audio guides in multiple languages.

    3. I’d say most touristy places would be open still. Not sure about protests… What protests are you referring to ?. 4th of July is a day/night thing. Check on the internet for attraction’s hours.

    4. Yes but most museums are free so you don’t need them(also they aren’t that good in New York)

    •  

      They are on opposite sides of the city .

      Huh? Google maps says 1mile …

    • -1 vote

      When you say train to Boston, are you referring to the normal train or Amtrak? I think train is very similar to bus and takes about 6 hours, and also Amtrak is super expensive too

  • +1 vote

    We are arriving in Boston on July 01 and leaving washington DC on July 07

    4th of July in DC would be good … but it seems like you'll be in NYC.

    In Boston we mainly want to visit Harvard Univerisity and MIT and maybe walk around the CBD (the free Trail)

    The university campuses aren't that interesting - the free tours cover such a small section and focus on the historical aspects and architectural aspects of the newer buildings. I don't think they let you inside any of the buildings.

    A few other attractions to consider are: Fenway Park, Charles River, Faneuil Hall … make sure you try some Maine Lobster.

    •  

      I am leaving NYC on 01 July. Do you think Boston would be very similar to NYC besides the universities? Is it worth going? We are mainly there to visit the universities. I am actually thinking about skipping Boston and go straight from NYC to DC.

      •  

        I am leaving NYC on 01 July.

        I guess that part wasn't clear from your original post. So you're going to be in NYC before july 1 and want to visit Boston and DC?

        Is it worth going?

        Given that Boston and DC are in opposite directions, I would probably skip Boston. It will be hectic with a 5 year old, for not much benefit, in my opinion. There's plenty of places online to buy a harvard/mit t-shirt for your kid!

        Take a look at Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania - both Ivy League intuitions, that have equally impressive campuses. The Columbia campus in NYC is nice too.

  • +1 vote

    For DC I'd definitely recommend skipping the Holocaust museum.

  • +1 vote

    Get the bus from NYC to Boston/D.C. I used BoltBus and it was perfectly safe and fine.

    I would echo the Air & Space museum.

  •  
    1. DC is a tricky place - i mean there are plenty of museums which can easily take up to 2 weeks to see, so how much time enough is depends on how interested are you about museum and monuments? also most museum has opening hours of 10 to 5 or 9 to 5 only and lot of walking inside museum/monuments.

    2. air and space museum is good - you can easily spend 4-5 hours there (it is really big), US capitol is also good place to visit - very good guided tour. if you want to visit white house from inside - you must apply atleast few months in advance and follow the application process.

    3. you can search bigbus tours - they are multilingual guided bus tours. covers all monuments. search online you will find 10-20% discount promo code.

    4. Boston to DC - Megabus is cheap but it is an 8-9 hours journey - possibly uncomfortable.
      Hope this helps.

    •  

      Thank you for your suggestion. I will fly from boston to DC, it's too long and pretty much waste a whole day.

      Is there much to see at night time in DC? Do you think a trip to Georgetown is worthwhile (if you've been there).

      •  

        Do not know much about Georgetown.
        I did night tour on big bus onece and other days just on local bar and restaurants.

      • +1 vote

        Do you think a trip to Georgetown is worthwhile (if you've been there).

        Yeah - if you have an interest in University campuses, then yes, it's worth a visit. Although, my general keeping is that, unless you're a prospective student, it gets a little boring after seeing one campus.

        A good way to look at it is, if you visit the UK … do you visit Oxford or Cambridge or both? They're similar enough that the average tourist will only visit one, but a real fanatic will visit both.

        • +1 vote

          Very true, guess I am there for the sake that "I've been to one of the greatest universities in the world", thanks for the insight, now I have more thinking to do!!

  •  

    I’ve been in Washington DC on the 4th July. Monument park is great festive time, food, entertainment, fireworks. Just great. 2 days around the park is well worth it. Walking is fine but cycling is probably best though.

    I’ve also caught the train from NYC to DC and found it very relaxing.
    Same too for the train NYC to Boston. But, I did those train trips about a week apart.

    Waking around Boston is great too (to see the historical sights), although I found accommodation expensive in the city. But subway was fine.
    Catching a ferry to Salem is worth it, I think.
    And Italian quarter is great.

    Not sure how you can organise getting to DC for July 4, but I imagine Boston would be pretty good too due to the history.

    •  

      I would love to rent a bike but I got a 5yo so don't think that's doable…. I am just hoping my legs wont fall off after all the walking.

      Did you catch the Amtrak or the normal train?

  • +1 vote

    If you end up skipping Boston as you mentioned above, have a look around Philadelphia, instead.

    6 days is probably too long for DC - it's the equivalent of going to Canberra for 6 days as a tourist. I guess you could also stay in NYC, but that might blow your budget!

    •  

      we are flying into NYC on 25 June and staying there for 6 nights (that's what I have planned so far. It has to end in Washington DC because we got flight booked from there to Toronto. I am not sure adding another night or 2 in NYC is too many as well. DC looks equally expensive as NYC now…. I may look in to Philly, it's actually in the middle between NYC and DC so might be easier. I just feel Philly's buildings are not as grand as others, although it plays one of the most important chapters of American history.

      • +1 vote

        I am not sure adding another night or 2 in NYC is too many as well.

        Depends what you have planned … there's lots to do in NYC (eg see another Broadway Show), more so than Boston/DC/Philly.

        Atlantic City (only for the kitsch factor) or The Hamptons could also be a good side trip, if Philly isn't inspiring.

        I just feel Philly's buildings are not as grand as others, although it plays one of the most important chapters of American history.

        The buildings in Boston/Phillly/DC will feel pretty underwhelming compared to NYC. In DC, you can barely see the Whitehouse/Pentagon and arranging a tour as a foreigner is impossible.

        The food in Boston is possibly better than Philly - philly cheesesteak or Boston clam chowder, might come down to personal preference though.

  •  

    1) 2 in Boston, 4 in Washington. There's way more to see in Washington.

    2) Museums, Washington Monument, Lincoln memorial, white house, capitol building. They’re all relatively close to each other, but will involve a lot of walking. Also, that’s Summer so will be fairly hot.

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