Welcome to the JET30 Reunion! We are so glad you and your crew decided to join us. There is much to do with kids in DC and we hope this guide will help you enjoy the weekend. We’ve included basic necessities that are close to the Omni Shoreham Hotel, a list of top notch attractions and optional activities for each day you’re here. Here’s a map (https://goo.gl/QH3wnj) with all the sites on it so you can find your way. Tanoshinde kudasai!
Getting around DC
This is the rail and bus transit system used in DC. You’ll need to purchase A SmarTrip card, a permanent, rechargeable card used to pay Metrorail and local bus system fares. It’s plastic, like a credit card, and is embedded with a special computer chip that keeps track of the value of the card. You can order online ahead of time or purchase upon arrival at any Metrorail station. Additionally, you can purchase a day or week pass. Up to two children 4 and under can ride with an adult for free. Children 5 and up pay full price. You can also use your SmarTrip card for the DC Circulator.
Otherwise, taxis, Uber and Lyft are readily available! Lyft requires you to have your own car seat for children who need it. Uber has a car seat option, but it’s an additional $10. (You’ll find a “family” option on the app.) The taxi laws in DC are such that children are exempt from equipping their vehicles with car seats. However, many taxi companies have them available if you request it in advance.
Hungry? Forgot Something?
Nearby Grocery & Drug Stores
Safeway 1 mile (20 min walk), 1747 Columbia Rd NW, Open 5am-12am
Harris Teeter 1 mile (20 min walk), 1631 Kalorama Rd Nw, Citadel, Open 7am- 12am
Hana Japanese Market 1.3 miles (25 min walk), 2004 17th St NW, Open 10am-8pm
CVS– 5 min walk, 2601 Connecticut Ave. NW, Open 7am-11pm
Nearby Family-Friendly Restaurants
Open City– 2331 Calvert St, NW
Opens at 6am; sunny diner with good, strong coffee. Something for everyone here. (menu)
Tono Sushi– 2605 Connecticut Ave NW
Great happy hour 5:30-7:30 w/ $1 nigiri, $3 apps, $5 sushi rolls
Vace– 3315 Connecticut Ave NW
A great pizza place right near the zoo. Pizza by the slice is $2.50. Only open until 5pm on Sundays. (menu)
And because sometimes you have to….
Chipotle– 2600 Connecticut Ave NW
McDonald’s– 2616 Connecticut Ave NW
Dunkin’ Donuts– 2633 Connecticut Ave NW
There is more to do in DC than can possible be covered in one visit. This is a list of top attractions that consistently get high marks from kids and adults. Although there are lots of free things to do in DC, many of the popular ones are not. Therefore, we’ve listed these in two sections- ¥¥¥ and FREE. All the ¥¥¥ activities are covered in the DC Explorer pass (see below).
DC Explorer Pass: This can be a great deal depending on what activities your crew wants to do. The Explorer Pass has partnerships with 15 attractions/ companies. You choose the 3, 4 or 5 Choice visit. The 3 Choice Pass gives you entry into 3 of the 15 attractions of your choice, the 4 Choice Pass entry into 4, etc. The 3 Choice visit will probably cover you for the weekend and costs $54/ adult and $34/ child (7-12).
DC by Foot– This is a great way to see the city if you are up for walking. Tours are free and you are asked to give your guide whatever you think the tour was worth. Reservations are required, so plan accordingly.
3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20016
The gardens are nice for walking around and the cathedral rings their bells on Sundays around 12:30. You can download a scavenger hunt guide to do here. The Cathedral is open from 10-5, M-F, 10-4 Saturday and 1-4 Sundays.
Old Post Office Tower– If you want a view of DC, you can have one here despite the Washington Monument being closed for renovation. Run by the National Park Service, the Clocktower is open from 9-5 with the last entry at 4:30. You must enter through the south entrance off 12th St., NW near the Starbucks.
Rock Creek Park– This covers a large area of space near our hotel and is part of the National Park system. The Visitor Center and Planetarium is a 15 min drive from the Omni Shoreham hotel, but 45 minutes by public transportation, so it’s easier to access with a car. Great for all ages. You can access the trail right from the hotel.
Smithsonian Museums– We’ve listed the museums kids tend to enjoy the most first, then the cultural museums, then all the art galleries at the bottom. You can easily spend a day at each museum and they all keep their own hours, so plan accordingly. Museum dining tends to be mediocre quality with museum prices. (The exception being the Mitsitam Cafe at the American Indian Museum.) Therefore, you may want to consider packing lunch with you.
- National Zoo– great for all ages and a 10 min walk from the Omni Shoreham Hotel; open 8am-5pm
- American History Museum– great for kids of all ages, timed entries for some of the activity areas for kids
- Air & Space Museum– great for kids 5 and up
- Postal Museum– great for kids 5 and up
- Natural History Museum– great for kids 5 and up
- African American Museum
- American Indian Museum
- Anacostia Community Museum
- Smithsonian Castle (there is a carousel in front!)
- Smithsonian Gardens
- American Art Museum
- Archives of American Art
- African Art Museum
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- Portrait Gallery
- Renwick Gallery
- Ripley Center
- Sackler Gallery (TEMPORARILY CLOSED)
- Arts and Industries Building (TEMPORARILY CLOSED)
- Freer Gallery (TEMPORARILY CLOSED)
This company has several tours, but their Washington Monuments Tour (which meets at their 955 L’Enfant Plaza SW location) by bike is the most popular. They have trailers and trailer tandems if needed.
- $40/adult & $30/12 and under. Free for DC Explorer Pass holders.
- Daily tours @10am & 2:30. 3 hours; 4 miles; rated easy.
- Reservations required online or call 202.842.2453. Only 30 spots per time slot!
This double decker bus (open top) runs regularly and has a tour guide on each bus. Get off and on at your leisure depending on which sites you are interested in and how long you want to spend at them. You can download their Big Bus Tours mobile all so you know when the next bus is coming, see all the stops, etc.
- 3 routes: The Red Loop (map) runs every 15 minutes and is the most popular, hitting all the Memorials along with the Int’l Spy Museum, Newseum, etc. The Yellow Loop will pick you up right by the Omni Shoreham Hotel (stop #40) and runs every 30 minutes. The Blue Loop takes you over to the Arlington Cemetery and runs every 30 minutes.
- Purchase/ download your e-tickets via smartphone.
- Red Loop (Classic Patriot ticket)- $39/ adult & $29/ child (5-15), 4 and under free. Free for DC Explorer Pass holders.
- All loops (Premium ticket)- $49/ adult & $29/ child. Includes entry to Madame Tussauds. Not included in the DC Explorer Pass.
800 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004
- Great for kids 10 and up
- $15 for ages 7-11, $22 for 12 and up (6 & under free). Free for DC Explorer Pass holders.
- Open 9am-7pm daily
- Plan to spend 2-4 hrs
- Nearby restaurants:
Shake Shack (next door, 800 F St NW)
Chop’t (730 Seventh St., NW)
3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
Great day trip from DC for the whole family, but not easily accessible by public transportation.
- 5 and under free; 6-11, $10, 12 and up $20. Free for DC Explorer Pass holders.
- Open 9-5pm
- Food options
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
- Great for kids 12 and up
- Open 9-5 daily, except Sundays 10-5
- 18 and under free until 9/4 if accompanied by an adult; $25/ adults. Free for DC Explorer Pass holders.
The activities suggested below are just that- suggestions. We put together these daily options with what would fit best into the timetable of the day and any available scheduled tours in mind. Feel free to mix and match or go rogue! You know your kids’ interests and family rhythm best. We’ve also shared the age range that the attractions tend to speak to most.
Registration is 10am-5pm. The JET30 Reunion begins at 2:30.
*10am -2pm: various Japanese cultural demonstrations at the Omni Shoreham hotel (near registration)
*1-2pm: meet other JET30 families at Natsukashii Hall (next to the ballroom)
Rock Creek Park- good for any kid that needs to run off some energy
- Right by the hotel, this offers large open spaces and a creek for your kids to throw rocks and sticks into, etc. Unfortunately, there is no playground.
¥ International Spy Museum- best for 10 and up
¥ Washington Walks: Most Haunted Houses Walking Tour @7:30- best for teens
Georgetown- best for tweens & teens
- 2 mile walk along Rock Creek Trail from the hotel (35-40 min each way) or taxi for $10-15 (public transportation is indirect and takes about 35 min)
- Just walking around and enjoying the ambiance of this historic scenic area; good shopping, great restaurants, water taxis, a boardwalk, etc.
- FYI- The Georgetown Visitor Center is closed and they are not running any C&O Canal tours due to restoration work.
National Zoo- all ages
- This is only a 10 min walk from the hotel and is free.
- If you have little ones that are still napping, go for the morning and come back to the hotel to rest. If you are up for it, venture back out again or if you’ve had enough, head to the pool at the hotel.
¥Bike and Roll National Monuments Bike Tour- all ages
- This goes twice a day at 10am and 2:30pm and departs from their L’Enfant Plaza location.
- Reservations required.
- Enjoy a ride on the carousel near the Smithsonian Castle nearby before or after!
Smithsonian Museums- depends on the museum
Explore! Children’s Museum Summer Festival- best for 6 and under
- The Children’s Museum of DC is not yet open, but they are hosting a summer festival on 8/5 from 11-1pm at Mission Mobile Launch Pad, 5234 4th St NE.
- This event is free, but you must RSVP here, as it’s a ticketed event.
¥ Hop-on, Hop-off Bus- all ages
- You can tailor this to what works for your kids and their interests.
¥ Newseum- best for 12 and up
JET30 ends, but if you have time to explore more as a family, here are some suggestions:
¥Washington Walks: Georgetown Walking Tour @10am- best for teens
National Cathedral- all ages
- Listen to the bells after the service at 12:30 while picnicking in the garden, then tour the cathedral.
Old Post Office Clocktower- all ages
Smithsonian Museums- all ages
- There are so many! Pick the one(s) that sound interesting to you.
¥Mount Vernon- all ages
- Not easily accessible by public transportation.
- This is a day trip; it’s 35-40 min drive from the Omni Shoreham w/o traffic. If you have the time, it’s well worth it!
Anything you didn’t get to the other days!