Cranky Parents' Guide to Family Vacations
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Washington, D.C., City Break
Parents' take: Let's bring our nation's history alive with a journey to the National Mall and Memorial Parks, where we can visit the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Capitol Building, and the big white house where the Obama girls live. It's not just that almost every attraction in Washington, D.C., is free—what child of ours would not be as deeply moved as we will be by seeing the original model of the U.S.S. Enterprise featured in Star Trek at the National Air and Space Museum, or Julia Child's kitchen at the National Museum of American History? The International Spy Museum is one of the few museums in the capital to charge an entrance fee, but we're happy to shell out if for no other reason than to better understand the principles of lie detection.
Kids' take: Couldn't we just start at the Spy Museum gift shop?
The Hotel Palomar is a kid-friendly boutique property with arty interiors close to bustling Dupont Circle, from $279 for a high season double room.