A Travellerspoint blog

Where We Stayed: Washington, DC

Where we stayed:

Residence Inn Marriott Downtown

The location of this is very convenient; it's a short walk to the Metro and just a couple of stops to the attractions on the Mall. There are lots of restaurants nearby, though some of them are open only for breakfast and lunch.

We had a spacious room with a kitchen and pull-out couch for the girls. The evening reception was a nice touch. The included breakfast had a lot of choices, including hot items (eggs, sausage, waffles), so everyone in our family was happy. The staff came around one day at breakfast with little bottles of water and mints for the kids, which was a nice surprise. The only downside that I can see for families is that there is no pool.

Posted by amikulski 19:43 Comments (0)

Where We Ate: Washington, DC

Where we ate:

MXDC by Todd English

There is a kid's menu here, and it's even noisier inside than it is outside on the streets of DC (which can be good if you're worried about your own kiddos' noise levels, but bad for conversation). Everyone liked their food, but the waiter was always trying to upsell us, which was annoying. Maybe that was just him and not what all of the servers do.


Mitsitam Café at the National Museum of the American Indian

I thought that the food mostly lived up to the hype I had heard. There is a big selection of Native-inspired items, served at 5 different regional stations (Mesoamerica, Northern Woodlands, etc.), and lots of things looked good. My chicken and plantain stew (from the South America station) was quite tasty.
However, the Café was out of fry bread, so it seems like they may have trouble keeping up with demand, and I was bummed because I really had wanted an Indian taco.

There is no kid menu at the Café. They have hot dogs and burgers at the Great Plains station, both made from bison. The burgers appeared to be double burgers--too big for my girls--so they went with the dogs and were happy. Fortunately, they were open to trying bison. I took a bite and can vouch that I couldn't distinguish it from an all-beef dog.

As for prices, I thought my stew at $10.20 was a good value for a lunch in a big city. The dogs came in at 10.50 each; that included a good helping of chips on the side, but you're paying a premium for bison because you probably could get a beef dog from a food cart outside the Air and Space museum next door for cheaper. The drinks were the most expensive, though: $3.75 for a mini-can of Sprite and $3.50 for a can of Dasani sparking water.

In all, I would recommend it and come back myself, but be prepared for the sticker shock.


Clyde's at Gallery Place

Our group of 4 adults and 4 kids had dinner here. The menu has burgers, sandwiches, salads, and some larger entrees. There is a kiddie menu as well that includes a dessert of fruit, sorbet, or ice cream with the entree. Everyone seemed to like what they ordered. The kids particularly liked the scoop of ice cream that came with their meals.


Posted by amikulski 19:15 Archived in USA Tagged children restaurants washington Comments (0)

One last stop before we go...

sunny 85 °F

My husband had some work meetings in DC, which meant that the girls and I could pile in the car and stay in his hotel room. I hesitated at first because we'd get back from this short trip only to do laundry and pack for our big trip, but I decided that I didn't want to pass up the chance to see one of my besties, so off we went. Packing was actually a nice sort of dress rehearsal for the bigger trip.

We had only one full day in DC, but we made the most of it. Our first stop was at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. I chose it for two main reasons: 1) I have heard great things about the café (more on that later) and 2) there is a kid section. We walked a little through the regular exhibits but spent over an hour in ImagiNATIONS, the kid section.
When you enter the section, you get a passport that you can stamp after every activity, which motivated my girls to check everything out. Their favorite activities were a kayak balancing activity skateboard simulation game (yes, skateboards have native Hawaiian heritage! I had member stopped to think about that before, but the native Hawaiians brought us the surfboard, and the skateboard was invented as a street surfboard). We were also there for a story time activity and stopped at some (all ages) carts to see a beadwork demo and different uses of buffalo horn. We had a great visit, and I appreciated the calmer vibe at this less crowded museum.

After lunch, it was on to on a Smithsonian museum that gets many more visitors: American History. I thought to come here because of an exhibit on educational television that might be fun for the girls, but we never found it. Instead we saw the First Ladies exhibit and stopped at an interpretive cart on the role of animals in WWI. Both girls enjoyed it, especially DD1, who is a fan of Sgt. Stubby. From there we had to find Sgt. Stubby in the larger war exhibit.

Next we met up with my friend and her family. We found ourselves with extra time before our dinner reservation, so we stopped by the National Portrait Gallery. By this time, DD2 was veering into meltdown mode because we had skipped nap, so we only saw the new Obama portraits and a couple of other ones nearby them and headed for dinner. Again, this was a good preparation for the larger trip, because we might have some nap-free days. DD2's mood also improved when I let her snap some pics of Michelle Obama and LL Cool J.
You'd think that our long day would have set the stage for sleeping in, but DD2 woke up her sister at 5:40 the next morning. Sigh. We got ready for the day, packed up, and took the metro to my friend's place to hang out while DH finished his meetings. We made it home this evening. It was a quick trip, and I am tired as I write this, but I am really happy we went!

Posted by amikulski 18:50 Archived in USA Tagged children museums washington Comments (0)

Our next trip: Spain and France

It’s been a couple of years since I posted about one of our trips. We've gone to some great places, but time has gotten away from me. I thought I would cover one more trip to close out this blog, as my youngest is pretty much out of the toddler phase.

This summer we’ll be spending a couple of weeks in Spain and France. It will be DD2’s first time across the pond. She will be 4.5 years old, and her big sister will be 9. We weren’t exactly planning on a big family trip, but when I was accepted to a conference in Spain, we starting looking at airfare and found a deal that we couldn’t pass up. We’ll be flying into Barcelona and out of Madrid, with stops in Salamanca and Paris in between.

Currently, we’re doing a lot of thinking about what to pack for the trip. I’m also dusting off my high school French by practicing a little bit on Duolingo every day. Mon français est terrible, but hopefully it’s improving.

We may not have toddlers, but we will still be looking for kid-friendly foods and places. Stay tuned!

Posted by amikulski 19:24 Comments (0)

Vegas baby!

sunny 95 °F

My sister-in-law and her husband had a baby in April, so we went to Las Vegas to visit the new addition to the family once DD1’s school year ended. This was our second plane trip as a family of four, and it went well. We woke up, and drove the 3 hours to the Philly airport. The timing of the flight meant that we would be in the air during the east coast’s dinner hour, so I searched the terminal for something to eat on the plane. I found a Cibo for sandwiches, but nearly everything had some kind of sauce or mayo on it: not exactly kid-friendly. I grabbed some that had no sauce listed on the label, only to find out during dinner on the plane that they indeed had some kind of flavored mayo. DD1 ate some, but DD2 did not. Fortunately, everyone had enough to eat thanks to the chips I bought and the granola bars and fruit snacks that we packed for the trip.

While we were in Las Vegas, we tried to choose activities where the baby could join us and the girls would have fun. Most mornings, we visited the park to burn off some energy. We visited the strip a couple of times as well. On our first outing, we rode the High Roller Ferris Wheel. The ride takes 30 minutes, but both girls were pretty entertained.


Our next stop was the wildlife at the Flamingo, where we saw the hotel’s namesake as well as other birds.



After a dinner of ice cream (more on that in my next post), we headed to the Bellagio fountains. After waiting for nearly a half hour, we heard a recording announcing that the scheduled show was cancelled due to high winds; it would be nice if they played that announcement more than once every 30 minutes. Everyone was disappointed, but we decided to check out the Conservatory inside the Bellagio to make up for it a bit.


By the time we stepped out of the casino, the winds had died down and the next fountain show was already underway, so we were able to catch a few minutes of it.


Our second time on the strip centered around The Secret Garden at the Mirage, where we saw dolphins, leopards, lions and tigers.


We also took a trip to the Hoover Dam.


Although the temperatures that day only reached the low 90s—which really is not that bad, thanks to the low humidity—shade is in short supply at the dam, so we definitely felt the heat. We were quite thankful for the portable air conditioners that were set up for visitors!

Our flight home departed at 6:50 AM, so we had a very early wake-up. We regretted this choice the night before—the girls always got to bed later than usual because of the jetlag involved in traveling west—and the morning we left, but the trip went smoothly. As luck would have it, the girls did not make up for lost sleep on the flight: DD1 did not nap at all, and DD2 did not nap until the last half hour. We woke her, grabbed our bags, ate a quick lunch, and drove back home.

Posted by amikulski 19:18 Archived in USA Tagged children planes vegas Comments (0)

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