#TravelTuesday Review @BigBusDC #DC #BigBusTours #FamilyTravel 

Have you ever been on an open top, double decker tour bus? They are so much fun when visiting a city and you want to see as many sites as you can in a short time! This Labor Day weekend, my family and I took one for the first time in Washington DC aboard the hop-on hop-off sightseeing BIG BUS.

When we visited Arlington, VA earlier in the year, we didn’t get a chance to use our vouchers due to Mother Nature not being on our side. However, this weekend the weather was picture perfect for our visit to the nation’s capital. 

BIG BUS Tours Washington DC

No matter if you are a DC native or this is your first time (or you’re return visitor like me), BIG BUS Washington DC is a great way to take advantage of exploring attractions, museums and more at your own pace! Here are some of the reasons a ride on the BIG BUS should be on your ‘Things to do in DC‘ list: 

  • Unlimited Rides for 1 or 2 days.
  • Fantastic Photo Ops & Amazing Views
  • Hop Off and On at Any Stop
  • Live-guided or recorded Commentary (free headphones are provided)
  • Family-Friendly (kids under 5 yrs old travel free, age 5-15 yrs pay reduced fare)

    There are 3 Day Tour loops: Red, Blue, Yellow that will take you all around the District. You can even transfer between the routes, just be sure to know the last departure times. SobeSavvy Tip: Download the Free BIG BUS App for an interactive city guide map route planner and more >>>>here

    My #HeighPartyof3 chose the “Red Loop”, which has 22 stops and is the official tour of the National Mall including the National Memorials and Monuments. Take a look of some of what my husband, our daughter #outandaboutAva and I experienced during our tour : 

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 1- Union Station

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 2- US Capitol

    Inside Air & Space Museum | BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 4

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 5- Smithsonian Castle

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 6- Washington Monument West

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 7- Bureau of Engraving

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 8- Jefferson Memorial

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 10- Lincoln Memorial South

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 13- African American History & Culture Museum

    BIG BUS Washington DC ‘Red Loop’ Stop 19- Madame Tussauds

    There are options to complete your sightseeing experience by creating a combo and adding on extras such as top attractions like Madame Tussauds to further your Washington, DC experience. We enjoyed seeing not only seeing historical figures and celebrities in wax but also joining all 45 commanders in-cheifs in the U.S. Presidents Gallery. Check out my >>>Youtube video <<< recaping some of the fun at STOP 19 of the ‘Red Loop’, Madame Tussauds + see more photos via fun slideshow>> here.

    Where to Buy BIG BUS Tickets

    • From any uniformed BIG BUS staff
    • www.bigbustours.com
    • The BIG BUS mobile app
    • On the bus at any BIG BUS stop
    • Your hotel
    • By phone : 1-877-333-8689

    I hope to check out the other routes as well as try their night tour which offers an illuminated look at the Capital’s world-famous memorials and monuments. BIG BUS Tours are also in other US Cities like Miami, New York, Las Vegas and more. My family and I really enjoyed the BIG BUS Tour and hope you are inspired to take one soon!

    #HeighPartyof3 loves to explore & have fun ~ Thanks for the memories BIG BUS Tours !

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    Family Travel Guide #ArlingtonVA | @StayArlington Where to Stay, Eat, Play

    Arlington, Va has long been known mainly just for it’s proximity to the nation’s capital. Well I am here to share that Arlington is a awesome destination all on it’s own. With a population of 1/4 million people, Arlington is a gem well worth exploring because it packs a lot of excitement,charm accessibility and affordability into one small area. My family and I, aka #HeighPartyof3, went on a roadtrip to Arlington,VA and here is our weekend family travel guide! 

    Where to Stay

    Hyatt Place Arlington/Courthouse Plaza  

    Savvy Tip: Arlington is home to more than 40 hotels offering rates up to 20 percent less than those in downtown Washington,D.C.

    Arlington has many options when it comes to accomodations. At the suggestion of Stay Arlington, we stayed at the brand new Hyatt Place in the Courthouse district. In my opinion this eight-story hotel property is located in an awesome area for walking and exploring Arlington on foot or the metro 2 blocks away. Hyatt Place Arlington is perfect for families as well as business and leisure travelers as it has everything one needs for a comfortable stay. The guestrooms are spacious and allowed us to rest easy after driving up for 4 hrs from Raleigh.

    With inviting spaces to connect, meet, socialize, eat and drink, this innovative hotel is truly designed around the modern traveler.Speaking of eats and drinks, this hotel offers a Grand and Go case in the lobby where you can get sandwiches and salads 24/7 as well as order from a gallery menu.So whether getting in late or early you will never go hungry here. Be sure to check out the drink menu if you are in the mood for ‘satisfying sips’ for a night cap.Since it was St.Patricks Day (well evening) when we arrived, I decided to drink green and ordered me an apple martini. CHEERS~It was great!

    During our stay, we enjoyed their complimentary A.M.Skillet breakfast which has a build your own yogurt station and hot egg and waffle options presented in what else but a skillet ! My little girl enjoyed putting almonds and granola in her oatmeal. For some of our visit, #outandaboutAva got a lil stomach bug. Thanks to the kind and helpful staff at Hyatt Place Arlington for making some customized chamomile/mint tea to help her feel better! We all loved the Hyatt Place as our home away from home.

    What to Do

    Explore~  We stayed in the vibrant Courthouse district which is within walking distance to a variety of shopping, entertainment and restaurant options. Just across the river from nation’s Capital, Arlington boasts the neighborly, small-town community vibe with all the amenities and conveniences of major urban centers.In addition to its many historical attractions, Arlington is just minutes to the National Mall and other regional attractions. Here are some of the places we explored:

    Arlington Farmers Market

    Since 1979, residents and visitors alike have enjoyed the weekend Arlington Farmers Market. All things produce and much more can be found in this local gem of a market.

    Rocky Run Park

    We actually happened upon Rocky Run Park. Set in a quiet residential street, this park has something for everyone. Extensive kids jungle gym activities and basketball courts and multi use turf fields. Great spot for letting the little {and big} kids burn off some steam and have fun.

    Arlington National Cemetery

    We decided to visit the hollowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s shrine to honor those who have served our country. Both beautiful and peaceful, the cemetery is a place to pay homage anf remember those who sacrificed. We enjoyed exploring the impressive landscape and saw many moving experiences like: the Eternal Flame, President Kennedy and Family and Medgar W.Evers grave. If you are looking for a particular place of interest, use the ANC Explorer app available on the cemetery’s website, on-site kiosks or through online app stores. To see more of my photos from our visit to Arlington National Cemetery, see here.

    National Mall

    One of the perks of staying in Arlington is that you can visit The National Mall, the Smithsonian museums and other places in our Nation’s Capital because they are all just minutes away on Metro. Since we drive up, we just crossed the Potomac River in less than 10 mins to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Albert Einstein Memorial and the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. A must see!

    #PhotoswithAlbert 

    National Harbor Capital Wheel

    If you happen to visit Arlington by car like we did, you will learn that its location ‘inside the Beltway’ (I-495 and I-95) makes it easily accessible from many routes. There is plenty of on-street and private parking options. About 20 mins away is the National Harbor , where we were invited to visit their family fun regional attraction, the Capital Wheel. If you have a sense of adventure, take this ride up to the sky to see the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) landscape for miles around!

    Where to Eat

    Bayou Bakery 

    In the mood for Louisiana-style favorites, coffees and desserts? Stop by Bayou Bakery. Owned by New Orleans-born chef David Guas who hosts The Travel Channel’s “American Grilled”, Bayou has brought authentic cajun cuisine to Northern Virginia. 

    We had some delicious beignets and coffee as a mid morning snack. The place was bustling with families and couples alike. Their living room atmosphere, full of casual charm and vintage Southern character, makes this place a welcoming eatery for breakfast or lunch.

    Earl’s Sandwiches

    I first learned about Earl’s when looking up what restaurants were close to the hotel. With great reviews on their Facebook page, I knew the location at 2605 Wilson Blvd would be a wonderful place to feature as a must go to lunch spot. There are 2 locations (Clarendon,Ballston) in Arlington where you can get you one of Earl’s delicious sandwiches.

    Owner Stephen Dugan(as seen in photo above) was there making sandwiches and taking orders himself! He shared that after being in business for 11 years, his customers love their homemade sandwiches, salads and soups made without the hassle. Looking for a Gluten Free meal? No worries. Any sandwich can be made into a salad for no additional cost. Breakfast sandwiches are served all day and they offer a catering menu too. We ordered 2 items from their monthly Fab Four menu: lump crab cake sandwich (deliciously grilled and served on a sesame seed bun), fish and fries (all served together on one sandwich-yum!) and we all drooled over my daughter’s grilled chicken breast sandwich, shown here. My daughter said it was not good..it was FANTASTIC! Everything was delicious, fresh and tasty. 

    Kona Grill

    Located in Rosslyn, one of Arlington’s urban villages, Kona Grill is one of the 500 restaurant options available in Arlington that offers diverse cuisine and a delightful epicurean experience. Known for their variety of amazing appetizers, mouthwatering entrees, fresh sushi and creative cocktail creations, I knew Kona Grill would be the perfect dinner option for us as a family. They also offer a kids menu and there’s a beautiful aquarium in the center of the restaurant that my daughter loved. This place is popular so make reservations and go early if have a little one. I will be sharing my full review as my #FoodieFriday feature. Stay tuned!

    With plenty of “National History.Local Flavor”, our stay in Arlington was indeed memorable. We look forward to returning when it’s warmer as there is some shopping I did not get to do at their infamous Fashion Centre at Pentagon City and more fun to be had!  

    We did do some online shopping prior to our trip with SunglassWarehouse.com and partnered with them to show you how we travel in style.I’ll be sharing more about this brand that offers classic sunglass styles at affordable prices in a future Fashion Friday post. Since our roadtrip took us to Arlington, VA & Washington DC, I thought it would be fun to style their (from left to right) Canoe driving sunglasses for me, Arlington for Him (very apropo don’t ya think) and Lincoln (for my lil one and Mr. President himself..lol)

    Until next time..Happy Travels!