For years you have been thinking about coming to Washington DC. You saved your money and time from work to travel to a city you have heard about all your life. So many questions about where to stay? Do I drive or fly ? What do want to see and do. I might not have all the answers but I do have some. I would leave the car at home. If you are staying in DC parking your car at the hotel will be expensive . It usually costs $30 -40 a day to park. Getting around the city is easy. The subway is the best way to get around. Metro (subway and bus) is fast, safe and inexpensive way to see the city. If you just want to see the monuments and memorials try using the Circulator which travels around the mall at the cost of $1 per person. There are many tour companies in the city to choose from. The Big Bus, Trolleys and Double Decker bus all give tours of the city. You will need to do your homework to see which tour you want. Some tours are guided , some are walking tours and some are self guided tours. Private tours are good because you pick the time and places you want to go to.
If you would like to tour the Capital, National Archives, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and Washington Monument you can get tickets online. I highly recommend doing this. Getting the tickets online can save you a lot of time. People who do not have tickets to the Washington Monument ahead of time have to get in line about 7 am to get tickets for that day. The line for the Archives is usually about an hour wait. Depending on the weather waiting in line can be a very interesting experience.
Please go beyond the mall. Washington is made up of 109 neighborhoods . There are tour companies that give neighborhood tours. I would suggest you visit Georgetown, DuPont Circle, Logan Circle neighborhood , U street NW corridor and H, street NE . Each of these neighborhood has great places to eat and good clubs so you can listen to jazz or dance the night away.