Ambitious day trip yesterday.
Places visited: US Post Office Museum, Jefferson Memorial, lunch near Capitol Hill, Library of Congress, US Botanic Garden, National Art Gallery, National Zoo, Dinner in Adams-Morgan. We left Charlottesville at 7:30am and didn't get home until after 11:00pm.
What I did wrong: not studying my guide to the Metro beforehand. We would have been quicker and more efficient at catching our trains if I had done so.
Settling on a restaurant mentioned in Fodor's for dinner--it was an interminable walk from the zoo, and we passed by dozens of likely looking restaurants, but we were determined to eat at this particular restaurant, and it turned out that it wasn't even very good.
What I did right: Saving our trip to the zoo for last. We got there at 5:00pm, after everyone else had left and we practically had the whole zoo, including the pandas, to ourselves.
Staying in DC for dinner and avoiding rush hour for the drive home.
Driving all the way in to town and parking at Union Station. So much easier than worrying about finding a spot in a commuter lot.