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Old 02-06-2010, 12:15 PM
576 posts, read 854,198 times
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I live in the SE and am thinking I might like to take a trip (long weekend variety) to the D.C. area. Go see the sights, Smithsonian being the major attraction.

Now I don't know anything about that area other than I'e heard you don't really need to rent a car, a car being more of a nuisance to have to park. That the mass transit in the area is wonderful.

So with that in mind. What would one do?

Fly into what city, to stay for a few days, (cost is very much a factor, don't need a 5-star hotel) that would be close to the major attractions and mass transit thereof?

How does it all work?
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:27 PM
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I was just there early January. We did have a rental car but you can fly into Reagan Airport. 5 miles from the airport is the self-catering room we stayed in at a good rate:
Washington DC Hotel Suites - Washington DC Suite Hotels - The Virginian Suites
It's in Arlington just across the Potomac. You can walk 1/2 mile to the metro, or if the weather is okay you could walk across the bridge. It's about 4 miles from some of the Smithsonians.

Don't miss out on the National Archives.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:51 AM
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
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There is zero need for a car the Metro in DC is GREAT! And cabs are not too expensive either. Just make sure you stay at a hotel near a metro station that is key. One of the great things about DC is so many things are free.

I would do one day seeing the monuments and then getting on the metro to Arlington Cementary or you could even walk it really its not a far walk from the lincoln memorial and its a nice one over memorial bridge. That should take a few hours at least the cementary is huge and is IMO the most interesting thing to do in DC.

Another day do the muesums. Air and Space, Natural History and American history are fantastic also I higly reccomend the national portrait gallery right by China Town by the Verizon Center it is fantastic. There are also some museums that cost some money but are great too. Try to fly into Washington National airport it will save you 1.5-2 hours of travel time because Washington Dulles is only reachable by either car/bus or a mixture of metro and bus and Baltimore Washington is reachable by Amtrak but it would take at least an 90 minutes of extra travel to be safe. Washington National Airport is right in the city and right on the metro. Also at night I would suggest visit Georgetown for dinner or Old City Alexandria. Also for bars my suggestion is Adams Morgan or Georgetown.

My favorite restaurant in DC is Old Ebits Grill I would highly reccommend it is a famous restaurant in DC and for the service and food prices are not bad at all $18-$25 and it is right by the White House but Call to make a reservation!. The monuments at night are fantastic as well. All monuments are open 24/7/365

Hope this helps. Enjoy DC it is a great place.
( I go to school there but right now I am living in Barcelona for a few months)

Forgot one thing. If you fly into Washington National get a window seat on the left side of the plane for your arrival flight. There is a good chance you will do the world famous River Approach and you will get the best possible view of Washington DC you can ever get!

Also if you want to take a tour of the capitol to save a lot of waiting time give your member of congress a call and ask them to schedule you a tour.
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Old 02-07-2010, 04:48 PM
Location: DC
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Originally Posted by FlyMIA View Post
Also if you want to take a tour of the capitol to save a lot of waiting time give your member of congress a call and ask them to schedule you a tour.
Just wanted to note, you can actually reserve a ticket to tour the Capitol online. I did it this past fall for some visiting relatives.
Book a Tour

For the White House or Pentagon you'll still have to bug your congressman for a few months (Pentagon's easier).

As far as what else to do, you can easily fill up a weekend doing just museums and monuments. I'd definitely spend a day doing the monuments, and then pick and choose what museums you'd be most interested in. The Smithsonians are all free, which is really nice. The Newseum is also supposed to be very good (I've never been, but my roommate has gone 2-3 times). Restaurants will really depend on your personal taste, but there's plenty all around. If you get a chance, go to Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street for a chili half smoke. Ethiopian food is also very popular, with several good places on U Street as well.

You definitely don't need a car. Most people I know living in DC don't even have them, you'd just end up paying $30-40/day to park. Just try to get a hotel near a Metro station. Places near Metro Center and Chinatown will be very convenient and right in the middle of everything. Arlington is also close (Rosslyn, Courthouse, Pentagon City, Crystal City), as is Alexandria. Old Town Alexandria is definitely a nice area to wander around, whether you stay down there or not.
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