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Old 07-05-2011, 11:01 PM
 
51 posts, read 132,104 times
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Hey friends,
Me and my SO are visiting Wash. DC sometime next week (11th and 12th to be precise). Since the hotels close to the city were so darn expensive, we decided to go with something in Bethesda Before we arrive next week, we'd like to get some advice from the locals as to what is the best way to tour the city. The wifey is pregnant, so we are planning on avoiding public transport and using the car instead.

Following are some of our questions:

- How long does it take to drive down from Bethesda, MD, 20814 to Union Station, Washington D.C., DC 20002 during rush hour (around 5PMish)?
- Is there parking available around the Union Station area?
- The following day, we are planning on driving down to the Ford's museum from Silver Springs, MD, 20910 and taking a city tour from there. We have White House and the Smithsonian on mind. What other attractions would you recommend? Again, is there parking available around that area?
- We have heard great things about the Trolley Tours and plan to use them for our tour. Do you recommend using our own car instead?

Please let us know.

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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I can't recommend enough NOT driving during rush hour, especially if you don't know your way around the city. Normally that drive would take about 20-30 minutes but it could be over an hour during rush hour. It really just depends on the conditions that day.
There is parking around Union Station, but unless you get really lucky with a street spot, it's going to be at a garage you'll have to pay for. In the residential streets to the east of Union Station, it'll be easier to find a street spot, but you will probably be able to only park there for a couple of hours depending on the exact restrictions.
I'm guessing you mean Ford's Theatre? Street parking is tough around there, but there are parking garages. Those usually cost about $15 a day.
Keep in mind that if you are going to the Mall to visit the Smithsonian museums, there is going to be a lot of walking. The museums and monuments and other attractions like the White House are spread out. Once you park your car once, you're not going to want to move it again.
If your wife is pregnant, sounds like you won't want to do a lot of walking, so having a tour that would shuttle you around the area sounds like a plus.
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Old 07-06-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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You can get plenty of advice here Reviews of Hotels, Flights and Vacation Rentals - TripAdvisor especially on their "District of Columbia, Forums" section.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:43 AM
 
51 posts, read 132,104 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stateofnature View Post
I can't recommend enough NOT driving during rush hour, especially if you don't know your way around the city. Normally that drive would take about 20-30 minutes but it could be over an hour during rush hour. It really just depends on the conditions that day.
There is parking around Union Station, but unless you get really lucky with a street spot, it's going to be at a garage you'll have to pay for. In the residential streets to the east of Union Station, it'll be easier to find a street spot, but you will probably be able to only park there for a couple of hours depending on the exact restrictions.
I'm guessing you mean Ford's Theatre? Street parking is tough around there, but there are parking garages. Those usually cost about $15 a day.
Keep in mind that if you are going to the Mall to visit the Smithsonian museums, there is going to be a lot of walking. The museums and monuments and other attractions like the White House are spread out. Once you park your car once, you're not going to want to move it again.
If your wife is pregnant, sounds like you won't want to do a lot of walking, so having a tour that would shuttle you around the area sounds like a plus.
Thanks a bunch for your feedback.

Day 1: We were planning on driving down to Union Station but I will definitely look into taking the train. We have a 7.30 City-by-Night tour which should wrap up around 10-10.30ish. Is it safe to take the subway back to Bethesda around that time? Also, what about Union Station; is the area safe at night if we have to walk a block or so?

Day 2: Yes, I meant Ford's Theater. My plan is to park the car close to Ford's Theater ($15 for the day is what I found too) and then take the old town trolley from there. The first stop is at the White house; we will click a few pix and take-off We are planning on doing the Newseum in the morning and the Holocaust Museum in the afternoon since we'd have done the monuments the previous night already.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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Yes it is plenty safe to take the metro (subway) back at night.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:02 PM
 
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Driving into the city will not make your life easier. Use the metro.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
3,548 posts, read 7,391,754 times
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There's a Metro station in Bethesda--use it. Pregnant women ride the subway all of the time, and with escalators and elevators in all stations she should have little trouble entering or exiting startions. Bethesda, Silver Spring and Union Station are on the red line, and it's about a 30 minute ride between them. You can expect to spend at least twice that amount of time driving, three times as much to park, and that doesn't factor in the aggravation of dealing with DC city traffic at rush hour or the anxiety of driving along unfamiliar streets through traffic circles, city squares and underpasses. All of the attractions you're visiting are easily reachable via Metro.

Additionally, parking in downtown can be prohibitively expensive--around Ford's Theater, you'll need to park in a garage (assuming you can find a space, as most downtown garages are full during the weekday) and pay upwards of $20/day for the privelege.
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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I should also mention that every metro car has seats that are reserved for pregnant, elderly and disabled people.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, TX
9,397 posts, read 13,245,310 times
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Driving into DC isn't that bad during rush hour, a lot of the traffic is heading OUT.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Rockville, MD
3,548 posts, read 7,391,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HurricaneDC View Post
Driving into DC isn't that bad during rush hour, a lot of the traffic is heading OUT.
It takes my wife 45 minutes on a *good* day to travel from Bethesda to Logan Circle during evening rush hour. The vast majority of that time is spent travelling between Massachusetts and 14th Street. In other words, once you get into the center of the city, the traffic is simply dense--whether headed into or out of it, you're likely going to get caught up in it.
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