U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > District of Columbia > Washington, DC
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 05-25-2009, 12:34 PM
21 posts, read 44,974 times
Reputation: 12


My mom, who's 62, has expressed an interest to go to DC during the 4th. Having always wanted to see DC myself, I want to plan a trip. It won't happen this year, though, since it's just too late to plan, make the arrangements & save money. But I did want to start gathering "inside" info on the best way to cope & survive the holiday weekend in our nation's capital.
We will either be taking a train or driving--she lives in NW OH & isn't a fan of flying. If we take a train, I'd like us to be in good walking distance to the main 4th of July festivities. Cabs & a rental car are always a possiblilty, too, for other sightseeing excursions.

I know it will be hot, crowded & insanly busy & expensive--but to share this with my mom would be so much fun.

Any suggestions/tips/websites y'all might have (sorry, I've been living in TN for 9 years!) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 05-25-2009, 09:31 PM
Location: Rockville, MD
150 posts, read 513,720 times
Reputation: 42
Getting here: By train you will get off at Union Station, also a Metro,bus,taxi stop and you could also rent a car their. By car my only suggestion would be, do not plan to arrive from 6-9AM or 4-7PM on a weekday, unless you want to experience DC traffic firsthand, and delay your trip 3 hours. Hotel: I would suggest something close to a metro station, or close to the Mall it's self. As for pricing the generally speaking the closer you get to downtown the more expensive it will be, be prepared to be shocked at the cost of one night in DC, as well you might want the consider a hotel in the MD/VA Suburbs(Bethesda, Fairfax, Alexandria, or Silver Spring are some good areas to look at) the metro goes out of the city pretty far and this would also potentially be cheaper. Craziness and crowds: If Obama's inauguration was a 10 the fourth of July would be a mild 6, I would know I was in the thick of things that day and I survived ok. Transportation: Like I have said Metro is your best bet to most touristy places, except most notably Georgetown,the Circulator bus (http://www.dccirculator.com/) or a cab would suffice. Metro website:Metro - Home page. And if you're staying awhile then I might want to consider Zip Cars Car Sharing, an alternative to car rental and car ownership – Zipcar Other notes: Defiantly a good experience. Don't worry about getting there ultra early there is plenty of space on the mall.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-26-2009, 08:05 AM
21 posts, read 44,974 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks! I appreciate all that info. Maybe we'll get there a few days early & stay outside of the city & then spend the 4th at different hotel that's near the Mall.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-26-2009, 02:32 PM
Location: Arlington, VA
593 posts, read 2,145,530 times
Reputation: 300
If the hotel prices in DC are too steep for you, try looking for hotels in Arlington, VA. This town is right across the bridge from DC, so it is easy to get into the city within 15 minutes by metro (the subway).

Just make sure that your hotel is within walking distance of a metro station! That will make it much easier for you to get to DC quickly on July 4th.

They won't be "cheap," but they should be a little bit better in Arlington on July 4th.

Just book all of your arrangements now - definitely don't wait any longer
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 05-29-2009, 06:29 PM
20 posts, read 83,954 times
Reputation: 37
Default Hot and humid

July 4th is always oppressively hot and humid. To minimize walking you should stay close to the Mall. The cheapest nice hotel close to the Mall is the Hotel Harrington (Google "hotel harrington" and you will get their website for rates) but if you prefer a quiet setting the Woodley Guest House is the OTHER "best deal in Washington."
The Harrington has three restaurants in it and is within walking distance of the July 4th festivities, located just off Pennsylvania Avenue. It is one or two blocks from the Metro Center subway station, on the Red subway line which takes you to Union Station.
Cabs in DC are not expensive if you want to catch a ride someplace like the Lincoln Memorial or Georgetown. You can quickly hail a cab around both the Hotel Harrington and the Woodley Guest House.
Woodley Guest House has about 30 restaurants within a block of it, and it's across the street from the Woodley Park subway station on the Red subway line, which takes you directly to downtown DC and to Union Station.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-30-2009, 08:34 AM
1 posts, read 4,647 times
Reputation: 10
I wanted to go to DC on July 4th from NY by car.I want to attend the parade followed by the fest and the fireworks at the national mall.Is taking my car a good idea? What time should I leave so that I can avoid the traffic and get a good parking space around the mall?Any suggestion? Thank you
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-30-2009, 08:42 AM
1,054 posts, read 4,382,313 times
Reputation: 343
Driving to the DC area is fine. Driving into DC to see the fireworks is nuts.

Park out at New Carrolton or some other outer Metro stop and take the subway to the Mall. Driving in the inner city for about 2 hours before and after the fireworks is just insane. Gridlock. Hundreds of thousands of people are walking on the roads effectively closing them off so driving is just, well pointless.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-30-2009, 08:47 AM
1,592 posts, read 2,834,629 times
Reputation: 1146
Another option is to do a home exchange -- switch your house for someone in DC (google home exchange to find out how to do this) -- that is, if you are lucky enough to find a DC resident who wants to spend July 4th in TN or OH.

Also, during the inauguration, some homeowners and renters subleased their homes in DC -- they surely would do the same for the 4th -- check Craigslist (yeah, yeah, I know, I know)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-30-2009, 09:08 AM
Location: DC
3,254 posts, read 9,991,964 times
Reputation: 1240
Originally Posted by nandita251 View Post
What time should I leave so that I can avoid the traffic and get a good parking space around the mall?Any suggestion? Thank you
4am? Seriously, people come and camp out on the Mall pretty much all day, and I'm sure some streets are blocked for parades or security, so you'd want to be here fairly early. I'd aim to be here by 10am at the latest, and even still I don't know about parking. It's a rough day trip, especially if you have a 4-5 hour drive ahead of you once it's over (plus the time it'll take you to actually get out of DC). Try to find a metro-accessible hotel for the night, or take the above advice about parking at New Carrolton.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 06-30-2009, 07:27 PM
Location: Washington, DC
605 posts, read 1,852,053 times
Reputation: 371
For anyone visiting from out of town, I always strongly advise against driving into DC. Our street system is not entirely on a grid, we have numerous one-way streets, many roads are poorly marked (even major arteries), we have many traffic circles (on which the exits are not well marked, pedestrians and bikers are aggressive, and the few urban highways we have are not intuitive. Just this past weekend, I saw two cars go the wrong way down one-way streets and two cars in reverse on busy city streets. Once you get to your destination, parking is hard to find. Our meter maids are incredibly efficient and downtown garages can run around $20 even on evenings and weekends. I don't understand why folks who will not drive in NYC or Boston will take to our city streets.

That said, you can easily find a hotel deal online. If you're having trouble hitting your price range within DC, try Arlington near the Metro as DCGuy03 recommends.

On the 4th, the Mall is busy, but not so crowded that you can't get to it. It is a huge piece of land, and good seating can be had anywhere between the Capitol and the Wash. Monument. I also believe that the Jefferson Memorial off the Mall is a good spot for viewing (though I haven't tried it myself). I've always lived in DC, and I often arrive at the Mall between 3 and 5 without event. However, when the fireworks are over, all traffic -- foot, Metro, and vehicular is slow due to the inevitable mass exodus. If you are patient, sober, and well-hydrated, you will easily be able to get back to a DC or Northern VA hotel within an hour or so, though.

The crowds are geneally well-behaved and security has never been a particular problem on the 4th. A few things to watch out for: Food and drinks selection is limited to what you can get at the Smithsonian concessions or from street vendors; it can be very hot and humid, but the museums do offer some respite; if a summer storm comes up, spectators are sometimes asked to vacate the Mall, losing prime viewing spots and having to crowd into museums. If you prepare with comfy clothing, a supply of food and water, and the right attitude, it can still be quite a bit of fun.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > District of Columbia > Washington, DC
Similar Threads
View detailed profiles of:

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top