tomaheath
Topic Author
Posts: 560
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:58 pm

DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:01 am

Looking into heading to DC at the end of March to use up unused 2018 vacation time. Would like to keep this trip easy and reasonably priced as possible. Planning on three or four nights will be flying into DCA from Manchester, New Hampshire. Was thinking on staying near the airport and taking the blue or yellow metro to the attractions. How is the metro? Easy to navigate? Suggestions on hotels near the metro stations? Thanks for any info.
 
EChid
Posts: 542
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:00 am

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:42 am

It's been too long since I've been in DC to recommend individual hotels, but yes, the metro is really very easy to navigate...you can rely on it to get you to/from DCA comfortably. The area around M/Wisconsin in Georgetown was nice, but is not especially handy to the metro.
2018: DRW-PER-HKG-ICN-MEL-AVV-BNE-OOL-SYD-YYZ-YYZ-YUL-YVR-PDX-SEA-SFO-PEK-KIX-CDG-IST-NRT-HND-BKK-FAT; AC J-TK J-OZ F-DL F-TG J/F-NH J/F-CX J-VA J
 
UALFAson
Posts: 1005
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:41 pm

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:43 am

Sadly, the D.C. Metro is not what it used to be after years (decades?) of neglect and lack of upkeep. It is so horribly unreliable that most local commuters, especially those who live close in like in Arlington, take Uber/Lyft to get back and forth from downtown. That said, if you're not in a hurry, it's well designed for tourists to see most of the major attractions.

If you book far enough in advance, you can often get reasonable rates at hotels around DCA, though they tend to be very pricey on short notice. The Renaissance Arlington Capitol View (or something like that) is probably the nicest hotel at the airport. There are a couple of Marriotts and a Westin that can be had for cheap with advance purchase. All of the hotels will have shuttles to the Metro (if they aren't within walking distance) and the local area (Pentagon City Mall, restaurants on 23rd Street, etc.) Another place to look is North Arlington--Arlington Gateway, Clarendon, Courthouse, etc. There are some decent hotels out there that are a bit further away but still accessible via the Orange line.

I grew up in the area and will be visiting my parents who live right outside Crystal City/DCA for Christmas, so PM me with specific questions if needed.
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asuflyer05
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 8:53 am

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:26 pm

I always recommend visitors stay in Old Town Alexandria. It's right on the blue/yellow line for easy access to DC and just 2 metro stops south of DCA. The area is quite charming and there are plenty of restaurants/shops to explore. If the metro is not running well the weekend you are visiting you can take a free trolley down to the waterfront and take the Water Taxi to DC.
 
PI4EVER
Posts: 818
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 10:29 pm

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:50 pm

I too highly recommend Old Town Alexandria. Check prices for the Embassy Suites since breakfast and evening reception w/drinks and snacks included in your room rate. It is literally across the street from the King Street Metro stop and Amtrak station. You can walk or use the free trolley to reach the riverfront on the Potomac. Take the water taxi across to National Harbor. As mentioned, there is water taxi service to the District as well but would involve a long walk or taxi to reach the Smithsonian Mall area and main attractions.
Take the Metro to the Smithsonian stop for walk access to everything located between the Jefferson Memorial to the Capitol.
I have not experienced any issues with Metro as to reliability. Trains are frequent and even on busy weekends not crowded. You buy a fare card and load money into the card right at the ticket kiosk and swipe to board and exit.
A great city and area to enjoy a getaway. I hope you have a great trip.
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Tenaja85
Posts: 55
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:42 pm

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:01 pm

We did this about a year ago--flew into DCA, stayed in Alexandria and used the Metro the entire time. We did have a couple longer waits for trains (max. 15 minutes) and once did encounter a station that was on the map but was closed for maintenance, but it worked for us, since we weren't on a schedule. It got us to all the sites we wanted to see with no more than a 5-10 minute walk (and DC is a pretty city to begin with, so it's pleasant to walk through the main tourist areas)--plus it's slick having a stop right at DCA. It's very user-friendly and clearly signed. If you'll be using it frequently you should invest in a Smartrip card, which is just a reloadable card that you can scan whenever you use the Metro to save time and money.
 
IAHWorldflyer
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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:22 pm

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:11 pm

Alexandria is nice, but also check out the hotels up in Rosslyn. There's a couple including the Hyatt that are right by the Rosslyn Metro stop and that's 1 stop across the river from the District. Those hotels can be bargains on weekends. Check out the " Penn Quarter" area at nigt for some good restaurants and bars. It's around the Verizon Center kinda between Capital Hill and the White House.
 
IADCA
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:24 am

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:21 pm

Metro is easy to navigate, but it runs a lot less frequently on weekends as compared to during the week. The blue/yellow down near DCA has been dicey recently, as there has been a lot of track work there, including frequent closures on weekends. It isn't published out as far as March, but a glance here well tell you what I mean: https://www.wmata.com/service/track-work.cfm

The hotels down by DCA are fine, but the ride to most attractions in DC is shorter if you stay up near Rosslyn and Court House. Rosslyn allows you to be on the blue to get to DCA easily while also having the silver/orange as a backup and easier trip to most of the attractions DC itself (for example, the White House and the museums are closest to blue/orange stations). Both Rosslyn and the area around DCA are pretty dead at night.

Old Town Alexandra is really nice, but it is a pain getting to and from DC if there's any issue on the blue/yellow tracks.

Like UALFAson, I'm a native - feel free to PM me.

Tenaja85 wrote:
We did this about a year ago--flew into DCA, stayed in Alexandria and used the Metro the entire time. We did have a couple longer waits for trains (max. 15 minutes) and once did encounter a station that was on the map but was closed for maintenance, but it worked for us, since we weren't on a schedule. It got us to all the sites we wanted to see with no more than a 5-10 minute walk (and DC is a pretty city to begin with, so it's pleasant to walk through the main tourist areas)--plus it's slick having a stop right at DCA. It's very user-friendly and clearly signed. If you'll be using it frequently you should invest in a Smartrip card, which is just a reloadable card that you can scan whenever you use the Metro to save time and money.


No other choice but to get a SmarTrip card these days. Paper farecards are extinct.
 
tomaheath
Topic Author
Posts: 560
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:58 pm

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:13 am

Thanks for fantastic info everyone very much appreciated! Leaning towards Rosslyn area seems like the prices are more inline with what I was looking for. To the sounds of it weekdays are better to visit if using the metro?
 
IADCA
Posts: 1846
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:24 am

Re: DC trip suggestions.

Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:30 am

tomaheath wrote:
Thanks for fantastic info everyone very much appreciated! Leaning towards Rosslyn area seems like the prices are more inline with what I was looking for. To the sounds of it weekdays are better to visit if using the metro?


Service is more frequent on weekdays, but the trains and stations are much more crowded, especially around rush hour. Weekends you won't generally have trouble getting a seat, unless there's something going on at the arena and you hit it at the wrong time. Weekdays you'll be standing during rush hour if you're traveling in the direction of the commute and boarding in Rosslyn. Museums and most attractions will be significantly less crowded during the week.

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