best tips for D.C. Visitors

Old Jan 21st, 2008, 10:35 AM
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best tips for D.C. Visitors

I see a lot of confused tourists in D.C. So I thought I'd start a thread where people who live/have visited here can post their best piece of advice.

Here's mine:

If you're flying into one of the airports around D.C., pick up a free Washington Flyer magazine that are in stands at various places throughout. They have a fantastic map of the metro D.C. area in the back. It also has a map of the metro system. Tear those pages out and carry them around with you.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 12:08 PM
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Stay in the city--Dupont, Georgetown, Penn Quarter, Foggy Bottom--rather than in the close-in suburbs like Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Alexandria, Arlington, Crystal City or even Rosslyn (though Rosslyn is convenient albeit lacking in soul).
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 12:17 PM
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When riding an escalator (any escalator!), stand to the right and walk to the left. Please.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Order tickets for the Washington Monument on line in advance of your trip. Take advantage of the "walk down tour" if given the opportunity - you'll get to see the insides of the granite blocks used to build the structure. They are all carved by the states and organizations that donated the blocks.


http://www.reservation.gov
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 12:46 PM
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If you're staying in central DC, eg, Dupont Circle, the $22 weekly Metro Pass is good all day. Bring something to keep it from disintegrating (it's paper). You can add exit fare if you're coming from Dulles during peak times.

The Kimpton chain will price-match any lower price that you find on line for the same stay.

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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 12:47 PM
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I've got two:

1. Don't park illegally. You will be ticketed and, if in a tow-away zone, you're pretty likely to be towed.

2. When entering Metro cars, don't stop and stand at the door. There are other people behind you and they can't walk through you. (Frankly, doing this makes you a local, but it's obnoxious nonetheless.)
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 12:52 PM
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You can get a pretty good view of DC from the "Old Post Office" tower in the Pavillion and don't have to wait, as you do for the Wash. Monument.

Don't drive anywhere unless you have no choice, get a good map, and assume that how you got there isn't how you're going to get back. Too many one-way, one-access, or non-continuous streets.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 01:03 PM
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bookmarking, great list so far!
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 02:29 PM
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Use washingtonpost.com or the City Paper to find out about free cultural events in the city. It is not just the Smithsonian museums that are free.

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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 06:24 PM
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Panda bed-time is earlier than the rest of the zoo closing.

Call your Congressman or Senator (with plenty of notice) for a free, private tour of the Capitol.

The Virginia wineries make a lovely day trip. The ones in Northern Virgina are only an hour away.
http://www.virginiawines.org/
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 07:59 PM
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The Daughters of the American Revolution building and library are open to all and have an amazing amount of geneology material to search easily. It is also just a beautiful building.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 08:28 PM
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Park. The. Car.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:12 PM
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also bookmarking.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:43 PM
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Check to see what events are on display at key D.C. public and private galleries, like the Corcoran, the Phillips, and ...(please, other posters, fill in the blanks).

I recently took a visitor to the wonderful Ansel Adams AND Annie Lebovitz exhibit at the Corcoran. For the price of admission that was a GREAT bargain and a once in a lifetime event for this friend!
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:49 PM
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Make reservations to visit the National Archives! That is KEY if you are going to that place and the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, etc.

I can't imagine coming to D.C and not seeing those. And I can't imagine trying to see those without reservations!

http://tinyurl.com/2wmecy
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 09:59 PM
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Please stop and pay tribute to the women who have served our country. Visit the Women In Military Service for America Memorial. At Arlington National Cemetery.

http://www.womensmemorial.org/

Great stories and pictures of women in service dating back to the Revolutionary War. I am a charter member and my story is there, along with thousands of others.

You will laugh, you will cry. You will appreciate the 2.5 million women who have served their country.

Paula

PS As with most other large cities in America, there are some BAD parts of town. Please be aware of where you should NOT be going.
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Old Jan 21st, 2008, 10:20 PM
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When you arrive at the Air and Space Museum, go directly to the IMAX ticket booth and book seats for the films you want to see later in the day. Same for the planetarium. Then enjoy the museum.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 02:52 AM
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Take the old town trolley.You can get on/off all day and the drivers are great guides.Paul
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 04:39 AM
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Plan to see the monuments at night. Not only are they all beautifully lit, but almost everything else closes early (by 5:30 in winter, 7 in summer) so this will make better use of your time.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:29 AM
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About the Zoo. The Conn. Ave entrance (closest to the Metro) is up a considerable hill from the Rock creek Park entrance (where there's parking. If you don't know this, you can set yourself up for an arduous uphill walk at the end of a longish (hot) afternoon.

If driving, suggest parking at the lower entrance, take tram to top, and work your way slowly down. If taking Metro, suggest orienting your visit to wander downhill and then take tram to the top.
 

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