Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Is there any area in Washington DC that we should avoid walking later in the day

Is there any area in Washington DC that we should avoid walking later in the day

Aug 28th, 2003, 04:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,074
Is there any area in Washington DC that we should avoid walking later in the day

Hi, Is there any area we should not be walking at night in Washington DC.?
We are staying at the Wyndham in M and 14 th street and might walk a little for instance going to dinner, probably will take a taxi coming back. My question is if there is any area we better keep out.
For instance we might walk from Dupont Circle to our hotel , is this ok? Thank you.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 04:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 68
Generally you should avoid the eastern part of the city. Your hotel is in a safe location, and the walk to Dupont from there would be perfectly safe in the evening.

I would not walk too far north and east of your hotel, although I am not sure why you waould want to. Generally, I think people are surprised at how clean and safe DC actually is. My parents visited DC for the first time last year and were very pleasantly surprised. They expected a few nice government buildings, surrounded by ghetto. They were surprised by the neighborhoods of mansions, luxury apartments, embassies, etc. DC, in my opinion, is one of the cleanest and most architecturally beautiful cities in the country.
carte005 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 05:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,074
Thank you very much Carte005, I am very interested in architecture and plan to visit the National Building Museum However as you rightly noted the most interesting architecture will be found during our walks.
We love to walk, and probably take buses versus the metro, ( the Hotel is not that close to the Metro I believe)
I guess that we plan to go for dinner once to Adam MOrgan area, I was thinking of the Grill from Ipanema.
and at least once to Georgetown.
We also planned to go East to Union st. and may be have lunch or dinner around there as well as to La Colinne east , near the Capitol but I guess that area is ok.?
I prefer buses versus metro because you can see more, same thing in Paris for instance, although metros are widely popular in both cities the bus offers a permanent tour.
At night whoever I am thinking of taking one of the tours. Do you think it is worth it or a waste of money, the tour is like 60 dollars for 2, may be taking a taxi is better taking a shorter tour.
I fell a little guilty that we will be visiting for only three and a half days only but I took advantage of an offer for tickets from aa and could not stay longer.
One last question, do you think the Labor Day concert at the Capitol is worth it or is it too much of a hazle.?
Thank you.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
IMO much of Capitol Hill is not that safe at night. Inside Union Station is OK and perhaps the immediate 2 block area towards the Capitol and the Mall. I think this area is better seen during the day anyway, as there are lots of charming townhouses and neighbourhoods. For a great flea/craft/food market, go to Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. The flea and craft market is esp lively on weekends, but the market is open every day. You can have breakfast or lunch at Market Lunch (famous for their soft-shell crab sandwiches and fantastic French toast). Take the metro (blue orange line) to Eastern Market. The market is on 7th, basically across the street from the subway stop. It is an easy 2-3 block walk from here to the Capitol, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. Very charming neighbourhood of townhouses as well. There are many restaurants along PA Ave SE on your way to the Capitol, as well as in the area surrounding Union Station.

Adams Morgan is also a bit dodgy, but if you stick to the main restaurant areas, it is OK. I would not walk back to your hotel from this area, but take a cab.

Buses are actually not that frequent, IMO and take longer with traffic. You also would have to change buses to get from point to point. The Metro is faster and easier. There is a two Metro stops just a few blocks from your hotel. (Dupont Circle and Farrgut North). For a map of the DC Metro go to http://www.wmata.com/metrorail/systemmap.cfm)

If you are talking about the concert on the Mall, with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Capitol, I think these are great. Crowded but fun. If you want a good seat, take a picnic dinner and head over at least an hour before the concert.
Cicerone is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 07:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,074
Thank you Cicerone, you have the right name , for all the impute.
It is good to know that the area near Union is not that good at night, if you read this replay, we also plan to have dinner at Full Kee at 509 H st NW,
how is that area?. Must we also take a taxi coming back? Thank you. The only thing about Washington taxis is the zone fare system, that means that most of the time it would be the same fare? There is nothing that I hate more that to think that I am overcharged by a taxi.Once in NY , ( I know well NY because I lived there 14 years) we took a taxi from the waiting line of the Sheraton in 7 th avenue, and this huge, black guy from Haiti had this meter working at high speed. It was a long umpleasant story.( We didn'pay him, but it was not a pleasant incident)
We are looking forward to visit Washingon. Thank you for your help.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,288
In my humble opinion, Cicerone has given you very good advice. I would go one further as I have lived in the washington area for many years "It is generally wiser to take cabs after dark." and that is MHO.

The 500 block of H Street NW is in Chinatown and that area borders the eastern sector and there is not a lot of activity on the streets after dark. There are many excellent restaurants in Chinatown but above all else, put your own safety first. Washington is a beautiful, lovely town as long as you respect its little idiosycracies.

M and 14th is in the heart of the K Street working corridor and a fine area. Dupont Circle has much going for it - Union Station itself is a great place for dinner but not walking.

I hope you have a delightful trip.
LN is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 01:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,074
Thank you all.
I gather that the only reasonable walking after dinner for us might be to walk back from Dupont Circle to our Hotel at 1400 M street, NW, along
Massachusets Avenue, or that is not good either>?
Thank you again.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
That's an ok walk, or you could walk all the way down Connecticut Ave to M Street and over to 14th. If it's a pretty night you might want to walk all the way down to the White House. Get one of those nifty little foldout plastic maps of DC from Borders or B&N you'll see it is pretty easy to get around, but the circles might throw you. You'll enjoy Grill from Ipanaema (how could it miss with that name) in Adams Morgan. Just North of Dupont Circle is a neat little place "Bistro du Coin" on the West side of Connecticut Ave, and across the street La Tomate is also fun and tasty. I lived in that area over 30 years ago and enjoy going back from time to time.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 02:02 PM
Posts: n/a
Last weekend we went downtown for dinner and dancing, and we were surprised to see that K Street (around 14th Street) still has prostitutes hanging around. La Colline is not that great. An excellent restaurant in the H Street area is Ortanique (just don't go on a Friday, unless you like latin music). Another excellent restaurant is Kinkead's at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue. If you like to walk, you could walk to Georgetown after dinner from Kinkead's. The Ritz Carlton Hotel on M Street has an excellent restaurant called The Grill - that is even closer to Georgetown. NW DC is your safer place to walk around at night.
Aug 28th, 2003, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 110
Definitely, Anacostia. Any area two blocks east of Logan Circle can be dangerous at night. Further north, anywhere east of 16th Street NW is dangerous. Near Capitol Hill, I don't like anyplace east of 8 th Street NE. Anytime you go north near H Street NE you are going into prime killing grounds. Bladensburg Road, West Virginia Avenue, Florida Avenue and Benning Road are the type of places to stay away from.
SteveJudd is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 551
We took the night tour of DC and really enjoyed it. We rode the metro to Union Station (it was still daylight). The tour returned to Union Station around 10:00 PM. We didn't feel comfortable walking from the Metro station near our hotel, which was a Wyndham near the George Washington University Metro station. We took a cab back to the hotel. The price was not unreasonable.
mlm59 is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,288

People like steve and myself are not trying to frighten you. We're trying to acquaint you with sections of Washington DC where we live and work that are not truly safe at night. There's many towns that have areas like these. Most anything east of Chinatown (including Capitol Hill) and the Anacostia area are NOT areas to walk in after dark. You can walk all over G'town and Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle and many other areas that are quite safe. You can go to the Warner Theater and then head off to Old Ebbitts Grill walking afterward.

Please come and enjoy Washington - it's one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And always heed good advice.
LN is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 08:32 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 227
I second the advice given in a previous post: take cabs after dark. A co-worker and her husband were held up outside a popular restaurant at gunpoint at 10:00 p.m with a number of people nearby. In the daytime, stay in areas frequented by tourists.
gabriele is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 08:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,421
It's best to be cautious without being overly paranoid.

Taxis (which are SO reasonable in DC) are definitely the better bet than walking after dark.

I'd definitely recommend taking a taxi around to the monuments at night versus the "tour" - much more pleasant experience. Just make a list of those you wish to drive by, stop and visit. The taxi drivers are very accomodating on this.

Here's another huge recommendation for Bistro du Coin - a truly congenial dining destination, with wonderful food at moderate prices.

"LN" states it correctly. It is just "better" to take a taxi. While you could walk Mass Ave without incident, you just never know about 16th St and 14th St, and it's just better to be cautious.

I lived in DC for five years and visit regularly. Never once have I experienced any problems with taxi drivers or fares.

djkbooks is offline  
Aug 28th, 2003, 11:35 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 31
Take taxis after dark and only walk in the areas that have many things in a row and well lit and populated (like Foggy Bottom and Georgetown). That goes for any city in my opinion. If you're concerned with getting taken for a "ride" with taxis, ask the concierge at the hotel for average cab fares to certain places, and let them handle it. The drivers who are regulars at the nicer hotels enjoy the business and wouldn't risk a complaint from a guest for a few extra bucks.

michellecur is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 06:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 4,074
Thank you all again, for your good advice. I know what you are telling me is the same for most cities. One has to know. You all helped me immensely.
Djkbooks, I had thought of asking a taxi to take us around at night instead of the night tour, it seems
easier and most likely it will go under $60 which is the price of the tour for two.I am glad that you agree on this. We haven't been in Washington for some time now and are looking forward to be there.
Graziella5b is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 456

You enjoy walking so if you decide to do a self-guided tour of the monuments/memorials all you need is transportation to and from. You can walk between them and it's a delightful walk, especially at dusk.

We took the metro to Smithsonian exit, walked to Washington Monument (get a reserved time to go up in the monument online for only $1.50 per person from the National Park Service). From the Washington Monument circle around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial, then follow the path to FDR, Korean War, Lincoln Memorial and Viet Vets Memorial. It is a beautifully scenic walk. From the Lincoln Memorial you could walk back to your hotel or you could grab a cab. There are plenty of cabs in that area. Allow about 3 hrs. for this, not counting time inside the Washington Monument (which I think takes the last group up at 4 PM).
DeeDee is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 110
One frightening area of Washington is a couple of blocks north of Chinatown, around 5th and K Street NW. This is where the transgender prostitutes ply their trade. If you want to see how low the human being will sink, take a ride past that area at night-- in a locked car, of course.
SteveJudd is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,363
We went to DC last summer at about this time - drove most places in evening. We are both accustomed to big cities (Boston and New York), and our perspective was that in immediate area of national monuments and the like was fine, but we were surprised how quickly an area got a little creepy. We were told by friends who live in the area that since security is very beefed up at national sites, they are safer than ever before. However, it would have been easy to take a wrong turn walking and end up someplace you did not want to be.

For example, we were trying to get a night view of the White House from our car - found out that so many streets were now blocked that this was not an easy thing to do. Parked car, and walked through a rather desolate area not too far from White House. Had no problems, but did not feel real smart doing it.
gail is offline  
Aug 29th, 2003, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,881
While I basically agree with most of the comments about safety, they seemed a little alarmist. DC is a safe city and most of the crime occurs in residential neighborhoods far from tourist destinations. People unfamiliar with big cities or people unused to being in cities that are majority non-white may view the city as more dangerous then it really is.

Crime against tourists is quite uncommon, as long as you use common sense. It is also important to remember that "official Washington" is going to be fairly vacant after dark, so the fact that the White House area and around the Capitol was desolate is not surprising. On the same token, a walk down Pennsylvania Ave, S.E. on Capitol Hill is going to be fine late at night, as is most of the "tourist attractive" area near Union Station.
MikeT is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:21 AM.