Trip to Washington, DC


Nov 28th, 2012, 02:25 PM
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Trip to Washington, DC

Arriving on March 20, 2013 at the Dulles airport. Want to see all the historic sites, ie. white house, smithsonian, arlington cemetary, trying to decide between a few hotels. The Hotel Tabard Inn, Morrison-Clark Historic Inn and the Sofital - any recommendations. We will take the trolley tours but enjoy walking. We are four 50 year old adults and would like to walk and see boutiques and restaurants along our travels.
Also can you suggest a reasonable way to get to the city from the Dulles airport - would a taxi be expensive?
Thank you for any input.
b59smith is offline  
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Nov 28th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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A taxi will run about $70.00.
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Nov 28th, 2012, 08:04 PM
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You can take the 5A bus to L'Enfant Plaza and get off at Rosslyn.Bus will cost $6 per person. from there take a taxi or the metro to your hotel.

I prefer locations of Sofitel and Tabard Inn, but know nothing of the rooms in either.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 05:20 AM
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Thanks that is very helpful - i'll look into the sofitel further
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Nov 29th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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Hotels. The Tabard Inn and Morrison Clark share the charm and the quirkiness of historic inns. Of the two I would choose the Tabard for its Dupont Circle location. However, my personal choice would be the Sofitel, a beautiful hotel in a great location for touring DC. It's a 5 minute walk to the White House, 15 minutes to the National Mall. Very close to the McPherson Square metro station.

Transportation. is the website discussing ground transportation from Dulles. If you choose the coach service from Dulles to the West Falls Church metro ($10) you can take the metro directly to McPherson Sq with no train changes (< $4.00). Taxi estimates are $56-64 but that's probably non rush estimates.
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Nov 29th, 2012, 11:42 AM
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Contact your congressman now if you want a White House tour. It takes a few months to get permission.

Lee Ann
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Nov 30th, 2012, 05:54 AM
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Of those 3 hotel options, I would choose the Tabard. The Sofitel is in a great location for touring but a less interesting neighborhood for strolling and eating. They are very different properties: charm & quirky as obxgirl says vs. sophistication. The Tabard, BTW, has an excellent restaurant -- worth going to even if you don't stay there.
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Dec 1st, 2012, 04:33 PM
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We just went this summer with our family. One thing that we learned: The Smithsonian is something like 6 or 8 museums, each of them a city block in size. Check out the website and see which ones are most appealing to you.

Just a note-- We only tag a thread as a "trip report" when we write about the trip after it's over. It would be a separate posting.
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Dec 3rd, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Don't leave out the Library of Congress and the Capitol building.

ask the editors to remove the Trip Report tag.
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Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:39 PM
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For four people, I'd choose a taxi from Dulles because of the added convenience, for little more cost than using combinations of public transit -- about $75 vs. 4 @ $14. I'd gladly pay the additional $5/person for the comfort, especially after a long flight.

For getting around in the city, consider the 7-day Metro pass so you never have to worry about having enough value on your card or wonder whether rush or non-rush rates apply, and choose your hotel based on location near a Metro station.

Two very valuable websites for your planning:

Oh, and the Smithsonian has 16 museums in town, plus the Zoo and the vast Air and Space center near Dulles, and all are free.
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Dec 3rd, 2012, 06:24 PM
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Great suggestion about the metro card - the 7 day pass is the best way to go, and it also covers bus fair. Two of my favorite things - Arlington National Cometary so make sure to save time for that. I had underestimated the size of the museums and the interest level and length of time at each (they were all fascinating and we didn't want to rush through them) so I did have to bump a few things off the list - but I do think that Arlington was one of the most touching/emotional things we did while there. Second favorite was a tour of the Pentagon. You have to plan months in advance and the security (i.e. I think they do background checks) is similar to that of the White House but the tour was so interesting! There is a 9-11 Memorial on the grounds of the Pentagon that anyone can go to, but inside the Pentagon is a very touching 9-11 chapel. Oh, and not a Smithsonian Museum, but one of my favorites was the Newseum, especially if you find 9-11 interesting or the Berlin Wall or Pulitzer Prize winning photography. Okay, that was three things. Have fun. DC is my favorite city to visit!
WingsGal is offline  
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Dec 4th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Your three hotel choices are all fine but they are completely different from one another (including prices). I would be perfectly happy to stay in any of the three.

What are YOUR priorities regarding hotel rooms and hotel locations? Luxury? Price? Proximity to museums/memorials? Proximity to dining/shopping/cafes? Neighborhood vibe? Quiet? Buzz?
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Dec 4th, 2012, 02:50 PM
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How long will you be there? There is an overwhelming number of things to see and do in DC and the surrounding area. If you're only going to be there a few days, it's best to prioritize the things you most want to see. My personal favorites are the Museum of American History, the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum near Dulles, and the Natural History Museum (all part of the Smithsonian comples, admission is free); Arlington National Cemetery; and a walk on the National Mall. It's almost 2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial at one end to the steps of the Capitol Building at the opposite end with many of the memorials~Vietnam Wall, Korean War, the majestic WWII memorial~situated between the two.
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Dec 5th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Wingsgal is right. Arlington and the Pentagon are must sees in my book also. I remember walking into the 9-11 memorial. There wasn't a dry eye in our whole group. I also enjoyed The National Archives. I might even put it in place of the Library of Congress. Depending on your time constraints, you may want to book tours for the National Archives, The Library of Congress and The Capital. All are free. Tours of the White House and Pentagon do require as much as 6 months advance notice but I would try now if you really want to see there sites.
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Dec 5th, 2012, 11:36 PM
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Regarding the Library of Congress tour, please see my trip report for details but we were pretty disappointed with the tour. We did the one through the LOC. I believe the one ordered through your congress member is more about the collection and not what country the marble came from. The building was great and would highly recommend it. Also note that you can go back and forth between the Library of Congress and the Capitol through the underground tunnel and the security is much shorter. (That is, if you're doing both on the same day).

The Capitol Tour can be ordered directly or through your congress person. I would do it (and if you want the White House) through your congress person. You also can request viewing passes to sit in the audience if Congress is in session. This room and area is NOT included in a tour.
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Dec 6th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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I was disappointed with the tour of the LOC, also. I was with a large group, and I could barely hear the tour guide.
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