Washington, DC for a day

Old Aug 14th, 2011, 07:08 PM
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Washington, DC for a day

Hello all! After attending a motorcycle rally in Matamoras, PA next June, four of us will be working our way back to Texas. I would love to stop off in Washington, DC.

Problem is convincing my dad to ride his motorcycle in the Washington, DC traffic. So, I was looking for a place to stay on the outskirts of town, possibly on the way to I-66, parking the bikes, and taking a tour from the hotel. Any suggestions on hotels? I'm expecting higher prices in the DC area, but is $100 - $150 a night to low? We aren't that picky, just mainly interested in something clean.

On how to get around? I have been searching the forum and have found that a night tour of the monuments sound great! Then taking an onboard tour of DC the next day. The onboard tour company picks at 1100 Penn Ave. Any suggestions as to the best way to get there without driving the motorcycles?

I know we won't have but a day and a half in the area, so mainly just an overview of the area is all I'm looking for. Our ages range from 38 - 64. We love historical sites. Some of the group is not able to walk long distances, so tour buses would probably be better for us. I would appreciate any input.

Thanks,
Mel
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Old Aug 15th, 2011, 07:42 AM
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Choose a hotel anywhere near a Metro station and ride the rail into the city. Zillions of tourist do it every year!

For a start, Look at your expected route and see several points where it will come close to Metro, then look at this website for hotels, etc., near those stations:

http://www.stationmasters.com/

After some initial exploring, come back here with specific questions about locations that appeal to you.
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Old Aug 16th, 2011, 05:39 AM
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You might want to consider staying in Rosslyn (Virginia). It has easy access to 66 and is right across the river from DC. There is a metro station right there, along with numerous hotels.

My Dad works for Harley Davidson and came up to visit me here in DC a couple years ago when the dealer's convention was held in Nashville. He rode up the Blue Ridge Parkway to get here and loved every minute of it!
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Old Aug 17th, 2011, 05:03 AM
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Rosslyn is good idea, but is already pretty much in the city. Much traffic and congested, but easy access to restaurant and such if you stay in that area. You may want to consider staying near Fairfax/Vienna Metro stop on the Orange line. It sits just off 66 as well and a bit less congested than Rosslyn.
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Old Aug 17th, 2011, 06:31 PM
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Thanks for your all your replies!

Kayd: I took your advice and did a little more research. I found a Marriot Courtyard Dunn Loring Fairfax in Vienna, VA. Sounds like it is right across the street from the orange metro line.
Some of the reviews I read sounds like there aren't restaurants in the area, but I think we would just eat before we came back to the hotel. I'm not sure how much traffic there would be on the day we are arriving, which would be a Friday. We would be traveling from Philadelphia on that day, so hopefully early enough in the day to avoid the traffic (or some of the traffic).

memejs: We are really considering the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way home. I do think we would really enjoy the scenery!

dcrevealed: Do you think the Courtyard hotel would be a good choice as far as the traffic is concerned? We will be escaping Washington on a Sunday so hopefully the traffic will not be bad leaving. However,we are so green to taking public transportation and a little apprehensive. However, I'm sure it beats driving motorcycles in a strange city! Any suggestions?

Thanks again for your suggestions! Please keep them coming!
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 08:34 AM
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Dunn Loring is not a bad choice if you really do not want to drive any closer to the city. I understand your hesitation since your party will not all fit in one vehicle; keeping together on multiple cycles would be challenging. Arriving before 3:00 on Friday should let you beat the worst of afternoon rush hour on the beltway (you would come around the north/Md side from I-95, no?), and leaving on Sunday should be no trouble.

If there are other other hotels in that area they probably provide shuttles to Metro if the one in walking distance isn't to your liking. Keep looking, you have plenty of time.

Another area to look at is around the last several stops of the Red line in Md. (Shady Grove to Grosvenor). You might prefer the slightly earlier arrival on Friday, without the need to cross the Potomac on a weekday (bridges can be a traffic choke point).

From either Dunn Loring or one of the Red line stations, the ride to Metro Center would be about 30 minutes. I do not know enough about those locations to recommend one over the other, I think you'd be fine either way.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 10:37 AM
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I agree with Kayd that you might want to look at hotels near the Red Line in Maryland. Traffic can be a bear on Fridays around D.C. and I don't think you'd like to try crossing the Potomac River into Virginia on a Friday in the summer. Traffic can start getting bad as early as 2pm.
Since you are leaving on a Sunday, crossing the Potomac then won't be difficult.
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Old Aug 18th, 2011, 09:12 PM
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<we are so green to taking public transportation and a little apprehensive.>
I must say, it's funny to me that the Metro makes YOU apprehensive, while riding a motorcycle would make ME very apprehensive The Metro is easy to navigate and very safe; plus, people are used to tourists and so won't stare if you look confused. They are usually helpful, in fact!
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Old Aug 20th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Thanks again for all the advice! I am mistaken on the days though. We will be arriving on Saturday and leaving on Monday. Now I'm really nervous about the traffic on Monday morning. I guess we can just plan on leaving around 9am? Maybe traffic will have died down by then.

Kayd and longhorn, I will look into hotels on the red line as well!

NewbE, I love riding motorcycles, but traffic is a little tricky.....especially in a strange city!

I have a question about the night touring....should we just go about it on our own and just enjoy the sites or actually take a night tour with a company? I saw an earlier post where some of the sites really aren't very visible at night...so hate to waste the money if it isn't worth it. Plus, I think it would be FAB to just sit somewhere and enjoy the sites and sounds of DC! What do y'all think?

I love all the comments...please keep them coming!
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Old Aug 21st, 2011, 05:20 AM
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Maybe someone from the area can weigh in - on Monday, they'd be leaving town - would they be driving against the main traffic?
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Old Aug 21st, 2011, 06:14 AM
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Given the change in dates, I would plan to stay somewhere in Virginia so that you cross the Potomac on Saturday when there is less traffic. Find accommodations along the Orange Line of Metro and you will have quick and easy access to I-66 on Monday morning. While you may encounter some traffic on I-66 (it always seems to be jammed these days, no matter the day of the week or the time of the day), you will be driving AGAINST the traffic on Monday morning, so it shouldn't be bad.

If you can find suitable accommodations in Arlington (near Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon or Ballston Metro), you will also be close to D.C. for your sightseeing trips. To give you some idea of the commuting times on Metro, it takes 10 minutes by Metro from Rosslyn, the station closest to D.C. on the Orange Line, to the Smithsonian station. It takes 32 minutes by Metro from Vienna, the station furtherest from D.C. on the Orange Line, to the Smithsonian station.
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Old Aug 21st, 2011, 06:29 AM
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About night tours--we always take our guests on self-guided walking tours of the monuments at night. I'd start at the White House and then walk over to the Washington Monument (taking a look at the Capitol in the distance). From the Washington Monument, you can then walk to the WWII Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. (If you are interested in the Einstein statue, it's located in the trees on the corner of Constitution Avenue and 22nd Street. You can take a quick detour here before going to the Lincoln Memorial. People enjoy having their pictures taken sitting in Einstein's lap.) From the Lincoln Memorial, walk around the Tidal Basin to see the new MLK, Jr. memorial (which officially opens on Aug. 28th), the FDR Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial.

Depending on how much time you spend at each memorial and your walking speed, this tour should take you about 2 - 3 hours, which is about the time that the driving tours take. However, you will see all of the monuments up close and if you have any questions about them, there are U.S. Park Service rangers at each site who are happy to answer them.

Just pick up or print up a good map of the Mall and Tidal Basin area and you should have no problem finding your way around.
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Old Aug 21st, 2011, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for everyone's advice! I think we will probably stay at the Dunn Loring along the orange line.... We will do our own night tour Saturday night and take the See it all tour of Washington DC on Sunday...and sneak out of town Monday morning!

I'm sure I'll have more questions once it gets closer to time...like restaurants etc..

Thanks for getting me started! I'm excited already.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 10:39 AM
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If you really want to avoid rush hour traffic on Monday morning, have a long leisurely breakfast and head out around 10. There's still a fair amount of traffic at 9 AM!!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2011, 10:58 AM
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Since some of you are not able to walk long distances, and your time is so limited, a hop-on hop-off tour is probably your best bet. The Mall is larger than many people anticipate~it's almost 2 miles from the steps of the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial!

Regarding restaurants~if there are none in your chosen hotel area, there are plenty within walking distance of the Metro. We had dinner at Old Siam~a two blocks from Eastern Market Metro stop~on the recommendation of one of the posters one of the DC threads. The food was good, reasonably priced, and the service was good.

Don't be intimidated by Metro~I am navigationally challenged, and I can figure it out!!
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 01:27 PM
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I have to second tenthumbs. I went to DC with a friend that cannot walk long distances and she would not have been able to see all the monuments in one night if we had walked. Not only are the distances between greater than they look, you have to be able to navigate many stairs. I also enjoyed the commentary that went along with the tour. The Vietnam Memorial is hard to see at night but I think the Korean Memorial is a "must see" at night.

As for the Metro, it is very easy to navigate. I am from Detroit where public transportation is almost non-existant and I never got lost or mugged and I traveled alone. Ask at your hotel on the specifics of how it works or look at the website for instructions. I actually find it kind of fun.
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Old Sep 6th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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Forgot one more recommendation. Since your time is limited you may find my favorite map a good tool. I purchase a Map Easy at the bookstore before I leave. The map markings are in somewhat of a cartoon style. The map list the sites, restaurants, hotels, almost anything of interest right on the map where it is. So if you are at the White House and need lunch you can find something close by quickly without walking up and down the streets. It also has a map of the Metro on it and it will fit into your pocket. I never go to a big city without it.
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Old Sep 11th, 2011, 11:06 AM
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Thanks again everyone!
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