Washington DC questions

Old Oct 31st, 2013, 08:34 PM
  #1  
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Washington DC questions

Hello everyone,

I will be in Washington DC from December 27 - 31 (flying in/out of IAD). I've been working on the sights I'd like to see (assuming everything is open by then), but now I need to book a hotel. I'm having a little trouble figuring out desirable area(s) in terms of convenience in getting around and nearby Metro stations.

Any thoughts on Grand Hyatt Washington (1000 H Street NW)? They say there is a Metro station convenient to their lobby, but I don't see one on Google maps. Google maps show "M" icons, which I assume is for Metro stations, but then they also show blue bus icons of which there seem to be many more. Am I simply wrong in assuming that we will use the Metro (M) to get around? Or will we actually be taking buses? I printed out the DC Transit Guide map. I'm not sure if this correspond to the M icons or bus icons on Google maps. Any other areas/hotels I should consider? We would like to stay in the range of around $100/night or less. Is there a Hilton hotel that could be recommended in this price range? It would be great if we could add onto our Hilton points, but that's not our priority.

If it helps in determining a good area to recommend, the sights we'd like to see include: Supreme Court, US Capitol, Smithsonian Institute (don't know which museum to visit yet), Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, all the war memorials, White House, Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknowns, JFK Eternal Flame, Kennedy Center, Exorcist stairs, Georgetown.

Thank you for your help!!
Judy
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Old Oct 31st, 2013, 09:32 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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I believe there's a Metro station just a block or so from that hotel -- the 11TH St NW & G St NW entrance to the Metro Center station. Try entering the address of your hotel and the places you wish to visit in the DC Metro trip planner. Just make sure you specify a start/end time during which the Metro runs, or it will look like you have no options.
http://www.wmata.com/rider_tools/tri..._form_solo.cfm

I don't often get into that part of town at night. Maybe others can offer their observations.

Enjoy your time in DC!
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 03:49 AM
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You need to look at the Googlemaps AGAIN. There is a HUGE "M" on the map about two blocks from the Hyatt which is the Metro Center location mentioned by KJA.

Most of the places you mentioned are fairly easy to reach either by Metro or some sort of tour service like Old Town Trolley. You can walk to the entrance of the National Cemetery from the Cemetery Metro station.

As to those "exorcist stairs"...ONE way to see them would be to take the Metro to the ROSSLYN stop and walk across Key Bridge into Georgetown...at the G-town end of the bridge turn LEFT and go down to the bottom of the hill to the lower side of the Car Barn...the BOTTOM of the stairs is right there next to the gasoline station. This would be easier than walking from the Foggy Bottom Metro stop.

For the Ken Cen..walk from the Foggy Bottom stop
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 03:51 AM
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For the Iwo Jima Memorial you can also walk from the Rosslyn Metro stop
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 04:07 AM
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When there are performances at the Kennedy Center, there are free shuttle busses from the Foggy Bottom Metro station.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 05:53 AM
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The week between Christmas and New Years is an inexpensive time to stay in DC so you might not have too much trouble making your $100 a night rate but anything much less than that and I would be taking a serious look at what and where it is before booking. Keep in mind that published rates do not include 14.5% hotel tax. I'm guessing you will find hotel rates slightly lower just outside of the city in Rosslyn and Crystal City. Both have metro stations (and as mentioned you can walk to Georgetown from Rosslyn) for access into the city.

Most people use the Metro to get around. But you may easily be able to walk to some of the places on your list depending on where you stay. Also look at the DC Circulator which is a simplified bus system transiting to and from the most visited areas of the city. It uses the same fare card as the metro.

The Hyatt you mentioned is right in the heart of downtown and would be a perfectly fine place to stay.

There are a variety of Hilton or Hilton chain hotels in the city and most are in excellent locations for touring. You might start by looking at the Hilton Garden Inn at McPherson Square.

I have friends who just booked Thanksgiving week for $99/night at the River Inn Foggy Bottom. I imagine they'll offer the same rate in your time frame. This hotel is easy walking distance to Georgetown, Kennedy Center, and the Foggy Bottom metro station. FB metro is on the blue line which is what you'll use to get to the National Mall, monuments, many Smithsonian's, as well as the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 06:21 AM
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Dukey mentions using 'some sort of tour service like Old Town Trolley'. That's not something I would particularly recommend. It's an expensive way just to get from place to place and if you get off the bus at any time to do some sightseeing, I expect you could have a long wait to re-board as the buses may not run too frequently at that time of year.

A hop on/hop off bus such as Old Town Trolley could make sense if its a bad day weather-wise and you intend to stay on the bus for all the various loops just to see the sights from the bus and to hear the commentary. (But if it were me, I'd spend a 'bad day weather-wise' in a museum instead of on a bus ride.)
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 07:52 AM
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"assuming everything is open by then"

Not sure what you mean by this, but the Washington Monument remains closed for earthquake repairs until sometime in 2014. I can't think of any other major attractions that have been closed lately (except for the "shutdown", which ended two weeks ago).
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 09:29 AM
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Thank you everyone for the responses.

Dukey1, I've looked at the Google map several times. According to the Grand Hyatt's website, there is a Metro station RIGHT at their lobby. I don't think a station 2 blocks away would be described this way, but maybe I'm wrong.

Obxgirl, I should have specified $100/night, not including tax rather than all in. We're even fine with going just a bit higher, but our preference would be to stay in that $100 (plus tax) range. Based on all the areas we want to see, is there a better area to stay in than the Grand Hyatt? How important is it to be right next to a Metro station? Is a couple blocks away

Btw, besides good areas for convenience, are there any areas we should avoid for safety?

Btw, besides being cold, what should we expect weather-wise? Will there be snow? I'm excited to see Washington DC, but I'm a native So CA girl, so a little nervous about the weather.

Thanks!!
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 09:35 AM
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"Lobby access to metro center subway station (blue, orange and red lines)"

You could always call and ask what that means.

http://www.grandwashington.hyatt.com...hington_FS.pdf

"Will there be snow?"

Nobody can tell you that.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Did you LOOK at the map? Did you see where that M is located? trust me, the Hyatt can keep saying it is "right at the lobby" and when you get there you will find out that it is NOT "right at the lobby."

It is within easy walking distance but in this case, Hyatt is giving you a load of BS.

And you are quite welcome for all the other advice we have given you, too.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 10:41 AM
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I seem to recall an underground link from the Grand Hyatt lobby to Metro Center, through an adjacent office building, so their boast may be an exaggeration but not an outright falsehood.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Dukey1, I appreciate your willingness to help, but quite honestly, I find your responses almost bordering on being insulting. You really don't have to tell me to LOOK at the maps again for the HUGE "M" a couple blocks away or ask me if I did LOOK at the map. Obviously I've looked at the map and saw the Metro station icon in relation to the hotel. That's the very reason I was asking the questions I was asking about its proximity to the hotel and the "M" icons versus blue bus icons. I do appreciate, on the other hand, your detailed directions to the 'Exorcist' stairs.

Btw, I think I discovered the answer to my confusion about the Metro station and 'lobby access'. While I was interpreting 'lobby access' to mean there was a station closer than a block or two away from the actual lobby, instead there is apparently a lobby access to/from the Metro Center station (maybe via enclosed walkway? I'll call or email to find out).

vjpblovesitaly, I'm not asking for a guarantee of snow or no snow. Obviously, no one can predict. I was simply trying to find out if there is typically snow at that time of year. Coming from Santa Monica where it NEVER snows, I have no idea when areas back east actually BEGIN to have snow. I just know there's snow in the winter.

Thank you again everyone. I truly do appreciate the help.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Kayd, I was typing my response, so didn't see yours. Thank you for the details. That is exactly what I was beginning to think and that I had just misinterpreted their meaning of 'lobby access'.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 11:13 AM
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The Hyatt area is great. The other hotels I mentioned are equally as good for location. So are Rosslyn and Crystal City if you want to keep the price down but trade some distance for cost.

Weather will likely be cold. Could be snow, rain or 65 degrees. Pack to roll with it. There are shops here to fill in the gaps.

10 minute or less walk to metro or circulator bus stop is good. But in good weather many of your sites are walk able distances.

Look at google or another map that estimates walk and public transport time.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 12:52 PM
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The "M" on a map indicates a metro station there, not a station entrance. The underground stations have multiple entrances several blocks apart, so a single "M" for Metro Center may not be precisely atop any of the four entrances to that station, but somewhere between those entrances.
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 02:00 PM
  #17  
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kayd, thank you for the additional information. I have to admit that my only experiences using subway or Metro system type transportation has been in Bangkok, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, so I'm not overly knowledgeable about mass transit. We have a Metro system here, but I've only used it twice and both times with other people who were more experienced.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 1st, 2013, 06:07 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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Once you get here, I think you'll find that the metro system is reasonably easy to use. I, at least, find it more user-friendly than many metro systems I have used! IME, the only "trick" is that you need to realize that there are multiple entrances and exits, so paying attention where you get on or off can be of great help. The trip-planner link I provided above can be informative that way -- the written instructions generally specify specific access points. Hope that helps!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2013, 11:51 PM
  #19  
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Thank you so much for all the info about the Metro. I feel I understand it a bit better and feel more confident. I'm hoping that the weather will be decent enough that we'll just take the Metro to get to general areas, then walk from site to site in those areas.

Btw, after understanding the "lobby access" of the Metro from the Grand Hyatt, we decided to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn instead. There is a Metro station a half block away, we'll earn our Hilton points and, because I'm a Gold member, we'll get free Internet, breakfast, and a room upgrade if available.

I'm quite excited to visit the city. Thanks!
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Old Nov 3rd, 2013, 05:39 AM
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Moot at this point, but just wanted to concur w/ kayd. The Grand Hyatt lobby does connect to the 11th & G entrance to Metro Center via a short (100 ft?) underground link. I used it when I used to work nearby to escape the rain/heat/cold. I think, technically, the Hyatt is correct.

The Hilton Garden Inn is also good, but I like the Hyatt's proximity to the Verizon Center/Penn Quarter area....
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