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Washington DC tourist tips

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Posted

I was shocked when I read elsewhere that Washington D.C. has a very high crime rate and is extremely expensive.

I'm planning to visit D.C during my holiday in the states at the end of Feb.

So my questions to you are:

Where would you suggest the best place for a tourist to stay is?

How many nights would you say is enough in D.C?

And what do you suggest one should see and do?

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Posted

> Where would you suggest the best place for a tourist to stay is??

Various hotels all around the city. You probably want to stay in Maryland though. Cheaper.

> How many nights would you say is enough in D.C??

You could easily spend a week just on the Mall at the various Smithsonian museums and still not see everything available. You normally need a full day just to see the Air and Space Museum. There's not much else to see in DC proper. Adams Moran is OK for evenings; Georgetown is dead. For anything else, pick up a copy of the City Paper, a free weekly published on Thursdays and available almost anywhere you see newspaper boxes.

> What do you suggest one should see etc??

Smithsonian. See above. It depends on what you want to see. Gettysburg is a bit of a drive but some people are into that. Maybe you want to hike in Rock Creek Park. You have to be more specific about what you're looking for.

The fucks have closed off the Capitol (and don't realise the irony); you need to go there in advance and try to get tickets/reservations. They may have gone back to the first-come, first-served, get there at 6:00a.m. to stand for three hours to get tickets. Washington Monument also requires advance ticket acquisition. Go to the little booth on the hill.

woof.

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Posted

Well if you like museums (and I do) the Smithsonean is the place to be. Then there are all the monuments and things. You could hit the highligts in a weekend, I think.

If I were you, I'd stay outside of D.C. (Alexandria for example.) It'll be cheaper and nicer but yes, you can still count on it being expensive. and I wouldn't stay out too long after dark (at least downtown).

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Posted

Would I need a car or is the subway surfice for a tourist??

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Posted

Subways fine, but can get rather packed in the evening so allow for more travel time..

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Posted

The subway doesn't go anywhere that a tourist would except for the fucking Smithsonian, National Airport and Arlington National Cemetary. Even the Capitol South stop is a fucking hike to the actual Capitol. You need a car for DC. Go to Priceline, look at the rates, then bid about one-third to half that and you should get a decent price.

woof.

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Posted

I posted my answer on the other thread. :rolleyes:

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Posted

Georgetown is nice, too. And Old Town Alexandria. I always like to swing by there when I'm in the DC area.

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Posted

You might find the Holocaust Museum to be a moving experience; I did.

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Posted

personally, i think you'd be fine without a car. if you don't mind a bit of walking (and by a bit i don't mean miles and miles). When i lived there (albeit it was only 3-4months) back in 2004 I was fine without a car. If you like schools you can wander around heaps of quality (and some not so quality) univeristities. the mall is fun to just wander around, of course there are all the monuments and as Baddoggie stated Smithsonians. There are a few other museums too that are not Smithsonians. The holocaust museum is well done along with a few others. Washington is expensive, but it's a fun city. Each neighborhood is different so it's always interseting. Georgetown mainly is full of shopping and a few restaurants and some nice houses. Adams Morgan you'll find college kids out at night. I'm most familiar with Georgetown, Foggy bottom, Dupont Circle, and also around China Town.

I love the city; it's one of my favorites.

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Posted

Hello All!

As I read this post I am in my apartment and I live about three blocks from the National Cathedral when I am in residence. There are no metro stops up here but the bus service down to DuPont Circle is good. Check the Holiday Inn on Wisconsin Avenue NW in upper Georgetown. There are some great boutique hotels in nice areas up this way as well. The Henley Park (not the greatest neighborhood), but close to transportation is another one. The Savoy is also a nice cheaper option in upper Georgetown on Wisconsin Avenue Northwest (NW). Give me the particulars as to how much exactly you want to spend, what you want to see, etc. I will be glad to assist and you can PM as well.

Jennifer

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Posted

i remember being in d.c. about 3 years ago in mid-may. we ended up staying in manasses (is that right?) in orthern virginia cause we couldn't find any hotels for under 150$ a night within the d.c. area or surroundings, then drove our rental to a park & ride (where we could find parking) and took the metro into town. we walked our asses off, but after living in germany, i felt i was well prepared :) we flew out from dulles.

I'm going back again in may, this time with me ma & am taking time out for the Smithsonian. tips are great!

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Posted

I grew up in DC and my high school was less than 1/4 of a mile from the "BAD" part of town. The post that says you should not go out after dark was either tongue in cheek or not familiar with DC. Areas to avoid - PG County Maryland outskirts (end of the Blue line in MD) and the area around Capitol Hill - notorious for mugging late at night. Although, since there is nothing to see in either area after dark - no point in going there. Around the Mall/monuments is fine, as well as Alexandria/Arlington (Virginia) and Bethesda (MD). A hotel on the metro line in Alexandria (Embassy Suites - I think King Street station) or one in Bethesda (Hyatt...I think - right above the Bethesda Metro stop) are good bets. Bethesda and Alexandria have great eats and a better night life than downtown DC which is really only busy during the weekdays when the government is in session. To see - all depends on your interests - Smithsonians, battlefields, theater, politics...DC has enough to keep you busy for awhile.

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Posted

> Where would you suggest the best place for a tourist to stay is??

Various hotels all around the city. You probably want to stay in Maryland though. Cheaper.

this is quite a long shot, but can anyone give me advice on hotels in and around Baltimore? my mom is flying into BWI and we will be visiting relatives in Hannover (southwest of Baltimore & airport), so I'd obviously rather not stay anywhere north of Baltimore. have car, will travel. are there any areas you would recommend we avoid staying in? that might help narrow it down.

we plan to go into d.c. at least twice, but i imagine we'll take the train and use park & ride into d.c., then taxis or busses from there (since me ma has a troublesome foot).

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Posted

The Inner Harbour is the rejuvenated waterfront area of Baltimore and has good hotels as the convention center is nearby. Its a bit of a touristy area but stick to the beaten path. Short cab ride to Fells Point which is a lot of fun with great pubs and restaurants. Little Italy is close as well, but I have no personal experience there.

In the alternate, look for a B&B in Federal Hill which is 19th century gaslight district (i.e. very nice).

BWI is a ways from the city though, so you might want to research a place closer to it. Problem is it will not be very interesting. You could stay in Annapolis if you have a car. Its not far from BWI and has a nice, Colonial-era downtown with plenty to do.

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Posted

Because it's his birthday, I'll give George Washington a plug: Mount Vernon, his estate in Virginia on the banks of the Potomac, is a pretty cool way to spend a sunny several hours. You can walk through a good portion of the mansion and over most of the grounds, including the (outside of the) final resting place; altogether easy to appreciate if you're into things historical. Tour guides are decent. Even the gift shop is kind of better than what you're used to seeing at touristy / museumy haunts... like there's a selection of US and world coins from the 17th-19th centuries (maybe overpriced but still nice to see them offered) on display and a fair book selection. And all just a few minutes outside of DC proper. They were doing quite a bit of renovation and maybe building a new welcome center last spring, not sure how that's progressing, might wanna check online before you go.

A friend of mine really recommends the Newseum (because it's relatively new and somewhat interactive) and even though he's a journo thinks it has broad appeal, never been there myself but you could review it after a visit, I suppose. And the others that have been mentioned -- Smithsonian, Holocaust, etc -- are all worthy. You could easily spend a week plus and not run out of things to do. Enjoy.

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Posted

DC also is home to the Brickskeller, which holds (or at least held) the world record for largest beer selection.

Also worth checking out is the C & O Canal and Great Falls of the Potomac.

And as has been said, the Smithsonian is a must-see.

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Posted

...BWI is a ways from the city though, so you might want to research a place closer to it. Problem is it will not be very interesting...

thanks for the tip. i looked into and found some places in Linthicum Heights, which seems to be a good compromise between airport, Hannover, Baltimore and on some light rail line which would take us into the city. and they have a free shuttle to BWI so my ma can get to the hotel without having to worry whether not we make the treck from Raleigh on time to be able to pick her up.

we plan anyhow to only breakfast in the hotel. the rest of the time we'll be out and about.

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Posted

This might sound strange, but tour the city at night...

It looks so amazing in the dark. The white marble of all the buildings is illuminated, very few people are around, and you can just explore. It's really great. Plus, a few blocks from all the historical stuff are many of the bars and clubs. It might me E Street, but I can't remember.

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Posted

The Air and Space museam is excellent. It is a must!

Btw, all of the National Museams in DC are FREE! I would also recommend the National Gallery of Art - excellent. But tickets could still be needed as they are used to reduce congestion.

Do Adams Moran and Georgetown for one night and get some drinks.

Take the subway out to Alexandria, VA to check out the city, very nice place.

Yeah, DC is dangerous if you intend to go into some neighborhood and attempt taking turf away from drug dealers. They defend their marketshare with bullets. You've been warned...

I love going back to DC twice a year...

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Posted

I agree about the Smithsonian. Awesome place -- could spend weeks there alone. Alexandria Old Town is also worth a visit, as is Arlington National Cemetery and Arlington House (General Lee's family mansion). Further afield, the Chesapeake Bay has lots of lovely scenery and boating, northern Virginia has numerous Civil War-related museums and battlefields (northern Virginia was the main battleground of the war), Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, and so on.

Within the District itself and Arlington County, Virginia, you can get by with the Metro (the subway). Outside that area, a car's a much better idea. However, be forewarned that traffic is freaking awful, especially around rush hour. Many of the roads are some of the earliest urban highways in America, and haven't changed much since.

Cheers,

Fairfax71

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Posted

When I lived in DC I really enjoyed going to Tues night jam sessions at the HR-57 on 14th street.

It used to be bring your own booze, not sure if it still is?

Lots of talented local jazz musicians and the atmosphere gets real lively as the night goes on.

Here's the website: www.hr57.org/home.html

if that sounds like your thing.

I also like the Tabard Inn and stay there when back to visit or business:

www.tabardinn.com

they also have a jazz night on Sunday's.

Have a fun trip!

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Posted

i'll be going back to d.c. soon and am seeking y'alls advice. plans to stay wtih a friend have fallen through so we'll be looking for accomodations, but we have the following to consider: we'll be arriving by train from new york city, staying for 2 nights, then needing to pick up a car to drive down to north carolina to visit family.

any suggestion about the easiest way to do this? meaning, simply the best combination of where to stay, with easy reach within the city (metro), then getting out to an airport to pick up a car (we would do this at the end then drive down to NC).

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First off, for the hotel, I would use hotwire.com...if you havent used it before, its the cheapest way to get hotels, the only thing is that you dont know the hotel, until you pay. So, you choose the area, number of stars, amenities, etc, pay and then you will know the hotel.

I worked in DC so much that I can usually tell which hotel it will be, before paying.

OK, so, when you take the train from NY, you will get off at Union Station. In Union Station, you can take the metro to whereever your hotel is. I usually stayed in Bethesda, because its a little cheaper, and with the metro, you can be anywhere in DC in 20 minutes. I guess for your rental car, you should get it from Reagan Airport, because you can take the metro there too...Of course, you can always use Enterprise, and they will pick you up.

Also, for your trip to NC, you may want to consider taking I-81 down the western side of VA...this way you will avoid most of the DC traffic. My mom lives in Charlotte and my dad in Asheville, so this is the way I always went, when I went from DC to NC.

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One place that probably won't show up on the regular searches is the Brickskeller Inn. I've not stayed there but I hear it's reasonably priced and otherwise nice. Staying there you'd take the red line just a few stops from Union Station.

You won't need to get to an airport (and pay the associated fees) to rent a car because there are rental locations all over the city. Avis and Enterprise (probably others, too) have several locations convenient to Metro. I find reserving with cardelmar.de is best because they include insurance and it's cheaper than the insurance offered at the counter (assuming you don't have insurance already).

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