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Old 06-20-2015, 06:10 PM
  #1

Has anyone ever traveled to Washington DC by car. I need to know if about parking and transportation around town, good place to stay and maybe riding into New York for a couple of days.


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Old 06-20-2015, 06:36 PM
  #2

I grew up in DC! Went to high school there, now I'm teaching outside of DC. First thing is, driving around DC isn't bad but it's slow so if you're interested in driving, it's not awful but not fast. (Lots of tourists and it slows things down plus it's just busy.) Second thing is, the Metro is pretty easy to use and it'll get you plenty of places.
If you can, stay in a hotel, park the car and then walk or take the Metro to places that you want to go.
I have a number of friends who have enjoyed staying in Alexandria and riding the metro into DC. What are you looking for in terms of places to stay? Would you prefer to be downtown or a bit further out (and less expensive)?
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:57 PM
  #3

We have driven to Washington twice. I second staying in Alexandria--we stayed in Old Town and it was very nice. Very nice hotels for a fraction of the cost. A free shuttle to the Metro, and we were in DC within 15 minutes--faster than if we went by car. We found the Metro to be very safe and easy to navigate, even in the evenings, especially around the touristy areas.
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:27 PM
  #4

We rented a car last summer when we went to DC. Parking wasn't too bad. The parking lane is closed during rush hours. In the morning I believe it turns to parking at 9am. If you show up then you get a good parking space. Download the DC parking app. We toured several Smithsonians and I kept renewing the parking all day. Parking lane closes at 4pm (I believe). We also had to pay for parking at our hotel. We stayed in Pentagon City. We stayed at the Residence Inn because it had a kitchen in the room and we could eat breakfast in our room and pack a cooler for lunch and keep it in the car. Then we went out to dinner at a nice local restaurant. It made our vacation much more affordable to do extras. The main reason we rented a car was so we could spend a day driving to Gettysburg.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:52 AM
  #5

My DD goes to college in DC and I have been down several times. If you stay right in DC, most hotels charge for parking...a lot....like an extra $30 a night. I prefer the metro b/c it is pretty easy, you don't have to try to drive around the city, and also find, pay for parking. People mentioned Alexandria for a place to stay. We have stayed at the Holiday Inn at Key Bridge in Rosslyn twice b/c it is reasonable (at least when we went ....about $100 or so a night) it has FREE parking, and sometimes includes a nice buffet breakfast (or buy one, get one free or 1/2 price) in the restaurant on the top floor with a nice view. Each room has a balcony with sliding doors, though there is a fair amount of street noise/sirens. It is a block from the metro stop and a pretty quick walk across the bridge into Georgetown. There are a few restaurants right near the hotel(we ate at a Chipotle), and lots more in Georgetown
Another place with free parking (have not stayed here....older place) is The Americana Hotel in Arlington. Supposed to be reasonable and near a metro stop also.
Something I just discovered for my trip in April to help DD move into an apt was the DC by Foot Tours. You pay what you want. They have lots of different ones but you need to make reservations. Have fun!


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Old 06-21-2015, 05:52 AM
  #6

I lived in Fairfax County just outside DC in VA and would never drive into DC if I could avoid it. Traffic sucks, roads are confusing and parking is bad. Everytime I drove I got lost, even with GPS. I highly recommend planning on using the metro instead. Hotels as mentioned are cheaper in Arlington or Alexandria, and the metro ride is short. From Rosslyn in Arlington, it is just one stop into DC and about five to the museums. Parking at hotels is pricy, though some outside the city have free parking, especially if you go out a few stops. The Rosslyn, Court House, Clarendon, Ballston area of Arlington is all cute to walk around, as is downtown Alexandria.

You can easily take Amtrak to NYC. I took the metro to Union Station and then got on Amtrak.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:57 AM
  #7

We prefer less expensive and I don't mind using the metro. We want to maybe go into Philadelphia and then catch the amtrak into NYC. Which station is safest in Philly?
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Old 06-22-2015, 05:50 PM
  #8

I live near DC in PG County (about 20 minutes away) and I don't even like driving in DC. I ride the train whenever possible, it is very easy to use.
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