If you get out of Arlington and you still have energy,, you can just walk across the Memorial Bridge and you will be in DC by the Lincoln Memorial. From Arlington visitors center, just make a right and go straight ahead, across the bridge. Shouldn't take you more than a few minutes and you have saved yourself a few dollars on the Metro.
The easiest way to get to Arlington is to get on the Metro- Blue Line to the end. Station is Arlington Cemetery. If you are coming from Maryland or some parts of DC you may have to change trains at Metro Center.
Some say you can walk across the Memorial Bridge from DC. The Cemetery will be right up the hill. Ive never done this, so I can't say.
If you are on a tour bus or organized tour of Washington the Cemetery is a common stop on any of these tours.
Parking at Arlington National Cemetery is limited. Unless you are attending a burial you will have to park in the Visitor Center Parking lot. Charges are $1.75/hr for the first three (3) hours and $2.50/hr for each hour thereafter.
There is no parking at Arlington Metro stop and generally it is recommended that you just take the metro in on your visit instead of driving.
Although we drove to Arlington we decided to leave the car parked at the hotel and take ride the Metro to/from points of interest. The station stop located near the hotel is the Crystal City Metro station on the Blue and Yellow line.
The hotel is located just a few stops from Pentagon City, Pentagon and Arlington Cementary on the Blue line and further north the Foggy Bottom station. On the Yellow line you are just minutes away to downtown DC as well as connecting to the other lines for more exploring.
Regular fares are in effect on weekdays from opening to 9:30 a.m., 3-7 p.m., and on weekends. Please note that each person must purchase their own farecard.
Check out the link below for more information about travel on the Metro in the Arlington area.
Arlington is serviced by the Blue, Orange, and Yellow lines of the DC Metro. Some of the most famous stops for travelers, tourists, shoppers and businessmen include Regan National Airport, Crystal City, Pentagon City, the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, and Ballston. There ar just a handful of other metro stops in Arlington, and each of them are neighborhood hubs and centers of growth for this urban county.
The DC Metro is a great way to get around the city once you get over the strange fare system. There are five lines that cover the entire downtown area and stretch into the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. There are several stops in the city center near the famous monuments, landmarks, museums, and government buildings making the metro a great way for tourists to see the city.
The biggest problem with DC's metro is the crazy fare system. Not only do they charge different fees throughout the day ("peak" or "off-peak"), but you never know the fares between any two stations until you look on the fare chart. Prices range from $1.35 to $3.90 (and everything in between) depending on which stations you travel from and to... and the time of day.
Luckily you can buy a pre-paid, stored value fare cards for almost any amount, which takes the guesswork out of figuring out the cost.
The subway closes at midnight on weeknights and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.
While I usually fly into gigantic Dulles Airport in Washington DC, I have occasionally been lucky enough to book a flight through cozy little Reagan National Airport nestled snugly on the banks of the Potomac alongside Crystal City in Alexandria, VA.
National Airport opened in 1941 and now handles about 18 million passengers per year. Dulles opened in 1962, and it handles just a few million more passengers at around 24 million per year.
Reagan's benefits over Dulles are primarily proximity to the city and available public transportation options. From downtown DC you can be at Reagan in 10 or 15 minutes compared to 30-45 minutes at Dulles (or more with traffic). From Dulles your only transportation choices are a few buses and taxis; Regan is connected to the city by the Metro, numerous buses, taxis, and even a jogging/biking trail.
The airport is also the site of historic Abingdon Plantation. This was once a 2,700 acre farm along the banks of the Potomac, which has now been reduced to this tiny one-acre site tucked between two parking garages and the metro station. The land was granted to Robert Howson in 1669, the plantation was built in the 1740s, and it was home to the Alexander family (after whom Alexandria was named), as well as George Washington's stepson John Parke Custis and Nelly, his granddaughter. In 1930 the old plantation burned, but the site was preserved for its historic significance. In the 1990s the airport authority stabilized the site and enabled visitors to see and understand its historic significance.
Historic Terminal A at Reagan Washington Airport houses a historical collection and interpretive signs relating to the old plantation.
The plantation can be reached from Level 2 of Garage B on the route to Garage B/C.
I decided to make this a combined tip. I am never really sure what to say about airports. So other than to say the Raegan National Airport seemed nice enough to me, it was close to Washington. I kept being told that it was about $15 USD in a taxi to get downtown and that seemed reasonable to me.
I had my mind made up that I was going to try and figure out the Metro because it was just $1.25 USD to get downtown on the Metro. I found the Metro easily and I forget where but eventually got some USD change. You will find these large machines that almost look like a Coke machine and from there you can get your ticket. You'll find at the airport a lot of people were getting on the Metro.
Anyway to get to Hosteling International, you need to catch the "Blue Line" that is heading for "Largo Town Center". Once you get on there were 8 stops along the way and you need to get off at "Metro Center". Once you get off don't forget your ticket you'll need that to get out of the gates. At Metro Center exist through the 11th Street exit and turn to your right. From there you are just a few short blocks to the hostel. I easily wheeled by suit case up the street and there in no time for $1.25. Although I had no idea where I was going I thought it was actually pretty efficient.
When it was time to head home on Sunday I thought why not hop back on for the price. This time it was around 5:00 pm and the Metro was blocked with people so dragging the suit case was a little hectic but from Metro Center heading to the airport you need to get the "Blue Line" again heading for "Franconia - Springfield" and then get off at the airport.
I was going to use the Metro to get to the zoo but ended up not getting there. Overall I would take advantage of the Metro again in the future.
We (my wife, Kathy, Chris and me) used the metrobus to come back from Pentagon metro station to our hotel (Sheraton National Arlington) at night. We were just after VT-meeting, how to say, a little bit amused but not as much to take expensive taxi. At the end of our trip Nat took a metrobus from Dulles International Airport to nearest metro station (the bus arrived with delay).
Scheduled buses run by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) are called metro buses. The company runs metro system, too and covers Washington DC and adjacent areas of Maryland and Northern Virginia including Arlington.
Details on how to use the metrobus system are put in my transportation tips on my Washington, DC page.
FROM WASHINGTON DULLES INT. AIRPORT (IAD)
1. Taxi (approx. $40)
I did it. Taxi stands are located at the East and West ramps on the lower level of the Main Terminal. A guy in an uniform with microphone and earphones (the taxi dispatcher) called our taxi - for smoking to Arlington Days Inn.
2. Metrobus + Days Inn shuttle van ($3.00 per person)
- take metrobus line 5A (daily from ca 6.30 am to ca 11.40pm; timetable here) to Rosslyn metro station. It's express bus which costs $3.00 (pay to a driver, have a change ready!). It goes approx. 30 - 40 min. Warning: it departured delayed when Nat came back home from Dulles at our last day.
- take Days Inn shuttle (a van) from Rosslyn Metro Station in Arlington (below 10 min.) The shuttle starts at Days Inn at every exact hour from 7.00 am to 8.00 pm except 1.00 and 2.00 pm. A few (usually up to 10) minutes later it's at Rosslyn Metro Station (in front of the entrance/exit - at passenger drop off and pick up area).
3. Metrobus + metrobus ($3.00 per person)
- take metrobus line 5A to Rosslyn metro station (as in 2), when you board, buy a ticket ($3.00; have a change ready) and ask your bus driver for a FREE transfer;
- from Rosslyn take line 4A, 4H or 4S to Arlington Blvd. - N. Pershing Drive (Fort Myer): the stop is just by Days Inn or eventually take line 4B, 4E to N. Barton St. - N. Pershing Drive - walk the latter street approx. 250 yards (m) eastwards, the motel on the left. Show your driver a free transfer you got in 5A at Dulles not to pay anything for the bus (within the two-hour period shown on transfer). Timetables: here.
FROM REAGAN WASHINGTON NATIONAL AIRPORT (DCA)
1. Taxi (approx. $9.00; 20 min.)
Taxis are available at the exits of each terminal.
2. Metrorail + Days Inn van or metrobus ($1.35 - $1.85 per person)
Take a metrorail from Reagan Washington National Airport station to Rosslyn station (blue line; approx. 11 min.; $1.35 or $1.50), take a free transfer to pay less later for the metrobus to Days Inn (35¢ instead of $1.25).
From Rosslyn there are two options:
1. take Days Inn shuttle (a van). The shuttle starts at Days Inn at every exact hour from 7.00 am to 8.00 pm except 1.00 and 2.00 pm. A few (usually up to 10) minutes later it's at Rosslyn Metro Station (in front of the entrance/exit - at passenger drop off and pick up area).
2. take line 4A, 4H or 4S to Arlington Blvd. - N. Pershing Drive (Fort Myer): the stop (see the picture) is just by Days Inn or eventually take line 4B, 4E to N. Barton St. - N. Pershing Drive - walk the latter street approx. 250 yards (m) eastwards, the motel on the left. Show your driver a free transfer you got at Reagan Washington National Airport station to pay 35c (instead of $1.25) for the metrobus. Timetables: here.
I left my car at my hotels. In the morning I checked out and left a car with all luggage inside on a hotel parking. They always allowed me to park till the evening with no additional surcharge (a tip was necessary at Hyatt Regency Crystal City hotel at a valet parking there - I gave $5.00).
On the last day I drove first to Arlington National Cemetary (visitor's parking there), then to Washingtn DC to visit the memorials and at the end the National Cathedral where I parked free on a street.
Whenever you are going to drive a car through Washington, DC, Arlington County, city of Alexandria or Fairfax County (one urban area) and visit Atlington National Cemetery the good option may be to park a car on the suburbs by a metro station and use metrorail. There are metro-operated parkings close to suburban metro stations.
They are open 24 hours but fares are collected upon exit at most stations, exclusively between 9 am and closing time of the rail system. On wekdays my suggestion is to come before 8.00 am as suburban lots and garages often become full by this time.
WHICH PARKING TO CHOOSE
Follow the suggestions read here. The full up-to-date list of Metro daily parking is here.
HOW TO PAY AND HOW MUCH?
Parking at metro-operated lots is FREE on weekends and federal holidays. On other days it's paid upon exit ($3.50 - $4.00 per day).
Warning: Parking fees must be paid using SmarTrip card. The card looks like a credit card and is a permanent, rechargeable farecard for metrorails and metrobuses. It's sold at vending machines at all stations where parking is available. The card itself (with no value) costs $5.00.
In October 2004 I rented Premium car (Buick LeSABRE) for 31 days in Budget at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia.
WHY IN ARLINGTON?
This Budget car rental had the least expensive offer for a car I wanted to rent (mid-size for 31 days with unlimited mileage). Other offers in this area (I checked tenths) were usually at least a few hundred bucks more expensive. Keep in mind that for non-US resident, like me, the most expensive is full insurance coverage which, anyway, I strongly suggest to purchase.
I paid $1814.54 in total including insurance (LDW, Loss Damage Waiver + SLI, Suplemental Liability Insurance) which cost $644.35. I got discounts worth a few hundred bucks: I paid over $440 less for LDW and I paid the price for a Mid-size car although I rented a Premium car.
DID I PAID A LOT?
Hiring a car in the USA was very expensive for me. It was my main expense, difficult to bear although, thanks to weak US dollar my money was worth almost 20% more than a year before. But I can't complain. I enjoyed my southern odysey by a hired car a lot and I would spend that money for it again and again. I even can't imagine how to visit so many wonderful places without a car. A car is a must for everyone who wants to discover real beauty and variety of the USA.
WHERE TO LOOK FOR A CAR RENTAL?
Check first all car rentals at the airport of your arrival:
- Car rentals at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
- Car rentals at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
- Car rentals at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
If you are too tired, too lazy or just don't want to walk relatively long distances around the Arlington National Cementary you may join Arlington National Cemetery Tour. It's one and a half to two-hour tour by a shuttle bus of Tourmobile Sightseeing available daily except Christmas day. The bus starts at the Visitors Information Center and stops by the Tomb of the Unknowns, by Kennedy family gravesites and by the Arlington House. Excuse, I didn't take it. I prefer to walk to see more, although at rainy or snowy weather... who knows...
Available at the Visitors Information Center for $6.00 (adults) and $3.00 (kids 3-10 years old). Follow the link at the bottom of this tip to check up-to-date hours and fares.
WASHINGTON DC + ARLINGTON CEMETERY
The same company offers barrated sightseeing shuttle tour: American Heritage Tour of Washington, DC
& Arlington National Cemetery. One ($20.00) or two ($30.00) day tickets with unlimited offs and ons (details: here).
One can safely land at Regan International Airport aka National. Then hop the metro to all points north, south, east and west of/in the Metro DC arena. Airport code:DCA
This picture was taken from the DC side, at Haines Point, aka West Potomac Park.
Reagan National (formerly Washington National) Airport is the domestic airport just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. in Arlington, Virginia. I rather like this airport because it is fairly compact, it is convenient to get to via metro, and there are plenty of shops and restaurants in there before your flight. Reagan National Airport was the one most affected by the 11 September 2001 disaster, although none of the offending flights originated from there. It was the last airport to reopen and the Secret Service favoured closing it altogether due to its proximity to sensitive secure areas in Washington. However, the business community prevailed, and it reopened in October, 2001, with drastically augmented security. For example, there is a greater likelihood of an air marshal watching over your flight, more drastic searches in the main checkpoints are conducted together with follow-ups at the gate, and you have to remain seated (no exceptions) the first 30 minutes of a flight out of Reagan and the last 30 minutes of a flight in.