Washington D C sits on the bank of the Potomac River and the Arlington Memorial Bridge--Memorial Bridge to the locals--is one of the more picturesque ways of entering the city. The first building you'll see coming across is the Lincoln Memorial Building.
Traveling to and around Washington D.C. by car is not necessary, but convenient, especially if day trips are in the plan.
Parking is sometimes hard to find and expensive. It is a busy city so there usually is heavy/chaotic traffic to deal with. The roads are not on a grid type pattern so it's easy to get lost and you really have to pay attention to the signs and watch out for oblivious pedestrians.
Still, I toured the city, in a private car, with a long time resident who knew the rules of the road, knew the best streets to use at the time and knew the nearest, least expensive places to park. So, I thought driving through the city was really a great experience. Plus we went on many day trips and the car was really the best way to do that.
A 4-hour trip from New York City to Washington, DC seems to be a reasonable for driving your car. But the idea was to get everybody there relaxed, equally. We voted to take the Greyhound/Peter Pan bus from New York’s Port Authority at 42nd St., and 8th Ave. We had also the option of taking the Acela or MetroLiner train, which stationed at 34th St., and 7th Ave., but the fare was too pricey. Yet, trains are faster than buses. Which is why, majority of business travelers prefers the Acela or MetroLiner to get to DC on time. It is not recommended, however, to fly out from NYC to DC. As I understand, the traveling time from the BWI Airport to downtown DC is about 45 minutes and not to mention to LGA Airport in NYC or Newark Airport in New Jersey.
Getting around is always a matter of choices. As for me, to get acquainted with the place I always save my energy for walking. Riding a taxi or metro bus is also an alternative, only if my feet start to complain.
I remember a New Yorker telling me that he had parked in front of the Washington Memorial for the 4th of July celebration. Anyone who has been in this town knows that is a tall tale (though it may have been true many many years ago).
For the visitor- you will have to make a lot of quick exits from the highway. There is very very limited on street parking (particularly near any tourist sites) and downtown DC has a multitude of one way streets that seems to follow no logic. Parking in a garage will be quite expensive (especially during the week.)
Long and short of it, please take the metro if you are going to see the common sights in DC. You will save yourself a lot of money and aggravation.
We rented a car for a week from/to Dulles airport. the deal was sourced through a consolidator/search engine website - Argus. Dollar was the provider.
The shuttle bus service from/to the terminal is excellent. It is a bit of a distance to get to the car rental offices - not unusual for a large sprawling airport, but Dulles is relatively small and compact.
Pick-up was quick, friendly, helpful and efficient. Drop off just the same.
One thing which surprised us is that fuel is not included in the quoted price. You pay extra for a full tank, and then return the car empty. I don’t know if that is a Dollar thing, just a quirk of the deal we got, or the norm in the USA. I’d say it added $20 to our cost. Not much in relation to a 7 day rental for $300+, but not so good if you just have the car for a day and don’t drive far.
We had a Chevvy Malibu. Comfortable and spacious. Excellent on the freeways, but like driving a sofa on the back roads.
If you are good enough in parallel parking, you can try yourself on Constitution Ave between 14th abd 17th. There are no meters there and I saw no other signs there to mark parking spots. Since rural US is a parking paradise and most Americans are not trained in parallel parking (or even never heard about), you can be surprised with an empty spot with a good view on the White House over the Ellipse just from your left window.
May be very handy for Europeans, New-Yorkers, and other experienced parking fighters.
A tip: I heard that americans do not mind when you compress their cars by gently pushing them with your bumper. Tried that in Boston (where Avis surprised me with a Buick) and it worked for me.
There is a Metro Station not to far from the Wat Thai Temple. There is some parking near the temple but it will most likely be full fast and if you park in the neighborhoods near by its very possible to get a ticket from the police (depends on how and where you park). Your Best Bet is to park at Metro Station and Hope the Wat Thai Shuttle (may be a school bus) and it drops you off right in from of the Temple. It is a free shuttle so dont worry about price and usually the Metro Parking lot is free during this event (if held on a sunday). I do suggest however that you tip the Driver, being that Gas prices are crazy and they are saving you a lot of engery spent trying to get around. Just think of all the money saved by not getting a Ticket! And give it on the way to the temple because you may not have any on the way back to the car...plus your hands will be free and not lugging around all the stuff you bought!
Driving in DC is about as bad as it gets (okay, actually not that bad, but still). Traffic is always bad, every day of the week; and it's especially bad if there is a state funeral or if some group or another decides to hold a protest or rally. Parking is always impossible; and traffic circles (like Dupont Circle) are rather tricky and hard to navigate. During rush hour, traffic is at a standstill; don't think you'll get anywhere. If you're visiting DC, its best to park outside the city and take Metrorail or Metrobus into the city, since many of the attractions are within walking distance of each other.
Baltimore-area residents traveling south this weekend are being urged to avoid the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, where transportation officials are planning to close three lanes as part of the mammoth project to replace the span that carries Interstate 95 over the Potomac River.
The inner loop of the Capital Beltway from Interstate 295 in Maryland to U.S. 1 in Virginia will be reduced from four lanes to one. The lane closings, which will let construction crews pour asphalt, will begin at 8 p.m. today and continue until as late as 5 a.m. Monday.
Officials predict that even if the bridge's normal traffic loads are down 75 percent, the remaining motorists could face backups of 10 to 15 miles and delays of one to 1 1/2 hours.
Similarly dire predictions were issued last month when transportation officials closed the outer loop for repaving. So many motorists took the warning to heart that severe backups were avoided.
Officials in charge of the 11-year, $2.43 billion project said they hope drivers will be equally diligent in finding alternate routes this weekend.
Those headed toward Richmond, Va. or the Carolinas should take U.S. 301 south from U.S. 50 through Southern Maryland, officials said. For Washington-area traffic, they recommended using the American Legion Bridge on the west side of the Capital Beltway or Interstate 395 through the District of Columbia.
Project officials also plan to close several ramps - one at I-295 in Maryland and the others in Alexandria, Va.
D.C. is the MOST confusing city I have EVER driven in. Here are the three reasons:
1.- The steets are not only grid north-south east-west, they are diagonally crossed, and connect into random circles. There is no consistent pattern to how the named streets flow through the squared off or diagonal intersections, and the signs rarely run paralell with the way the street actually flows. Not to mention, the dozens of random one way streets and also the numerical and alphabetical quagmire of streets on both sides of DC create drvivng hell, much worse than NYC.
2- Security. You look at a map and think a route is a straight shot through, and low and behold we are on Homeland Security Status Orange and the street is blocked to thru traffic. Thank George W Bush for all of that trumped-up paranoia.
3- Inconsistent income levels/crime areas. I walked from RFK to the Capitol building Saturday night before I finally caught a cab. For three blocks there were hooligans and riff-raff spitting out obsenities and gesturing towards myself and the girls with me and within a few streets there were couples dressed in the best Armani and Versace walking home from some Capitol Hill parties. Some areas that are ultra high class are immediately beside the ghetto. I don't like driving or walking through areas that I might not be safe if I break down in, so it gets confusing as to where the good places to drive around or walk around really are.
Despite the driving troubles this great city presents, there are many ways to have a stress free time in getting around. There is the Metro, which you can cathc at union station, which provides a cheap crime-free way around the city. also, there are numerous parking spots around the National Mall, many are 3 hours spots, so find one and then metro it around for awhile. If you are going to go out and drive downtown on your own, come prepared with a very detailed map in which the directions of the streets arelisted, this will help you navigate your journeys. i have listed a website below that lists some of the better hotels and attractions.
Hay Adams Hotel Washington D.C.
6 Reviews and 346 Opinions the hay-adams hotel is located on lafayette square a block from the white house. the hay-adams is in...
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Willard Inter-Continental Washington Washington D.C.
8 Reviews and 744 Opinions Not just a typical hotel in the chain, this oozes presidential character. Located well, near the...
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