How to move Around:
Most of the main sites are located at The Mall. So, you can walk from one way to other, see every monument, every memorial and every museum (you wont have time to check them all anyway). Of course, you’ll be dead at the end of the day so a good alternative is N.2:
There are many hop on hop off companies around but we used the tourmobile just because it covers all the stops inside the Mall but also the Arlington cemetery. The daily ticket costs $27 ($35 for 2 days) and you can use it from 9.30 to 16.30, we didn’t have to wait more than 10’ at any stop.
Buses and metro lines will take you further from the Mall. The DC Metro has 5 lines but it wasn’t really helpful for us and many places were away from metro stations. Buying a ticket at the metro stations is complicated, you need to know what is your final destination and check the price on the panel of the station you are. Then you put the money and take the ticket. Minimum fare is $1.75($1.45 off peak hours) and increases depending on the length of the trip but no more than $4.60. We used a day pass one day so not to have to check for tickets in every station, the day pass costs about $9 and the weekly pass for $28.
Are you crazy? No easy way to find a parking spot, terrible traffic so no, no, no
Congressmen and Senators don't have to mind inclement weather to get from their offices to a floor vote as there is an underground tramway from the office buildings to the Capitol and back. There is an elaborate bell system throughout the complex to alert the senator or congressman that a vote is coming and they have 15 minutes to make the vote. The capitol underground wasn't entirely limited to members only, at least not in December, 1995, when I showed my friend Takashi the Capitol. We got out passes from my (then) Representative Herb Bateman (R) and were invited to this underground tramway I hadn't heard of before then. I don't know whether Members can make such invitations in the post 11 September 2001 world in which we now live.
How To Go There:
We arrived in Washington DC by bus from Philadelphia in 2,5 hours and we payed only $2! MEGABUS is a great low cost bus company that offers great offers. From Washington DC you can find buses to New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Check their site (http://us.megabus.com/) for more details. The bus departs at the Parking Lot H St. NW opp. 10th St. NW
Union station is located at the city center, 2’ from the Congress. It’s a big train station with hundreds of train going everywhere from here so thousand of people come and go daily. At the lower level you can find some cheap restaurants
There are 3 different airports near/around DC:
1)Ronald Reagan/DCA), just across the river from the city with its own metro station
2)Dulles International Airport/IAD, 40km west of DC, Metrobus 5A will take you to metro (Rosslyn or L’enfant Plaza)
3)BWI(50km NE), We flew to New Orleans from BWI because the flights from there are usually much cheaper, especially when it comes to domestic budget flights.
Public Transit in D.C. ...Metro/Bus
While I was in the D.C. Area I used Public Transit in and around the area.
I found it to be easy and functional for my purposes.I used a combination Metro [Subway] and bus to access the downtown core including the Mall area.I used it to get to and from BWI[Baltimore Washington International Airport] and I used it to travel to a suburb called Rockville in Maryland.
I used the bus most days to and from the B&B where I stayed in the NW section of DC...everyday I used the Number 80 to travel North and South from Union Station to North Capital and Bryant street.
I had a basic idea of how and where I would be able to move around from using the Internet site of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit authority.
All of my experiences were positive and I wouldnt hesitate to use it again.I found it to be convenient and practical.
From my home in Ottawa I was able to order via the Internet a "Smartrip" card that had a $ 30.00 value attached to it...its possible to load it with more value if necessary and can be done on-line.
This "Transit card" has a chip in it and is useable on both buses and the Metro in the DC area...
When getting on a bus the card has to be passed over the sensor and the amount of the fare is deducted form the existing value on the card.When using the Metro...the card is passed over the sensor to access the gate...then when your trip is finished and you are leaving the gated area pass the card over the sensor and again the fare is calculated and deducted from the existing amount.HOW easy can it be...there's no fumbling around looking for change or money to pay the fares ...SIMPLE !
It was delivered to my house by regular mail and took all of four days to get up here.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
How to get to 395 South from Downtown
Interstate 395 is about 14 miles, and it is also known as the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway. It extends North from I-95/I-495 near Springfield, VA. to New York Avenue (US 50) in DC. If you happen to be in the downtown area visiting the Museums, and you want to get to 395 South, simply make your way to 9th Street and Constitution Avenue.
Greyhound Bus Station
The Greyhound / Peter Pan Bust station is located @ 1005 1st St NE. It is walking distance from Union Station, but I do not recomend walking from Union Station to the Bus station at night. If you wanna travel to NYC, which I have done several times, they have an express bus that leaves every hour and the round trip is about $45.
Metro to Georgetown
There is no direct METRO access to Georgetown as it is out-of-the way. Taking a private car or taxi is a good idea. Another alternative is to get off the "Foggy Bottom" stop and walk past the hospital en route to historic Georgetown. There is also the recently-available public transportation option (bus) called the "DC Circulator" that plies the Georgetown-Union Station route every 10 mins. on an everyday basis. I remember the fare was only $1.00/OW. See website for further info & schedule: http://www.dccirculator.com/
Happy Trip!Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Union Station is one of the most beautiful train stations in the United States. It openned in 1907and it considered to be a prime example of Beaux-Arts architecture. At the time it was built, the station cover more ground than any other building in the United States. Today, Union Station has a shopping center, various restaurants, and a movie theater. Perfect place to catch the Amtrack train to your next destination.
Super Shuttle from/to D.C. and from/to Airport
A cab from Airport to Downtown would cost about 50$.
Or U can catch the Super Shuttle that's a shared van (4-6 persons per run) for 22$ (+10$ for each addictional person in your party to the same location).
In the airport, U can catch it just outside the Arrivals' gates and pay directly to the driver.
From Hotel/downtown U can book the run to airport by internet (and pre-pay it online) or by phone-call.
A good deal compared to a cab and much more comfortable than taking the bus from Airport to "West Fall Church" Metro Station (orange line) and than take the metro with all the luggages...
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Located about three miles (five kilometers) west of central Washington, D.C. in Arlington, Virginia, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is the closest commercial airport to the nation's capital. With the exception of some flights to Canada, all flights into and out of the airport serve domestic destinations.
Airlines serving Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport: Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Midwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, US Airways Express, US Airways Shuttle, and Virgin America.
Taxi ***Updated... new DC fare system!***
Woohoo! DC taxis now use the same method other First World and some Third World cities use... a meter! What a concept.
So here's the "new deal:" You pay $3.00 to sit in the cab and go the first 1/6th of a mile. Each additional 1/6th of a mile is another quarter dollar (so after the initial $3 you pay $1.50 per mile). They still have a boatload of additional fees such as $1.50 for each additional passenger, $2.00 for large luggage in the trunk plus another $0.50 if the driver puts it in the trunk for you, a $2.00 telephone dispatch fee (if you call and request a cab instead of flagging it down on the street), $1 per animal unless its a service dog, snow emergency fare of 125 percent the regular fare, and a $2 charge for any "service" the driver performs away from the vehicle... that's a good deal, the women who perform services in DC charge a few hundred dollars... but alas, their only meter is the good, old-fashioned watch.
The link below has a taxi fare estimator for a ride within the city limits of DC.
My original tip... from 2005
Washington DC taxis are about as confusing as they come. Instead of running a meter, you are billed by zone. This means that a 5-minute ride might cost the same as a 30-minute ride depending on the number of zones you cross. Another way they confuse you is to charge per passenger ($1.50 per person). Don't forget about the rush hour surcharge ($1.00), the snow-emergency rates (double the normal fare), the suitcase rate ($0.50 per bag), the large object rate ($2.00 per object), and the radio dispatch surchage ($1.00). To make things even worse, there are Maryland, Virginia, and DC cabs all in the same city, and all operating under different rules.
Because it was raining, we took a taxi the short trip from DuPont Circle to Adams Morgan for $13. The next night we took a taxi from DuPont circle all the way to Arlington for the same exact price.
A Fun Way to Tour
This is a tour of the area wherein you travel on a DUCK. That's right...a duck.
This tour is run by Old Town Trolley. It is called m "DC Ducks Land and Sea Tours."
They leave hourly from Union Station.Related to:
- Family Travel
Taxi is not that expensive!
For visitor on a budget the taxi is usually the last option, right? I have to admit that taxi cabs, especially for shorter distances, are not that expensive in DC :-). There are over 80 taxicab companies with different fares. Can you imagine the competition? The companies are from both Washington, DC, Virginia and from Maryland.
1. There is a $1.00 charge for radio-dispatched cabs, so it's cheaper to hail a taxi on a street. Hmm... in Poland it's up to 30% cheaper when you call for a taxi.
2. There are non-smoking and smoking cabs (I didn't know it before).
3. You are required to buckle up while riding in a cab. Hmm... my old cab was equipped with only waist seat belts in the back seat.
4. Watch for additional fares:
- extra $1.00 during rush hours (7 am - 9.30 am and 4 pm - 6.30 pm),
- extra luggage (over 1 piece): $0.5 - $2.00 (depends on size) per piece,
- $ 1.50 for each additional passenger (1 child up to 5 years old is free), it's very strange for me :-(. Does it works the same way in other US cities?
5. Tipping a taxi driver cab is a matter of personal preference as I know. I would tip my taxi driver, but unfortunately he coudn't speak English enough well me to understand him :-).
6. Some taxi drivers can't speak English well, they are understable for natives, I suppose but... I couldn't understand mine well at all.
7. I found out the hard way that taxicabs have the right to pick up other fares while transporting you. Well, when you request your cabbie drive only you, you may be charged extra for the exclusive treatment. Hmm... I saw it in... Morocco last time.
8. I could pay both by cash and by my Visa card.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Taxi for $5 only :-)
In contrast to most (all?) US cities Washington's cabs (on rides inside DC area only!) don't determine fares by meter, but rather by the zone system - map here. If you take a taxi trip from one point to another within the same zone you pay only $5 (off peak hours, when you hail a taxi and are alone with 1 piece of luggage or less).
- $1.50 charge for each additional passenger after the first (excluding 1 child up to 5 years old);
- $1 per trip during rush hour, between 7 am and 9.30 am and 4 am and 6.30 pm weekdays;
- surcharge of $1 when you telephone for a cab;
- 0.5$ - $2.00 per piece of extra luggage (over 1).
Just in case, the following points and tourist attractions are inside central zone 1 (up to 4.5 mi diameter area):
- U.S. Capitol,
- most of the Smithsonian museums,
- Dupont Circle,
- the White House,
- the Washington Monument,
- the FBI,
- the National Archives,
- the Supreme Court,
- the Library of Congress,
- the Bureau of Engraving and Printing,
- the Old Post Office,
- the Ford's Theatre and others.
HOW MUCH TAXI IS?
By law, basic rates are posted in each cab. There is a base fare of only $5 for ride inside zone 1 or subzones of zone 2 - 8. Crossing each border of zones costs approx. $1.50. Haha, eventually, you can drive from border to border, crossing it on foot and taking next taxi, hmm... would you like it?
Check up-to-date approximate taxi rates from:
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Washington Dulles International Airport
CALL FOR A TAXI
Diamond Cab Company - call (202) 387-6200
Yellow Cab - call (202) 544-1212
Capitol Cab - call (202) 546-2400
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Traveling from LAX to DC via Virgin America is the way to go! No nonsense direct flights, fairly inexpensive and seems to operate very efficiently. No lines, it takes about 2-3 minutes to check in. They take your luggage right at the check-in counter. The plane itself is standard, no extra leg room but they have electrical outlets on the seat in from of you to work on your laptops. Movies will cost about $7 to view but there are a number of older movies you can view for free. I was amused that once we arrived at Dulles Airport that we immediately had to board a gigantic contraption on wheels and hydraulics that scooted to another part of the airport so you can get your luggage and exit. Most airports have updated to having some type of rail system.Related to:
- Budget Travel
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