Safety Tips in Washington D.C.

  • KATHY, CHRIS AND FEDERAL POLICEMAN
    KATHY, CHRIS AND FEDERAL POLICEMAN
    by matcrazy1
  • NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN INDIAN
    NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN INDIAN
    by matcrazy1
  • Most Metro passengers obey the rules
    Most Metro passengers obey the rules
    by Tom_Fields

Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Washington D.C.

  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    Traffice issues

    by tpangelinan Written Apr 24, 2005

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    Traffic in Washington DC at night can be a little ruff for an out of towner. I would suggest if you have resorvations for dinner that you give yourself at least an extra 30 to 45 minutes to find a parking spot. You may get lucky an the restaurant of your choice may have valet parking. Parking is very limited in this town and parking garages are closed on Sundays so keep that in mind too.

    Traffic issues
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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Check for closures!

    by Dabs Updated Oct 20, 2004

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    As I browsed through the web looking for some ideas on what to go see in my 4 days in the capitol, I found many things that show up in the guide books are closed due to a variety of reasons including

    Treasury tour (closed indefinitely, probably a result of 9/11)

    FBI tour and Washington monument (closed temporarily due to renovation)

    White House-used to be able to get tickets while in Washington DC, now needs to be reserved in advance for groups of 10+

    Old Executive Office Building-website said tours were available but when I called to book they said they weren't currently giving any

    So check it out in advance on their website or call ahead!

    Closed!

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  • deecat's Profile Photo

    A Friendly Reminder of What To Avoid

    by deecat Updated May 29, 2005

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    "Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined..." Leo Rosten

    f you avoid the following, I think you will be a much happier traveler in Washington DC.

    1. Escalator Anger There are many escalators in Washington, and they are long. The locals often become angry when their way is blocked...So, allow people to get past you by standing single file and to the right.

    2. Street Crime Alertness is your greatest protection from street crime. Thieves count on surprising you so don't carry large amounts of cash or valuables. WEAR A MONEY BELT. Keep a record of your credit card numbers & phone numbers of credit card issuers (in a place that is safe and not on you personally!f)

    3. Bad Weather In July & August in DC, the humidity is a big problem. So, Walk slowly, drink lots of fluids, or don't visit during those months!

    4. Dangerous Areas Because tourist zones are safe day & night, stay in them. Do not go to destinations outside these areas, and NEVER at night.

    5. Exhaustion Because the Mall is so open and can make distances appear shorter than they are, which will tire you out. Research the distances BEFORE you start out...for instance, from the Smithsonian metro station to the Capitol & back is 5 miles!

    6.Throwing Away Metro Farecard You must have a Metrorail farecard both to enter & to leave, so don't throw it away after getting on your train!

    Staying in Tourist Zone
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  • tpangelinan's Profile Photo

    Mike got a $25.00 ticket.

    by tpangelinan Written Apr 24, 2005

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    If you are handicapped, you can't use the rules printed on the meter unless you are from DC. Mike got a ticket, and we were only parked there for two hours, it said 4 was ok. Mike walked over to the police station and they were like, so not our deparment. Too bad. You can fight it. Thanks DC.

    Watch your meter
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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Security checks

    by Dabs Written Oct 25, 2004

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    All of the National Museums, the Botanic Gardens and the Capitol all required a security check at the entrance so be prepared for them to go through any bags you might be carrying and for a wait at the entrance. Since it was a bit off season, the wait wasn't too long, the longest was at the Holocaust Museum and that was only 5-10 minutes.

    The only place that required me to check my bag was the National Gallery of Art (thanks heavens, I was tired of carrying that thing!)

    At the Holocaust Museum I saw them make a couple of people throw out food and beverages, one of which was a resealable bottle of Coke.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Trying to dine near the museums

    by Dabs Written Oct 20, 2004

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    Twice I found myself near the major museums hunting for a place to grab a bite. The first day I was meeting up with kentbein and just wanted something quick so I stopped by one of the hot dog vendors and grabbed a very unappetizing Polish sausage.

    The second time, I bypassed the cafe in between the National Gallery East and West that actually looked like a decent place to grab a bite (although a little overpriced) because I wanted to try Capitol City Brewery but I underestimated the distance between the museum and Union Station and found I only had time to grab a quick bite in the food court.

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  • vivalasteph's Profile Photo

    There's always a protest

    by vivalasteph Written Apr 28, 2004

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    It's Sunday afternoon, Mother's Day to be precise, and coming out of the Air and Space Museum, we discover a protest underway.

    Traffic is jammed for blocks, police everywhere, and hundreds of people in procession, on their way to the White House. This was a protest for the rights of the handicapped, and I was shocked at the anger. One man trying to get his car out of the way got one protester so bent out of shape, he was nearly dragged from his car before the cops stepped in. What happened to compassion?

    Good luck crossing the street....

    protest on the Mall

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  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Squirrel Pest or Pets?

    by Yaqui Written Aug 31, 2007

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    Ok, as cute and cuddle as some people may think these little animals are, they are still a wild animal and hand feeding them is not recommended, because squirrels may carry plague or other animal-borne diseases. Let's not forget even if they do not carry disease, they often have a hard time telling what is food or your fingertips. Bites are painful and those can get infected. My co-worker was awwww, how cute lets feed it and I was like NO, lets not! I live in the mountains and these little critters do carry many types of diseases and are distructive when it comes to your vegetation. So if you must take a picture or two, but please do not take the chance in handling one or letting your children feed them.

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  • Really Bad Drivers

    by peach93 Written Mar 2, 2005

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    Since I'm from Boston I feel that I am qualified to say that DC has horrible drivers. They are rude, dangerous, and in a hurry to boot. The taxis are even worse than the regular drivers! So if you are driving here, just be cautious, and extra insurance wouldn't hurt either.

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  • Let's Talk About Parking

    by peach93 Updated Mar 2, 2005

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    Parking in DC can be a problem. For example, on many of the main streets parking is not allowed from 7-9 AM and 4-6 PM, just when a lot people might need it. Also, you can park down by the Mall and the Smithsonian, but unless you get there and get a spot by 10 AM, just forget it. I'm not sure what the solution is, but just be aware.

    One of the Lucky Ones
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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    Lines, lines, lines

    by matcrazy1 Updated Dec 22, 2005

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    There is no entrance fee to all museums I have visited in Washington. But there are long lines to some of them. There is no possibility to buy a ticket for fixed hour or next day except the one for guided Capitol Tour (I did it in the morning and was invited for 1 pm). I had to wait especially to enter the National Archive (about 1 hour) and some 20-30 min. to enter the Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian. The last one had been just opened. In the first day we skipped it because of the very long line.

    My advice is to choose one more popular museum for each day and go to visit it before the others come, say at 8.30 am if it's Smithsonian museum (they open at 9.00 am). Anyway, waiting in a line was not that bad as I had a great company of VT-ers. Talks, watching people and taking pictures made it bearable, even relaxing.

    LINE TO THE NAT'L MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN LINE TO THE NAT'L MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN THE LINE TO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES KATHY IN A LINE :-) KATHY AND URSZULA IN A LINE
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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    Closed or difficult to take

    by matcrazy1 Updated Dec 10, 2005

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    1. Closed Smithsonian's museums
    A few of numerous museums I wanted to visit in October 2004 were closed due to extensive renovation. Let me say about the National Museum of American Art and National Portrait Gallery which are going to open on 4 July, 2006 (the Independance Day) and Arts and Industries Building which was "closed in preparation for renovation."
    Check up-to-date infotmation on Smithsonian Museums webpage or ask the Smithsonian Information Center in the Castle.

    2. No FBI Tours
    FBI Tours is undergoing extensive renovations and is closed until further notice. Updates here

    3. The White House Tour
    It's difficult to go through all necessary formalities (months in advance) to take that tour. Details here.

    4. The Capitol Tour
    It's easy to take but please keep in mind that there are fixed hours of these tours. In my case, I was sold a ticket for the tour which started a few hours later. Tickets were sold exclusively in temporarily ticket office put by Garfiel Memorial (SW of the Capitol Building; metro station: Federal Center SW) in 2004.

    NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART (SOUTHERN FACADE) ARTS AND INDUSTRIES BUILDING ON THE LEFT BRICK PATTERN, ARTS AND INDUSTRIES BUILDING MATCRAZIES AND THE US CAPITOL BUILDING WASHINGTON MONUMENT, CLOSURE INFO
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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    They close early or very early

    by matcrazy1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Keep in mind that unfortunatelly all wonderful and free attractions in Washington, DC close early or very early. Why? Maybe the federal or rather DC labour law doesn't allow to employee workers for longer than, say 8 hours, a day. Or maybe simply it costs too much. Additionally to visit at least Bureau of Engraving & Printing, the Capitol (guided tour) and the Washington Monument you have to buy a ticket early at the day of your visit because they are shortly sold out and it's impossible to buy a ticket for the next day.

    ATTRACTONS
    Smithsonian museums are mostly open daily, 10am-5:30 pm, except December 25. But for example Bureau of Engraving & Printing closes at 2.00 pm. This is probably so they can do their work. When a business offers tours it disrupts the regular flow of work so tour hours are usually limited. The world's most unique hours are in cafeteria and snack bar in the ground floor of the Supreme Court: they close and open and again close it almost every hour till 2.00 pm or 3.30 pm :-). All museums and federal buidings are closed during the red antiterrorist alert but museums stay open during the orange alert. Anyway, each museum or federal building may be immediately closed for security reasons. But has it ever happened?

    TOURIST INFORMATION
    Georgetown Visitor's Center (GVC) has no opening hours but large advertisement GVC welcomes you. It was closed at about 7 pm on business day and there were no hours displayed (???).
    The Smithsonian Information Center is in the castle is open daily 8.30 am - 5.30 pm.

    GVC closed and no hours displayed! URSZULA (matcrazy0) AND THE US CAPITOL THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL THE CASTLE (SMITHSONIAN INFORMATION CENTER)
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  • globetrotter_2006's Profile Photo

    Don't stop on the pedestrian walkway

    by globetrotter_2006 Updated Apr 7, 2006

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    On of the things I have noticed Tourist who dare venture driving into DC is that they tend to pull right in the middle of the pedestrian walkway, making it very difficult for pedestrians to cross the streets. Most of the local in DC go grocery shopping with their own cart, and it makes it pratically impossible crossing the street when it is blocked. Please respect the pedestrians.

    Blocking the pedestrian walkway

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  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo

    Closed sidewalks and streets

    by matcrazy1 Written Dec 22, 2005

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    There are quite many closed sidewalks in Washington, DC. First of all due to renovation works but due to safety requirements as well. Eastern grounds of the Capitol Hill were under renovation works, fenced and closed for visitors. Some sidewalks around the White House were closed as well which forced me to walk additional mile or so. The same was around the Washington Monument still closed for renovation in 2004.

    Cement slabs were put across some streets close to the Capitol Hill and the White House. Generally, as I noticed, all important federal buildings to prevent possible terrorist attack by a speeding truck loaded with explosives were surrounded by cement slabs. No wonder. Later, in Oklahoma City, I saw computer simulation and could compare different results of truck's explosion inside the attacked building and outside.

    SIDEWALK CLOSED! BY THE CAPITOL BUILDING BY THE CAPITOL BUILDING SIDEWALK CLOSED NO ENTRY (BY THE WHITE HOUSE)
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