Should I drive or take the metro to downtown Washington D.C?
I am going to Washington DC this summer but it already know where I will be staying (near the Dulles Airport cause the rooms are very cheap but i still don't book so I can change the location), I tried to read the suggestions but they constantly ask to take the Metro to the downtown core, but I am so far away from the stations. I am staying probably during the weekends (yet to confirm) and taking public transit is so expensive (for a family of 4 that is $60 a day to purchase the day pass). Going into the downtown core with all the confusing streets are relative easy for me cause I live in Toronto and I am sure the traffic here is way worse here. The problem is that we are trying to get away not stuck at a hour long traffic jam during vacation. So here is the big questions, should I drive to downtown at the weekend, how about during the weekday or just take the transit? Lastly, any tips to get around in and out of the downtown when their is a traffic jam? The more detail the higher the chance of being chosen for best answer. :P
- gailLv 78 years agoFavorite Answer
ADDED INFO: Here's a link to a local all news radio station w traffic reports every 10 minutes. You can even access traffic cameras: http://wtop.com/?nid=3
The reason the Dulles area hotels are relatively inexpensive is because you are so far fr DC. Driving into the city is at best annoying and one is hardly ever lucky enough to drive around DC on days when it is merely annoying. Most tourist that I speak w just about go out of their minds trying to navigate around Washington, DC!! For those of us who are very familiar w the streets/areas in & around DC, driving is still something w spend allot of time trying to avoid. This summer there is more construction on area roads (& in the city) than I can recall in 20 years. If you are unfamiliar w the area (even w GPS device) you will take up so much time trying to find your way and sitting in traffic that you will prob decide it's not worth a second day's visit plus everyone will be in a bad mood. It's money we'll spent to take Metro. Btw, the roads around the Dulles area are jam-packed, even on weekends. It's a rather densely populated area w allot of popular shopping destinations (don't ask me why, I shop on-line LoL). There are allot of roadway projects that work even on weekends in that area.
So, if possible scout for hotels closer to the city. Obviously I don't know anything about your budget but on vacation time is worth paying for esp if it gets you out of traffic in temperatures of 90 - 100 degrees (40C plus killer humidity) for a few hours.
I know this may sound daunting but DC is really a great place to visit. It's likely that most of the places you visit will have no entry fee, in this day & age that can save a family of 4 hundreds of dollars since there are dozens of great attractions in the city----again, all FREE. I was born/raised here, this is a particulately hot summer---record setting. Keep your water bottles full, maybe even consider those little personal battery-powered fans or a cloth from the hotel to wet & keep on your neck.
Again, I would seriously consider a hotel much closer to DC so you don't spend as much time traveling either in your car or on the subway. The only thing that might change my mind is if your hotel offers a shuttle into DC. As long as it's air-conditioned and someone else is doing the stop & go driving you & the family can be resting. Once you get into DC consider getting around on the Old Town Trolley Tour http://www.trolleytours.com/washington-dc/ or the double- decker tour busSource(s): live here but love being a tourist myself
- Mike RLv 68 years ago
The traffic in Washington DC and surrounding area is horrendous, especially during rush hour - and unfortunately, the traffic between Dulles Airport and the the Beltway or downtown Washington is among the worst in the DC area. There's really just one main road between the airport and the Beltway. And of course Dulles is just over 25 miles (40km) from downtown Washington, so even in the best of circumstances it will take a while. Plus they've been doing construction in that area for years, and won't finish the construction for a couple more years. It seems like any time I drive to or from Dulles Airport (which isn't too often), the traffic patterns change because of the construction and the signs are not well placed, so it gets confusing. Public transit will be less stressful than driving for sure. I know it's expensive, but parking downtown can be as well. And it will probably take the same amount of time (especially considering it can take a while to actually find parking downtown). The easiest way to do this drive is to take the Dulles Access Rd. (I believe it's State Route 267, and keep in mind this is a toll road) east to Interstate 66. Follow this directly into Washington DC, crossing over the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. As soon as you cross the river into Washington, you can either take Constitution Ave. and find parking right near the National Mall, or continue up the Whitehurst Freeway to K Street and find parking near there. If you park at a garage, you'll probably spend $10-15 a day for a weekend and twice that on a weekday to park; finding legal street parking isn't easy but it does exist.
If you can change where you are staying, I would look at hotels in Crystal City, Virginia. They're just a couple of miles from downtown, a much quicker and cheaper Metro trip, and there are probably a dozen hotels within a couple blocks of the Metro. They're pretty affordable and I can't imagine they're much more than hotels near Dulles, but even if the hotel costs a few dollars more a night, you'll probably save at least as much in transportation costs and a LOT more time and stress.
- 8 years ago
I don't know how bad traffic is in Toronto, but just because you can navigate the streets there does not mean you will be able to do so as easily in DC. You are familiar with Toronto, that's why it is manageable. I would not drive my car downtown. I wouldn't park it at Vienna Metro station either (this is the closest one to your hotel). What I'd do is park it on the street in Rosslyn or Court House and metro in. That way, it is easy to get to Rosslyn or Court House metro, and you get to park for free. The metro ride from these stations is about 5-10 minutes, so you won't spend more than 45 minutes getting into DC.
- GulfportBobLv 78 years ago
Using the Metro from the Dulles Area is expensive and time consuming.
You would be better off using the Metro from the Virginia suburbs like Crystal City, Arlington, Alexandria etc. Hotels are near stations or will provide shuttle service in many cases.
I have lived in Washington, DC area several times. I have always found that a car is detrimental instead of an asset. In fact, one time I had an apartment and rented my parking spot to help pay for my rent.
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- 8 years ago
If you're staying at Dulles and want to visit the downtown area, it's going to take a very long time to get there because Dulles is about 40 miles outside DC.
If you stay a bit closer, you might be paying a bit more for a hotel room, but you'll also be paying less in the cost to get to and from DC. Try looking for hotels in Arlington and Alexandria. You'll be less likely to get stuck in traffic (although you may be crammed in on a Metro train!) and spend less time getting from the attractions to your hotel.
The Metro website (www.wmata.com) will help you plan your trip.
- joe.attaboyLv 78 years ago
I don't know what you're paying for your hotel out at Dulles, but you could probably do just as well in Crystal City, near Arlington. Nice hotels and places to eat, and walking distance to the Metro, you can walk to the Pentagon, just a couple of stops from midtown DC.
Do not drive into DC. Traffic in the city is brutal, you can't park anywhere, and parking garages are a ripoff.
- 8 years ago
I would take Metro just to avoid the rush hour traffic and on certain parts of the Beltway that always jam up.
- cecereLv 43 years ago
i could be susceptible to get onto the two Connecticut street (course 185) or Wisconsin street (course 355) on the Beltway and take them into city. specific, site visitors would be sluggish, yet you would be going against the worst of the push hour, and in assessment to street delays, a minimum of there are interesting shops and homes to look at. Plus, Connecticut will positioned you with the aid of the White abode, and Wisconsin will take you into Georgetown. with the aid of the way, be careful approximately concepts that use routes that grow to be one-way outbound for the duration of night rush hour. i'm uncertain if Google Maps includes that fact for all of their routings...
- BanditLv 68 years ago
Who cares about your best answer. I do the train. What you spend of the train will be made up in parking fees and the time you will lose.
- 8 years ago
I would do metro