View Full Version : Hello, DC!

09-12-2012, 08:00 AM
I'm going to the Washington, DC area in 2 weeks. I'll be staying at the Crystal City Marriot (Crystal City Hotels | Hotels in Crystal City | Marriott Crystal City (http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/wascc-crystal-city-marriott-at-reagan-national-airport/)) and my training class is just a few blocks away. Is there anything within walking distance of my hotel that is a must-see? Any local restaurants that deserve my patronage?

I won't have much time to sightsee if I follow the training schedule precisely. They've even planned my dinners and "free time"! Dudes, it's not "free time" if you've planned it for me! But I hope to sneak out and see some things on my own.

Any advice for that area, or navigating Reagan National Airport, or travel in general are much appreciated. (I could especially use a primer on packing toiletries for air travel. I haven't been on a plane since the restrictions on bottle size were implemented.)


09-12-2012, 08:03 AM
pps. If I had a Clear Quarter Packing Cube, could I put my shampoo and whatnot in it and be airport-toiletry-police compliant? ***please enable this purchase, please enable this purchase...***

09-12-2012, 09:51 AM
Since the Clear Quarter Packing Cube is not see-through (fabric in the middle), I doubt TSA would go for it. I use the 3D Clear Organizer Cube for that stuff.

09-12-2012, 09:53 AM
Regarding restaurants, this website has options if you don't get first-person accounts ... I verified the "top restaurants" and "where to eat now" recommendations for Seattle and feel like it is pretty legit. Eater DC : The DC Restaurant, Bar, and Nightlife Blog (http://dc.eater.com/)

09-12-2012, 10:17 AM
Aaah, good point.

09-12-2012, 10:18 AM
That site looks great! I'm going to share it with the other poor sap who's attending this training with me. She's about as thrilled to have all her time booked by the trainers as I am.

09-12-2012, 12:25 PM
The Clear Quarter Packing Cube is great for non liquid toilettery, on one side and other stuff on the other side such as reading glasses, plastic lunch ustensils, extra napkin, etc...

But it could be used to house multiple Small, Mini and Pen Pouches housing SD Cards, memory sticks, over the counter and/or prescription meds, food bars, pens, etc.. and

Paper refills for the FJN fit perfectly on each side.

I came up with that idea when my husband eyed my Steel Clear Quarter Packing Cube, which was out of the Synapse because I was checking/refilling the content and so was my UV Clear Quarter Packing Cube, he pointed out it was the same item.
I grabbed a Junior notepad and my pencil nylon thing, put each in one pocket and started an explantion about my Plum FJN refill kit, pointing out color and other details.

09-12-2012, 01:58 PM
That site looks great! I'm going to share it with the other poor sap who's attending this training with me. She's about as thrilled to have all her time booked by the trainers as I am.

Your best bet is for you and your collegue to get a Metrocard at the airport.

The second day, get a headache or something, if you both want to get out, eat the same thing at lunch and look like it doesn't agree with you all day.

Another universal ailment is allergies, huge sneezes at the right time, glasses versus contact, frantic search for tissues.

The third under the weather thing is girl stuff, it only works if the other person is a girl. :) Pale and tight face, not hard to do while training, clutching fist in belly area and urgent break to the bathroom.

Note that I know the symptoms because I had to deal with all of them, for real, at one time or another, sometimes together or with another ailment such as a really bad cold or the beginning of the flu.

09-12-2012, 04:53 PM
Regarding restaurants, this website has options if you don't get first-person accounts ... I verified the "top restaurants" and "where to eat now" recommendations for Seattle and feel like it is pretty legit. Eater DC : The DC Restaurant, Bar, and Nightlife Blog (http://dc.eater.com/)

I used to live in the DC area and most of the recommendations for Crystal City look like chains.

Here is the info on Crystal City in wikipedia:

Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_City,_Arlington,_Virginia)

Because of it integrates work places, housing and shopping. It has a lot of chains for a quick lunch grab.

I personally loved
Firehook Bakery & Coffee House
locations (http://www.firehook.com/location)

Great bakery and sandwich shop. When I lived there, they had only two locations, they have grown because foodies on a budget love them.

You need to try Crab Cakes but I don't know of a local restaurant.

09-12-2012, 07:18 PM
@dorayme made a knitting kit out of her CQPC! I saw it in person!

Sounds like the CQPC is a really useful size. I didn't know about it's relation to the FJN. Must add one of those to my wish list, too.

Thanks for the enablement! :-D

09-12-2012, 07:29 PM
Oh @backpack, you are the best.

I love your Down and Dirty Guide to Faking Impairment. I'm going to print it out and tuck it into my wallet for emergencies.

I never would have thought to look on Wikipedia for information about a city - thank you! Speaking of Wikipedia, my sister recently sent me a link to the YouTube video for "Gangnam Style (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0)," which I love. On a whim, I searched for it on Wikipedia. Jackpot! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangnam_Style) It's an interesting read that describes all the cameo appearances from personalities that I wouldn't have otherwise known.

Go ahead, y'all. You can listen to Gangnam Style over and over all day long. I do. There's also a version told from the girl's perspective and sung by Hyuna.

ps. Love that gratuitous explosion! LOL!

09-12-2012, 07:53 PM
If you want to justify it for toiletries, what about putting the ones subject to TSA inspection inside a quart zip on one side (not the easiest to access and not the less fussy, but will allow you to justify your CQPC) and the non liquids on the other side? The last time I flew though, I put my toiletries into my 3-D cube and they were scanned through my bag. I put it into an exterior pocket on the bag and it was easy peasy, I was actually surprised. If you use the TriStar or WF you can put the 3-D cube into one of the front pockets and it would be easier to get in and out if needed. I have seen some excellent suggestions on use of the Travel Tray, tethered to your bag to hold items you need to remove for security checks.

If it won't work for your toiletries the CQPC would make a great organizer for all of your chargers and other electronics. Also it's great for keeping unmentionables tidy. As you mentioned you've seen my knitting kit. And as has been mentioned on the forums it also makes a great diaper bag insert to organize baby/toddler things. I bet there are probably a million and one uses for the CQPC.

Hey, which of your Indigos will be coming with you? Tri-Star and Co-Pilot? How long is your trip?

As far as packing toiletries, I don't have a ton of experience, but unless you have sensitivities, the simplest route is to go with the hotel provided soap and shampoo/conditioner. Then you only need to worry about toothpaste and lotion, hair products and makeup ;-} I always forget that one because I don't wear any. Many facial cleansers now come in wipes versions that travel without issue. You may also want to bring a smidge of detergent or a Tide pen just in case you have a laundry incident. For deodorant you can go with a solid, the salt crystal rock doesn't leave white dust in your pits. Most stores carry sample sizes of toiletries if you don't already have small containers. If you use specialty store brands, I would mention my up coming travel and ask for sample sizes of their product you use.

My beauty regime is ultra simplistic so I don't have problems fitting what I need into the 3-d cube. Burt's Bee's is readily available in travel sizes. When I do repackage from my regular size containers, the newer silicone containers are my favorite over the older plasticized ones because they release the tiny TSA compliant amounts without having to get carpal tunnel syndrome.

Other than that, just give yourself a lot of time before you have to be anywhere. That was the biggest thing I noticed when I flew after 911, lines are longer, and take longer to get through. Make sure you check and double check your flight. On my last flight, my connection was delayed, but there was no additional information to let me know, it just changed after I had settled into the gate to wait. Once I realized that it was getting close to flight time and there was no announcement of MY flight, I asked the attendant and she sent me to a customer service kiosk where I was informed my flight had been delayed due to weather and I was going to have to spend the night. Had I checked a few times in the three hours I was waiting, I would have noticed the delay and been preemptive.

Oh and wear socks (not handknit) or bring footies so when you have to go through the line and remove your shoes you aren't barefoot on the yucky airport floors.

09-13-2012, 10:50 PM
You need to arrive very early at the airport. Check your airport waiting time, add ample travel time or if doable, get a hotel at the departure airport.

Make sure you print 2 copies of your e-ticket. Make sure you have ID with you.

As Dorayme pointed out, socks are essential, in addition to many feet germs, the floors are very cold.

You need to have a stylish and easy to remove shoe unless you want to bring 2 pairs. A foldable ballet flat is going to be easy to remove at the airport, can double duty as a gym shoe and triple duty as a slipper.

Due to the need for socks I suggest pants, drawstrings are best but any black pant will do if it is wrinkle free.

Don't lock your bags, it is a no-no nowadays.
Make sure you remove all metal from your person.

Search your purse/Shop Bag for any empty soda or water bottle or lip balm/lipstick which should go into your 3-1-1 bag.

When you go back,

check the wait time at your departure airport, Reagan National Airport (http://www.metwashairports.com/reagan/reagan.htm)

make sure you have packed the night before,
have one pair of clean socks,

print 2 copies of your e-ticket the night before if possible, (business center is less crowded)
Put them and your ID, in a secure area of your purse,

Check your airport, airline and other travel websites for flight delays.

Here the terminal map of DCA

Most hotels use a very drying shampoo conditioner combo which could be ok with you. Try it the first morning and if it feels yukky, get a travel size of your favorite at the local drugstore.

Metro maps

Closest Metro station
Metro - Rail - Crystal City (http://www.wmata.com/rail/station_detail.cfm?station_id=45)

Very handy and useful map of Crystal City Station neighborhood.
Crystal City Metrorail station neighborhood (http://stationmasters.com/System_Map/CRYSTALC/crystalc.html)

Even if you don't take Metro, the Stationmasters map is extremely useful to walk around the area you are staying at.

If you don't have time to sightsee in DC, Crystal City and the neighborhing Pentagon City are nice in their own way.

If you think of something to ask about, ask away, one of us on the forum most probably has the answer.

A picture of the beautiful red head family, including the doggie, would be more than welcome. You are all so cute!

09-14-2012, 04:44 AM
pps. If I had a Clear Quarter Packing Cube, could I put my shampoo and whatnot in it and be airport-toiletry-police compliant? ***please enable this purchase, please enable this purchase...***

I put my toiletries in a regular ziploc bag, and as soon as I am through security, place the ziploc in one half of the Clear Quarter Packing Cube, which has been kept empty for this purpose. Toiletries that are not liquid (brush, washcloth, etc.) are already in the other half of the Cube. That way all my toiletry items are in the same place.

09-14-2012, 06:25 AM
I put my toiletries in a regular ziploc bag, and as soon as I am through security, place the ziploc in one half of the Clear Quarter Packing Cube, which has been kept empty for this purpose. Toiletries that are not liquid (brush, washcloth, etc.) are already in the other half of the Cube. That way all my toiletry items are in the same place.

This is brilliant! Thank you thank you!

09-14-2012, 07:01 AM
@dorayme and @backpack, you are wonderful! Thank you so much for all the travel advice - this is exactly what I needed to know. Comments and answers to your questions:

I placed an emergency order last night for a Brain Cell and a CQPC. (Katy is the bomb! A point already proven in the Suddenly SALAD thread. And why does the word "SALAD" have to be in all uppercase? It that to frighten the unwary? Suddenlyyyyyy...SALAD! BAM! But I digress.) I have a feeling that the CQPC is going to be a piece I buy in every color because they are so crazy useful. But I started with one because delayed gratification is good for me. My kids are teaching me patience but not quickly enough, LOL.

I am leaving Sunday night and coming back Tuesday night. It's just me (*sniff*), no hubby or kids. I have an Aeronaut, Tri-Star, Western Flyer, and Empire Builder at my disposal, plus a Synapse and Co-Pilot. I think the Aeronaut will be overkill for such a short trip. The Western Flyer would have been my choice, but I need to bring a laptop. (What kind of lame training center doesn't have computers for us to use?) So I'm looking at the Tri-Star with my laptop tucked snuggly into a Brain Cell in the middle compartment. I'll use my packing cubes of various shapes and sizes, and I think I'll have plenty of room to keep everything I bring and go home with in the Tri-Star.

The laptop thing really freaked me out for a bit. If I carry my laptop around here, I use a backpack with a built-in laptop compartment. I didn't even own a sleeve that fit my work computer. I think a Brain Cell clipped into the Tri-Star is going to be super awesome: very secure and very practical.

My personal grooming habits are streamlined, but I don't typically like the hotel soaps so I will be bringing my own. I have an assortment of Go Tubes, which I was introduced to on this forum, so I'll just pack a wee bit of my usual shampoo, body wash, and lotion in them. I like the Burt's Bees products so I might splurge a little and buy a travel pack. I will also bring a Travel Tray to hold my little stuff. Thank goodness for that accessory. I'm the sort who has to check the room 3 times before leaving, just to make sure I haven't left anything behind.

It's going to feel so weird and LIGHT to pack for just myself. Maybe I should bring some diapers and a packet of wipes anyway, just in case someone else's kid has a potty emergency, LOL.

2 copies of my paperwork: check.

Thanks for all the links, @backpack! I love the maps. The Crystal City Wikipedia page was really interesting. I almost hope it is rainy while I am there so that I have an excuse to explore the underground pathways. I have a funny mental image of arriving at Reagan National Airport at night, then spending the next two days exclusively inside and underground, then emerging mole-like, with blinking eyes, on Tuesday evening when I go back to the airport to catch my flight home.

09-14-2012, 07:53 AM
A picture of the beautiful red head family, including the doggie, would be more than welcome. You are all so cute!

Alas, the poor doggie passed away a few weeks ago. She was about 14 and had cancer. The boys still still look for her and ask "Daw? Daw?" It breaks my heart.

This is one of my favorite recent pictures of Kindle. I took him to the yarn store (for only like 10 minutes, and we even shared a cupcake while we were there!), and my attention was diverted from him for only a moment during checkout. When I turned around, he was here:


Poor little guy! He looks like I kept him out shopping for hours and hours.

This is Oscar, looking very serious.


And two shots of Dad with the boys. They really enjoyed "helping" Daddy put the new table together, especially since he gave them real tools to hold (and whack the table with) during the endeavor.


Ready to walk to school:


I hope that wasn't too much cute for one day. I had trouble choosing just "a" picture. :)

09-14-2012, 10:23 AM
I'm so sorry your dog has died. {{{hugs}}}
As always Janine, the boys are melting my heart. I love seeing pictures of them! Get used to Kindle's reaction. Both of my boys are allergic to shopping unless it's the LEGO store, whereas Zuri was born with a debit card in one hand and a shopping bag in the other. That girl begs to just go grocery shopping, it's insane!

I'm excited about your trip vicariously, I can't wait to hear all about it. I think the TS/BC combo will be a great choice, and I'm like you, I need to bring my own toiletries. Have you decided on a companion bag? Since you will have a BC in tow, maybe bring a companion bag as your PLO? Co-Pilot will go nicely into a conference? And as has been bought up works also as as a EDC bag. (knitting fits inside too!)

As far as traveling solo without the litttles and hubster. It gets easier. The first time I left my kidlets behind I was so homesick for them it was painful. Now, I still miss them, but I welcome opportunities to get away by myself. ;-} Take a few pictures right before you leave to bring along. Maybe record them on your smart phone for a few moments. And make sure to time your calls home when they are awake vs. during nap time. The trip will come and go before you know it.

09-14-2012, 04:21 PM
Sorry for the doggy loss Janine, much hugs.

The more pictures of "your men", the better,
Oscar and Kindle are just darlings, thank you for shaing the lovely pictures so we, forum fans, can see how much they have grown into their own sweet beings.

Their ride just look awsome!

Back to the trip.

Forget the crabs cakes, the harvest isn't good in the east coast and they ship crabs from elsewhere but still charge local crab prices.

However, try to book an evening cruise on the Potomac, the views are breathtaking.
You can only do it on Monday night after the first day of training so I am not sure you will be up to it.

Put it on your list of things to do with your hubby and one long weekend/vacation off season, drop the babies at the grand parents and get there for resting, cruising and bikeseeing.

The way traveling is this days, you get jetlag in the same time zone because of all the lines, waiting and rules.

Definitely have fun in the area, then you might not have time because your "free" time has already been planned.

Don't fret about it, the training place might have gotten great deals on good eats and other fun stuff.

09-17-2012, 10:58 AM
@backpack, that stroller is amazing! I highly recommend the BOB brand! Ours isn't even a new one; it's a 2007 that has seen much use from its previous owners. It still pushes as well as a new one, though, and the boys love it. And thank you for the kind comments about my family. :)

I'll ask my coworker if she's interested in the evening cruise. That sounds lovely, and maybe a nice way to unwind after a hard day learning stuff. The point about crab cakes has been noted!

@dorayme, I'm glad it gets easier. It's healthy to spend some time apart and I don't want to stress about it. As for a companion bag, I'm torn between using a PCSB and carrying my current PLO (an Overland Equipment Placer). I'll wait to see how my clothes and the new Brain Cell fit in the Tri-Star before I pick, I think. And I reserve the right to change my mind any time until I leave the house on Sunday, LOL!

Good idea to take some photos before I go!

09-18-2012, 11:28 AM
I do the same thing as bchaplin.

Also, definitely wear pants on the plane (yoga pants or something with some give will be most comfortable). Word is out that if you wear a skirt, you will get a secondary search, apparently because you could be hiding something between your legs. And now they do the grope-your-privates kind of hand search. For all that certain parties complain that people dress like slobs on airplanes, security makes it difficult to dress nicely.

I haven't flown in about a year, but also heard that lately the TSA is being very specific about everyone having their liquid toiletries in a clear quart ziploc baggie with no writing on it. If you want some karma points, bring a couple extra for those around you who don't have one.

09-22-2012, 04:59 PM
Hi Janine,

You've already gotten quite a lot of info from backpack. I'll just add a few comments based on having made a couple of trips for review panels where I stayed in other hotels near National Airport (sorry, I lived in DC in the period before it was rebranded as "Reagan"). First, your hotel is really close to the airport -- as in, you could walk to the airport in a pinch, if you had to for your departure. That makes it really easy if you're flying out in the morning or evening, because the shuttles from the hotels can avoid the rush hour traffic and have almost direct access to the airport access ramps (not quite), and probably run every 15 minutes then. However, I've only ever left during the morning, because connections to Hawaii mean that I'd have to overnight somewhere if coming back from a full day's meeting.

There seems to be a higher fraction of people with carry-ons flying out of National than most other U.S. airports I've flown out of, so if you're able to board early, that can be a help. Even though your carryon will fit easily into the overhead or under the seat, there are lots of people with more problematic baggage. I think I watched my Tri-Star get shifted about 3 times by people who were optimistically trying to find more room in the overhead bins for their belongings during my last trip from DC. You know -- the fact that this bag has a small footprint and could be stood upright and still fit into the bin, plus the easy pull handles meant that it was easy to move around. And hope springeth eternal for finding more space for overstuffed bags, it seems.

There are a lot of restaurants along 23rd (see backpack's linked map), and that was pretty close to my Hotel (Hilton), but not as close to yours, although it's still within easy walking distance. One of the restaurants I like along 23rd St. is Urban Thai (http://www.urbanthairestaurant.com/), which also has a vegetarian-friendly menu.
Your hotel is pretty close to the Crystal City metro stop, so if you're not up to the cruise that backpack suggested another possibility might be to go into somewhere like Georgetown for dinner, which would also give you a view of the city in the evening, after your workshop sessions. There's no Metro stop directly in Georgetown, which is centered around Wisconsin Ave. and M St., but you could take the Metro to Roslyn, VA, and then take the $1 Circulator Bus (http://www.dccirculator.com/) that runs till midnight, or else walk over the Key Bridge into DC and Georgetown. I was hoping that maverick would weigh in on this thread with some other suggestions, but backpack and dorayme gave lots of good advice.

Hope you have a great trip,


09-23-2012, 07:51 PM
Oh my goodness, @moriond, what a great post. Thank you so much for the words of wisdom.

09-23-2012, 08:17 PM
Hi everyone! I'm here in DC now!

Packing list information: I ended up not bringing my Tri-Star after all, and it's my laptop's fault. I'm going to return my Brain Cell. While I marvel at the protection it provides, it isn't a standalone bag for a woman person - even one who carries a minimal amount of stuff in her purse like me. I really needed to go with something like a Cadet. I ended up bringing my Timbuk2 HAL pack, which has a padded laptop compartment. I packed all my clothes in two Packing Cube Shoulder Bags. I packed my laptop power cord, mouse, and phone charger in a Snake Charmer (it was serious overkill but I was jonesing for a reason to use my hitherto unused Snake Charmer). My toiletries are in a Clear Quarter Packing Cube; wet stuff in a ziplock on one side, dry stuff on the other, as suggested in this thread. I brought my Co-Pilot as my personal item. It had the CQPC, my purse items, and a few Dyneema Organizer Pouches in it. It was a very effective setup for the trip here. On the flight, I stowed the pack overhead and kept the Co-Pilot with me for easy access to my gummy bears and water bottle. In the airports, I was able to carry all my own stuff hands-free.

And now I finally get the Smart Alec! The HAL is just a big buckety top-loader. It has an organizer section in front, but I just had a steno notebook in there which I could have easily put it in my Co-Pilot instead. I could have packed my loot in a Smart Alec instead and been just as happy (well, a little more happy, especially if it was an Aubergine/Wasabi one).

I people-watched during the whole trip but didn't spot any Tom Bihn bags besides my own. *sigh*

Thanks for all the good advice, friends! I look forward to doing a little exploring tomorrow!


09-24-2012, 10:12 AM
I have three words for you, my friends:

Cupcake. Happy. Hour.


09-24-2012, 10:16 AM
I have three words for you, my friends:

Cupcake. Happy. Hour.


Did you go to DC Cupcakes!???

09-24-2012, 10:43 AM
Did you go to DC Cupcakes!???
I was going to suggest this In my earlier post with directions on how to get to Georgetown. They're at 33rd & M Street, and open until 9 p.m. Here are the links:

The Story (http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/dc-cupcakes/)
Georetown Cupcake (http://www.georgetowncupcake.com/)


09-24-2012, 03:29 PM
Curbside Cupcakes! It's a big pink truck filled with cupcakes and it drives to you! Oh my google!

09-24-2012, 05:27 PM
I never fly into Reagan Airport. Landing and takeoffs are rather "scary". The airport was designed for the 1930-40 props, not the current jets. When you land, you feel like you are inches away from the river since the plane has to land right on the edge of the runway so not to skid in the water at the end of the runaway. Then they have to put the engines in reverse overdrive to slow the plane down. I always look for nuts and bolt on the runaway due to the terrible shaking.

On takeoff, due to noise abatement, the planes have to follow the river; which means a 45 degree angle turn. A couple of valium will help during takeoffs.

10-01-2012, 08:41 AM
Lessons learned from my trip to DC:

1. Watch the weather in your destination carefully in the days before you travel. I packed exactly the right clothing and I was ridiculously proud of myself for that accomplishment.

2. I packed a light toiletry bag, but I needed even less than I brought. I think I fell prey to the fear of sitting in my seat and needing a tissue right then. Maybe next time I will categories my personal care items as "will definitely use daily" and "emergencies" and try to minimize the "emergency" pile.

3. I brought too much Dyneema! I didn't use my TSS or TT! I loved having them with me, though, just because they are beautiful. :-)

4. The PCSB is even more awesome than the awesomest awesome thing ever. I love mine.

5. I would have liked a TSA-friendly laptop solution for the comfort of keeping all my personal possessions attached and handy. Not like I could have left my laptop behind; I would have noticed immediately that my backpack was suddenly light and comfortable.

6. I just might prefer a true backpack to my WF or TS for airline travel. Obviously, I need to take many more trips to explore the features of all my bags and thus map out the precise times when each would be ideal.

7. This forum has many excellent people who generously share advice about food, lodgings, shopping, and getting around one's destination city. I love you guys!!!!!


10-13-2012, 11:04 PM
Well, wasn't this just a handy thread! I will be heading for DC myself in another week and a half, and will also be staying in Crystal City, though at the Hyatt instead of the Marriott. All of this information has been so helpful!

I do have a couple of questions, though...I will have about 6 to 8 hours on Tuesday to cram in as much sightseeing as possible. Is my best bet to hop the Metro and head to the National Mall? Or are there other not to be missed sites? I was thinking I might start at the Smithsonian Castle, but then what? Head for the Capitol? The White House? The Library of Congress? I'm pretty open to ideas for making the most of my one totally free day! Oh, and any must try restaurants?

Also, does the Metro sell anything like a one or two day pass? If so, would those be the best options? I for sure have Tuesday open, but not sure about Wednesday...I probably have some time in the evening, but that would be about it. Heading back on Thursday.

At any rate, I am totally looking forward to trying out my brand new Aeronaut and Co-pilot, which should arrive this Tuesday, giving me a week to test pack. I know -- the Aeronaut is probably overkill for such a short trip, but I've been wanting one for EVER, and since I suddenly find that I will be making several trips over the next few months for work, I thought this would be a good justification to finally bite the bullet and order one. Between the Aeronaut and the Co-Pilot, I am looking forward to no-checked-baggage Nirvana!

10-14-2012, 08:18 AM

I would suggest planning out what you want to see as much as possible. 6-8 hours is not much time in D.C. as there is so much to see. The metro does sell all day passes Metro - Home page (http://www.wmata.com/) and just a reminder, in case it hasn't already been stated -- the metro in D.C. is crowded at any time but jammed to the gills during the commuting hours in the a.m. and p.m. during work days. If possible try to avoid those times. Also, you have to pay to get out of a metro station. It is an odd set up. We go up there to see concerts a lot and had to make a couple of different train changes to get to the Verizon Center. We accidentally went out of one station within the herd of people we were in and had to pay to get out at the end of the night as our card ran out of money. (Also, the metro does not run 24/7 and is an old infrastructure in need of some serious updating -- a well known problem that no one wants to pay for up there). The Washington Monument is still closed from the earthquake. It won't be open again until 2014 I believe. The museums are great and I quite enjoyed the National Archives which is also a relatively quick trip if you can fit it in. I've lived 2 hours from D.C. my entire life and still haven't really seen everything up there. (Traffic is a nightmare and it is very expensive so admittedly we don't go often). I don't think I've eaten at a bad restaurant there either - so pick what you like!

Oh and don't forget the camera!


p.s. Forgot to mention -- lots of walking. Expect a lot of walking :)

10-14-2012, 12:14 PM
Thanks for the travel tips, Photocat -- particularly about using the Metro! I believe I will miss the morning commute, but may hit the evening one. At least I've been forewarned! And I've got my comfortable walking shoes ready to go!

10-16-2012, 01:46 PM
Sacharissa, you might want to look at historygal's Mr. Synapse Goes to Wahington thread. (Her meeting was in Bethesda, MD, so she was staying just outside the north tip of DC, while Crystal City, VA is at the southern end – close to National Airport and just across the river from the National Mall, etc. The National Mall area is separate from most of the other places you'd go to, and I think the easiest way to get there is to take the Metro, then walk to the Smithsonian and other sights along there. For other parts of DC, you might find the DC Circulator bus routes more convenient than learning the Metro bus routes and subway stops. There's a link to their web site (that I just fixed so it will work as a link) in my post to Janine about ways to get to Georgetown, and there are maps of their different routes. They also have discount 1-day and 3-day passes.

Your hotel (Hyatt) is further from the Crystal City Metro stop than Janine's (Marriott) or than the Crystal City hotel I last stayed at (Hilton). They run a shuttle bus to the Crystal City metro stop, and I think it only runs up through a certain time in the evening. You might find TripAdvisor's web site handy for things to do in DC (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g28970-Activities-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html) and their 3 Days in Washington, DC (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Guide-g28970-l257-Washington_DC_District_of_Columbia.html) page. Also, the Washington Post put out a free Explore D.C. (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/explore-d.c./id536645981?mt=8) iPhone app that can be handy, if you have an iOS device.

I like the Newseum (http://www.newseum.org) as somewhere that gets relatively less coverage as a tourist site, but it isn't somewhere I'd include if you're pressed for time. Also, this has paid admission (although the Explore D.C. app Deals section will get you a $5 discount through 11/9/12).

HTH. It's been a while since I lived in DC, so others may have better suggestions. I'm disheartened by number of bookstores that have closed there in recent (or not-so-recent) years.