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  1. #1
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    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC

    Hello all, I am currently in the middle of planning a trip for about a week in March to visit family in Washington D.C.. During this process a friend was talking to me about wanting to go to NYC and I realized that it might be possible to get from where I'm staying in the D.C. area to NYC and possibly spend 2-3 days there. I was hoping to get some of the collective wisdom from everyone on the best ways to get there and back, places to stay, and stuff to do? On top of that, stuff to do in D.C. would also be appreciated. Thank you all in advance!!!!

  2. #2
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    I love Amtrak for traveling back and forth from DC to NY. It's about 4 hours, and the DC train station is a great place to dine and shop while eating for your train. Both cities have TONS of things to do. What are your preferred types of activities? My favorites:

    DC
    Any and all of the Smithsonian museums- (Natural history, American history, African-American history, Native American history, Air and Space, Holocaust are at the top of my list.)
    Newseum
    Spy Museum
    Gazillions of ethnic restaurants all over the city
    The monuments, Capitol, Archives
    Lots of great hotels depending on where you want to stay and your budget.

    NY
    Ground Zero
    Rockefeller Center
    Radio City Music Hall
    Broadway
    Gazilions of restaurants
    Tons of shopping
    This is about 0.00005% of the fun things to do there.
    Lots of great hotels depending on where you want to stay and your budget. I like staying not too far from Times Square. Crowded but so easy to walk to evertyhing.
    S19, Pilot, S25, SE, NFTD, SCB, LCB, LS- in that order, all in Halcyon. Newest: Brain Bag. Oh, and some Shop Bags and Travel Cubelets. And some pouches. And a couple of Organizer Wallets. And a SSK. And some stuff sacks. And a laundry sack. But I'm not hooked on TB.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talkshop90 View Post
    ...Lots of great hotels depending on where you want to stay and your budget. I like staying not too far from Times Square. Crowded but so easy to walk to evertyhing.
    Personally, when I was doing projects in the area, I preferred to stay at the Marriott Courtyard in Newport, NJ. It was a short PATH subway stop away from Manhattan. Great for having a night out in the city, but then popping over to the NJ side for a quieter night of sleep before heading back to the client’s site in the morning.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    I'm a grad student so I don't have a ton of extra money to spend and public transportation will be my way to get around. I've been around DC a couple times, but it's been a while. The big one is NY because it will be my first time there and I would be going by myself so safely is also a bit of a concern too.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    I'm from the UK and have visited NYC numerous times. Back in the '80's and early '90's it was very dodgy. I remember my brother and I coming in from NJ via Port Authority bus station on 42nd street with heads on a swivel lest we got mugged or pickpocketed. I went back in '09, '13, '16 and found it a very different city. Times sq and 42nd st full of tourists it's almost like they made NYC into a Disney resort. Don't get me wrong like any metropolis there are bad people wanting to do bad things but if your cautious and are not too stupid you'll be fine. My wife and I regularly walked around after our dinner with no hassle. We loved picnicking in the Sheep Field in Central park, there were some good stores around the park periphery that provided cheap and good sandwiches. If we have time we always do a bus tour to get our bearings in a new city. The buses in NYC usually do a cheap 48hr pass hop-on-hop-off and we just used that to get us around the city for no extra expense. The subway was fine buying a card for a few days makes it cheap but walking around the city gives you exercise and the opportunity to see parts of the city not often frequented visiting the highlights. With a Naval background I enjoyed the USS INTREPID AND USS GROWLER exhibits down on the waterfront.

  6. #6
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    As a grad student I would NOT recommend staying in Times Square. Super touristy and expensive. The locals avoid it like the plague. I like staying on the upper west or east side. See the usual sights but do spend some time walking Central Park. It is a marvel in city planning. And walk around the neighborhoods. Don’t worry about safety more than you would anywhere. New Yorkers are good people (except, of course, the Yankees )

    March’s weather will be iffy. Pack layers.

    Oh yes, take Amtrak. It is such a great way to travel.

  7. #7
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    +1 for Amtrak.

    For NYC, definitely look for some guide info that is focused on your interests and budget. The toughest part about visiting NYC is that it has everything, and you have to choose what you're into. The neighborhoods are very different, and you can definitely find a location you'll love.

    Like, I'd want to stay in SoHo because it's a homier neighborhood with little boutiques, but see a show uptown because it's special there, but there are "secrets" to getting cheap tickets for different theaters. There are speakeasies with no signs, where you have to know they are there... And cheap(ish) awesome food (delis!) but read reviews and guide info for the special ones.

    Get thee to YouTube!

  8. #8
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    Another vote for Amtrak - we've driven, taken the Megabus and the train - Amtrak wins hands-down. If you want to be near Times Square we've stayed at the Belvedere Hotel which is pretty nice - I liked that they had a mini-frig, coffee maker and microwave in a tiny kitchen area inside the room. For a few days I would just stay in the city.

    In DC - the Smithsonian is hard to beat - free and so much to see. We also like the National Cathedral even though it's a bit further out from the center. I hope the shutdown is over by the time you're here.

  9. #9
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    To be honest, I don't like Amtrak. Penn Station is even worse than LGA, which is something really hard to do considering LGA is a construction zone. Also, the Acela is ridiculously expensive, usually exactly the same as flying. The Northeast Corridor on Amtrak or the bus could be good options, and they have the side benefit of letting you stop by Philadelphia, which is a really interesting city filled with history.

    I live in Manhattan, and it's extremely safe. I see people walking around with thousands of dollars of camera equipment all the time and no one cares. People in the city are generally too busy to notice. There are bad apples, like everywhere, but unlike other places, New Yorkers are not passive. In the rare instance that something obviously wrong is happening, people won't just sit there with their heads down!

    I think everyone made really great recommendations. I would skip Radio City and focus on Central Park, the Met, Rockerfeller Center, Ground Zero, Broadway (TKTS has cheap tickets), Statue of Liberty, and the East Village. Also, Koreatown near Penn Station is really interesting, because I've never seen anything so immersive of a different culture in another US city.

  10. #10
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    Thank you guys so much for all of your suggestions! I am an urban planning student with a focus in disaster planning and resiliency so I would love to do either an architecture or planning tour of NYC and maybe even DC if possible. Does anyone have any recommendations for that? From what everyone has said, Amtrak might be my best bet to get there.

    I am planning on taking my A30 for the trip. I just got back from my first trip with it to Belize and it worked wonderfully! I currently have a SK and a SCB, but I am debating if I want to use either of those bags for this trip or get a SE or a TC to pair with either the MCB or the new small ZTSB. What do people think of the MCB vs the ZTSB and then either the SK, the SE, or the TC inside it? I think the MCB might be a bit big for me as my ECD. The only thing I'm not quite sure about is if I'm bringing my 13" laptop or just an ipad mini and my kindle paper white.

  11. #11
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    A lot will hinge on the computer. I have a Surface Pro that fits in the backpack strap pocket of my A30 (I took the foam padding out) last time I Amtrak-ed to NY, but generally you'll need your second bag to be your laptop bag. Did you take your laptop to Belize?

    Edited to add: my Surface doesn't fit in my small shop bag at all, but it stands vertically in the large shop bag, and is comfy to carry that way as long as I have enough other stuff in there to keep it upright. But usually I carry it in my pop tote, which is the best bag ever.
    Last edited by Lia; 01-14-2019 at 10:54 AM.

  12. #12
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    I did not and it worked well for me, but that was also over the winter break and while this will be during my spring break, I still may need to work on things, I just need to look at whats due around that time.

    Thank you Lia for letting me know about the small shop bag, from the measurements online it seems like it might fit. Is the SSB a different size from the small zip-top shop bag? I will test to see if I can fit my laptop in the bag of the A30 tonight when I get home.

    If I end up not bringing it, what do people recommend for the second bag off of what I've talked about?

  13. #13
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    I only have a zip top small shop bag and an original large shop bag, but for comparison, here's how the Surface fits in the ZTSSB:

    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC-img_20190114_174141-jpg
    Just barely hits the black piping edges that define the corners.

    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC-img_20190114_174307-jpg
    Jjjjjuuuuuuuusssst a little too wide to fit the narrow handle space, absolutely comes to the tip top in height. And this is without any case or sleeve.

    OLSB:
    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC-img_20190114_174557-jpg
    Horizontally, just reaches the piping corners.

    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC-img_20190114_174625-jpg
    Vertically, SO MUCH ROOM.

    Pop Tote?
    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC-img_20190114_175453-jpg
    Mama Bear says it's juuuust riiiiiiiight.

  14. #14
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    My husband has a 13" computer that he fits in the Maker's Bag along with a lot of other stuff. He usually carries a Western Flyer backpack style for clothes and tech stuff in the Maker's Bag carried cross-body. I usually carry the A30 with my Surface Go in the compartment where the backpack straps go (I don't remove the padding though) and then a Side Effect or Side Kick cross-body most of the time as my 2-bag travel set-up because I like to have my hands free.

  15. #15
    Forum Member TheLibrarian's Avatar
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    I did my graduate work in DC and spent some time living in Hell's Kitchen in NYC while working an unpaid internship after I graduated. So I am very familiar with the 'I'm broke" style of travel/living ��

    DC has an awesome hostel that is pretty cheap and walking distance to Metro Center (Hi Hostel on 11th, stayed there a few times myself, only draw back is it can get a little cold at night). Metro is hell on earth, expensive, and will probably catch fire a few times while your there (no really, check out ismetroonfire.com, it literally only exists to tell you which lines are on fire). Pre-order your SmartTrip card, it'll make life far easier and you can just hit the ground running. Create an account online and you can load up some cash since I think it only comes with $5 preloaded.

    If you're looking for a fun afternoon I highly recommend heading to Navy Yard and taking a trapeze class at TSNY. The people are just wonderful! Careful though, my 'one' class lasted over 3 years and expanded into trampoline, silks, and lyra, lol (although not all at TSNY).

    Chelsea Hostel in NYC is pretty decent as well, but no frills would be a bit of an understatement; bonus: it is walking distance to Penn Station (which yes, it's a nightmare but there are tricks to making it easier). There is also a hostel (I haven't stayed there) which was used to house Titanic survivors (I can't remember the name, maybe The Jane?). If you're a history buff at all that looked pretty cool.

    Both cities are very safe if you use a little common sense and keep your eyes open. My personal mantra is if I see local women and children out and about, then I'm probably ok.

    If you do decide to take the train from DC to NYC (which I *HIGHLY* recommend) book WELL in advance or the tickets do get very expensive. I've gotten tickets as cheap as $50 each way but I've also seen them go for a couple of hundred. Megabus isn't a terrible option (pay for the reserved seating on the top level at the very front and you get actual legroom and even a bit of a foot rest) but it does take longer and you're at the mercy of traffic.

    I don't know if you're interested in the transportation part of urban planning but I still know/have vague connections with someone at DDOT who heads up the DC bikeshare program. I can see if she might be interested in grabbing coffee and chatting if you'd like. (CaBi is also a good way to get around the city if the weather is nice.)

    Anyway, if you have any more questions or anything just let me know!

    Week Long Trip to DC in March Plus Bonus Trip to NYC-screen-shot-2019-01-15-7-47-36-am-png
    Last edited by TheLibrarian; 01-15-2019 at 05:10 AM.
    Synapse 25, Aeronaut 30, Travel Tray

    “...a book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements, clumsy hands. If for a hundred and a hundred years everyone had been able freely to handle our codices, the majority of them would no longer exist. So the librarian protects them not only against mankind but also against nature, and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion, the enemy of truth.”
    ― Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

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