Getting Around Washington, D.C.
You certainly don’t need a car in Washington. Plenty of transportation options, but you’ll probably cover a lot of ground on foot as well.
We found the cabs reasonable. $16 from the airport to our hotel several blocks off the National Mall. From Georgetown to our hotel, just $10.
Shuttle Tours. We decided to buy a tour trolley ticket for the day — you can also buy for 2 days. Old Town Trolley — $32 for the day — has 3 routes — you can get on and off as you please and change routes as well. The only problem we found was that the trolley stop was still a good distance from the building or memorial we wanted to see. And it ran every 30 minutes, so if you missed one, you wasted a significant amount of time waiting for the next one.
Another similar service is Tourmobile Sightseeing. The route is not as extensive, but it does drive through Arlington National Cemetery — which is a big plus. Appears to be $20 for the day with free reboarding. Both tour services offer moonlight tours to see the memorials illuminated at night. I’d highly recommend a tour service like one of these to get you around town most efficiently.
Walk. Walk. Walk. Make no mistake — you’re going to need excellent walking shoes. There is a tremendous amount of walking — from bus stops to buildings, up stairs, down stairs, across cobblestone paths, up hills, down hills. That seems to be the only way to see the great things in D.C.
Some of My Favorite Places.
Holocaust Museum. Probably the most moving historical site I have ever experienced. I’ve been there twice. Don’t pass it by just because you may not be of Jewish heritage. Check it out online before you go for hours, tour times.
- National Cathedral. Magnificent. Massive.
- Arlington National Cemetery. Its size and the number buried there will astound you. Its particular memorials will bring tears to your eyes. Not only the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, but John & Jackie Kennedy’s graves alongside their two infant children, Bobby Kennedy’s ultra-modest white cross on the side of the hill. Then there’s the sound you’ll hear of the bagpiper signalling the end of yet another funeral or the clippety-clop sound of the black horses drawing a flag-draped caisson. I suggest using the tourmobile available at the cemetery — it’s very hilly terrain.
- National Gallery of Art. Encompasses several buildings and sculpture gardens.
- Viet Nam Memorial. Still an emotional site.
- White House. At least from the fenceline. Tours must be arranged months ahead through your Congressman.
- Albert Einstein Statue. Just fun.
There’s way more to do in Washington (and around Washington) than you’ll ever have time for. Plan some “must-see” places for your trip so that you can enjoy your time there and not feel like you have to see it all in a day or two.
TIP: I wouldn’t bother with the White House Visitor Center (about 2 blocks away form The White House). Not much there. We thought it just wasted our time.
Holocaust Museum PhotoCredit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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Entry filed under: Washington DC.