Monday, January 14, 2013

Washington, DC Layover: What to Do




If you have a fairly long layover, it's possible, and fairly easy to get into Washington, DC from any of the area's three airports, including BWI, using public transport. Getting to the U.S. Capital, the White House, and the National Mall is easy enough from any of the three airports, and is probably covered in a number of layover articles— so I won't spend time covering it in this article.

Rather, in this article I will cover some cool, off the beaten path things you can do in DC with a long layover. One of the great things about DC, is that it so navigable, so you can really cover a lot of it in a short amount of time.

Foggy Bottom/Georgetown



How to get there:
From IAD (Dulles)
Take the 5A bus from Dulles Airport to Rosslyn station, and take one stop on the Blue or Orange line toward either Largo or New Carollton to the Foggy Bottom/GWU stop. Allow yourself a couple of hours to get to and from Dulles.

From DCA (Reagan National)
Take the subway directly from Reagan. Take the blue line toward Largo and get off at Foggy Bottom GWU. Just to be safe as trains run with different frequency depending on time of day, give yourself an hour and a half to get to and from the airport.

From BWI (Baltimore-Washington)
This can be a pretty long trip on public transport from Baltimore Washington Airport, but totally doable with a long layover. Take the bus to the MARC train and buy a ticket to Washington Union Station. From there take the red line subway train toward Shady Grove and get off at Metro Center. Switch to the Blue or Orange lines toward Franconia-Springfield or Vienna to Foggy Bottom/GWU.

Georgetown is a beautiful old neighborhood about a ten minute walk from the Foggy Bottom metro station. In addition to great shopping and architecture, there are also numerous art galleries, boutiques and restaurants to check out. If it's a cold day like today, you might consider cozying up and enjoying a drink in front of the wood burning fireplace at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown once your sightseeing is done.

On a nice day be sure and take a pleasant stroll on the famous and beautiful Georgetown harbor where you can see the infamous Watergate Hotel and the immaculate Embassy of Saudi Arabia. If the weather is warm enough, you can sit on the terrace and enjoy some lovely pastries and delicious European fare at Kafè Leopold.  Enjoy a pint and sit in the booth where JFK proposed to Jackie at historic Martin's Tavern.

Old Town Alexandria



How to get there:
From IAD (Dulles)
Take the 5A bus from Dulles Airport to Rosslyn station, and take one stop on the Blue line toward Franconia-Springfield and get off at the King Street stop. Take the shuttle or a local Dash bus into Old Town, or walk about 15 minutes down King Street.

From DCA (Reagan National)
Get on either the blue line metro toward Franconia-Springfield or the yellow line toward Huntington at the metro and ride about 10 minutes, getting off at the King Street stop. Take the shuttle or a local Dash bus into Old Town, or walk about 15 minutes down King Street.

From BWI (Baltimore-Washington)
Old Town is a pretty long trip from Baltimore Washington Airport, so if you're layover is there, I would probably recommend a different itinerary, but you can get there by taking the MARC train shuttle, taking the MARC train to Washington Union Station, hopping on the red line toward Shady Grove, getting off Gallery Place-Chinatown, switching to the yellow line toward Huntington, and getting off at the King Street metro stop. You should probably allow yourself 3 hours for getting to BWI and back from Old Town.

Many would argue that historic Old Town Alexandria just south of Washington, DC is where the American south really begins, which is perhaps why southern transplants like myself tend to live there or frequent it. Full of beautiful antebellum architecture, a stunning harbor, and countless shops, galleries, and restaurants, Old Town is worth a trip.

Jump off the subway and take a tour of the famous George Washington National Masonic Memorial, or General Robert E. Lee's boyhood home. Old Town is an excellent place to eat seafood, and the choices abound. A favorite of mine is the Fish Market. Old Town is a relaxing place to just walk around on a nice day.

DuPont Circle/Embassy Row


How to get there: 
From IAD (Dulles)
Take the 5A bus from Dulles Airport to Rosslyn station, and take the blue or orange line toward Largo or New Carollton and get off at Metro Center. Switch to the red line toward Shady Grove and get off at DuPont station.

From DCA (Reagan National)
Get on the blue line metro toward Franconia-Springfield and get off at Metro Center. Switch to the red line toward Shady Grove and get off at the DuPont stop.

From BWI (Baltimore-Washington)
Take the MARC train shuttle, taking the MARC train to Washington Union Station, hopping on the red line metro toward Shady Grove, getting off at the DuPont stop.

DuPont Circle or "DuPont" as it's known to Washingtonians, is a hip neighborhood full of delicious, affordable local eateries, cool architecture, and DC's famous Embassy Row. On a nice day you can stroll up Massachusetts Ave and see Embassies and consulates to the USA from all over the world.

DuPont is also full of excellent cafes such as Kramerbooks & Afterwords, which is a book-store bar and cafe all combined. When the weather is nice you can sit outside. One of my favorite places to eat in DuPont is the non-nondescript Bistrot Du Coin. It's delicious French and Belgian country cuisine combined with its old-school French decor, including red and white checked table clothes with a bottle of wine waiting at the table, makes you feel like you're in a little Bistrot du Paris. DuPont is a great place to just hang out and be trendy. It's also fairly close to the White House, about a 15 minute walk south down Connecticut Ave. On a nice day you can have a relaxing lunch, stroll over to the White House, and hop back on the subway about one block from the White House at McPherson Square station and head back to the airport.


Wine Tasting Program

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