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Staying outside DC

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Lexington, Kentucky
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Staying outside DC

My husband and i are planning a week long trip in early May 2014 - i booked Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Shirlington for about $125 a night, but it is refundable if we want to cancel. We will have a car, but would prefer to use the metro. Since we'll be there a whole week, i'm inclined to think we have plenty of time and so the time it takes to shuttle to the metro then into DC isn't that big of a deal. I'm assuming 45 min -1hr. What is your opinion? We are late sleepers, so I'm thinking we would probably miss rush hour. Would we be too far out? Comparable hotels in Bethesda, Rosslyn, etc. close to a metro station seem to be at least $215/nt. We could swing either, but might prefer to save the extra money. I'm sure this comes up a lot, so I apologize in advance :)

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Staying outside DC

The good thing about staying in Shirlington is that you have a good choice of restaurants. There isn't a whole lot else there except the library and Signature Theater, and the multi-screen movie theater. The drive into DC without traffic is only 15-20 minutes. A couple of blocks from your hotel is a bus area with choices of getting elsewhere. It will be a very different experience than staying in DC or other community. But certainly not a disaster. And with your car you can go elsewhere if you want more interesting places.

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Staying outside DC

It should take at least 1 hour to get from your hotel in Shirlington to Metro stops such as Smithsonian or Metro Center in D.C. Do you really want to sit on a bus and subway car for an hour every morning and every evening of your stay? If you are late sleepers and plan to miss rush hour anyway, I'd recommend just driving into D.C. and parking in a parking garage for $25 or so. By the time you figure what you'd be paying for Metro, you aren't spending that much extra on a parking garage. And time is money!

I'm very fond of Shirlington--it's got great restaurants, a Tony Award winning theatre (Signature Theatre), a supermarket, a movie theatre that plays some indie films and a few fun shops. It's also just a nice place to walk around. As long as you have a car, I see no problem in staying there. But it wouldn't be my first (second or third) choice if I were relying on Metro.

FYI: Two popular parking garages (due to the number of available spaces and the reasonable rates) are Union Station and the Ronald Reagan Bldg. You can check locations and rates at other garages at: http://washingtondc.bestparking.com/

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Staying outside DC

A car in DC proper is usually more of a hassle than a help. Early May is often great walking-around weather, and Metro and taxis can fill in for segments that aren't walkable. What are your exact dates?

U.S. expats
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for Windsor, London, Dry Tortugas National Park
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4. Re: Staying outside DC

I agree with Longhorn. Time is money, and slogging back and forth for two hours every day will really eat into your vacation. Also a lot harder to say, go back to your room to freshen up/change clothes/rest/ before dinner or a show.

Stay in DC if you can.

washington dc
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5. Re: Staying outside DC

Shirlington does have some restaurants, but it is a very small area. If you are here for a whole week you really have the chance to experience the city, and part of that is strolling around to different neighborhoods in the evenings for various restaurants, galleries and attractions. If you're not limiting yourselves to hotels, there are lots of options for apt. rentals in good locations in the city for $125.00 -$150.00 a night. If interested in this option I can tell you more & provide some tips.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: Staying outside DC

Look at the Hilton Garden Inn near Courthouse Metro in Arlington. Walk to Metro, short ride to sights. Restaurants nearby and even more a Metro stop away. Shirlington in less convenient.

Lexington, Kentucky
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7. Re: Staying outside DC

Thank you for all the help so far! We are thinking of a trip May 3-10, but it could be any Sat.-Sat. in May or early June. We will be driving there, so will have a car. I'm looking for something under $215/nt including parking & tax. Also need some thing cancellable/refundable, which is why i dont think an apartment rental will work. I am open to staying in any location, as long as it is safe & the rooms are clean & somewhat updated.

Dallas, Georgia
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8. Re: Staying outside DC

Also, think of the Hilton Garden Inn behind Union Station. The subway is just behind it & we always find street parking by the hotel. As a plus, a supermarket next door & you should be able to drop the numbers a few dollars. Union Station is about a 5 min walk right up the street and its has a number of low end, middle of the road places to eat.

Washington DC...
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9. Re: Staying outside DC

That Garden Inn behind Union Station is OK for a day or two, but for a week's stay in the DC area I would not recommend it. The area is certainly much improved, but it is not an area where wandering is a good idea. And the updated part of this area is smaller than Shirlington. And for a decent meal you will have to get on Metro and go elsewhere.

The area around the Arlington Courthouse, Ballston, Crystal City or Rosslyn would all be more convenient than Shirlington. There would be a Metro station nearby and still a neighborhood for meals and strolling in the evening.

Lynchburg, Virginia
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10. Re: Staying outside DC

I realize I'm in the minority, but I like riding the Metro. Staying in Shirlington offers a change of pace each day. Subway people watching is fun. You can also take along your travel guide/maps and "use your time wisely" to plan your day while getting there. The trip rarely feels as long as it is (for me, anyhow).

Edited: 08 November 2013, 15:55