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DC for a Day

Oslo, Norway
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13 posts
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DC for a Day

Hello!

We are visiting relatives in Winchester VA for Easter and my 25-year old son would like make a super quick trip to DC while we are there. He doesn't mind a long day of driving and is OK with just seeing the major sights from the outside this time. The only day we have free is Easter Monday. Would you suggest parking and taking the Metro in or driving in to a parking garage such as the one at Union Station? What do you expect traffic to be like on that day? When he first mentioned the idea of driving into DC for the day, I thought it was a little crazy but maybe it could be an adventure!

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Winchester
Winchester
Virginia
Union Station
Union Station
1,999 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
Falls Church...
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1. Re: DC for a Day

It's not that crazy. You're really only about an hour and a half from DC, and I'll do day trips in reverse to the Winchester area without a thought.

Well,

A. Parking at the metro is pretty easy because the suburban stops all have parking garages. It's $4.75 to park and then it'll be about a 4-5$ fare into town and back. For just a couple of people that's competitive with parking rates and you'll miss some of the worst traffic. But get there early because parking can fill up despite there being thousands of spaces. The first stop you'll get too will be the Vienna Station which is on exit 62 on I-66. Then you can just ride the Orange line to most of the major sites along the mall.

B. I can't tell if your son will be by himself or not but note that I-66 becomes entirely HOV during rush hour inside the beltway. If you're accompanying him then it's not an issue but if he's by himself he's got to take a different route (by taking 495 to 395 or the GW Parkway to drive to the city). People usually suggest the Ronald Reagan Building or the Union Station garage for all day parking. Traffic will be normal for the most part (that is, bad).

C. You can get inside plenty of things and make the day of it. It's worth it to pop inside the halls of most of the smithsonian museums at least. The major memorials are more or less open to the elements. Just be prepared for a lot of walking. The national Mall is about two miles from end to end and people can be deceived by the distance since you can see from end to end.

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Winchester
Winchester
Virginia
Union Station
Union Station
1,999 Reviews
Washington DC, DC
Oslo, Norway
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2. Re: DC for a Day

That's great information. Thank you very much!

Arlington, Virginia
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for Arlington
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3. Re: DC for a Day

Note that the Metro parking lots get full early on a weekday (and Easter Monday is a regular working day in D.C.). While I have not personally parked at one of these stations on a weekday, I understand that you have to get there around 7am in order to get a parking spot. If you don't want to get going from Winchester so early that you'd be in Vienna by 7am, you'll probably want to drive all the way into D.C.

However, if you don't want to get to Vienna by 7am and if you don't want to drive into D.C. and park, then an alternative would be driving to the Ballston Commons Mall parking garage in Arlington ($10 all day) and then taking the Metro from the Ballston station into D.C. You would reach the Ballston Commons Mall by taking Exit 71 from I-66. It's about 1 mile from the exit to the mall.

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Winchester
Winchester
Virginia
Arlington
Arlington
Virginia
Oslo, Norway
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4. Re: DC for a Day

Thanks... That sounds like a good option. By the way Longhorn, my son is an Aggie who now lives in Austin ;)

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Austin
Austin
Texas
5. Re: DC for a Day

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