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7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

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7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

Hi,

I have a domestic-domestic connection at Dulles Airport in October with United, and my luggage will be checked through. I am travelling with one companion and our layover is scheduled to be 6h 45m in length - our plane lands in Washington at 3.20pm and our connection leaves at 10.05pm.

I was just wondering if there is any way to see a little of DC while we are connecting. I am aware that Sterling is quite a bit outside the city and I've never transited at IAD before but given the times of day and the length of the layover I thought a short trip *could* be viable.

Are there any feasible public transport options? If not, how much does a cab cost to Downtown for 2 and how long will it take.

Thanks.

washington dc
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1. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

About an hour driving and $65.00 taxi fare each way. You might go see the Udvar Hazy air and space museum instead.

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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2. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

For public transportation you'd need to take a bus down the rosd a bit to the nearest Metro (subway) station and from there about 45 minutes on the train to reach the center of Washington. Think it works out to about $12 each way per person. (check the "top questions" on the right for specifics)

At best I'd think you might get 2 hours, maybe a bit more, to have a wander around the monuments, White House etc. you'd have to decide if the time and effort is worth that.

Edited: 26 August 2014, 01:07
Olney, Maryland
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3. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

I think it would be no problem; two hours is a good amount for seeing famous monuments. Look carefully at this info:

fairfaxcounty.gov/connector/…983.pdf

www.metwashairports.com/dulles/7161.htm

wmata.com/rail/docs/color_map_silverline.pdf

nps.gov/nama/…NACCmap1.pdf

Know where you are going, and backtrack times to get to IAD at 21.05 (9:05 PM), like leave on a Silver Line Metro train at 8 PM. The Silver Line runs every 12 minutes; during rush hours, it's every 6 minutes.

Buy a SmarTrip card for each of you ($10 per person); they are like Oyster cards (good on buses and trains), but with no daily cap (unfortunately). Each will contain $8 because there is a $2 fee for getting it. You can get it with credit cards. You can easily add extra money for it. The 983 (or 981 after 6:30 PM) bus uses the SmarTrip card; the Airport Silver Express Bus requires $5 cash from each of you, not a SmarTrip card. (kind of like the Piccadilly Line vs. Heathrow Connect).

Olney, Maryland
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4. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

My estimate is you land at 3:20; you get out of Customs at 4:15, get downtown at 5:25; you then have 2.5 hours till you have to return. Easy to see everything from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol (2.5 miles, 2.5 hours), then hop on the Silver Line train at Capitol South, or any of those station across DC, and go back to the airport. Then you are kind of early for your plane, but that's a good idea.

You can eat, I would say, near the Foggy Bottom Station, where there are food trucks, a supermarket (think Waitrose-type, called "Whole Foods") and restaurants, and a University there. And the Lincoln Memorial is 2/3 mile to the south downhill along 23rd St.

Ireland
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5. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

Hello,

Thanks to all for the replies.

My main concern is actually getting through security at Dulles on our return, but at that time of night surely it can't be busy, can it?

@NorthofDC

You mention that we will be going through customs. I don't think this is the case as our flight to Washington (United 127) preclears US Customs and Immigration at Dublin (we're from Ireland), and therefore we arrive as a domestic flight. Will it be necessary to go through immigration at Dulles? If not, is this likely to give us a bit more time (how much)?

I've been in Whole Foods a few times - I suppose we could pick something up there if there is one near Foggy Bottom.

I'll obviously feel guilty going into DC and not seeing the Smithsonian but time is of the essence!

@IrishFan

Thanks for the advice - I think the effort is definitely worth it. Beats sitting in United's 30-year old "temporary" terminals at IAD, from what I hear!

@victoria m

That's our back-up plan - seeing the AF Concorde would be nice.

Maryland
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6. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

You should already have your boarding pass for your onward flight, and there are no customs or immigration formalities on arrival since you're using pre-clear at Dublin. (But make sure you give yourselves 3 hours at DUB that morning, you're likely to need every bit of it!).

I would plan on being back at IAD by 8:00 p.m. Not because you necessarily need 2 hours to clear security, but because your trip back has a lot of variables no matter how you do it. Better to arrive at 8:00 with time to kill rather than sweating it somewhere at 8:30 hoping you make it.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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7. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

there is ZERO reason why you would ever go to Sterling.

I would say, no, not enough time and very expensive to do so if you chose to do so.

i liked the previous poster's suggestion Udvar Hazy museum.

Olney, Maryland
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8. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

The OP did not want to visit Sterling, he mistakenly thought the airport is IN Sterling, VA. It is, of course, NEAR Sterling, VA, but nowadays, believe it or not, the Post Office calls the area Dulles, Virginia.

9. Re: 7 hr layover @ IAD - can I see DC?

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