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Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

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Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

We will be traveling to Williamsburg the week of Oct 10-17. We would like to take a minimum 2 day trip to Washington D.C. We have heard traffic in DC is heavy and difficult to find parking. We are considering traveling to the Pentagon/Arlington area and taking public transportation to DC. I am wondering if this is workable and what is a good area to find a hotel. We are trying to get tours set up for the White House and Congress. We might want to spend some time at the Smithsonian but unsure how that will work with our very short time frame. If anyone can advise on this plan, I appreciate the feedback. Thanks in advance.

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1. Re: Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

You should definitely allow for at least 2 full days of sightseeing in D.C.

Any hotel in Arlington that is within walking distance of a Metro station would be in a good area. Here are three good (budget-to-moderate) hotels in Arlington which are within walking distance of at least one Metro station and which offer free parking. (Other hotels in Arlington are going to charge for parking--anywhere from $15 per night to $40 per night.) In alphabetical order, these are: Americana Hotel, Best Western Iwo Jima and Holiday Inn Rosslyn@Key Bridge.

If you are a big group (6 or more), then it would likely be cheaper to drive into D.C. and park. Good parking options are Union Station ($22 per day) and the Ronald Reagan Building ($23 for 15 hours.)

It's easy to book your own tour of the Capitol online and you can choose the date and time. Go to: visitthecapitol.gov/plan-visit/….U-f7N_ldVIE

Go ahead and make a request for a White House tour, but realize that your chances of getting one are slim-to-none since there are many, many more requests than there are slots for tours. Go ahead and plan your stay in D.C. as if you are not going to get the tour--I've read of too many instances where folks missed out on things they wanted to see/do because they were waiting for WH tours that never happened. (And if you do get a tour, you can then re-arrange things.)

Finally, it's easy to spend time at the Smithsonians even with just 2 days in the city. Decide which Smithsonians and which exhibits interest you the most and then go in to just see those exhibits. A few years ago, we did a "staycation day" where each member of our family chose an exhibit in a different Smithsonian museum and we saw them all (4 different ones) in about 6 hours. See: www.si.edu

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2. Re: Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

I like to stay in Alexandria when visiting DC but Arlington works too.

Where are you flying to and from during your visit? Two nights will not give you a lot of time to see much in DC and you will spend a lot of time driving. If you flew in and out of Reagan (or Richmond), spending time in DC at the start and/or end of your trip might make better sense.

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3. Re: Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

I consider driving into DC from Williamsburg cruel and unusual punishment. You might want to consider driving to Fredericksburg, and there catching commuter rail into Washington. You can check out schedules at: http://www.vre.org/service/schedule.htm Note, however, that this is pretty much a M-F evolution.

Find a hotel in the area of one of the final stops and you can use the Metro (subway) to get around.

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4. Re: Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

Very important to double check that any hotel in Northern Va. is within walking distance (I allow 1/2 a mile but that depends) of a metro station. Otherwise you're probably better off driving into the city.

Since the smithsonians are free and next to one another you can dip in/out at your leisure. If you like, look up specific exhibits you'd like to see and just visit those.

IF you get a white house tour know that you'll have to build your day around when you're instructed to arrive. But they say it's only about 45 minutes and if you don't get a tour it's still neat to walk around the perimeter. Lots of protests this past week for a number of causes (none are rowdy and are easy to avoid.).

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5. Re: Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

Right on about checking for hotels within walking distance to a Metro station. Here's a place to start. hotelsneardcmetro.com/hotels-near-arlington-…

6. Re: Williamsburg Vacation with side trip to Washington, D.C.

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