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Long layover in DC (Dulles)

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San Diego
posts: 11
reviews: 23
Long layover in DC (Dulles)

Hi fellow travelers,

We have a 12 hour layover in Dulles (we arrive 7 am and depart 7 pm) on our way to Dubai. I would like to do spend the day seeing the major sights in DC as I've never been. Here is my plan and please let me know if there is a better way:

- Take Super Shuttle to Union Station where we will leave the luggage ($39 for two people for Super shuttle)

- From Union Station, take the Hop On/Hop Off double decker bus to tour the major sights. I will book the bus in advance. This way, we can take our time where we would like and skip through the ones we don't.

Does that sound like a good plan? Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Washington, DC
posts: 1,122
reviews: 8
1. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

Cheaper would be take the Metro Bus to L'Enfant plaza and then metro to Union Station or take the Washington Flyer bus to West Falls Church and then the metro into the city. If you take Super Shuttle you could go all over DC before being left off at Union Station. I am always the last to get dropped up at my house because of where it is located.

You don't say when your travel is. Understand that when it is very busy the hoho bus or trolley may be full when it gets to your stop so you may wait much longer for the next available bus or trolley. Probably you could do just as well with cabs and or metro. If you just want to ride the bus and not get off it may be what you are looking for. If you want to get off and actually see things I would narrow down to two or three things you want to see/do and work on how you could get there on your own. You cannot see everything in six/eight hours.

San Diego
posts: 11
reviews: 23
2. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

Thank you, your advice is very helpful. Our travel day is March 27th. i was thinking Union Station so we could drop off our luggage there. I don't think there is luggage storage at the airport.

Would the hoho bus not be so busy this time of the year perhaps?

Washington DC...
posts: 14,574
reviews: 36
3. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

Those HOHO buses are likely to be extra busy the day you would be here. It is Spring Break and Cherry Blossom Festival. So DC will be extra crowded. And if the cherry trees are in blossom, and that is a real possibility, the usual route of those buses will be clogged with traffic, traffic that is barely moving

San Diego
posts: 11
reviews: 23
4. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

yikes, what do you suggest we do to take advantage of the time we have in DC? Would it be possible to just see a few sights? If so, how would you rank them?

Herndon, Virginia
posts: 97
reviews: 34
5. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

That sounds like a risky proposition. It will take an hour to get to the District from Dulles without bad traffic. It's a week day and you're hitting rush hour so I would plan on two hours because 66 is terrible. If your flight leaves at 7pm, you need to be back and going through security at 4pm, according to the TSA, so that would require a 2:30pm departure from Union Station. That leaves you with 5.5 hours. Not sure if its worth your hassle and risk of something going wrong before an international flight. Maybe consider doing something fun out in that area like visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space museum at Dulles, visiting Bull Run, or renting a car and seeing the Shenandoah Valley.

Alexandria, Virginia
posts: 73
reviews: 20
6. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

All of the advice you have received is accurate and excellent However if you you really want to visit DC this is probably the moment to make the effort. Current preidctions are that the cherry blossoms will be in peak bloom when you are here --and this is definitely an awesoe treat. I would suggest that you go to Union Station as you planned and do a go-round on the hoho bus (but do not get off). Once you have completed the loop take it to the Jefferson Memorial/cherry blossom site and spend some time there. Then you could catch a cab back to Union Station and return to Dulles. The blossoms only bloom for a few days a year and are a huge draw. Everything else in DC will still be there if you should return, but timing a trip to see the blossoms can be very difficult since they bloom within a short window but with unpredictable dates. Good luck!

Alexandria, Virginia
posts: 73
reviews: 20
7. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

Cherry blossom update. Just saw another post saying blossoms won't bloom until April. There are now contradictory predictions. Suggest you track blossom status a few days before leaving home, since their bloom is contingent on the weather.

San Diego
posts: 11
reviews: 23
8. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

Thank you all so much for your feedback, I like the idea of doing the whole hoho loop and checking for the cherry blossoms. You are all awesome!

Washington DC...
posts: 147
reviews: 14
9. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

The cherry blossom bloom status is something we broadcast to the world. Just go online and google for the Washington Post cherry blossom watch. They'll keep you posted on what is happening over by the Tidal Basin

Washington DC...
posts: 91
reviews: 119
10. Re: Long layover in DC (Dulles)

HI Poochiquito, A 12-hour layover in Dulles may seem like a long time. But when you factor in the time it will take you to get from the gate, through customs and pick up your bags - (one hour) , to Union Station with traffic (one hour), back to Dulles (1 1/2 hours), Checking back in and going thru TSA and getting to your gate (2 hours). You've got lots of "travel/wait/schlep time.

Can you check your bags thru to your final destination? Or consider checking out the Smithsonian museum right next to dulles? http://airandspace.si.edu/udvarhazy/ Between the exhibits and the I-max you can have a really fun day, less nail biting about the bags and the timing with TSA/customs and even have time for a great meal before hoping on your plane.