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Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

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Deer Park, Texas
posts: 160
reviews: 67
Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

Well even though I see very little forum posting here I'll try anyway. Can anyone give me suggestions on visiting D.C. for the day by car or public transportation (the Metro?) for a long day trip? We will have a rental car but have heard stories about the difficulty in finding parking in the Capitol Mall area. Does anyone have suggestions on a good place to park and see this area? Or would it be better to drive to a Metro station and take the train into the area, if so which station would be the best to get to from Leesburg? The three of us are open to walking but at the same time want to see as much as we can without spending too much time just getting from point to point. If it takes a while for someone to see this post, my trip will be in late October 2007.

Chesapeake, VA
Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
posts: 3,772
reviews: 49
1. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

You definitely want to take the metro. However, I don't know the best place to park. Have you posted this question in the Washington DC forum? At any rate, check wmata.com - there's a map to help you.

Deer Park, Texas
posts: 160
reviews: 67
2. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

Wow, wasn't expecting such a quick response! Thanks wendymath.

I will check out that website.

Yes, after I posted this here I thought I better post it in the DC forum so I copied and pasted the message over there too.

Ashburn, VA
Destination Expert
for Outer Banks
posts: 382
3. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

Taking the metro is not your only option. I live 10 minutes east of Leesburg and made the trip into DC by car just last Monday. We drove straight through and parked along the Potomac River near the Lincoln Memorial. We left here just before 9am and we were on the steps of the Lincoln Memorail before 10. Granted, this is in the summer, when many of the typical Washington traffic is on vacation, but stilll, driving can be done.

For your trip in October, the trick is to plan your driving around rush hour (6am-9:30am and then again (3p-7p). I would suggest arriving in DC after 10 and leaving before 3. Here are your two options:

Driving - take the Dulles Greenway/Route 267 toll road from Leesburg to Route 66 East. Keep in mind that 66 is an HOV road eastbound in the morning and westbound in the afternoon. Once on 66, follow to the Roosevelt Bridge and onto Constitution. From there, you can search for street parking OR make your way around the Tidal Basin to a parkinglot (these do fill up, especially with buses) OR park in a paid parking lot in an office building.

Metro - take the Dulles Greenway/Route 267 to Route 66 East. Take the Washington Blvd exit and try to park at the East Falls Church Metro Station on the orange line.

Baltimore, Maryland
posts: 4
4. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

If you do drive in the District be careful to obey the parking restrictions posted. (make sure you look for a sign, there will be one) You will be towed if you are one minute late getting to your car. The trucks will be waiting to drag your rida away. Traffic can be brutal all the way back to Leesburg in the afternoon. Dive in around 10 in the Morning, grab some lunch. Try the National Zoo. (pay parking, free entry. Then go and park at Union Station. The Capitol is across the street , the White House is down the road and all the Museums are close by. Stay later than most day trippers, have a great meal and take easy drive back to the burbs. Enjoy!

Richmond, VA
posts: 255
reviews: 12
5. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

There are parking garages all over downtown DC....just a block or two off the national mall. We drove from Richmond and got there shortly after 7:00 am on a weekday and had no problem at all (the White House Museum opens at 7:30 a.m if you think you don't have anyahing to do at that time of day) . Cost was around $22 for the day. You can do an internet search and maps will come up.

posts: 1
6. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

Use the Metro, it's safe, easy and cheap. All of the normal tourist places are on or near The Mall (the area between the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial)You can see a map by Googling. The stations closest to The Mall are Federal Triangle, L'Fant Plaza and Smithsonian. Bring comfortable shoes! Remember, if you are there on weekdays, all of the federal buildings have a cafeteria and the food is good and cheap. Try the one at The Supreme Court, you might just eat with a justice or the House or Senate Office Buildings. As Will Rogers said" The United States has the best government money can buy" and that includes the food.

Northern Virginia
posts: 1
7. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

Loudoun County provides transportation to and from DC, for the price of $6/person each way via Loudoun County Transit. This could be an option. There is a pick-up point with plenty of parking right in Leesburg, off Catoctin Circle by Company 13's facilities (Loudoun County Rescue Squad).

Or, if you don't mind it taking a little while longer (about an extra 10 minute ride, if that) but want the trip to be a little more fun, drive up to Brunswick, MD (about 15-20 minutes west of Leesburg) and take the MARC train into Union Station from there. The price for this is $7/person each way (I think); you might be able to save a dollar or so by buying a round trip ticket. Again, plenty of free car parking is available for this trip.

I make the commute from just west of Leesburg every weekday and regularly use both of these options. They save gas, tolls, and prevent the stress of driving in what can often be one of the worst areas in the United States as far as traffic is concerned. Most of the people that use the train and the bus are commuting to and from work, but there's nothing that says people going for a day trip can't use these as well.

By the way, unless you're planning on parking and heading into DC after 10am, I'd recommend not planning to park at Metro facilities. During the week they fill up quickly-- there have been a number of times that I've circled the parking garages at some of these places for over a half hour and still haven't found a spot. Word of warning, too-- the parking spots at the Metro facilities that are reserved for permit holders until 10am are patrolled fairly well (at least they are at the Vienna station-- the closest Metro facility to Leesburg). It's a $40 ticket if you park in them before 10am without having one of the Metro's reserved parking passes.

Also, if you're planning to spend the day in DC I'd recommend buying an all-day Metro pass when you get there (if you plan to use Metro at all). It's valid after 9:30am and can be much cheaper than buying a regular fare card and using it to go in and out everywhere all day long.

8. Re: Visiting D.C. for day trip from Leesburg...

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