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Christmas Trip Questions

Merritt Island...
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Christmas Trip Questions

Doing some planning for a trip the week after Christmas. We want to visit DC and have considered places to stay in DC, Crystal City/Arlington and now Alexandria.

I like the idea of Alexandria for the old town feel and assume everything will be decorated for the holidays. Some of the hotels I see are very close to metro stops.

It will be 2 adults and 2 teens. Weather is always factor. Would walking in the evening be too cold? I could see us spending the day in DC with afternoon/evenings in Alexandria.

Will most shops/restaurants be open? How long is the metro run to the Mall?

Thanks for any info or tips.

Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Would walking in the evening be too cold?--It depends on your tolerance for cold and the amount of clothing you are wearing. Dress in layers and have a heavy coat, hat and gloves.

Will most shops/restuarants be open? Definitely

How long is the Metro run to the Mall?--It depends on your departing and arrival station and if there are any delays (which are pretty regular these days). If you are going from the King Street station in Alexandria to the Smithsonian station on the Mall and there are no delays on the tracks, expect the trip itself to take 25 minutes. Allow for the wait time between trains to be longer at off-peak times. You can check the Trip Planner feature on the Metro website (www.wmata.com) for details.

Edited: 2:06 pm, November 03, 2011
Merritt Island...
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2. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Thanks,

So as far as things to do in Alexandria versus in DC itself, in the afternoon/evenings. I guess I can look a the website for the city and see activities around that timeframe. Any recommendations on things not to miss. I saw a walking tour at night.

Thanks

Alexandria, Virginia
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3. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Christmas time in Old Town Alexandria is magical! The vast majority of our events are the first weekend where we have our Scottish Walk Christmas Parade through the old city. The week after Christmas is a slow one, so lots of opportunities to linger at the museums, shops and restaurants.

Although the hotels immediately adjacent to the Metro are convenient....I am a shill for the Kimpton hotel chain and more specifically, the Hotel Monaco, four blocks from the waterfront and in the middle of the historic District. Kimpton is a fun and funky hotel chain that gets customer service right. There's plenty of stuff to keep teens occupied and they should be free and safe exploring on their own, leaving you some down time. The walk to the metro is about 3/4 of a mile and is a comfortable walk. Winter weather can be dicey...but there is a shuttle that runs to and from the Metro if you head down town to the museums.

I highly recommend checking out Mt. Vernon Estate (10 miles away) it is truly worthy for a special Christmas visit. If you are staying over the New Years, Alexandria holds a fabulous 'First Night' event that encompasses the entire city and is exclusively family friendly. Check the links below for more information.

Events site:

visitalexandriava.com/calendar-of-events/…

I hope this is helpful

Merritt Island...
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4. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Thanks for the suggestions so far. So at Christmas assuming it's gonna be cold. Stay closer to the Metro for the run in to DC or more toward the river near more activities inthe afternoon/evening?

I like the idea of a free breakfast and an indoor pool.

Embassy Suites/Hilton or over to the Monaco( they havea $1 breakfast add on)

May stay thru New Years so maybe furhter in to old town makes sense.

Thoughts?

Alexandria, Virginia
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5. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

The distinction between the two locations is convenience to one or another and less than half a mile which is pedestrian and very dog friendly! Stay at the Embassy Suites and spend your mights doing dinner near the waterfront. Embassy Suites is perfect location to watch our fireworks display for First Night, if you can swing a suite facing the Washington Masonic Temple.

Merritt Island...
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6. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Thanks Karen,

I assume it's a safe walk down and around King St at night? Back and forth from the Embassy Suites to the waterfront.

Alexandria, Virginia
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7. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Old Town Alexandria is a major tourist destination. Our streets are as safe as any, but opportunist exist in all communities. I live here, but when walking my own neighborhood keep to the well lit streets. King Street is the main thoroughfare and is well travelled at all hours. You and your family should feel safe here.

On another note, I see you are from Florida..and understand now your concerns about the cold weather. Last year my family visited from Texas and arrived in the middle of a big cold snap...we went to our local Ross store here in Old Town and picked up some dirt cheap coats and gloves to make it through our week...so just a thought if that was what concerned you.

Merritt Island...
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8. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Ok, one last question....for now:-)

I know this is an Alexandria forum but would it be better to stay in Alexandria and take the metro or in DC near the mall. I think there is more to do after hours and especially a holiday time in Alexandria.

Merritt Island...
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9. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Or any of the hotels North of King St near the water? I din't see any Metro inthat area so it would be a bit of a walk.?

Alexandria, Virginia
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10. Re: Christmas Trip Questions

Tom: DC is zips up at night in and around the mall. There are some cool, if expensive, restaurants up and down Pennsylvania Ave and in China town. However, for ambiance, charm and selection - Old Town would be my choice to stay for an extended visit. The Metro makes getting into and out of the city a snap, and a nice relief to get away from the museums and hustle at night. There are restaurants in Old Town that will satisfy your tastes and budget at all extremes.

To follow up on your second question, the hotels north of King are perfectly fine (Crown Plaza; Holiday Inn and Sheraton), albeit at a severe disadvantage for ease and access. They are isolated with limited restaurants and shopping about 8-10 blocks north of King, making the shuttles a necessity and their timing a pain. Access to the Braddock Road Metro is more complicated from that end of town. I will say, I put family and friends at the Sheraton, and they have been very satisfied. The Crown Plaza was recently renovated. You might check TA comments for considerations by visitors.

So to conclude, disclosure required - I am biased, Old Town is the place to stay at Christmas time!