June 29, 2010

Tuesday’s Travel Tips – Washington D.C.

Just in time for Independence Day, we celebrate our red, white, and BlueCity, Washington D.C. in this week’s Tuesday’s Travel Tips. With service to Washington’s Dulles Airport and new service starting in November to Reagan National, there are a few ways to jet to the nation’s capital on JetBlue.

Ground Operations Crewmember, Babar points out that Dulles Interntional Airport is one

Image courtesy of Michael Nyika

Image courtesy of Michael Nyika

of the few to still offer old school mobile lounges. Note that Dulles airport is actually not in Washington D.C., but 26 miles west in Virginia. Despite these characteristics, Dulles is a manageable airport and one that gains you access to the nation’s capital.

Washington D.C. is an eclectic city with many diverse neighborhoods. Perhaps more interesting than stopping at actual landmarks, especially if you’re short on time, is to simply explore the landscape of the four quadrants that the city is composed of. The architecture is rich with history and you’ll catch some sights and sounds and even smells of many different cultures just via a quick drive, metro ride (which is easy to navigate), or walk around.

First on the list of places to visit is the National Mall. No, this is not a shopping mall, but

Image courtesy of Jeff Kubina

Image courtesy of Jeff Kubina

rather a great, big lawn and fountain known as the “heart of the capital district,” surrounded by a series of national monuments, memorials, and museums. The location is home to some of the most famous speeches and marches in our nation’s history. The best time of year to visit is during the Spring, when the cherry blossoms are in full swing.

Organizational Effectiveness Crewmember Beth suggests you try touring the monuments at night. While you may not be able to ask questions or visit a gift shop, you get to visit when the monuments are less crowded and not as hot. It also frees you up to visit one of the Smithsonian museums or others that have set hours. Beth also recommends the National Archives as a worthy stop, but suggests you get there early to beat the crowds. One museum that is not free but worth a trip with children is the Spy Museum where you get to be the spy!

Image courtesy of Jeff Kubina

Image courtesy of Jeff Kubina

A great resource for things to do in and around D.C. (aside from this column, of course) is 100 free or nearly free things to do in D.C. which lists everything from free cultural events and museums to the cheapest happy hour and free festivals.

Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan are two cute neighborhoods adjacent to one another and a great place to stop for a bite. With tons of fun restaurants – Madam’s Organ comes highly recommended – you’ll have no lack of options in these areas. Georgetown is another great area to find a bite and check out the scene, especially if you’re coming from a show or performance at the nearby Kennedy Center. And just a hop, skip, and jump from Georgetown is the bridge to Virginia, where you can easily check out Arlington National Cemetery and George Washington’s residency, Mount Vernon.

If you’re in the region for an extended period of time, it’s worth exploring some of the neighborhoods that surround D.C. like Hyattsville (Franklin’s Brewery is a must-try) Takoma Park, and Langley Park (for some slammin’ Central American and Caribbean food). These areas are all considered part of the Washington metro area and are accessible by metro.

Do you have any great Washington D.C. travel tips to share? Leave them in the comments below, or Tweet them using the hashtag #TTIAD.

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