For those of you coming to DC for the NECC conference beginning next weekend, some transportation options for getting away from the Convention Center.
A car should probably be your last resort since you really don’t want to drive into DC on a weekday. Traffic is generally lousy and parking is hard to find (the Center says there are 3000 spaces close by; that’s optimistic), not to mention that it can be expensive.
Also on the expensive side are taxi cabs and short trips on the Metro system. Fares on Metro run $1.65 to $4.50 per trip during morning and afternoon rush hour (slightly lower at other times) depending on how far you travel.
At least the cabs are now using standard meters like those in every other major city instead of the hard to understand (and easy to get ripped off) zone system we had for decades.
Walking is always an option in good weather, although the Convention Center isn’t especially close to the big name tourist attractions.
However, Chinatown is nearby and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Building Museum and the International Spy Museum (all worth a visit) are five to seven blocks away.
If you need to get from the Convention Center area to the National Mall and don’t want to walk (which can be a long hike in hot, humid weather), consider taking the DCCirculator bus.
Their busses run every 10 minutes on a round trip between the Convention Center and the Waterfront area, stopping on the Mall near the Museum of Art and the Air and Space Museum.
The Circulator also runs a crosstown route between Union Station and Georgetown* with stops on the south end of the Center (across Mt. Vernon Square Park) and one that circulates around the mall and Capitol Hill.
Each trip is $1 or you can pay $3 for a one-day, all-you-can ride pass.
Lots of other bus routes run through the area but plan your trip carefully since their routes can sometimes be confusing and not well marked on the signs at some stops.
* BTW, if anyone tells you to take Metro to the Georgetown Station, you are being punk’d. It doesn’t exist.