Washington DC was
designed by Pierre Charles L'Enfant. His vision was a simple grid
platform with wide, easy to negotiate streets integrating memorials,
monuments, and museums with the country's government buildings and
comfortable neighborhoods for residents. The city is divided into 4
quadrants, NE, NW, SE, and SW, emanating from a center point, which is
our nations capitol. Numbered streets travel North/South, with lettered
streets traveling East/West. Avenues crossing the grid on angles are
named after the states. Many traffic circles were integrated into the
plan to create parks for neighborhoods to enjoy. Washington DC is
bordered roughly on the south side by the Potomac River, with the
state of Maryland to the North. Washington DC is approximately 10
square miles, with a resident population of about 600, 000. If you
include the neighboring Maryland and Virginia suburbs, Metro
Washington's population grows to about 5.5 million. Washington DC is
relatively flat, from a low of sea level to a high of 420 feet. Below
are some quick facts we hope may help you with your plans to visit our
Washington DC is
serviced by 3 major airports, (Reagan National, Dulles International
and Baltimore/Washington International) providing almost limitless
access by air. In addition, Union Station provides the central access
for Amtrak, and both commuter and freight trains. Several bus lines
also provide access terminals, with direct nonstop service from many
close cities. Visitors can of course travel to the Washington DC by
car, though parking once you arrive can be challenging.
Taxi service is available from every airport. There are additional options specific to each airport detailed as follows.
- Taxi service to most of the Bed and Breakfast homes in our system is less than $25 for a party of 2
Metrorail service is available using the blue and yellow lines
Supershuttle, a van service with door-to-door service, is $12 per person.
- Taxi service fares are about $85 for a party of 2
Metrobus provides shuttle service from the airport to the Green line
station of the Metrorail at Greenbelt station. The bus fare is $6 per
Supershuttle fares are about $37 for the first person and $12 for each additional person up to 7
MARC train commuter rail, operating Monday to Friday about 1 every hour. Fares are roughly $6
- Taxi service fares are about $85 for a party of 2
A private company, the Washington Flyer, provides bus service to the
West Falls Church station of the Metrorail. The bus fare is about $12 one-way,
$18 round trip.
Supershuttle fares are about $29 for the first person and $10 for each additional person up to 7
enjoys one of the best public transportation systems in the country.
Comprised of city buses (Metrobus) and subway (Metrorail) it is an
integrated system that is clean, efficient, safe and easy to use for
access to most areas of the city. Along the National Mall, visitors
will also find Tourmobile and Historic Trolley services. With the grid
pattern, and a relatively small center, Washington is also very
walkable. Taxi service has just transitioned from our previous zone system, to a more traditional metered system. Fares in Washington are still very reasonable, most fares in the downtown area are less than $10 for 2 persons.
Sales tax for Washington is
5.75%, beverage tax is 10%, and hotel and accommodation tax is 14.5%
(which includes the 5.75% sales tax).
Washington enjoys a
moderate climate, with spring and fall being the most comfortable times
to visit. Winter experiences daytime highs in the low to mid 40's (F)
and evening lows in the mid 20's to 0. August is generally the most
uncomfortable month, with heat accompanied by high humidity. It is rare
to find buildings in Washington that are not air-conditioned for the
summer. Public transportation throughout the city is also climate
controlled with heat and air-conditioning. All of our B&B's and
furnished apartments are climate controlled for your comfort.
Parking in the city is
exceptionally restricted and regulated. The area immediately
surrounding the National Mall is mostly metered, with limits of 2 hours
or less. Meters extend into most of the commerce areas of the city as
well, and many neighborhoods require a resident sticker. We recommend
you carefully consider bringing a car to DC (they can be easily rented
for a day if you are planning a trip outside the reach of public
transportation), as parking ticket fees are quite high. The city is
very vigilant about ticketing and towing. If your car is towed after
7pm on a Friday, you will not be able to retrieve it from the impound
yard until Monday after 9am. Towing and storage fees will be levied in
addition to ticket fees. Some Bed and Breakfasts can provide off-street
parking (usually for a fee). If you plan to bring a car, please be sure
to ask about parking accommodations as well.
All of the
Smithsonian museums are free to the public (your tax dollars at work!).
Some special features inside some museums carry a fee, such as the Imax
Theater at the Air and Space museum. The Smithsonian museums are open
from 10am to 5:30 pm. Special events or exhibits may have extended
hours. We recommend you visit the Smithsonian Website for more
information including current or upcoming exhibits.
The monuments are open and staffed with National Park Service personnel
from 8am to midnight. There is never an entrance fee. Visit our
sightseeing links page for phone numbers and websites for the
monuments. An evening tour of the monuments is safe, and many believe
this is when they are most beautiful.
Washington boasts excellent
restaurants within minutes of almost anywhere you find yourself. The
diverse and international population of Washington means you will have
your choice of almost all types of food. Your hosts at your B&B can
be a great resource for not only renowned restaurants, but also the
neighborhood gems, not known to the general public. This is one of the
benefits of staying at a Bed and Breakfast.
seats in Washington are out numbered only by New York City. Venues such
as the John F. Kennedy center and National Theatre feature nationally
touring plays and live performance. In addition, many smaller theatre
companies offer a wide selection of opportunities to enjoy live
performances. Please visit our sightseeing links page for website and
phone numbers of some of the more popular venues. You may also consider
the Washington Ballet, or enjoy the taking in the newest movie after
touring the restored Union Station.
Georgetown, Dupont Circle and Adams-Morgan
are three neighborhoods of the city known for nightclubs and bars. They
are also where you can find a vast array of restaurants, coffee shops
and shopping. Many of the Bed and Breakfasts in our system are located
in these neighborhoods, or accessible by a short walk or ride on public