Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Side Trips: Washington, D.C.

Can't wait until 2009? Deb B. provides this information on side trips to D.C.

Day Trips to Washington, DC from the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore, MD

During the weekdays the primary options for traveling from Baltimore to Washington, DC include rental car and Marc train to the Washington Metro System. The Marc train can be boarded at 1 of 3 stations: Penn Station (using the Penn line), Camden Yards Station (directly across from the Convention Center using the Camden line or BWI (Penn Line). During rush hour the trains run approximately every 30 mins, after 9am and before 4:00 pm they run approximately every hour. To view the complete schedules for all Marc Train lines visit www.mtamaryland.com. One can take the train, depending on the line chosen, directly into Union Station in Washington DC or to New Carrollton, Maryland. At both locations the Metro can then be caught to many points all over DC and some of the outlying suburbs. While this would be the most convenient method for conference visitors to get into DC let me, again STRESS, that this option is only available on the weekdays and primarily during rush hours. If you suspect your stay in the City will keep you there into the evening be sure to verify the departure of the last Marc Train back to Baltimore.

After checking with the conference hotels, all of them have said the concierge or the front desk staff can assist guests with arranging for a rental car be it for a day or the duration of stay. This is just about the only way to travel from Baltimore to Washington, DC on the weekends. There is a fairly straight and pleasant route to take using US Route 295, also known as the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Conveniently RT 295 can be accessed right out of the Inner Harbor area and in a short 45 miles one will find themselves approaching the city line of Washington, DC. The signage pointing visitors to the Downtown area of Washington are fairly well marked, but always a good idea to have a map or a set of directions with you. There is street parking around the National Mall and Museum area, but be sure to read the signs carefully to avoid tickets and towing, especially during the weekdays.

If driving, I would urge visitors to plan their departure from Baltimore after 9:30am, if a weekday, to avoid the standard rush hour commute between the 2 cities. Likewise, plan your travel back prior to 3:00 pm or after 6:30-7pm in the evening. The BW Parkway is a major commuter route and extensive delays can be expected if traveling it during the work week.

An alternative to driving all the way into DC would be to drive to one of the suburban Metro stops, such as New Carrollton or Greenbelt. Paid parking is available and the Metro trains run continually in 10-20 minute intervals from 5am on the weekdays and 7am on the weekends until midnight Sunday thru Thursdays and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. To map out a route from any Metro stop to any destination in the DC area visit the Metro website at www.wmata.com. The Metro system is very safe, unbelievably clean and the most efficient method of getting around DC. There are stops very near every major tourist attraction. The rates are very reasonable, but are higher during rush hour when the trains do run more frequently. One hint: if parking in a Metro lot be sure to purchase a Smartrip card at the beginning of your journey (machines can be found inside the stations) and be sure to add enough value to the card to cover your Metro fares and your parking as you can NOT pay and leave the parking lot without the Smartrip card.

Traveling to RFK Stadium to see the Washington Nationals Play Baseball

The Washington Nationals will have an extended home stand during the conference time, unlike the Baltimore Orioles. They will play the Philadelphia Phillies on June 10 (1:20pm) and 11 (1:05pm) and the Colorado Rockies on June 12-14 (all start times are 7:05). Just as an aside, there is a special give-away on Saturday, June 10…a Chad Cordero Bobblehead doll!

For the week day and weekend games the modes of transportation would include driving into the Stadium and parking in one of their paid parking lots or driving to one of the suburban Metro stops and taking the Metro into the Stadium Metro Station which is on the Orange/Blue line and is a direct shot from the New Carrollton Metro stop. Drive, park, hop the train and be in your seat at RFK Stadium in about an hour.

While travel suggestions for the weekday games remain the same, be very careful to keep track of time. Should the game run into extra innings you could run the chance of missing the last Metro train if that was the mode of transportation you chose to use. Remember the Metro system closes down at midnight during the week.

To learn more about the Nationals, now in their 2nd year of play, and/or RFK Stadium visit www.washington.nationals.mlb.com

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is just about the only way to travel from Baltimore to Washington, DC on the weekends."

What about Amtrak???

5/09/2006 3:27 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Amtrak does travel between the two, for anywhere from about $13 to $45 each way. Add to that fares on both ends to get to Amtrak and renting a car might be preferable. IMHO.

5/09/2006 3:42 PM  

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