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Old 30 Nov 20, 10:07 AM  
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#11
Beth_Disney
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I wouldn't have a car in DC either, taking the Amtrak from New York to Washington was a great experience and it was nice to be able to take in the views.

There is a decent mall near the Pentagon. It's called Fashion Center at Pentagon City. We got the subway to the Pentagon for the tour and then went for lunch and shopping in the afternoon.
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Old 30 Nov 20, 10:26 AM  
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sparklegirl
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I echo those that have said Amtak. I have travelled that way from NY to DC and plan to go from Boston to DC that way next year. There is a brilliant shopping centre called Tysons that you can get to on the metro (silver line from memory) Its one of the best malls I think I have experienced. Its massive. There is also the Galleria at Tysons which is higher end kind of like Mall at Millenia. I think there is also an outlet mall at National Harbor and you can get a water taxi from Alexandria which is a really pretty part of DC too.

I have picked up a car in DC and driving there is insane. The Beltway is something to behold. I can certainly vouch for the ease and safety of Amtrak and the cost is decent too. You will absolutely not need a car in DC the public transprot is excellent and its pretty compact for walking around in too.

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tysonscornercenter/

tysonsgalleria/en/directory/
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Old 30 Nov 20, 12:03 PM  
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Anne K
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Originally Posted by cornishfrogboy View Post
I would catch the AMTRAC from Philly to D.C. and back, not bothering with a car at all. Itís comfortable, quick, cheap and solves all your problems.

You shouldnít need a car in D.C.

I do not know where the shopping is because we donít do shopping on vacation, but all of the rest are very central to the Mall, with Pentagon and Arlington just across the Potomac behind the Lincoln memorial.
This^^
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Old 30 Nov 20, 01:59 PM  
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Lizzim
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We've been to DC a couple of times now. 3 days should allow you to see most things - I have a trip report in my signature if you want to take a look.

We have also visited Philadelphia (we have friends in Delaware) - it was less interesting so I think a day is fine.

Agree with others that a car in DC is unnecessary but as you have the package could you look at parking outside the city and taking the train in? You might find cheaper parking that way?
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Old 30 Nov 20, 03:15 PM  
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smithlane
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Thanks everyone. I'll give BA a call to see about cancelling the car hire part but I have a feeling there is a charge for this.
I forgot to put in my OP that we plan to meet up with a friend who lives in Maryland on the day that we drive from Philadelphia to DC, no firm plans have obviously been made so I suppose they could meet us in DC for dinner one night if I can get rid of the car.
Thank you for the shopping mall recommendations, sounds simple enough to get the train out there.
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Old 30 Nov 20, 04:44 PM  
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We stayed at the Hilton Dupont Circle. I would suggest ditching the car at Dulles airport and getting a shuttle to your hotel, then reverse the process and pick up another car when you leave. Parking and driving in DC is no joke. We bought a 2 day hop on and off bus pass that included a night tour as it went round all the sightseeing places, including the zoo. The Metro was also easy to use. Food can be expensive so look at food courts and there are great food trucks near the Monument.
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Old 30 Nov 20, 07:52 PM  
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Definitely amtrak it down. We did ny -> washington last year. Nice big seats and no problems.

In Washington just uber it.
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Old 10 Dec 20, 03:17 AM  
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I went to Philadelphia 2 years ago now and stayed 2 nights but I absolutely loved it. I loved it more than New York and really can't wait to go back. I would add on an extra night if you can.

The city is super easy to get around on foot too!

Here's what we did in two days:

Reading Terminal market - best public market I've been to

Independence Hall - free to visit but you can reserve a ticket for $1.50 online, just make sure you pick up a physical ticket from the visitor ticket (which I forgot!)

Liberty Bell - Free also, no ticket needed

The Franklin Fountain - I went in summer and loved this cute old fashioned ice cream parlor. They only take cash, and use a brass cash register, have an old traditional soda fountain and everything.

Public Parks - I loved walking through the Public Parks here, there's four main ones but I think the most popular to walk through is Washington Square Park

Philadelphia City Hall - beautiful building that offers tours and you can go to the top floor lookout

Rocky Steps and Philadelphia Art Museum

One Liberty Observation Deck - super cheap for an observation deck at $15 the city is really beautiful at night

Betsy Ross House - the house where the first American flag was sewn by Betsy Ross

Elfreths Alley - the oldest residential street in the United States - super cute street for a walk through

Get a Philly Cheesesteak! Genos's and Pat's are two of the most famous places to get a philly cheesesteak but they're a little out of town so I never got there but you'll find them all over!

JFK Plaza/Love Park for the LOVE statue and awesome photos looking down Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Christchurch Burial Ground - resting place of Benjamin Franklin


Other things I wished I'd had time for:

Penn's Landing
Eastern State Penitentiary
Edgar Allen Poe Historical Site
Philadelphia Magic Gardens

I stayed at the Marriott Center City and it was amazing for location
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Old 10 Dec 20, 02:38 PM  
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AlexE
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We got the Amtrak from NY to Washington and its a great way to travel and got a cab to the State Plaza in Foggy Bottom. Its so central with the Lincoln Memorial a few minutes walk away and the Big Red Bus stop for the tour bus was very close by. Hotel had the White House at the end of the road. I definitely wouldnt use a car in Washington its very walkable and the tour bus guides are very informative. Lots of museums and the zoo are all free as they are part of the Smithsonian.

We had to cancel our August trip this year but we will definitely return.
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Old 8 Jan 21, 03:51 PM  
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We did 7 nights in DC in Feb 2020 and struggled to fit it all in but we are massive museum junkies! Smithsonian is great and recommend going to at least one museum on your trip, if only one probably the African American History and Culture museum.
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