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Volt61 Aug 28th 2010 12:10 am

Which Washington DC Metro (Orange/Blue Lines) station?
I'm driving from the south up to Washington DC on I-95 and want to find a good station on the Orange or Blue lines to take the metro to Smithsonian station.

Can you recommend one or the best one?
And also, in an area where my car will be safe left in the station parking lot.

I understand that parking is free at the stations in the outlying areas. Is this right?

Thanks for any help.

penguinsix Aug 28th 2010 12:29 am

Re: Which Washington DC Metro (Orange/Blue Lines) station?
Parking is not free, except on the weekends. During the week you would have to arrive very early just to find a spot.

If you are coming up 95 you will be aiming for a blue line station. It's not worth the hassle to drive over to the Orange line which is far more crowded normally.

Franconia Springfield is probably your best bet.

Are you coming on a weekday or a weekend? What museums are you really interested in seeing (Smithsonian is an 'umbrella group' for nearly a dozen museums in Washington which are not all closest to the Smithsonian Metro stop).

Are you aware of VRE? It's the commuter rail system that runs during the week. It serves stations quite a bit further out so you don't have to get into the DC-area traffic.

Finally, if it is a weekend (and this flies in the face of most advice you will hear) you could just drive into DC and park somewhere. The traffic is not that big a deal, and if you are willing to throw it in a parking garage it's not a problem. I-95 crosses into DC on the 14th Street Bridge, which 'empties' into the 'Mall' area where all the Museums are located. It's only about 4 or 5 traffic lights/blocks from the end of I-95 to the Museums. I would not recommend this though on a weekday--only if you are going on a weekend.

Volt61 Aug 28th 2010 12:46 am

Re: Which Washington DC Metro (Orange/Blue Lines) station?
Thanks for the helpful info.

I was looking at heading to Van Dorn St, which is one stop further on, but I suppose it doesn't make any difference unless this area is not safe for us or the car.

It will be a weekend when I go.

penguinsix Aug 28th 2010 6:06 am

Re: Which Washington DC Metro (Orange/Blue Lines) station?
If it is a weekend, it really isn't a big deal to just drive into the city (unless there is a large scheduled protest or something). Parking will be your most difficult thing, but with a car you'll have a lot more options to see neighborhoods like Georgetown or the National Cathedral that aren't serviced by Metro. If there is no traffic you're talking 15 minutes to get from the Beltway into the city. Really, it's not tough.

But if you do want Metro, plan out your trip a bit so you aren't walking. Washington is deceptive--you look at pictures or a map and are like 'hey, it's just over there' but then you walk in the dust and the heat and the humidity and you realize "it's actually almost 2 miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial".

American History, Natural History--Federal Triangle Metro or Smithsonian
Archives / Natural History / National Gallery of Art-- Archives/Navy Memorial Metro
Air and Space / Native American -- L'Enfant plaza

Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam, WWII, and Korean Memorial--a bit of a hike from Smithsonian or Foggy Bottom Metros

I might also recommend Eastern Market. It's an old farmers market that has lots of fresh produce and artists on the weekends. They close the streets and folks come from all over to eat there. Inside is a place called "Market Lunch" which is a simple sandwich/burger stall, but the food it pretty tasty (been written up in Conde Nast, NYTimes, etc). Crabcake sandwiches are their specialty, served on homemade bread. Just a couple of stops from the Museums via Metro or a 5 minute drive by car (not in walking distance though)

penguinsix Aug 28th 2010 11:42 am

Re: Which Washington DC Metro (Orange/Blue Lines) station?
btw, this weekend, with the big Tea Party march, is NOT a good weekend to go to DC in a car (even the Metro will be a bit insane) unless you are taking part in the event.

The Washington Post actually has a pretty good traffic reporter named "Dr. Gridlock" who issues a report every Friday on what to expect over the weekend, taking into consideration protests, events, weather and construction. Before you go it would be worth a look:

lapin_windstar Aug 29th 2010 4:24 am

Re: Which Washington DC Metro (Orange/Blue Lines) station?

Originally Posted by penguinsix (Post 8809297)
btw, this weekend, with the big Tea Party march, is NOT a good weekend to go to DC in a car (even the Metro will be a bit insane) unless you are taking part in the event.

Local Tea Party "guide" for out of towner Tea Partiers produced a long and rambling email about which bits of DC were too dangerous to be visited, which was gleefully reprinted by gawker etc:

The safe bit is in blue: :rofl: :rofl:

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