Last week I was in Washington DC for the Allen Press 2010 Emerging Trends in Scholarly Publishing Seminar and I thought I would scout out the conference hotel for next month.
Originally I mixed up my Washington DC Hiltons and erroneously thought the Hilton I was staying at last week was the conference hotel. (Both Hiltons are in middle of construction/restoration of guest rooms which is what helped cause my confusion.) After discussing locations and logistics with other librarians on Twitter I quickly realized my mistake. I grabbed the tennies and decided to walk to the conference hotel and check out a few things. Here are some of the things I learned.
The conference hotel is the Hilton Washington at 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW. It is a 25-30 minute walk to the White House. Lots to see, eat, and buy on that walk, should you decide go.
Dupont Circle has a lot of cool restaurants, bars, shops, and is a very vibrant busy area. The closest Metro station to the hotel is Dupont Circle. It is about a 10 minute walk of approximately four blocks. The walk from the station to the hotel is up hill. It is not like climbing Mt. Everest but it may (or may not) be a factor with your luggage from the airport, or if you are commuting in from another hotel each day.
A Rite Aid pharmacy is across the street from the hotel (it is on Connecticut) should you forget something at home or want to buy a cheap bottle of water or snack. (I always seem to forget saline solution, tooth brushes, or my make up foundation gets confiscated at the airport, so it is nice to have a pharmacy nearby.)
I encourage everybody to stay at the conference hotel, but if that is not possible for some reason, there is a Courtyard Marriott directly across the street from the Hilton.
You have your choice of three airports to fly into; Reagan National (DCA), Dulles (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington (BWI). Both Reagan and Dulles are in Washington DC, they are often more expensive to fly into and they can be very hectic on Fridays or break times when members of Congress are trying to get home. BWI is often cheaper to fly into but you need to plan for plenty of travel time to/from the airport and the hotel. According to Bing Maps the drive is technically 48 minutes, but clearly you would have to be in a flying car (ala the Jetsons) to make that kind of time. The traffic between BWI and DC is very heavy. It can sometimes take 2 hours to get from one to the other.
DC has very good public transportation. You can use it to get from any of the airports to the conference hotel. I suggest using the Metro Trip Planner if you are going to use the Metro. If you are flying into BWI or Dulles you will have to take the Metrobus for about a 1/2 hour ride to a Metro station and catch the subway train(s) to Dupont Circle. You don’t need to take the Metrobus for Reagan National.
Other ground transportation you can take to get you from the airport to the hotel are taxis and SuperShuttle. Taxis from BWI and Dulles are expensive. BWI is about $100 one way. Dulles is about about $60 one way. Reagan is cheaper and at best guess it is around $20 one way. (All the fares are from the taxi companies’ sample rates.) If you don’t want to use the Metro and you don’t mind riding in a shared van, SuperShuttle is cheaper than a taxi. From BWI it is about $37 each way. From Dulles it is about $29 each way and from Regan it is $14 each way. The nice thing about SuperShuttle is that you can book your round trip ahead of time online and you can always find a coupon code online to knock a few bucks off the fare.
Final note: Washington DC is a walking city. Think of comfy shoes if you are planning on doing any walking anywhere.