DC is serviced by three major airports:
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA- http://www.mwaa.com/national/),
Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI- http://www.bwiairport.com/) and
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD- http://www.metwashairports.com/Dulles/).
Amtrak (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/HomePage) trains will get you to DC. Union Station (http://www.unionstationdc.com/) is Amtrak's 'flagship' station, and has some great travel resources to offer visitors.
Greyhound bus service connects Washington with Baltimore (Maryland), Richmond (Virginia), New York and other destinations along the Eastern Seaboard and in the South. It isn't safe to walk to the Greyhound station after dark, but there is a cheaper alternative to a cab: the D4 bus (direction: Ivy City), which leaves from the front of Union Station and stops at the corner of K and First, across the street from the terminal. Trailways also provides service to eastern cities.
Amtrak provides frequent rail service along the busy Eastern Seaboard corridor from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington. You'll generally find efficient, well-maintained trains and convenient stations. Rates and travel times between many destinations along this route are competitive with air travel, especially considering that train stations are centrally located in major cities. Union Station in Washington is Amtrak's 'flagship' station and offers a variety of convenient travel resources to visitors.
There are three major airports in the capitol region; all three are within 55km (34mi) of Washington DC. Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI- ) is located in Linticum, Maryland, 16km (10mi) south of downtown Baltimore and 48km (30mi) northeast of Washington. Washington Dulles International Airport (pronounced dull -uss) (IAD) is in Herndon, Virginia, 40km (25mi) west of Washington. By far the most convenient airport for Washington visitors is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), which is right on the Potomac River near Arlington National Cemetery. National Airport is a regional airport and doesn't offer international flights, except to and from Canada.
Limousines, shuttle vans and taxis will take you between downtown Washington and all three airports. The fast and frequent Metro serves Reagan Washington National Airport directly; shuttles connect Dulles with Metro stations. Amtrak train service is available between Baltimore-Washington Airport and Washington.
Driving to Washington, take the Interstate 95, the East Coast's central artery, which runs north-south to DC; from the south take the I-395.
You'll be surprised to learn that DC has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion so driving can be a teeth-gritting experience; cycling is one of the best ways to get around. Rental companies like Better Bikes Inc delivers and picks up bikes anywhere in the DC area. You can also take your bike on the Metrorail (except during rush hour) and Metrobuses are equipped with racks for transporting bicycles if you want to catch a ride.
DC's Metrobus system efficiently services the city and surrounding suburbs, as does the sleek new Metrorail. It is well funded and well maintained. Parking is available at certain outlying stations. In addition to Metro, two commuter train systems serve downtown DC from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, but these are mainly commuter lines designed around the working week.
There is no shortage of cabs in DC, Diamond Yellow and Capitol being the two major companies.
The municipal bus service fills in the gaps in the Metro routes, but it can be slow going in Washington's traffic.
If you want to drive, all the usual car rental operators are downtown or at the airports; but really, driving is a fool's errand in DC traffic, especially when most sights are within a few blocks of public transport.
Walking is the best way to get around central Washington - most visitors do a lot more of it than they might expect.
Taxis are a viable option for short trips (especially if you share cabs) and they're a good way to avoid city parking hassles.
Washington's modern, efficient Metrorail (http://www.wmata.com/) subway system is excellent. It provides services throughout the city and outlying communities. Commuter trains service downtown DC from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs.
This is a great destination for disabled visitors. Most museums and major sights are wheelchair accessible, as are most large hotels and restaurants. The Smithsonian and many other museums arrange special tours for people with visual, auditory or other impairments. All Metro trains and most buses are wheelchair accessible. All Metro stations have elevators, and guide dogs are allowed on trains and buses. Disabled people who can't use public transit can use MetroAccess, a door-to-door transport provider.
Many large hotels have suites for disabled guests, but check before you reserve. Larger car-rental agencies offer hand-controlled models at no extra charge. All major airlines, Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains allow service animals on board and often sell two-for-one packages if you need an attendant to accompany you.
Out of doors, the buckled brick sidewalks in the historic blocks of Georgetown and Capitol Hill can be tough on wheelchairs, but sidewalks in most other parts of DC are in good shape and have dropped curbs. Be aware that only a handful of crosswalks, mostly near the Mall, have audible crossing signals. The Washington DC Convention & Visitors Association (tel: 202 789 7000; www.washington.org; 901 7th St NW) provides a fact sheet with details regarding accessibility at local attractions, lodgings and restaurants.
Hearing-impaired visitors should check out Gallaudet University in northeast DC, which hosts lectures and cultural events especially for the deaf.
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