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Ryan

Washington, D.C

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Does anyone have recommendations (or not-so-recommendations) for on/off tours that stop at the station? I have about an 8 hour layover and I predict my legs will be screaming after four days at a fitness convention in Orlando, so the on/off tours seem like a good idea.

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Hi,

Can't help with the on/off tours, but I can recommend the DC Circulator bus service, which has routes starting in front of the station, and one from the bus garage at the rear of the station. You can buy a $1 ticket each time you get on, so although there will be no commentary (which some see as a blessing... :D) you can create a self guided tour quite cheaply. If you can't face walking, you can ride the bus route from end to end.

I think there is an all day pass available also, but can't quite remember, it has been a few years.

 

https://www.tripsavvy.com/dc-circulator-bus-1040435

 

Ed.

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Does anyone have recommendations (or not-so-recommendations) for on/off tours that stop at the station? I have about an 8 hour layover and I predict my legs will be screaming after four days at a fitness convention in Orlando, so the on/off tours seem like a good idea.

My wife and I used the Hop On Hop Off service a couple of years ago. She was 5 months into a new hip, used a walker and that worked better for us than trying to use the city bus service considering her mobility situation.

 

We did use the Metro (subway) to get from our hotel to spots where we could catch the Hop On Hop Off and continue from where we ended the day before. The cost will be more than if you used the DC Circulator (which I did consider) but that is something you will need to evaluate.

 

Enjoy the visit.

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Hi,

Can't help with the on/off tours, but I can recommend the DC Circulator bus service, which has routes starting in front of the station, and one from the bus garage at the rear of the station. You can buy a $1 ticket each time you get on, so although there will be no commentary (which some see as a blessing... :D) you can create a self guided tour quite cheaply. If you can't face walking, you can ride the bus route from end to end.

I think there is an all day pass available also, but can't quite remember, it has been a few years.

 

https://www.tripsavvy.com/dc-circulator-bus-1040435

 

Ed.

 

It looks like they have a section on their website to check up on when the next bus will be at the next stop. This is definitely promising- especially for the rate (cheaper than a single ride on our local buses)! I don't need commentary- I just really wanted to make sure that I pay my respects at the Vietnam Memorial and maybe run around a museum or two. Thank you!

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Right across the street from Washington Union Station is the National Postal Museum (Smithsonian operated, I believe.) Lots of interesting exhibits, a gift shop, and a post office!

Two of my favorite exhibits are the Railway Post Office car inside and the preserved body of Owney, the famous wandering Railway Mail Service dog.

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One of the best--and most economical--deals in Washington are the circulator buses. DC circulator buses cost $1 per day ($0.50 for seniors), operate 10 minutes apart, and ply fixed routes. There 6 routes, each one designated by a color. The most important one is the Red circulator which operates from in front of Union Station at Louisiana Ave. and operates around the National Mall to most of the popular sites. Just hop off and later hop back on! They are air-conditioned too.

www.dccirculator.com

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Unless there's been a change Circulator fare is not per day - it is good for 2 hours (if you use SnartTrip card), then you pay again. Still a great deal!

Edited by City of Miami

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Correct, it's $1 or one senior fare per trip unless you have certain passes. I used it just once in May so I never tried getting off and back on with the same fare.

Mea culpa!

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Just thought I'd drop in a plug for the International Spy Museum, which is one mile west of Union Station (Google calls it a 21 minute walk) and just a block away from the Chinatown station on the Red Line. It is a paid admission museum, but we found it to be worth the ticket price. I visited in 2012 with my #2 nephew and #3 niece (ages 13 and 9 at the time) and they loved it. We paid the extra for the "Operation Spy" experience as well; both of the kids enjoyed that. One little tip for the latter...if you come into a room and someone says everything has to be put back the way you found it, then have someone in the group with a smartphone take a picture of the room before you start and compare against it before you leave!

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Is the layover on way back from Florida in DC purpsofully long? They do realize we won't have much if anything left right as we are on back from vacation in Florida. 2 hour layover in DC on way down to Florida. Way back to Indiana 7am-4pm roughly the time in DC. If just seems weirdly suspicious to me.

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Suspicious how?

 

It's merely a product of time and distance.

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Suspicious how?

 

It's merely a product of time and distance.

I just mean weird because layovers on way back from Florida generally seem longer on way down. Maybe like DC wants whatever little we may have on way back from vacation. My brain is weird.

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Is the layover on way back from Florida in DC purpsofully long? They do realize we won't have much if anything left right as we are on back from vacation in Florida. 2 hour layover in DC on way down to Florida. Way back to Indiana 7am-4pm roughly the time in DC. If just seems weirdly suspicious to me.

Coming from and going to Florida, we have these layovers all the time. We use it to visit the museums and other points of interest. The red bus line and hop on hop off tour are ways to get around if you are not into walking.

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In case anyone finds themselves in D.C. near Union Station with just a bit of time, right next door to it is the National Postal Museum. I was able to pop in there for about 20 minutes this past weekend, and even what little I was able to see was great! It's definitely an underrated hidden gem in the city. It's part of the Smithsonian Institution, so it's free, and it was recently remodeled, with the stamp collection exhibit being LEED certified (I forget which level).

Also, though Union Station is very easily accessible by the Metro's Red Line, for certain times and/or destinations, a car is needed. So, here's a tip for being dropped off at Union Station: never ever have someone come into Columbus Circle because the traffic is almost always terrible. We're talking waiting 15-20 minutes for your Lyft or Uber ride to show up. When getting dropped off, use First Street and either walk around to the front entrance or use the Metro entrance, which is a nice shortcut if you're running late, as you can go directly to the tracks from the escalator without even having to enter the station. When getting picked up, you can also use First Street, or go out the front entrance, turn right, and have them pick you up in front of the Postal Museum.

Edited by daybeers

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