Beating the D.C. Tourists When Headed to a Meeting
The best way to avoid tourists in our nation’s capital is to head to D.C. during off-peak times (summer, school holidays, etc.). Since that is likely unavoidable, you’ll have to employ some tricks of the trade to navigate the city quickly. While you’ll never hit every green light or catch every train at your station, you can get to your meetings on time or early if you have advanced city knowledge:
Washington, D.C. and its labyrinth of streets were designed by Pierre L’Enfant. His inspiration for the intersecting and diagonal streets combined with a large walkway in the middle of the city makes D.C. incredibly unique and beautiful. It also makes it very complicated to understand and navigate. Certain streets in downtown are one way, others that should logically exist just don’t exist (J Street, for example)!
If you know ahead of time where you’ll be staying and where your meetings will be, we recommend planning ahead and mapping out your route. If you’re driving yourself, be educated about nearby parking garages or if valet is available. If you’re walking, give yourself time to get to where you’re going – and if possible, plan morning meetings when tourists won’t yet be out and about (lunchtime and afternoon business will make trekking through the crosswalks with thousands of others difficult!).
D.C.’s metro system is among the best in the world (although it has a sliding fare scale and shorter hours than other major cities). If you want to avoid the hassle of driving and parking, buy a Metro pass to get around the city. Tourists will most likely utilize stops that are closest to the sites (the Smithsonian stop, for example) so pick ones that are a little off the beaten path but still get you close to your final destination (L’Enfant Plaza is a great alternative to the Smithsonian).
Employ an Expert
If you don’t want to deal with any navigation or planning at all, then we would recommend utilizing an expert driver who knows the ins and outs of D.C. like the back of their hands. GroundLink drivers in D.C. are street savvy and highly knowledgeable about the intricacies of D.C. navigation and can get you to your meeting in ways that tourists would never know about.
With tourist season upon us, anyone getting around Washington, D.C. will encounter crowds and higher levels of traffic than normal. But with careful planning and/or employing true experts, you’ll be able to be at every meeting with zero hassle.