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Business Travel Guide: Washington, DC

Business Travel Guide: Washington, DC

Perhaps more than in any other city in the world, politics defines the rhythm of daily life and dictates to a large extent how people dress, where they dine out and live, and with whom they socialize. But business, and increasingly, high-end restaurants come in a close second for occupying Washingtonians' day- and nighttime hours. That said, the city itself, with its resplendent architecture, historic sites and numerous world-class museums and monuments, makes a memorable destination for business travelers and residents alike. All this history and charm come with a price tag, and good hotels and restaurants within walking district of the various seats of power and to the Convention Center tend to escalate the closer you are to the hub. On the other hand, with its bustling growth, the city has sprawled beyond its geographical boundaries, with business hubs established in the high-tech Dulles Technology Corridor (the "Netplex") that spreads from the banks of the Potomac out west through Northern Virginia, and across the Potomac in the immense complex called National Harbor, where the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center offers businesses a one-stop meet-eat-greet destination in Maryland.

Facts to Know Before You Go —
Washington D.C. Business Travel



Washington has two major airports: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport. A third option is flying into Baltimore to BWI. Newcomers will find getting down to business simpler and faster by landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National, which is a short taxi, Metrorail (subway), bus, or shuttle ride from downtown DC. But if business takes you to the Dulles Corridor in Northern Virginia, flying into Dulles International Airport makes more sense.

Taxis and Shuttles:

Taking a cab is an expensive option, with few exceptions. Coming from Dulles airport to downtown DC will cost more than $50 plus tax, with lesser charges along the Northern Virginia route into the city. If you are doing business in Northern Virginia, however, cabs from Dulles will not be prohibitive. From Reagan into downtown Washington, the fares are obviously less costly because it is so much closer to the city, but the taxis are not metered and instead, charge by zones. Best bet: Familiarize yourself with DC's area jurisdictions so you know if the fare charged is correct. Note that local government is trying to change this system.


From Dulles, take the Washington Flyer Coach Service, which shuttles passengers to the West Falls Church Metro station on a regular basis. The ride takes about 20 minutes and costs $10 one way. From there, the train ride to DC will take about 35 minutes and the fares vary, depending on your stop. A shared ride on the SuperShuttle to Georgetown costs about $30; an exclusive van, over $100.

Washington Reagan, located only five miles from Downtown DC, has easier access. Taxi fares are much more reasonable and will run between $8 and $17. The Metro will get you to Downtown DC in about 15 minutes and will cost about $2 one-way, depending on your stop. Stations can be found in terminals B and C.

Rental Cars:

While traveling within the District of Columbia by cab or mass transit is easy, if your business takes you to the Dulles Corridor or nearby Maryland, consider renting a car. Most major car rental companies have counters at both Dulles and Reagan airports.



The Washington Post is a daily newspaper with extensive national and local coverage. Its business section provides current information. It has an online edition.

The Washington Examiner publishes six editions a week, and concentrates coverage on happenings in DC and the metro area. Its political columnists provide in-depth looks at what’s happening on the Hill.

Politico is a must-read for any political junkie, but its print and online versions offer more than politics, such as national economy, health care and defense reporting.

The Washington Business Journal is a valuable resource for breaking local business news and extensive coverage of commercial transactions; it publishes weekly and has an online edition.

For goings-on in Congress, The Hill is a must-read newspaper with an inside look at America's lawmakers.

Washington City Paper feeds the young and hungry crowds in DC looking for the hippest, hottest happenings.

For congressional news and information, Roll Call is valuable; it is published Monday through Thursday while Congress is in session.


Washingtonian Magazine is the premier guide to what is happening and to whom in the metro area. Published monthly.

Capitol File is a big glossy Vogue-style magazine dedicated to showcasing D.C.’s finest and most fashionable — and most newsworthy — in its pages. Its "Eye Spy" section does all the undercover work you need to stay in the know. Published 6 times a year.

The monthly Where is a must-have publication for anyone new to town. Its pages act like a mini guidebook and, fortunately for travelers, it is readily available at area airports and in many hotels.

The Washington Business Journal is a valuable resource for breaking local business news and extensive coverage of commercial transactions; it publishes weekly and has an online edition.

Washington Life magazine offers a colorful, gossipy look at DC's movers, shakers, and entertainers.

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Where to Stay — Washington D.C. Business Hotels

The Hay-Adams
One Lafayette Square
Washington, DC 20006

You will find luxury accommodations at The Hay-Adams in Washington, D.C.

One of Washington's most venerable guest destinations and a city landmark, The Hay-Adams is located on Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House and just blocks away from other federal buildings and agencies. Elegant and history-filled, the hotel is a notable meeting place for the rich and powerful, including world dignitaries. Besides luxury accommodations, there's a world-class restaurant and upscale spaces for meetings and corporate gatherings. Six meeting rooms, including The Rooftop Terrace with its sweeping vistas of Washington, provide amenities for business gatherings. For off-hours, the hotel's central location makes it ideal for shopping, dining, and entertainment areas around town.


The George, A Kimpton Hotel
15 E. St., NW
Washington, DC 20001

Stay in a comfortable room at The George, A Kimpton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

A fashionable boutique hotel, this location is close enough to Washington's seats of power so that guests can easily walk to Capitol Hill, and then can just as easily leave town by train from nearby Union Station. Although the exterior fits into its historic surroundings, the interior is pure 21st century: Chrome, glass and granite are spiced up with bright Warhol-style silk screens of Washington. The design of the 139 guestrooms and suites are also inspired by George Washington. All rooms include convenient amenities like cordless phones and a music player (Jawbone or iPod dock); complimentary WiFi is also provided for Kimpton Karma Rewards members. A business center offers two computers, printer and high-speed Internet. With its zinc bar, tile floor and innovative cuisine, the hotel's famous restaurant Bistro Bis is a favorite power spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner — especially when Congress is in session.


Hotel Tabard Inn
1739 N St., NW
Washington, DC 20036

Rooms at the Hotel Tabard Inn are filled with history

With its quiet air of reserved gentility, the Tabard Inn remains one of the city's most sought-after destinations. Located in the very busy Dupont Circle area, it is close enough to the heart of commerce, the government and DC's new Convention Center. The Tabard Inn creaks with history and is filled with character and charm, and offers private dining and meeting rooms for commercial gatherings. Its restaurant features eclectic American cuisine, and its breakfast doughnuts are legendary.

Hyatt Regency Reston
1800 Presidents Street
Reston, VA 20190

Enjoy all the perks of staying at the Hyatt Regency Reston in Reston, VA

Within easy travel distance to Washington Dulles Airport and also convenient for meeting high-tech clients in the Northern Virginia area, the Hyatt is on the perimeter of Reston's very popular Town Center, has its own first-class restaurant, offers clients a pool and gym, and is also within a reasonable driving distance to downtown DC. While business travelers find this a suitable location for appointment, plenty of tourists enjoy all the hotels many perks.


Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
1330 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20024

Enjoy the view from the Mandarin Oriental Water Premiere Room

Near the Jefferson Memorial, the National Mall, and the Washington Monument, The Mandarin Oriental enjoys a prime location while being just far enough from congested downtown areas to provide its guests with a respite from the city's rush. The hotel's generously proportioned guest rooms and suites — a marriage of Asian elegance and traditional touches — have been designed in keeping with the principles of Feng Shui to create sanctuaries of calm for high-powered guests. Rooms come with countless amenities, such as imported linens and flat screen TVs with DVDs. Café MoZu is also onsite and features tasty Asian-fusion cuisine sure to leave your palate satisfied. Business amenities include a fully equipped Business Center and individual communications facilities in every room, as well as wireless Internet access in all hotel function areas.

The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner
1700 Tysons Boulevard
McLean, VA 22102

A room at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in McLean, VA

Like its sister hotels elsewhere, The Ritz is elegantly and beautifully appointed, with every possible amenity, including afternoon tea. For business travelers, the hotel is centrally located in the busy commercial area of Tysons, with Northern Virginia tech firms nearby and Washington Dulles Airport a 15-minute drive away. Shoppers can walk to the four-star department stores, Neiman-Marcus and Saks Fifth Ave., both of which share the property with the hotel.

W Washington DC
515 15th St.
Washington, DC 2004

Accommodations at the W Washington DC

A power hub in DC with its proximity to the White House and State Department and with Capitol Hill just a few block away, this revamped destination hotel has come into its own. It doesn’t hurt that celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's steak restaurant, J&G Steakhouse by Jean-Georges, commands a sidewalk view just off the lobby — great for VIP lunches and dinners. Within easy walking distance of several federal office buildings, and a short cab ride to Capitol Hill for daytime appointments, the hotel also is on the entertainment side of town: the lively Penn Quarter with Verizon Center and lots of restaurants is a short cab ride away.

See our list of Washington DC's 10 Best Business Hotels

Where to Dine — Washington D.C. Business Dining

Brasserie Beck
1101 K St., NW
Washington, DC 20005


Dine on Belgian cuisine at Brasserie Beck

Hot, hip and happening, Brassier Beck is chef Robert Wiedmaier's Belgian fantasy with superlative mostly Belgian food and more than 100 Belgian beers to pair with each course. If you like the night scene and want to impress business pals, reserve ahead or cozy up to the bar and wait for your table. But for serious talk — the acoustics aren't conversation-friendly — plan a business lunch here. You will miss the nighttime hubbub, but you will still get the same steamed mussels, hot breads and pear tarte tatin with caramel sauce. With such culinary pampering, you can seal just about any deal.

Central Michel Richard
1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004


The dining room at Central Michel Richard

This casual American bistro attracts a constant state of hustle and bustle to its lively dining room. Wow your business partners with dishes such as gougères (cheese puffs), "faux gras terrine" and Michel's charcuterie plateaux, all rather tongue in cheek. There are plenty of entrée choices, including fried chicken with mashed potatoes, skate with caper sauce, and sautéed calf's liver with bacon. The wine list offers about 100 different selections from small French and American producers, and a smattering of options from Australia, Italy and Spain.

Old Ebbitt Grill
675 15th St., NW
Washington, DC 20005


Enjoy hearty American fare at Grant's Bar at the Old Ebbitt Grill

This famous restaurant with its oyster bar, dark woods, and velvet trim is one of DC's most popular venues, noted as the place for lawyers, politicos and journalists to drop by and swap stories. Steps away from the White House and with the State Department within walking distance — Capitol Hill is a short taxi ride away — the Ebbitt draws folks not only for its convenient location but also because the food is hearty mainstream American fare. Like oysters? Don't miss the Oyster Bar in the back room. Super busy all the time.

633 D St. NW
Washington, DC 20004


Traditional Indian cuisine is served in a contemporary setting at Rasika in Washington DC

Contemporary yet skillfully ancient, this very "today" Indian restaurant is as chic as any place downtown, yet offers patrons the sense of an older, more regal India. Some of the dishes may sound familiar, but the preparation and presentation are beyond ordinary. The chapli kebab starter comes as two patties of well-seasoned minced lamb that sit on a pool of green chili-cilantro chutney. The malai chicken tikka sounds everyday, but this version comes with goat cheese. As for entrées, these include the chicken makhni and lamb roganjosh that most Indian restaurants offer, but here the chef adds a lamb badami korma, or a lamb curry that is gentled by yogurt and a nut-paste base. And for dessert, the gulab jamun, dumplings made from thickened whole milk, are lapped by a rose-scented sugar syrup.

Off the Clock — Washington D.C.
Business Entertainment

International Spy Museum
800 F St., NW
Washington, DC 20004

See the largest collection of espionage artifacts at the International Spy Museum in Washington DC

Ever fantasized about being a spy? Dreamed of traveling the world incognito while gathering evidence, drinking shaken martinis and racing cars tricked out with machine guns and cloaking devices? We thought so. Visit the International Spy Museum and realize your fantasy. See the largest collection of espionage artifacts ever publicly displayed. Then enroll in spy school to learn from the pros. Find out how to morph your identity and hone your intuition and observation skills. To aid you in your education, visit the gift shop for some spy books or spy trinkets. Spooky stuff.

The Kennedy Center
2700 F St., NW
Washington, DC 20566

Catch a performance at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
One of the nation’s most prestigious entertainment destination where outstanding performances of every format — from live theater to symphonies — receive huge crowds, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts sits on the banks of the Potomac, far from the hustle-bustle of downtown DC and Capitol Hill. Be sure to check the calendar listings of performances at the website, and plan on dining at The Roof Terrace restaurant atop the center prior to attending your selected event.

National Harbor
National Harbor
Maryland, 20745

Shop, dine, or catch a river tour of Washington D.C. at National Harbor

A short skiff ride from Old Town Alexandria to National Harbor's pier via a water taxi service takes you to this other DC destination; taxi shuttle service also available daily between several points in DC and National Harbor. One-way fares: about $13 per person. A town within a town, and affording yet another view of the DC skyline. National Harbor offers visitors its own marina and day and nighttime cruises to see the sights. Want to fish? That is an after-hours option here. Plenty of restaurants and shopping to fill the nonworking hours, so be sure to make this excursion part of your DC trip.


555 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001

Travel through American history at the Newseum in Washington, DC

With its 2008 opening, this museum, dedicated to honoring news and information media, is a source not only of late-breaking news broadcast in its Great Hall of News on giant electronic screens but a showcase of many exhibits highlighting America's most momentous, newsworthy events and people. Visitors will also find an interactive newsroom to play reporter and a photo gallery of Pulitzer Prize-winning pictures. The two-level Newseum Store offers books, prints, photographs and souvenirs. Hungry visitors can go through a self-help food court or dine in style at The Source by Wolfgang Puck; the food in both locations is inspired by Wolfgang Puck.

Smithsonian National Museum of American History
14th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW

Explore the exhibits at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

One of several Smithsonian destinations, this renovated venue traces American history and its highlights. With the goal of helping Americans and foreign visitors to understand the glories of this democratic nation, the museum's staff have collected and displayed American icons, such as the original Star Spangled Banner, and memorabilia such as Dorothy's ruby slippers from the movie Wizard of Oz. Foodies can even find a rendition of Julia Child's kitchen, including the six-burner Garland stove Child used in her cooking career. Although the museum is immense, with room after display room, Washington visitors should eke out enough time to visit parts of the museum.

Verizon Center
601 F St., NW
Washington, DC 20004

Attend a concert or watch a game at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC

This multi-venue facility in the Penn Quarter section of the city features a plethora of entertainment, sports and cultural events. Conveniently located near a metro stop, and with ample restaurants in the vicinity, the center is a major draw for shoppers, diners and anyone looking to support the home team or watch concerts and other entertainment like the Wiggles. The Center also contains executive suites for business entertaining, plus a restaurant, clubhouse, fitness club and spa, sports bar and shopping for fans' memorabilia.

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* Images courtesy of the respective properties

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