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Washington, D.C. Business Travel Guide

The National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Perhaps more than in any other city in the world, politics defines the rhythm of daily life in Washington, D.C. 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.


Facts to Know Before You Go

TRANSPORTATION

Airports:

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 D.C. But if business takes you to the Dulles Corridor in Northern Virginia, then Dulles International Airport is the better option.

Taxis and Shuttles:

Taking a cab is an expensive option, with few exceptions. Coming from Dulles airport to downtown D.C. will cost more than $75 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 less costly because the airport is so much closer to the city.

Metro:

From Dulles, take the Washington Flyer Coach Service, which shuttles passengers to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station on a regular basis. The ride takes about 20 minutes and costs $5 one way. From there, the train ride to D.C. 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 D.C., has easier access. Taxi fares are much more reasonable. The Metro will get you to downtown D.C. in about 15 minutes and will cost only a few dollars 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. Another transportation possibility is renting from the company called Zipcar, which leases cars for as little as $8 per hour.

INFORMATION

Newspapers:

The Washington Post is a daily newspaper with extensive national and local coverage. Its business section provides current information. An online edition is available as well.

The Washington Examiner publishes six editions a week, and concentrates coverage on happenings in D.C. and the metro area. Its political columnists provide in-depth looks at what’s happening on the Hill. It's also easily accessible on the web.

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 for all the local political and congressional life; it is available online.

Magazines:

Washingtonian Magazine is the premier guide to what is happening and to whom in the metro area. It's 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 six times a year.

The monthly WhereTraveler 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.

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

The National Journal comes out weekly and describes both policy and Washington political trends.

To keep up with the local social goings-on from food to fashion, DC Life looks at a young, lively scene in the nation's capital.


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Where to Stay

Park Hyatt Washington
1201 24th St., NW
Washington, DC 20037
202-789-1234

A guest room at Park Hyatt Washington in D.C.

An upscale yet affordable hotel, this centrally located destination offers various guest options that make it a desirable place to stay. Its lounge area offers a tea cellar, and its very classy Blue Duck Tavern, perhaps one of the best restaurants in Washington, is a must-dine place. Located within walking distance of Georgetown, guests will find after-hours strolling ideal for shopping and sightseeing.




The George, A Kimpton Hotel
15 E. St., NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-347-4200

A guest 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; 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.




The Hay Adams
One Lafayette Square
Washington, DC 20006
202-638-6600

A guest room at The Hay Adams in Washington, D.C.

One of Washington's most venerable guest destinations and a city landmark, this hotel is located on Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House and just blocks away from other federal buildings and agencies. Elegant and filled with history, the hotel is a notable meeting place for world dignitaries as well as the rich and powerful of almost every country. Beside offering luxury accommodations and a world-class restaurant, there are also 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 hopping to shopping, dining, and entertainment areas around town.



Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC
1330 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20024
202-554-8588

The Deluxe Water View guest room at Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.

Near the Jefferson Memorial, the National Mall and the Washington Monument, The Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. 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 onsite Muze restaurant, hungry guests can enjoy dishes made with the finest local produce combined with Asian flavors. 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.




W Washington DC
515 15th St.
Washington, DC 2004
202-661-2400

The Extreme WOW Suite at W Washington D.C.

A power hub in D.C. 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. Its restaurant, Pinea serves Italian and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine crafted by Executive Chef Barry Koslow, and is 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 GAYOT's list of Washington DC's 10 Best Business Hotels

Where to Dine

Bistro Bis
The George, A Kimpton Hotel
15 E St. NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-661-2700
American
14/20

$$$$$


The dining room at Bistro Bis inside The George, A Kimpton Hotel in Washington D.C.

Serving up French bistro fare, this restaurant caters to many business men and women, politicians and celebrities. The setting is warm and inviting, making it a great choice for winding down a hectic day. Top your meal off with a French cocktail or glass of wine from the restaurant's extensive list.




Blue Duck Tavern
Park Hyatt Washington
1201 24th St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
202-419-6755
American Regional
15/20

$$$$$


The dining room at Blue Duck Tavern inside Park Hyatt Washington

The wood-burning oven, French-crafted Molteni stove and floor-to-ceiling wine display are just some of Blue Duck Tavern's appealing features. Feast on inventive American dishes, and for a different business meeting experience, reserve the Chef's Table which seats up to 20 people.




Brasserie Beck
1101 K St., NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-408-1717
Belgian/French/Brasserie
15/20

$$$$$


The dining room of Brasseie Beck in Washington D.C.

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
202-626-0015
American/Bistro
14/20

$$$$$


The dining room at Central Michel Richard in Washington D.C.

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
202-347-4800
American
14/20

$$$$$


The dining room at Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington D.C.

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.




Pinea
515 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
202-661-2440
Mediterranean/Italian
15/20

$$$$$


The dining room of Pinea restaurant at the W Washington D.C.

Inspired by traditional Italian cuisine and Mediterranean flavors, the menu is refreshing and creative. The décor of Pinea is also a sight to behold — turquoise walls, vibrant murals and arched windows that look out onto the White House.




Rasika
633 D St. NW
Washington, DC 20004
202-637-1222
Indian
14/20

$$$$$


The dining room of Rasika in Washington D.C.

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

International Spy Museum
800 F St., NW
Washington, DC 20004
202-393-7798

A peek inside the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.

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.


The Kennedy Center
2700 F St., NW
Washington, DC 20566
800-444-1324

The Kennedy Center in Washinton D.C.

It's one of the nation’s most prestigious entertainment destinations 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 D.C. 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 building prior to attending your selected event.


National Harbor
165 Waterfront Street National
Harbor, MD 20745
1-877-NATLHBR

The National Harbor skyline in Maryland

A short skiff ride from Old Town Alexandria to National Harbor's pier via a water taxi service takes you to this other D.C. destination; taxi shuttle service is also available daily between several points in D.C. and National Harbor. A town within a town, and affording yet another view of the D.C. 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 D.C. trip.


Smithsonian National Museum of American History
1000 Jefferson Dr., SW
Washington, D.C.
202-633-1000

Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

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
202-628-3200
Washington, D.C. 20004

Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., hosts sports games, concerts and more

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. The Center also contains executive suites for business entertaining, plus a restaurant, clubhouse, fitness club and spa, sports bar and shopping for fans' memorabilia.

* National Mall photo by Stefan Fussan / CC BY-SA 2.0

 
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