We are all intelligent adults who can whip out our iPhones and find a good restaurant on Yelp in a moment’s notice. That said, there are some of you who are too busy, or lazy, and just need a little help planning your trip. If that’s the case, you may find this guide helpful. You can also find plenty of help at other venues, such as the Daily Show Forums or the Facebook Event page.
Edit: The official site now has a useful FAQ page, check it out.
More Edit: Here’s a useful blog that keeps continual updates with info about the rally: http://stewartrally.blogspot.com
There are plenty of ways of getting to Washington D.C., and if you’re a reasonably intelligent member of society, you shouldn’t have any problems finding one.
I’m coming from Austin, Texas (I recently moved here from Virginia) and did some research on how much the prices are going for around that date (10/29 – 10/31). Airfare from AUS to IAD (Dulles, where my family lives) is only around $300. I also looked up the prices for Greyhound and found it to be more expensive at $350. Amtrak is slightly cheaper, only $197, but the trip would take 50 hours! Flying is still the best way to go if you’re more than a state away. Remember, rates fluctuate daily, so check rates from your city and book early. After two weeks before the event, prices climb.
Links to other travel options:
From Europe: http://forums.thedailyshow.com/?page=ThreadView&thread_id=31271
From Charlottesville, VA: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Easy-Going-Riders-Cville-to-DC-10302010/115290108528010?ref=sgm
From Winston Salem, NC: http://www.meetup.com/f-a-c-t/messages/11482393/
From Bloomington-Normal, IL: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=153519798013391
From Chicago: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=109553292439557&ref=ts, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=163034690380126
From Oklahoma: http://forums.thedailyshow.com/?page=ThreadView&thread_id=31347
From Louisiana: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=128449923870962&ref=mf
From Cincinnati : $75 a person. Leave Friday at Midnight and Return to Cincinnati (Blue Ash Area) on Sunday morning at 8am, We will be in DC from 10am till 9pm Saturday.Our goal is to get 45 people and so far we have around 20. Please email email@example.com if you are interested!
From Milwaukee: … need to fill a 55 passenger Greyhound bus — bathroom on board, wi-fi. $125 round trip. Leaving Milwaukee Friday 10/29 at 6 p.m. arriving in DC Saturday morning. Leaving Saturday night at 6 pm. home on Sunday morning. No hotel costs. Need to know and have moolah by 10/4. contact firstname.lastname@example.org
From New Jersey: Donna from Jersey posted: “there’s a super cool bus in central New Jersey, there were about 10 of us to begin with so we chartered a bus but still have a few seats to fill. a mere $47 round trip, which includes coffee and donuts as we gather in the morning, and water bottles for the ride home join us!! (leaves from Jackson, NJ, the departure location is right off Exit 21 of I-195) http://www.busforprogress.org/dc-rally“
Getting around using the Metro Rail
Even without a rally, the Greater Washington area tends to be a bumper to bumper fusterCluck. If you’re not staying in D.C., I don’t recommend driving into the city or even taking a taxi unless you plan to sit in traffic. Fortunately, there is a decent Metro Rail system to help you get around.
Here’s a handy map for the metro stations, when booking your hotel you should ask them for the nearest one.
There are reduced fares on the weekends, so it’ll cost you about $2 – $6 both ways depending on where you’re coming from. But if you plan to do other things in D.C. besides going to the rally, you can get a day pass for $9. You can buy tickets at the stations, and they accept credit cards so you’re fine if you’re like me and don’t like to carry cash around.
The rally is going to be near the Washington Monument (edit: this statement is now false. See paragraph below). Someone mentioned that it is going to be on the North side of the monument but I’m still unsure since nothing official has been issued. Nevertheless, it really doesn’t matter. You should be able to just start heading into D.C. and ask random people that seem to be going to the rally where they’re headed. The closest stations to the Washington Monument is the Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange lines, or the L’Enfant Plaza station on the Green and Yellow lines.
Edit: The Daily Show has announced the official location of the rally, it is going to be on the east end of the Mall near the Capitol Building. Check out the map in this new post: http://hueyluvsyou.com/wordpress/2010/10/rally-location/
Hotels and Lodging
Your best bet is to find a hotel outside of D.C. and take the metro in on the day of the rally. Use a hotel search site (such as tripadvisor.com or hotels.com) and look for a hotel in one of the cities on the metro map listed in the above section. e.g.:
Virginia: Annandale, Arlington, Ballston, Clarendon, Fairfax, Falls Church, Springfield, Vienna.
Maryland: Bethesda, Glenmont, Rockville, Shady Grove, Silver Spring, White Flint
I did some searches to see what hotel prices are like for that weekend, and I think you’re looking at spending about $150 a night at a decent hotel. Here are some price ranges of hotels in Virginia I got from tripadvisor.com:
Arlington: $100 (Best Western) – $570 (Ritz-Carlton)
Vienna: $80 (Hilton Garden) – $260 (Residence Inn)
Falls Church: $80 (Budget Inn) – $170 (Westin)
Bethesda: $100 (American Inn) – $240 (Residence Inn)
Edit: Ellen from the comments below posted that hotels further away from D.C. are a lot cheaper, she was able to find a 3.5 star hotel in the Herndon/Dulles area for $45 a night. If you’re looking to save money that’s another option. If you don’t have a rental car you’ll just have to take the bus or a cab ride to the closest Metro station to take you into D.C. I don’t recommend taking a cab all the way in, the cab driver won’t be able to get that close anyways, and it’ll cost at least $60 if you’re coming from somewhere like Herndon.
Here are some area further west in Virginia you should consider if you can’t find ones closer:
Chantilly, Centreville, Manassas, Burke, Herndon, Reston
Preparing for the Rally
Before heading to the rally, you should consider bringing the following items.
- Water or non-alcoholic beverage of choice (no glass)
- Some snacks to munch on
- a trash bag
- Something to sit on, like a beach blanket or portable chair
- Suntan lotion if you burn easy
- poncho or umbrella if it looks like it may rain (it usually does on Halloween)
Remember, you can not bring alcohol or weapons of any kind to the Mall.
The temperature will probably be in the 60s, I recommend having a sweater with you just in case.
The Metro usually runs from 7 AM Saturday to 3 AM Sunday, but this is subject to change for special occasions. For example, on July 4th they don’t start running until 10 AM. Check with your hotel or look it up the day before and prepare accordingly.
Restaurants and dining
You can find every style of cuisine in the Greater Washington area. Doing a search on Yelp
or Washington Post’s Going Out Guide
will yield more than enough results. Here are some suggestions just to give you an idea of the variety to choose from:
Italian – Tosca
($31 – $60)
Things to do in D.C.
If possible, you should spend a day before or after the rally to tour our nation’s capitol, especially if you have never done so. There are plenty of museums and memorials that are free. Even if you’re not into museums, you should still take the opportunity to visit some of these places just to say you did it. Here are some recommendations:
- National Gallery of Art (http://www.nga.gov/) – Free
If you’re into art and have never been here, this is a must see. It has everything from classical paintings to sculptures to contemporary art.
- Museum of Natural History (http://www.mnh.si.edu/) – Free
Dinosaurs, anthropology, and more!
- Air and Space museum (http://www.nasm.si.edu/) – Free
Go here if you’re an airplane or astronomy nut. Check out “Space Station 3D” or “Hubble 3D” at the IMAX ($9 adult $7.50 kids) if you’re into space stuff like me.
- Nation Museum of American History (http://americanhistory.si.edu/) – Free
Visit here if you’re a history buff.
- National Zoo (http://nationalzoo.si.edu/) – Free
This zoo is huge, and it’s free! Probably a good idea if you are bringing kids with you.
Those are just some of my recommendations for places to go that are free in D.C. Just do a search for “museums in washington D.C.” on your preferred search engine and you’ll get several dozen suggestions.
As for bars and nightlife, there are also many areas to choose from. Sites like bardc.com
should give you a rundown of all that’s available. Here are some good neighborhoods that are popular with locals and visitors alike:
Edit: Added a random list of events also occurring that day after the rally:
Safety and More
D.C. and the Greater Washington area, which includes Northern Virginia and Maryland, is a shining example of the melting pot culture that we should all be proud of. Contrary to what some believe, the population is not comprise mostly of refugees and embassy staff of third world countries hiding from a revolution in their homeland. There are a lot of different ethnicity and culture that make up our population, and that is a beautiful thing. We’re now living in a society where we’re not judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. Whenever you make a decision based on the race of another individual, you’re stepping on the graves of these civil right heroes who have given their lives to advance our society to where we are today. Freedom rang, from all corners of our country, and is still ringing regardless of the minority few who are still too narrow-minded to see otherwise. Let’s try to keep it that way.
So back to the topic at hand. D.C. is like any other major city in the world, there is crime and traffic and bad neighborhoods. Just use common sense and don’t go wandering through shady streets alone at night, or get too drunk you’re stumbling in traffic on I495.
Why you should go to this rally
I’ve asked myself this question. What exactly are we marching on Washington for? We didn’t really lose our sanity, that’s just an exaggerated gimmick satirizing the previous rally to Restore Honor. We are not marching to stop segregation, or an unjust war, or even an exaggerated notion of “losing our freedom.” What we are doing, however, is making a statement that the majority of Americans are intelligent, reasonable people. Just because we haven’t been in the spot light hogging the headlines doesn’t mean that we don’t exist.
The message is that we are tired of extremist media skewing the image of who we are. That we’re not a nation of small-minded religious fanatics filled with fear and hatred. And we are not going to allow fear mongering radio hosts to represent our ideals and values. So you should come, if only to swell the ranks and show this nation, and the world, that what’s usually in the news is not the majority of America.
Plus, how often do you get to come party with this many people at our nation’s capitol? Bring a blanket and a bottle of water, and an umbrella in case it rains, and join your fellow Americans in the biggest picnic of our lifetime. I have a feeling it’s going to be an easy going day of love, of brotherhood, and of mild justification that there are still many of us who are decent human beings with decent thoughts in our reasonable heads.