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So you're coming to the 10/30 Rally to Restore Sanity?

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

Getting there:

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:

Buses: http://www.dcrallybus.com/RallyToRestoreSanity

Carpooling: http://www.pooled.in/rally/view?source=tds

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 dave@finddave.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 brendakoehler1@att.net

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.

http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm

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

Other options:
Camping: http://forums.thedailyshow.com/?page=ThreadView&thread_id=31240
Couch Surfing:  http://forums.thedailyshow.com/?page=ThreadView&thread_id=31139
Reddit Ads: http://www.reddit.com/r/PlacetoStay/

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:

Vegetarian – Sun Flower ($11 – $30)
Italian – Tosca ($31 – $60)
French – Montmartre ($31 – $60)
Dim Sum – Mark’s Duck House ($11 – $30)
Pho – Pho 75 (Under $10)
Vietnamese – Viet Bistro ($11 – $30)
Korean BBQ – Honey Pig ($11 – $30)
Indian – Tandoori Time (Under $10)
Seafood – Hank’s Oyster Bar ($11 – $30)
Sushi – Kotobuki ($11 – $30)
Thai – Thai Noy ($11 – $30)

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.

Nightlife

As for bars and nightlife, there are also many areas to choose from.  Sites like bardc.com or washingtonpost.com should give you a rundown of all that’s available.   Here are some good neighborhoods that are popular with locals and visitors alike:

Adam’s Morgan – D.C.
Georgetown – D.C.
Clarendon – VA
Arlington – VA

Edit:  Added a random list of events also occurring that day after the rally:

http://hueyluvsyou.com/wordpress/2010/10/dc-events-on-oct-30th/

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.

32 replies on “So you're coming to the 10/30 Rally to Restore Sanity?”

Thanks for the helpful guide! I just wanted to share some info for the budget-minded among us. The hotel rates for the Herndon/Dulles area are really affordable on the weekends. I “pricelined” a 3.5 star hotel and got it for $45 a night. It has free parking and is a 15 minute drive to a metro stop…….Look forward to seeing y’all there!

That’s a great find Ellen 🙂 I tried to only include areas that has direct access to the Metro. But you’re right, we should look into cities even further out as an option. A cab ride or bus ride to the Metro shouldn’t be too bad if you want to save some money.

Milwaukee to DC and back via Greyhound (porta potties, wi-fi). $125 round trip — need 55 people. Leaving Milwaukee 6 p.m. Friday night, arriving Saturday morning, leaving Saturday at 6 p.m. arriving Sunday morning.

Hi Brenda, can you give some more info or start a thread at the Daily Show forums so people from Milwaukee can contact you regarding the Greyhound option? I can add it to the guide if you give me a link.

Great stuff.

I’m a Washingtonian and I live in Adams Morgan. I would like to suggest a great bar on U street called Solly’s. Cheap beer and you’re allowed to bring food in.

Hi, I just wanted to thank you for this site. You’ve been so helpful with all of this info and the great links. It has been a huge help to many people including me. I’m so excited that this is finally happening – I can’t wait! See you all there!

I found great prices on airfare from South Florida on Spirit Air–leaving from Fort Lauderdale and flying directly into Reagan National. Prices midweek seem to be better than on the weekend. We are flying in and out the same day–saves on hotel rooms. It will be a very long day, but well worth it.

Driving to the Vienna Metro station from points west on Int. 66 is a piece of cake, so if you are driving, you can take advantage of cheaper hotels im Manassas, Haymarket, etc, even Centreville.

Atlanta to DC on AmTrak – $500 round trip in a sleeper with a shower, meals included. Leave Atlanta around 8pm on Friday, arrive DC around 9am Saturday. METRO over to the rally and back. Board train for Atlanta 6pm, arrive Atlanta 8am. At first glance the price seemed a little high, but the fact that we won’t need to take time off work, book hotel, rental car, breakfasts and dinners, etc. makes up for it. We’ll have a little time to explore some of the newer monuments/exhibits before and after the rally. Plus, we’ve always wanted to do an overnight train trip, and this was the perfect opportunity. Can’t wait!

Wow, that overnight AmTrak deal is a really good idea!!! I wish I wasn’t living near D.C. just for an excuse to do it 😀

I love your summary of why we are doing this. And its happening on my birthday, which made it totally justifiable to book a room at the hostel (before it sold out), ditch the classes I teach in Seattle, and get out there to join you all! Reasonable people uniting could help make the world more sane! The conversations ought to be memorable, at the least.

Well let me be one of the first to wish you an early Happy Birthday Dr Mel :). I hope you can make it to rally to celebrate!

Hey this thread about coming to the rally is the best I’ve seen and Nick, your added piece is way helpful. I’m bringing my son down from upstate NY a couple days early & plan to zoo it. Thanks to your FYI, I will take care of our metro tickets now. Anyone have ideas for those of us who wont be able to “Night Life” while there, yet intend to keep the fun alive Thursday into Sunday? I booked our room 2 miles away from the mall, thinking Rally Spirit will be close by. So Friends, Be safe while Being Wildly Nice in our Take It Down A Notch kinda way. Cool!

Another Happy Early Birthday wish Dr. Mel ….we could all write a PLease Excuse Dr. Mel note for you

As a DC resident, here’s a heads-up: If you book a hotel 15 or 20 miles outside of the district (like near Dulles) be aware that it can easily take an hour to travel from the hotel to DC. Once in the city, a 3-mile drive can take 30mins depending on where you’re going.

Metro is great for avoiding these long car rides, but leave enough room in your schedule in case you have to let a couple crowded trains go by before you get on one.

Yay congestion!

@Ben N Mony: Sounds like a good deal on the overnight Amtrak from and back to Atlanta. Note, however, that it’s even more convenient than you think. Once you get off the train at DC’s Union Station, you won’t have to Metro to the rally. Just exit Union Station’s front door and walk the three blocks to the rally site.

This was very helpful. It was so good of you to do all this leg work. We are sending our chairs UPS so we can fly with carry ons. Then we will leave the chairs in DC. Thought about buying the chairs there, but who wants to shop when you only have a couple of days in DC?

Hi Elizabeth, have you considered taking your son to watch a play or musical performance at the Kennedy Center (http://www.kennedy-center.org/)? It’s a great experience, and there are quite a few options to choose from. The Millennium Theater there also has free shows everyday at 6PM.
The IMAX 3D movies at the Air and Space Museum are also pretty cool.
Lastly, here’s a nice page that has some good suggestions too: http://dc.about.com/od/childrensactivities/tp/15BestforKids.htm.
Cheers! I hope you and your kid have a great time visiting

Excellent thread/guide…this first one I’ve found with REAL information (and I’ve read them all) Here’s what I’m wondering: If the mall is open 24/7 but camping is not allowed, when is it appropriate/permissible to start to enter the area of the Mall reserved for the rally?

Thanks Laurie, but I don’t have a definite answer for you regarding the earliest time to get there. My guess is that there will be people that are willing to go there the day before and just stand around until the rally start. You are not allowed to camp there, but like you said, the mall is a public park and is open to the public 24hours a day. Nothing is stopping you from going there early and just stand around for 12 hours, if you’re up for it.

I’m not going to do that, but I’m sure there are others that will 🙂 Good luck, hope you have a good time at the rally!

We will be driving from Fredericksburg and staying at a L’enfant plaza hotel. What time should we leave Sat. morning to avoid traffic?

Susan, I’m assuming you’re only staying at the L’enfant Plaza hotel that Saturday night (and not the night before), which would’ve been more ideal. If the activities on Facebook, the Daily Show forums, and the internet in general are any indication, it is going to be a chaotic clusterloving of a city that day. So I’m gonna guess that if you want to avoid traffic, you’ll have to leave as early as possible, like bc-of-dawn early.

It takes about an hour and a half to get to DC from Fredericksburg, if I were coming that way I would probably leave around 6am, arrive at the hotel and park the car, see if they’ll let you do an early check-in, and then just hang out until the Rally start. Even that may be optimistic (as I’m guessing there’ll be people there way earlier than that).

I’m flying in at 7:45 a.m. to Dulles. How long will it take me to taxi/limo to the Rally site? Sat. nite I’m staying at the Sofitel near the White House. I have Fibromyalgia, and wonder how long the walk is from the Rally site to the Sofitel? Many thanks!

Hi Marti, it typically takes about 45 minutes to get from IAD to The National Mall in normal traffic, but I’m guessing it’s going to be a bit more hectic that day … my guess is it’ll probably take you an additional 30 min to an hour to get there.

Your hotel is only a few blocks from the rally site, probably take you 10 minutes at a leisurely pace to walk from one to the other 🙂

Some times Limo service is cheaper than taxis for airport rides. So next time when you travel call few limousine services and you will be surprised to know that the rates are not that high as you may have thought, most of the time its a few dollars more than a cab and some times even less than a taxi. Some of the limo service providers offer shares rides and they are deffinetly cheaper than taxi.
Give it a try and you will be surprised !!

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