Washington DC Activities & Traffic Impact

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Always plan ahead so you're not stuck in traffic.

Washington, D.C. has it all: history, great food, shopping, concerts and sports. But with all of these activities, D.C. also has a gridlock problem. Not to worry: with a little knowledge of the area hot spots, you can be prepared and have a great trip inside the beltway.

  1. Check Congress Schedule

    • When Congress is not in session, traffic should be light.
      When Congress is not in session, traffic should be light.

      Check out the Congress schedule to see if they're in session. If Congress is out, the roads should be thin. Either way, tours are available from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. You can pick up advanced tickets on visitthecapitol.gov. This is advisable as only a limited number of same day tickets are available.

    Be Alert

    • Tune your FM radio to WTOP news 103.5 which has traffic reports every 10 minutes on the eights. Sign up for a DC text or email alert on their website for updates on weather, rallies, parades and traffic incidents.

      The DCist website is another great resource that covers cultural happenings, protests, restaurant reviews and concerts.

    Use the Metro

    • Ride the Metro if you have to drive in to town during rush hour, from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., to cut down on the time you spend in traffic. This will also be a less costly option than dealing with DC's expensive parking garages.

    Time of Year

    • Both the White House and Congress display Christmas trees in December. Cherry blossoms abound along the Tidal Basin in March and April. Make sure you know where the tourists are because that's where the traffic will be.

      If it's winter, check out the Capital Weather Gang section of "The Washington Post" website to see predictions on upcoming snowstorms and weather.

    Politicians and Dignitaries

    • Stay informed about where the president and vice president will be by viewing their schedules on the White House website to either bypass their entourage or get a glimpse of our leaders in action. Avoid Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue NW between Thomas and Ward Circles, so you don't get stuck in traffic while foreign dignitaries make their rounds.

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