Ahhh….the holiday season is upon us again, replete with its many joys: rosy-cheeked, smiling children, twinkling lights, the smell of baking cookies, the opportunity to dress your dog like a reindeer and tell all your friends that “he really likes it.” But it also carries just a wee bit of stress. There’s the baking of said cookies, hanging the pretty lights, travel plans, menus, and, of course, shopping. Lots and lots of shopping.
Which brings us around to goDCgo’s predictably favorite question: how do you plan to get there? Here’s a hint: don’t drive! As we get closer to Christmas, the traffic around the area’s most popular shopping destinations will increase, and nothing promises to drain you of holiday cheer as certainly as sitting in traffic. And it’s not just any old traffic. No, it’s the “must-get-to-mall-before-the-person-next-to-me-who-is-trying-to-merge” variety in deadly combination with the “I-will-definitely-get-there-faster-if-I-block-this-intersection” type of traffic. And then there are the parking lots, a breeding ground for bad behavior. (Note: please don’t send someone from your car to stand in a parking place. That almost never ends well.)
So as our gift to you, goDCgo has a few tips for getting around the District while keeping you merry and bright.
- goDCgo Interactive Map: Don’t let ignorance of your options keep you tied to your car. Try goDCgo’s Interactive Map to see all the public transportation options for your DC shopping trip. This is the most comprehensive map you can find in the area and gives you all of your travel options at the touch of a button. Simply enter your starting point and destination, and those choices will pop up, including MetroBus and MetroRail, DC Circulator, bike lanes and trails, carsharing locations, and now, Capital Bikeshare stations.
-Metro Trip Planner: If you decide to go by Metrorail or Metrobus, definitely go to WMATA’s Trip Planner tool. Again, by putting in your starting point and destination, plus the time you are planning to travel, the system will spit out up to three rail and bus schedule combinations to get you where you’re going as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- DC Circulator: Everyone we’ve talked to who uses the Circulator gives it rave reviews. For people outside the District who may not know about it, the Circulator is the local DC bus system with six routes. For only $1.00, you can ride through some of the District’s most popular areas, including some great shopping neighborhoods like Georgetown. Check out the Circulator map here.
- Share a ride: People do it for work, so why not carpool for holiday shopping? Especially if you’re planning to go out to one of the big suburban malls where public transportation may not be as accessible, think about making it a group outing. It’s a great way to get together with friends over the holidays without having to buy a bottle of wine, will help cut down on the number of cars on the road and save you money on gas.
However you plan to get around to visit your favorite stores this season, please consider your safety and that of others. If you drive, remember that more pedestrians will be out and about too. If you are a pedestrian, remember that many drivers may be more distracted than usual. Exercise caution if you see someone behind the wheel who appears to be holding an internal debate over the relative merits of slippers versus delicately scented novelty soaps for Great-Aunt Midge, while simultaneously talking on a cell phone to their kindergartner’s room mother and agreeing to bake 24 cupcakes by tomorrow, all while sipping a triple-shot peppermint latte. Probably not the best time to cross the street.
By Anne Factor at goDCgo