2005 GECCO  Local Information
Other Miscellaneous Local Information
Areas of DC      
DC Airports      
Student Housing     

Navigating DC

You'll be best served by navigating using streets with letter names (east-west) and number names (north-south). Ignore the roads with state names unless you need to go somewhere on that road.

The letters and numbers radiate outward from the Capitol building. So the corner of A & First is much closer to the Capitol building than U & 17th.

DC is divided into four quadrants as a result of this scheme: northeast (NE), northwest (NW), southeast (SE), and southwest(SW). So the corner of D & 6th St SW is twelve blocks from the corner of D & 6th St SE! This is a common source of confusion, so be pay attention to the quadrant of an address.

Use metrorail when possible; it is safe and clean (see below for instructions).

Dining near L'Enfant Loews

Download the "Dining Near L'Enfant Plaza" handout and a local map.

The hotel has three restaurants:
  • American "Sea" Grill
  • Lobby Lounge
  • Foggy Bottom Brew Pub
The hotel is a part of L'Enfant Plaza, which contains an underground mall with a variety of restaurants, including those listed below. Unfortunately, most of the mall closes early in the evenings and is closed on weekends.
  • Au Bon Pain, vaguely french-like fast-food sandwich shop
  • L'Enfant Deli (also open on Sat until 5:30pm), sandwiches & such
  • Frank & Stein, fast-food hotdogs & such
  • Gourmet Too (also open Sat until 2pm), sandwiches & such
  • Larry's Cookies, cookies & dessert
  • McDonalds, fast-food hamburgers
  • Oh's Place Restaurant (also open until 9pm), chineese restaurant
  • Oh's Place Cafe, cafe
  • Olympic Espresso, coffee shop
  • Potomac Food Court, sandwichs & such
  • Roma Pizza & Restaurant, what it sounds like
There are a couple of places to eat in or around the various Smithsonian buildings, starting about three blocks north:
  • National Air & Space Museum's "Wright Place Food Court", sandwiches & such
  • National Museum of the American Indian's "Mitsitam Cafe", sandwiches & such
  • Smithsonian Building Castle on the Mall's "Seattle's Best", coffee & baked goods
From the Navy Archive stop (1 stop from L'Enfant on the green or yellow line, six or seven blocks north -- about 1 kilometer): From the Capitol South stop (2 stops from L'Enfant on the blue or orange line), the corner of D \& 1st SE:
  • Tortilla Coast
  • Subway
  • Talay Thai
  • Bullfeathers
From the hotel, less than a kilometer's walk south towards the river:
  • Zanzibar on the Waterfront, 700 Water St SW
  • Phillips Seafood \& Sushi Bar, 900 Water St SW
  • Jenny's Chinese Restaurant, 1000 Water St SW
  • Maine Avenue Seafood, 1100 Maine Ave SW
Also, Chinatown is 2 stops north on the green or yellow line

For those staying in student housing, there are also many restaurants in the Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan areas of the city

Here are some restaurants from google maps

Some interesting lists provided by the restaurant section of The Washingtonian include:
  • "Very Best", a list of the top restaurants in the DC area
  • "CHEAP EATS", a list of top bargain restaurants in the DC area


Washington, DC has some really nice bookstores, including:
  • Kramer Books, a wonderful new & used bookstore in Dupont Circle
       (take the orange line in the direction of Vienna to Metro Center, take the red line in the direction of Shady Grove to Dupont Circle, use the north exit)
  • Reiters Books, an amazing science and technical book store on K street
       (take the organge line in the direction of Vienna, get off at the Farragut West metro stop, walk north one block to K street, then west 3.5 blocks)
  • Politics and Prose, a popular bookstore in NW DC, with many activities and events
       (take the orange line in the direction of Vienna to Metro Center, take the red line in the direction of Shady Grove to Van Ness, walk one mile north on Connecticut or take the L1 or L2 bus)
  • A variety of chain stores such as Barnes & Noble (use 20036 as the zip for the locator) or Borders


Some non-free wireless points near the hotel include: There's at least one free wireless spot near the hotel, and one only a short metro hop away:
  • The FCC courtyard has free, anonymous wireless and is a just a little to the west of the hotel (corner of D and 12th SW)
  • Murky Coffee is a nice coffee shop with free, open wireless access. There's one in stumbling distance of the Eastern Market metro stop (three stops east of the conference hotel), and one a few blocks from the Clarendon metro stop (three stops west of the GW student housing).
Other lists of wireless places in the city:

General information about public transit in DC

There's a lot of detail here, but it really isn't that hard to use the transit system in DC. Moreover, our metrorail is very clean and very safe. We strongly recommend using it to get around.

Consult the WMATA website, it is very nice. Of particular utility are the TripPlanner service and the Metrorail system map.

To use metro, go to one of the machines outside the gates, follow the instructions to obtain a fare card, insert & retrieve the fare card to enter the station, and insert & retrieve the card to exit the station. The card will be debited the cost of the trip and may be reused. Some machines take cash-only, but a few take credit cards

Metrorail costs different amounts depending on where you are going and what time it is. Be sure to check the fare cost on the map in the metro station, or choose an originating station here to lookup costs.

There are two categories of time that affect cost: Regular (weekdays from opening to 9:30 a.m., 3-7 p.m. and 2 a.m. to closing) and reduced fare (all other operating times). The least you will pay on the system for a single, one-way trip is $1.35, the most is $3.90. For most spots in the downtown area, expect to spend under $2.00 per trip (often, you pay the base rate, $1.35).

Be careful: The machines will let you put a bill in, adjust how much you want to put on the card, then return the difference to you; however, I believe they will not return more than $5.00. In other words, if you put a $20 bill in, you'd better expect to spend at least $15.00 on metrorail.

If you've put too much money on your card, it is possible to get the money back (up to a point) before you exit the station. The machines marked "Exit Fare" located inside the station will compute how much you will spend to exit that station and return the difference to you. You cannot put more than $20 on a paper card, and you cannot get back more than $5.00.

Most buses cost $1.25 per one-way trip. You can obtain a transfer from the bus driver and transfer to any other bus within a time window (I think 2 hours) for no additional cost. You can use a transfer from a metrorail station to reduce bus fare by 90 cents (so the bus will cost you 35 cents). Metrobuses do not take the paper money cards used on the metrorail system.

For more detailed information about riding metro, including fare rates, look here.

Going to ride metrorail a lot? Buy a 7 day pass for $32.50.


Some nearby hotels:
  • Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center - 202.638.4600
  • Holiday Inn Capitol - 202.479.4000
  • Hotel Washington - 202.638.5900
  • JW Marriott - 202.393.2000
  • Mandarin Oriental Washington - 202.554.8588 (This is the closest hotel to L'Enfant Plaza)
  • The Mayflower - 202.347.3000
Here are a few other hotels (and corresponding metro stops) worth considering: Hotels in DC are expensive, but the farther out you go from downtown, the cheaper they tend to be. My advice for finding an inexpensive hotel/motel is to look at the metrorail system map, and find a place located farther out somewhere near a metrorail stop on the orange, yellow, green, or blue lines.

For really cheap housing, checkout the "Hostels" section on the Student Housing page.

There are many hotels in the DC area. Here are a few from google maps