Need to know.
Only in D.C. Metro
We have the president, the VP, and dignitaries and their motorcades. Regular events that are on the national stage can often make it difficult to get around but provide lots of cool things to do and experience every day. Patience is a virtue here—be prepared to encounter strange aircraft (think Airforce One) and other military transport. A big bonus in D.C. is that all the Smithsonian museums including the zoo are free. The newest is the National Museum of African American History and Culture and it’s a must-see.
The D.C. Metro area has become a lot more fashion-forward and sophisticated, but this is still the seat of the government and the military and people are usually more conservative. When in doubt, go more traditional. Alexandria in general is very casual, but never sloppy. The city places an emphasis on elegance and understatement. Honey House always says BE YOU! But know how it goes on around you as well.
Alexandria has hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters with four distinct seasons. The average monthly temperature in July is 79°F. The average monthly temperature in December is 40°F. With an average yearly snowfall of about 15 inches, winters are generally mild—but the occasional blizzards can sweep into the area. The East Coast blizzard of 2015 hit D.C. with nearly 18 inches of snow and shut down the entire mass transit system. We are crazy about our cherry blossoms and every season is incredibly vibrant with nature. People are super into their gardens and D.C. is into looking really good to the rest of the world in every season.
Driving and Traffic
The D.C. Metro area is a town of commuters and lots of people on the road. Apps like WAZE are highly recommended to avoid traffic congestion. When you’re on the highway is the worst time to be searching for the lowest gas prices, so use an app like GasBuddy to find where to fill up for less. One key thing you need to know is that the flow of traffic on area roads reverses direction at least twice a day. It’s one of the most challenging aspects to driving in the D.C. area.
Inner Loop/Outer Loop
The Capitol Beltway is the stretch of I-495 that surrounds Washington, D.C. and adjoining suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. The two directions of travel on the Beltway are known as the Inner Loop and the Outer Loop. The Inner Loop moves clockwise. Driving on the Inner Loop, D.C. will be to your right. The Outer Loops moves counterclockwise. On the Outer Loop, D.C. will be to your left.
You’re required to register your car in Virginia within 30 days of moving to the state to avoid a penalty fee. Visit any Department of Motor Vehicles customer service center or a DMV Select office to register. Before registering, you must have a Virginia car title, an emissions inspection if your vehicle is kept in Arlington or Fairfax county or in the city of Alexandria. See the Virginia DMV’s Vehicle Registration Information for complete details and DMV locations. The City of Alexandria allows on-street parking for residents in certain areas. Get the FAQs here. Motor vehicles kept in the City of Alexandria must be registered for the City of Alexandria’s’ annual personal property tax. Get all the details here.
Alexandria and the D.C. area is served by the Washington, D.C. Metro system, Metrobus, and the VRE Virginia Railway Express. The City of Alexandria runs the DASH bus service. DASH includes the free King Street Trolley that runs between the King Street Metrorail Station and the Potomac River waterfront. Alexandria is part of the Capital Bikeshare program which allows residents and visitors to rent a bike for short-term use from more than 300 stations in the area. Follow the latest Metro news here.
Metro D.C. has three airports, but not all are accessible via the Metro. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is Metro-friendly but services mostly domestic flights. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is soon to be Metro-accessible. Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) in Baltimore is usually a good option for cheaper flights, but it’s harder to get there on mass transit.