Coming to Catalyst Con? Are you new to the DC region and need to find your way around? I would say, “look no further,” but I know others will have their own tips and tricks for getting around.
Catalyst Con is at the Crystal City Marriott, located at 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA 22202. It’s a pretty swank hotel with immediate access to the Crystal City metro station, as it is literally across the street.
Getting to the hotel is easy, if you’re flying in. Especially if you are flying in to the Ronald Reagan National Airport, since the airport has its own metro stop (appropriately named after the airport), and is one stop away from Crystal City metro. There is also a free shuttle that runs from Reagan National to the hotel.
If you are flying in to any other area airport, Dulles or BWI, it will take you some time to make your way to Crystal City:
You can, however, catch the 5A bus from Dulles Arrivals to Rosslyn Metro (Yellow or Blue line), and take the metro all the way to Crystal City Metro, so you don’t have to pay for cab fare. Follow the same route back to Dulles. This would be in the range of $7.20 to $8.50, one way. MUCH cheaper than a cab.
From BWI, you could catch the B30 bus from Airport Stop 2 to Greenbelt Metro (Yellow line) and stay on it all the way to the Crystal City Metro Station. However, if you manage to catch the Green line train from Greenbelt, just make sure you hop off and back on to a Yellow line train before you get to L’Enfant Plaza Metro.
Now, let’s talk about attractions. Depending on the length of your stay, and the sessions you’re going to attend at Catalyst, you can choose to do many different things, like visit the Smithsonian museums (Metro accessible), visit the Capitol Building (with a free pass you would get from your Senator or Representative’s office in DC, or book a tour online. You could also visit Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, down the street (okay, more like 15-25 miles south), and a whole host of other things. You can visit Visit the Capitol to see what else is in and around DC.
Let’s talk about Crystal City and it’s rather famous and fabulous underground mall city. This particular spectacle is truly something to behold. It connects to a ton of businesses and several buildings, making it an interconnected underground network of fun. The metro also connects in to this network, and you have immediate access to the underground mall from there. In addition, the hotel itself has access to the underground connect so you can easily get to all the other shops and restaurants that are underground. You can see a map of the area here. On the map, the Crystal City Marriott is located right above the big M (Metro), and is a green building shown on the map. You can also check out this link to see all of Crystal City’s maps, for biking, Zipcars, the Shops, WiFi hotspots, and more.
Please note that you can find a map of the metro system here and, if you need to, you can also download the WMATA DC Metro app from iTunes and I believe there is one for Droid. The app gives you access to a zoomable metro system map, a list of metro stations with train arrivals, and a space for you to mark certain metro stations as your “favorites”. If you don’t want to download the app, you are more than welcome to go to http://www.wmata.com for all of the above.
We also have something called SmarTrip cards, which are basically plastic credit card-sized fare passes, which also means you would pay a lower fare than using paper fare passes (all about the reduction of tree killing and waste). SmartTrip cards and cash are the only options of paying for Metro Buses, and you can use paper fare passes, SmarTrip cards (paid for by cash or credit/debit card) on the trains. If you drove in, SmarTrip cards and, in some metro stations, credit cards, are your only means of paying for parking at metro stations (usually $5-7/day, free on weekends). I have a SmarTrip card and I stopped looking back.
Above all, I hope to see quite a few of you at Catalyst Con, and I hope you have a fabulous time and learn something new!