Do you avoid downtown on holidays?

Never getting tired of running

I know its only Tuesday, but with Memorial Day this weekend, it has me thinking: I’m curious if folks generally avoid going downtown on holiday weekends.

Normally, sharing our city with visitors and tourists is not a big deal. It is a big place, it can accomodate a lot of people. But my assumption is that I should stay away on holiday weekends because it just becomes too much to enjoy.

Events like Rolling Thunder and memorial ceremonies are wonderful, moving events–but I just feel that they are–for me–better appreciated from afar. I can use the Mall and parks any weekend, I figure, so why frustrate everyone by adding myself to the mix?

If you still use the downtown parks and Mall on holidays, I’m curious what your experience is like. If you don’t, any hidden gems that you retreat to in order to get out of the house, yet avoid the holiday masses?

45 Comment

  • andy

    4th of July. Especially if you try to take a bike on the Metro. Never ever take a bike down into a crowded Metro station on the Fourth of July and get kicked out.

  • I avoid downtown on 4th of July like the plague! If relatives come to town, they get to borrow our Smartrip cards and experience the fun on their own.

  • Q: Do you avoid downtown on holidays?
    A: Yes.

  • depends on the holiday.

  • No, but I live downtown and walk everywhere, so if it is too crowded, I just walk a different way.

  • YES! I am actually going out of town this weekend to avoid the masses.

  • I don’t particularly avoid downtown on holidays, but I will be avoiding downtown this weekend because they’ll be shutting off my Metro access (Stadium/Armory) and I’m not driving down there. Instead, I’ll be driving to other attractions in NE and SE such as the Arboretum, Aquatic Gardens and Fredrick Douglass house.

  • 4th of July weekend is definitely one of the best holiday weekends to get out of town.

  • I’d rather eat hot chunky cat vomit than get anywhere near downtown on a holiday – especially the big Mall ones like the 4th. I usually barricade myself inside my home and throw rocks at passing Bloomies, but I am getting out of town altogether this year for Memorial Day and for the 4th.

  • I went down to the mall on 4th of July this year for the first time in many years. I had been avoiding it because I assumed it would be a nightmare.

    It actually wasn’t that bad! I live a block off of 14th St., so I just took one of the 14th St. buses down as far as I could go and then walked right up to the mall. It took about 20 min.

    Now, getting out of there was another story. No buses ever came that weren’t already at capacity, so we ended up walking the entire 2 miles back to our apartment. All in all it was pretty enjoyable. I think I’d do it again in a few years.

    • I agree that it’s not that bad. The park service does a pretty good job of organizing and herding everyone to where they need to go. It’s tradition for my mom to come visit on the 4th and see the show, so there’s no getting out of it for me anyway!

  • The only problem with avoiding tourists…is that sometimes those tourists are our family and friends in town for the holiday weekends. However, I do my best to avoid downtown when the tourists come in droves. And it ain’t just the holiday weekends, those school trips are running amok these days– avoid downtown food courts at all costs!

    Please never let the sweetness that is Meridian Hill Park make it onto any tourist map/webpage.

  • Lord of Petworth, your son’s shirt is awesome

  • oh yes, I steer clear of the mall from May – September in general and especially on holiday weekends. I can’t imagine anything worse than being surrounded by rolling thunder.

  • New Year’s and Thanksgiving are great to visit the Smithsonian with no crowds whatsoever, all others including Cherry Blossom time, yes

    • When was the last time you visited the Smithsonian on Thanksgiving? I went the last couple of years and it was surprisingly crowded.

  • I LOVE the Mall on holidays! I was thinking of getting my kid some aviators earmuffs and taking her to see the motorcycles this weekend.

  • The Dupont, Logan, Shaw, and U neighborhoods will also be very busy because it’s Black Pride weekend. It’s a very big event and most hotels are filled because of it. It’s a gay black event and is the first and still the largest gay black pride event in the nation. Step out into some of the bars and clubs and welcome some of our visitors to the city.

  • Living in the city makes it that much more tolerable to go downtown during holidays. If you just rely on your feet you can avoid the worst part of holidays downtown: long lines at metro.

    After the fireworks while everyone is piling into metro, I just walk a few miles north and I’m home.

    • Hah! I love seeing tourists wait to get a train at McPherson Square, only to get off at Metro Center.

  • I live in mid-city and I love holiday weekends since many people who live here leave! I avoid the Mall on 4th of July but on Memorial Day and Labor Day it can be a lot of fun. A few years ago I had a long chat with Florence Henderson (Yes Mrs. Brady) while she was waiting to rehearse for the Memorial Day concert—good times!

  • Of course! But I have my ways of being out, and I know the museums (their nooks, their hours, their exhibits) like the back of my hand.

    Rolling Thunder is sheer hell. But they hear that they take it as a compliment.

    • By the way, Rolling Thunder was the name of a massive bombing campaign by the Americans.

      I don’t see why an appalling offensive has to be how we remember those soldiers who were MIA or disappeared.

      • A phrase can have more than one meaning.

      • ” I don’t see why an appalling offensive has to be how we remember those soldiers who were MIA or disappeared.”

        do you want to understand or are you just complaining?

  • I’d like to see all the bikes, but no way in hell would I go down there this weekend. And the 4th? Forget it. When we lived across the street from Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park we used to watch the fireworks from there–great view and easy to get there and home. I hate the 4th of July though, and I know our neighborhood is going to be INSANE during that whole period. There won’t be anywhere to go to escape it–the Mall full or tourists v. the street full of amateur fireworks lighters. Blech.

  • I was planning to go to the Dulles Air and Space Museum this weekend. Mainly because I want to go to one of the outlet stores in Leesburg and I figure if I’m going to drive that far I might as well see a musuem I’ve never seen before on the way. I wonder if that will be really crowded because of the holiday weekend.

    • I took my amateur pilot dad (and very tolerant mother) to that museum on a weekend day this past cherry blossom season and was pleasantly surprised – neat museum and the crowds were pretty sparse!

      • I agree, it’s a great museum! At some point in the future, they’re replacing the Enterprise with one of the space shuttles that actually went into space.

      • Cool! I can’t wait to check it out.

  • And, yes – I also avoid the mall like the plague on holiday weekends.

    And since LisaT’s comment reminded me of the chaos of the last 4th of July, I’m now wondering what options might work to avoid the city for the entire holiday weekend this year…

  • the bus! I’ve gone downtown the past few years for the 4th and the trick is the bus. None of the tourists know how to use the bus, so the 30s or the 50s are always a lovely ride out of the area.

    • Whether or not it was all tourists, it was impossible to get to the mall for the Stewart/Colbert rally this past fall. Buses, Metro, cabs from CH were a nonstarter.

  • i know i’m a bit crazy, but i actually like tourists. i like that they remind me to enjoy the place i live.

    • No, I’m with you. I like giving directions. I admit to being somewhat annoyed when they stop in the middle of the sidewalk on K street (why are you on K Street if you don’t work here??) but in general, I’m pro-tourist.

  • hell no i don’t leave! this is my city. i’m willing to share the mall w/ the tourists, AND kindly direct them to whatever memorial or museum they’re trying to visit, since i am a transplant (like most here) and would have wanted someone to do the same for me.

  • I avoid it most of the time. I was glad to hear that like the Air and Space Museum annex, all those volleyball and soccer fields are also being moved out next to Dulles.

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