The sun might be beating down in the steamy capital, but most of the politicians have gone home while the legislature is in recess, making it one of the better times to visit.
Thanks to locally based airline Independence Air (tel. 800/359-3594; www.flyi.com), getting there is cheaper than "Ways and Means" committee members. For some serious flying for less, if you are a student between 18 and 25, the Glide Pass is a must this summer. For a mere $249 The GLiDE Pass gives you unlimited flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to and from all Independence Air destinations East of the Mississippi until August 31, 2005. All you need to pay each time you fly are the applicable fees and taxes, which can be up to $20 per one-way flight. You also get big discounts on the other days of the week, and to the West all the time. There are a few restrictions, so see the Independence Air website for details. For the rest of us, Independence's flights to the nation's capital start at a mere $49 one way from Boston, $59 from New York, $69 from Chicago and $129 from Los Angeles. Taxes are additional. If for some reason you are thinking of driving one way and flying the other, keep in mind that outgoing flights from Washington, D.C. are generally cheaper than incoming.
Jet Blue (tel. 800/JET-BLUE; www.jetblue.com) also has some Super Fly Deals to D.C.. From Oakland, Long Beach or San Diego, one-way flights to Washington, D.C. start from $109 plus taxes with a seven-day advance purchase. From Sacramento, the fare starts at $144.
Travelocity (www.travelocity.com) has some incredibly low round-trip fares to Washington, D.C., like their midweek New York to D.C. from $103 on United or Delta Airlines. From Los Angeles the round-trip fare is $183, from Dallas, it is $197 on Northwest Airlines or $204 from Seattle on American Airlines. All these fares are for travel from now until October 1, 2005 based on seven-days advance purchase.
You'll also save big on accommodation this summer season through the Washington, D.C. Convention and Tourism Corporation (tel. 800/422-8644; www.washington.org). Their "Summer Freedom Savings Program" (www.summerfreedomsavings.com) includes the following accommodation specials that are valid until September 5, 2005: The stylish all-suite One Washington Circle Hotel (www.thecirclehotel.com) offers a prime location in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and summer packages that include continental breakfast for two from $109 per night.
At the Irish style Phoenix Park Hotel (www.phoenixparkhotel.com) on Capitol Hill, you'll be welcomed with a pint of Guinness upon check-in and rates that start at $99 per night. The "Let's Play Ball" package at the Hotel Helix (www.hotelhelix.com) features deluxe accommodation, parking, Cracker Jacks, two all-day Metro passes and the choice between two keepsake baseball DVDs -- Field of Dreams or Angels in the Outfield from $179 per room per night.
If the summer heat makes it hard to walk around all day, you may wish to get around town with the wind in your hair on a Segway. Visit all the sights and monuments in style with City Segway Tours' (www.citysegwaytours.com) four-hour Washington, D.C. day tour for $65 per person or even more spectacular, take the same tour at night to see the splendor of the city illuminated. Each four-hour tour takes you to the White House, the Old Executive Office Building, the National Mall, the Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean and World War II Memorials, the Washington Monument, Constitution Avenue, the National Archives, the United States Capitol, Pennsylvania Avenue, the National Gallery of Art, American History Museum and the US Botanical Gardens. Tours begin with a 40-minute training session to get you comfortable and proficient with the segway.
Another great reason to visit D.C. in summer is Restaurant Week, which runs from August 1 to 7, 2005. Join more than 100 of Washington, D.C.'s finest restaurants for awe-inspiring, multi-course meals prepared especially for this gourmet event. Lunch is just $20.05 and dinner is $30.05. Make sure to visit Open Table (www.opentable.com) to make your reservations.
For a list of useful and informative websites that will help you get in and around Washington, D.C., visit www.frommers.com/destinations/washingtondc/0035026644.html.
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