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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'd like to maintain this first post as a FAQ/sticky for DC tourism-related questions.

Restaurants with great views in the DC area, http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=449929
Visiting Washington DC, http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=448791 <- Whoa, I forgot about this thread.

2007 Amtrak Promotions and Discounts

Disclaimer! - Use these codes at your own risk. Many are targeted for specific people/organizations which may require proof of eligibility when booking or picking tickets up. Conductors may also verify eligibility onboard the train.

General Terms and Blackouts: Most discounts require a three day advance purchase. Sleeper accommodations, weekday Acela Express service and non-Amtrak operated Thruway services are typically excluded as well. Check with Amtrak for specific terms and conditions before booking.

Most promotions and discounts are not applicable during high-demand periods. The following dates of travel are excluded from the offers below unless otherwise stated: August 31 - September 3, 2007; October 5-8, 2007; November 9-12, 2007; November 20-27, 2007; December 14, 2007 - January 2, 2008; January 18-21, 2008; February 15-18, 2008; March 20-24, 2008.

National Promotions

Seniors - 15% off
Amtrak travelers 62 years of age and over receive a 15% discount on the applicable adult rail fare on most Amtrak trains.

Student Advantage - 15% off
College students can purchase the Student Advantage cards to receive discounts at hundreds of retailers, including a 15% discount on Amtrak travel and Amtrak Express shipping. Amtrak reservations must be made at least three days in advance to receive discount. http://www.studentadvantage.com/disc...rd/pjp?id=9191

International Student Identification Card - 15% off
Students holding an International Student Identification Card will receive 15% off the rail fare on most routes. Must present ISIC and school ID card to qualify for discount. Excludes all Acela Express and Metroliner services. Reservations must be made at least three days in advance. Visit
http://www.myisic.com/

Veteran's Advantage - 15% off Unlike Student Advantage, you really do have to be a veteran for this one. http://www.veteransadvantage.com/par...amtrak-50.html

AAA - 10% off
American Automobile Association members save 10% off adult rail fares. Three day advance reservation required.

Military Discount - 10% off
Active duty US military personnel, along with their spouses and their dependents, are eligible to receive a 10% discount off most Amtrak rail fares in the US, including travel on the Auto Train.

National Association of Railroad Passengers 10% discount - Join NARP, support Amtrak and receive a 10% discount on most rail fares! http://www.narprail.org/cms/index.php/main/discount/

Weekly Specials and Hot Deals
Amtrak posts special, online-only rail fares each week. Fares are typically good for travel to/from any two stations located between the listed origin and destination stations. Fares are always listed for one-way travel only. The Hot Deals page lists other promotions underway.

Weekly Specials
Hot Deals!

V185 - Save 10%
Save 10% off most rail fares for travel through December 13, 2007. No advance purchase required. Not valid on Acela, Auto Train, Carolinian, Piedmont or services operating to Canada.

Guest Rewards Promotions

1,000 Bonus Points on Acela
Complete any round-trip travel on Acela through August 30, 2007 and receive 1,000 bonus points. $150 minimum round-trip ticket qualifies between any cities pairs. Registration required with code 61107. Thanks the_traveler!

Northeast Routes

Save 50% on companion tickets traveling on the Northeast Corridor through the end of the year using one of the following codes: V383, V679, V769.

V688 - 20% off the NEC
Save 20% off tickets between Washington, DC and Springfield, MA on most regional services through December 13, 2007. Blackout dates apply.

V714 - 50% off companion ticket
Purchase two Adult tickets and save 50% on the second ticket for most Northeast Regional services. Valid through May 31, 2007. Not valid for travel on Acela Express. Three day advance purchase required. Other restrictions may apply.

V731 - 20% off to Rhode Island
Receive 20% off the lowest available railfare traveling to Rhode Island. This discount cannot be booked via the Internet, must call or visit a staffed station.

V733 - 50% off companion ticket
Purchase two Adult tickets and save 50% on the second ticket for most Northeast Regional services. Valid through September 30, 2007. Not valid for travel on Acela Express. Three day advance purchase required. Other restrictions may apply.

Thanks saschasegan for most of these tips!
 

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I had a prior thread where i received some good suggestions, and there is another thread with some great sightseeing and restaurant suggestions.

So I hate to do this as the first post in this thread - but I'm wondering how easy it is to leave the city for a day? I had planned to spend a couple days of my 7 day trip outside of DC. We have Alexandria & Mount Vernon for a nearby day trip - I was wondering if it's too much a stretch to take a train up to Philadelphia for a day? Does Amtrak run fairly efficient between the two?
 

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I had a prior thread where i received some good suggestions, and there is another thread with some great sightseeing and restaurant suggestions.

So I hate to do this as the first post in this thread - but I'm wondering how easy it is to leave the city for a day? I had planned to spend a couple days of my 7 day trip outside of DC. We have Alexandria & Mount Vernon for a nearby day trip - I was wondering if it's too much a stretch to take a train up to Philadelphia for a day? Does Amtrak run fairly efficient between the two?
Um well Baltimore is kind of right between DC and Philly, if you want easy transport I would go there instead. You have to see the Inner Harbor. There are two lines, but I would recommend the Union Station line. It's pretty easy to get there.
 

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Well i didn't mean anything against Baltimore, we just had specific reasons to go to Philly... in fact we'd really like to see Baltimore too.
 

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I was wondering if it's too much a stretch to take a train up to Philadelphia for a day? Does Amtrak run fairly efficient between the two?
While I don't have any personal experience taking Amtrak between DC and Philly, I imagine the trip would be pretty efficient. The Northeast Corridor is by far Amtrak's most used service area, and trains are constantly moving between New York and DC on the weekdays, so probably can be sure to find a train to Philly at just about any time of the day. As far as I know, the only route to Philly from DC is through Baltimore. I believe the trips usually range between an hour and a half and two hours each way, so expect to sit about three or four hours on a train. Prices are also a bit high, as a one-way ticket can cost you upwards of $200. You might want to look into flying. My brother-in-law just flew from DC to Pittsburgh on Southwest because it came out cheaper and quicker than Amtrak. Another option is a bus. Greyhound and Peter Pan buses usually have very cheap deals for trips up and down the East Coast. They take a bit longer, but they're very cheap. I think the last time I took a bus from Baltimore to New York it cost me $15.
 

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I think you can get a one way ticket from Union Station to 30th Street Station (Philly) for $70 -$100 bucks, depending on the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I hate to do this as the first post in this thread - but I'm wondering how easy it is to leave the city for a day? I had planned to spend a couple days of my 7 day trip outside of DC. We have Alexandria & Mount Vernon for a nearby day trip - I was wondering if it's too much a stretch to take a train up to Philadelphia for a day? Does Amtrak run fairly efficient between the two?
Amtrak isn't a very reliable mode of transportation overall, but it's reasonably reliable along the Northeast Corridor, especially between DC and New York. From DC, you can leave from ALX (Alexandria), WAS (Union Station), or NCR (New Carrollton) to travel up to PHL (Philly); however, WAS will usually provide you with the most travel options.

The 30th Street Station in Philly is a monumental structure. It's not quite as spectacular as Union Station, but it's much more impressive than most of Amtrak's other stations along the Northeast Corridor, including New York's claustrophobic Penn Station. The neighborhood immediately surrounding the 30th Street Station isn't as attractive as that surrounding Union Station either, but it's not too bad. The always interesting University of Pennsylvania campus is a short stroll to the west, and Center City Philly with its looming skyscrapers is a walk across a bridge to the east. If you don't wish to walk, there are cabs lined up just outside the station and the Septa subway system is nearby.

By the way, I strongly recommend that you don't waste money on Acela service, since it won't get you to Philly significantly faster. Acela is more about class of service than it is about speed of service, and most coach passengers in the Northeast act fairly civilized enough. Do check for rail deals before you buy any tickets, and check the following thread for discount codes. You will often need to buy your tickets several days in advance to make use of most discount codes.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=625507
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A one-way ticket from WAS to PHL can be had for less than $50, depending on the service and schedule, but that's still somewhat expensive compared to MARC. Unfortunately, MARC's Penn Line only goes up to Perryville, MD, a couple miles to short to link up with Septa's Newark station in Delaware.

I've heard good stories about the Chinatown buses that serve DC to NYC, and some of them travel between DC to PHL as well. Chinatown buses tend to be cheaper than Amtrak; however, if money isn't a concern then go Amtrak. You'll appreciate the extra level of comfort.
 
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