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Frommer's Color Complete Guide: Washington,…
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Frommer's Color Complete Guide: Washington, DC

by Elise H. Ford

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Frommer’s is my go-to source for travel guides. Its texts are accurate, well organized and conversational, printed on silky (almost glossy) paper with hundreds of color photos and particularly good maps, plus dozens of sidebars that pull out special info or slice large amounts of info in helpful ways, e.g. summary or comparison charts. This Washington DC edition is no exception.

It opens with an overview of DC that will have you vowing to visit -- there's so much to see and do! It then explores the area, summarizing the history and contemporary culture, describing neighborhoods and suggesting 1-, 2-, and 3-day itineraries. Subsequent chapters cover where to stay, eat, sightsee, shop, party, and go on side trips. More than other guides, Frommer’s maps let me readily get my bearings -- they include the exact locations I want, laid out to the appropriate level of detail (sometimes zoomed in, sometimes out, sometimes both) and expertly labeled. This guide includes a tear-out, folded map (waterproof and indestructible) with the tourist area on one side, the greater Virginia-Maryland metropolitan area on the other, and a schematic of Metrorail lines.

Highly recommended.

(Review based on a copy of the book provided by the publisher.) ( )
  DetailMuse | Aug 13, 2012 |
I have lived in D.C. and the close-in suburb of McLean, Virginia, for more than thirty years. Yet, I still enjoy visiting the monuments, the museums and the tourist sites. There are always new exhibits, and I never tire of experiencing the beauty of our Capital and the history of our nation.

Writing a guidebook for Washington, D.C. is no simple matter. The possibilities of things to see and do are endless. Our capital is a real goldmine of interesting activities. I wanted this current guidebook for the occasional tourists that stay with us. I recommend Frommer's "Washington, D.C. 2012" guidebook as a complete, reliable, interesting and handy reference for touring.

The guidebook is printed on nice, sturdy paper with a heavy cover that will resist spills. It is filled with good color photos and maps, and even includes a detachable map of D.C. with a Metro Map on plasticized paper. While not pocket sized, it is small enough to carry around while touring.

This guidebook not only informs but also takes care of you. Any reference book will be out of date as soon as it is in print. This is just a fact of publishing in print. Wisely, Frommer tells you to be sure to call the place you are visiting on the morning of your visit. For example, this year's earthquake damaged the Washington Monument requiring it to close to tourists (you can see the outside but can't take the elevator to the top). Also, the White House can close to tourists on short notice.

The book contains many "helpful hints" and touring advice. It suggests seeing one of my favorite groups, the Capitol Steps, specializing is humorous satire of recent political events. It also includes the Embassies and how to visit them. For transportation, the Circulator Bus is a real gem at $1 a ride and arriving every ten minutes!

Handy places to grab a bite include the Senate and House Office Buildings' cafeterias and the Supreme Court cafeteria. These allow families to find convenient, reasonably priced food while avoiding the crowds in the museum cafeterias. Also, it is cool to dine in these "special buildings" where our legislators and Justices work.

The star rating system will also be subjective. The Library of Congress gets one star, while Arlington Cemetery gets two stars. I guess it just depends on what interests you.

The only fault that I noticed was that Frommer failed to cover the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Center, part of the National Air and Space Museum. This isn't such a big oversight (although the Udvar-Hazy Center is really gigantic), but the book mentions it on page 191 then fails to deliver. On page 192, it states: "Let's start with the original, ever popular Air and Space Museum on the Mall." Then, it never discusses the Udvar-Hazy Center at all!

Overall, I think that Frommer's is a more comprehensive and interesting guidebook to Washington, D.C. than most and I will enjoy using it as a reference for myself and visiting tourists. ( )
1 vote brendajanefrank | Apr 5, 2012 |
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Detailed, objective reviews of hotels and restaurants to suit any budget are accompanied by up-to-date coverage of sightseeing, nightlife, shopping and local activities; dozens of maps; and expert trip-planning advice, in this premier travel series, now with enhanced insider tips, additional color sections, more information on sustainable "green" travel and other revised features.… (more)

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