There's plenty to see in D.C., so you may as well make a weekend of the trip.
The March For Life is getting ready to take place in Washington, D.C., on Friday, January 24 and we just realized that with all our hectic holiday hurrying we neglected to make our travel plans! If you’re in the same boat as us, don’t fret. We have all the info needed to take part in the largest Pro-Life demonstration in the world.
While the official host hotel, the Renaissance D.C. Downtown Hotel, is all booked up, the March For Life website offers a variety of surplus hotels that may still have room. These include Trump International Hotel, Washington Marriot at Metro Center, Residence Inn Washington, and Courtyard Washington D.C.. Click here for pricing details and corresponding phone numbers.
Of course, as a big city there are plenty of hotels to check out. Some of them may be a bit further from the marching ground than the hotels listed above, but thanks to D.C.’s extensive Metro system, getting around the city is relatively easy and any destination can be reached within a 40-minute time frame. Due to the March For Life crowds, however, we recommended you give yourself a full hour or more for travel.
If you can’t get a hotel in the city, it’s worth taking a look in some of the surrounding Virginia or Maryland towns like Fairfax or Silver Springs, both of which have Metro connections to D.C.
Catholic Herald also notes that many churches in the D.C., Virginia, Maryland Tri-state area are willing to accommodate marchers, whom they view as pilgrims. In 2017, they listed a number of churches who gave travelers shelter for the night, including Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria, St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax, St. Agnes Church, St. Charles Borromeo Church and Marymount University, all in Arlington.
While these churches were working with groups like the Sisters for Life and the University of Notre Dame, they may be willing to take on a few stray demonstrators who need a place to stay before the big march. Definitely worth a phone call if all other options are exhausted.
January 24 will be a massive travel day for the D.C. area and all parties driving in are advised to leave themselves ample time to navigate the congested roads. Parking is also expected to be difficult as many of the roads in the heart of D.C. will be blocked for the event.
We suggest that all drivers locate a parking garage close to a metro station prior to arriving in D.C.. This way you can leave your car in safety and make it around the city faster using the metro and good old-fashioned foot-work.
If you’re flying in, D.C. is most accessible through Washington Dulles Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. However, there is also Baltimore-Washington International, from which travelers can reach D.C. on an hour-long bus ride to the Greenbelt Metro station.
If you’re getting to D.C. a few days early there are events to be enjoyed as early as Wednesday evening, when the March For Life Expo will run from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Expo continues throughout the entire day on Thursday, along with a morning conference and a Youth Rally, from 2:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m.
On Friday, the day of the March for Life, the Expo will continue both before and after the demonstration. At 11:00 a.m. a pre-rally concert will be held at the staging ground, featuring headlining act We Are Messengers, an Irish Christian band that has made waves in recent years, routinely finding themselves in the Top 5 of Billboard’s Christian charts.
Following the March will be the Rose Dinner, an evening of inspiration and fellowship to conclude the March for Life activities. Tickets for the Rose Dinner are $175 and those wishing to attend should note that tickets must be purchased ahead of time, as they are not available at the door.
After the March
Many of the people who come out for the March For Life arrive and leave the same day. While accommodations might be hard to find on Thursday night, there are usually plenty of rooms available on Saturday. If you’re taking the long trip to D.C. it might be worth hanging around to see some of the District’s many attractions.
These include a selection of beautiful churches, including the National Cathedral (Episcopal), the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest church building in North America, which is located on the Catholic University of America grounds. Also near CUA is the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America and the St. John Paul II National Shrine, both of which are open to tour.
Washington, D.C. also now boasts the Museum of the Bible, which can take a full day to tour. For more secular attractions, check out one of the many Smithsonian museums that document different aspects of America’s vast history. These Smithsonians, and even the Washington Zoo, are all completely free to enter and explore. There’s way more to see than one can accomplish in one weekend, so consider taking a few days to look around the US capital.