You’ve been sitting in the gate area at Washington Dulles for the past two hours when you hear those dreaded words...
“Ladies and Gentleman, Flight 365 is cancelled due to a mechanical problem. Please line up at the gate, and we will book you on the next available flight.”
You merge gracefully into the stampede of frantic passengers who are at present, charging toward the harried looking gate agent who has had it up-to-here, and is ready to tell all the passengers to go you-know-where.
And alas, since you were one of the last of the herd, the “next” available flight leaving IAD airport (with an open seat for you) is the following day...at 3:00PM.
Now, we all know that Washington DC is a fantastic place...the National Mall, a complete host of museums, restaurants, great entertainment (even in non-election years) and several other activities to fill the time during your unplanned layover.
All of this would be great if you were at Reagan, which just happens to be right next to all of the fun.
But you’re at Dulles...30 miles away from the action, and you’ll only have a few hours to kill...hours that you don’t want to spend in yet another hotel bar paying $12.00 for a six ounce brew, and you definitely don’t want to spend all of it in the maddening DC traffic.
But, is there anything to do near Dulles?
Never fear, iFly to the rescue. We have for you, our weary travelers...
5 Things To Do Near Washington Dulles Airport (IAD)
There is nothing like a little retail therapy to ease the pain of strandedness. Near Dulles you have two main options:
Reston Town Center
Distance from IAD: 6.0 mi http://www.restontowncenter.com/
This outdoor location offers over 50 stores, 30 restaurants, a huge movie theater, festivals year round and an ice-skating rink in the wintertime; a perfect place to spend a few hours and relax.
Dulles Town Center
Distance from IAD: 7.5 mi http://www.shopdullestowncenter.com
This is your “Mall of Malls”. It is a 1.4 million square foot facility that boasts 185 fine retailers, 5 department stores, 23 quick food providers and 10 sit down restaurants. You may end up needing another suitcase if you spend your layover here.
My motto? “Will fly for food.”
Only because I am a crewmember.
Perhaps yours can be “Can’t fly, need food.”
Well the Dulles airport corridor has plenty of great eats, all within a two mile radius. Choose any of these establishments to satiate your cravings:
Hama Sushi (0.9 mi)
Minerva (0.9 mi)
Bertucci's (1.1 mi)
Charlie Chiangs Herndon (1.4 mi)
Pei Wei Asian Diner (1.6 mi)
Zeffirelli Ristorante (2.2 mi)
Angeethi (2.3 mi)
The Tortilla Restaurant (2.3 mi)
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon (2.5 mi)
National Air and Space Museum-Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Distance from IAD: 5.4mi
Everyone knows about the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall, and if you ever find yourself visiting (read: stranded) at Dulles again with a longer stay, this place is a must-see.
However, coming in at a close second is the National Air and Space Museum-Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
Basically, the Smithsonian had an overflow of items in the air and space category, so they opened this facility to showcase the excess...combined, the two locations showcase the largest collection of aviation and space related artifacts on the planet.
Dulles Golf Center and Sports Park Distance from IAD: 6.8mi
Take out your stress on a golf ball or baseball at this location; which has been voted among the top 100 golf ranges in the country. The location features heated driving range stalls, power tees, beach volleyball, miniature golf, batting cages...you name it. Blow off some steam here...not when you finally board your flight leaving IAD airport.
Frying Pan Park/Farm Distance from IAD: 4.0mi
Take off the suit and get your hands dirty...Frying Pan Park offers a complete 180 from the frenzied terminals of Dulles at their rural heritage demonstration farm. You can meet draft horses, cows, pigs, chickens, take a wagon ride and watch farm hands work just as they would have in the 1930‘s. Seems like an idyllic scene doesn’t it? Until the quiet is shattered when the plane you were supposed
to be on flies overhead.
So Washington Dulles is not a horrible place for that unplanned layover, and you don’t have to go all the way into the “District” for some great layover diversions. Sometimes the best life has to offer is found in that unexpected stop.