Getting ready to attend the 2019 National Book Festival here in D.C. next week? Here are some tips to make it easier for you to get here and enjoy your day:
Download the App. There’s a version of the National Book Festival App for all smartphones, and you’ll find it to be a great way to plan your day. Use the tools to make a personal schedule from the hundreds of activities available. Also, we’ll use the app to push late-breaking details and program changes, so it will be your most valuable tool. (And remember, the complete festival schedule is also available on our website.)
Plan Your Travel. The Washington Convention Center is pretty accessible between 7th and 9th Streets and N Street and Mt. Vernon Place in downtown D.C., but there’s always a lot going on in our Nation’s Capital, and August 31 — Labor Day weekend — is no exception. Here’s information from the Convention Center on parking and access.
Use Metro. Metro, the Washington D.C. area’s subway system, has a stop right at the Convention Center! Very convenient! But keep in mind that the system is undergoing extensive maintenance these days, which may result in delays and station closings. Metro lists potential maintenance delays at its website. If you’re going to use one of the affected lines, give yourself some extra time coming in.
Help Us Keep You Safe. Once you get here, you’ll go through safety-screening protocols that are designed to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable festival. You can enter using four entrances that will be open to the center (see the map), and your bags will be checked. There will be a few restrictions that you’ll need to keep in mind, but once you’re cleared, you’ll be able travel anywhere inside the center and enjoy your day.
Once In, Stay In. After you’ve passed through screening, you can move freely throughout the Convention Center. However, you can’t go outside (for lunch, etc.) without having to go through screening again to re-enter. In order to move between the buildings, you may need to go up or down a level via the building connectors in order to avoid the screening lines.
Travel Light and Wear Comfortable Shoes. The map doesn’t do justice to the HUGENESS of the Washington Convention Center. It’s a massive place. Two big city blocks, wide hallways, multiple levels. There are escalators, but you’ll still need to prepare for long walks between the various festival venues.
Think Globally, Eat Locally. Getting hungry during the day? You may want to hit the concession spots available within the Convention Center. In addition, there are dozens of great dining venues close by if you head south outside the center. Just remember, if you leave the Convention Center, you’ll need to go back through screening upon your return.
Cluster Your Activities. The stages and activities are grouped on different levels in different buildings. Make it easy on yourself and build your schedule ahead of time (use that App!) so you can map out your routes and better anticipate the time needed to get from place to place. The Concourse and Lower Level span both buildings, so on your way from sessions in the North building to sessions in the South building, give yourself a long break and check out some of the great things going on down there on the Expo Floor.
Lost? Confused? Forlorn? Ask for Help! You’ll see plenty of folks in National Book Festival Event Staff shirts holding “Ask Me” signs. Our top-notch volunteers will have the answer to your questions—and if they don’t, they know who to ask!
Be Patient—and Have Fun! During the course of this amazing day, there may be bottlenecks, snafus and the frustrations inherent during any complex event run by volunteers in such a big venue. But remember, we’re all here to share our love of books and reading, and to and have a terrific time. Our festival staff and volunteers will do everything we can to ensure that you do, too. See you on Saturday, August 31!