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Adventures in Crystal City

This post is part 12 of our Wednesday Adventure Series. Each week we will highlight something different in the Washington, D.C., Metro Area, many of which will be options for part of your own BookCrossing Journey. With so many things to see and do, how will you choose?

REMINDER: There are fewer than 100 days until the 10th Anniversary BookCrossing Convention. Have you registered yet?


Crystal City is a neighborhood within Arlington, Virginia, just 2 Metro stops from Washington, D.C., and in April it will become the central location for the 2011 BookCrossing Convention!

The Sheraton Crystal City hotel is our main venue, so we thought you might like to get to know it a little bit better before you arrive. The hotel has:

  • guest rooms, all updated in 2008
  • an in-house restaurant, 18 Eads Bistro
  • a fitness facility and sauna for guests
  • an ATM
  • a gift shop
  • luggage storage
  • a lounge for SPG club members
  • a 24-hour front desk staffed by courteous employees

The features BookCrossers might be most interested in, however, include:

  • free wireless high speed internet access in the lobby, guest rooms, and convention areas (a special deal for our convention)
  • a business center in the lobby with computers & printers you can use (for a fee)
  • an in-house bar, 18 Eads Lounge
  • free airport shuttle leaving every 30 minutes from 6am to 11pm (see our getting there page for more info)
  • newly renovated (finished January 2011) meetings rooms
  • an OBCZ bookshelf beside the check-in desk

BookCrossers will take over much of the second floor of the Sheraton during our convention. You’ll want to head up to the second floor (by way of stairs or elevators) to check in for registration. The beautiful second floor atrium is where we’ll have our main book buffet and the large room behind it will be where all our big events take place, including the exciting kickoff reception with snacks Friday evening, the banquet dinner with speakers and quiz night on Saturday, and the breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Some of our smaller activities and four other book buffets will be in the smaller meeting rooms also on the second floor.

The hotel is conveniently located right across the street from the Crystal City Metro station (Metro train and bus service), down the street from the Crystal City VRE train station, and just 5 minutes away from the airport by car (or shuttle). There is limited metered street parking outside the hotel (free only on weekends) and there is a parking garage at the Crystal City Shops (free after 4pm on week days and all day on weekends). Catty-corner from the main entrance to the Sheraton is a post office, convenient for mailing books home to yourself (or friends and family) if they won’t all fit in your luggage.

Metro Station

Post Office

VRE Station

There are still rooms available at the Sheraton during the convention dates, at a special discounted rate of $99 a night. The Sheraton hotel parking garage is only $15 for BookCrossing convention attendees (see the hotel page for more information).

The area around the Sheraton is worth a look as well. At first glance, it looks like a typical “urban village” with high-rises, hotels, apartment complexes, and office buildings everywhere. But there’s actually more to Crystal City than that. A 2008 project entitled “Art Walls” turned a few of the neighborhood’s buildings, walls, and streets into canvases. There are nine small gardens/parks nearby as well. Our favorite is “The Water Park,” a lovely area just beside the VRE station where there are trees, benches, a small café, and a 1-story high water fountain. While you’re walking around, looking at the art and parks, be on the lookout for free “Crystal Wi-Fi” signals, available in most of the popular park areas. You could release a book there and use your laptop or mobile device to make release notes in real-time!

Water Park

Crystal City Shops

Water Park Cafe

In addition to all the beauty of the neighborhood outside, there are some indoor shopping opportunities as well. The Crystal City Shops are just across the street from the Sheraton, connected to the Metro station underground. There are more than 100 stores, shops, and eateries there. Whether you’re hunting for a good cup of coffee or looking for souvenirs, sitting down for dinner or popping in to the convenient store for an item you forgot to pack, you’ll find it there. If you like art, you won’t want to miss the 2010 FotoWeek award winning photographs on display in the interior concourse from the Metro station to Au Bon Pain. On the Friday of the convention we’ll be having dinner on Friday at some of the restaurants here and down the street from the Sheraton.

You can choose to check out Crystal City on your own throughout the weekend. And you can choose to join us on the early morning release walk around Crystal City before breakfast on the Sunday of our convention.

One Response to “Adventures in Crystal City”

  • You should also know that the workers of this hotel have been fighting to organize under a fair and democratic process known as card check. Management has refused them this right and began a fear and harassment campaign that has cost workers their jobs and pushed the Sheraton workers to call for a boycott of their own hotel.

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