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How Do I Get Around Washington, DC?

Foggy bottom metro station

The best options for traversing the nation’s capital

People sitting inside the DC metro

Metrorail & Metrobus

Washington, DC has one of the safest, cleanest and most efficient transportation systems in the world. Metrorail and Metrobus are the most convenient ways to get around DC, with Metrobus providing connections for locations not serviced by Metrorail. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center  even has a dedicated Metro station serviced by the Yellow and Green Lines, and many hotels are conveniently located near Metro stations or bus routes. Metro operates from 5 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekends.

Metrobus runs hundreds of routes throughout the city and the greater Washington, DC area, with more than 1,400 buses using compressed natural gas or a hybrid electric drive system helping to keep DC eco-friendly. 

Riders can pay by purchasing a SmarTrip® card, which allows users to load a designated amount on the card for repeated swiping. Fares are lower for SmarTrip® users, and the cards can also be used as payment for Metrobus and DC Circulator rides.

Starting on June 3, 2016, the Metro will close nightly at midnight. The early closing is part of a larger project to improve Metrorail safety and restore service reliability.

man getting inside a DC taxi cab

Taxis, rental cars & parking

Taxi service is plentiful and economical in DC. In fact, DC has one of the highest taxi-to-citizen ratios in the country, with more than 6,000 taxis servicing the city. Taxis use a metered system just like every other city in the country. All taxis also accept credit and debit cards as payment, as well as cash.

You can also download the DC Taxi Rider app for your iPhone or Android, which allows you to choose from a regular, large, or wheelchair-accessible taxi, see a fare and time estimate before you hail the cab, and pay either through the app or in the vehicle.

Uber is another great option for getting where you need to go all over DC. Simply sign up and download the app to your phone, and you can begin requesting a ride with the tap of a button. No cash is required, and tip is handled in the ride fare. Numerous car options are available, and you can even share a ride.

Rental cars are yet another option. All the major rental companies have locations throughout DC, and most have offices at the airports. Of course, some visitors choose to drive their own vehicles. Most hotels have parking facilities located within their structure, and visitors can find convenient street or garage parking with ParkWhiz or SpotHero. The on-demand parking app helps drivers find parking, compare discounted rates and reserve a spot for up to 50% off with convenient garages, lots & valet stands in Washington, DC.

DC Circulator by the Jefferson Memorial

DC Circulator

The DC Circulator gets rave reviews from residents and visitors alike. The bus is incredibly affordable at just $1 per ride, and travels along six specific routes designed for easy-on, easy-off access at points of interest throughout the District.  Explore neighborhoods such as Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Woodley Park/Cleveland Park, U Street and Capitol Hill with the Circulator. The bus even offers a dedicated National Mall route for super easy access to DC’s majestic lineup of monuments and memorials. Schedules for every route are available, and buses run every 10 minutes.

Walking & Biking Around DC

One of the best ways to experience Washington, DC is on foot. The city’s wide sidewalks meander past the inspiring monuments and museums found on the National Mall, as well as the intimate museums, world-class theaters and splendid gardens in the city’s collection of neighborhoods.

Of course, those who prefer to explore on two wheels will be happy to know that Capital Bikeshare has over 350 stations across DC, Virginia and Maryland. Its fleet includes more than 3,000 bicycles, and the system is easy: simply join (options range from a Day Key to a year-long membership) and you have access to bikes 24 hours a day. The first 30 minutes of each trip is free, with each additional half hour incurring a fee.

Check out our transportation page to learn more about getting around DC.