Here are the best options for traversing the nation’s capital.
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. The cards can also be used as payment for Metrobus rides.
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.
Of course, some visitors choose to drive their own vehicles. If you're driving in and around DC, ParkWhiz is a convenient way to compare prices at garages and lots around town so you can reserve your parking space before arriving.
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, including Enterprise, and most have offices at the airports. Many DC-area hotels have parking facilities located within their structure. In addition to ParkWhiz, visitors can find convenient street or garage parking with SpotHero.
DC Circulator bus on the National Mall in front of the Smithsonian Castle - How to get around Washington, DC
The DC Circulator gets rave reviews from residents and visitors alike. The bus is free for all riders 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, 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.
Those who prefer to explore on two wheels, Unlimited Biking offers rentals from two locations in DC, and has a wide variety of bikes to choose from, including kids' bikes and attachments. With each rental, helmets, locks and a map are included, and the friendly staff will help you plan your route to explore the city. Additionally, 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 access bicycles 24 hours a day. The first 30 minutes of each trip is free, with each additional half hour incurring a fee.
Check out more suggestions on transportation in and around Washington, DC.