Getting Around Washington D.C.

Getting yourself around any city can be not only intimidating and overwhelming but also super costly. Well, Washington DC is not just any city, it is our Nation’s Capital and when it comes to getting around we’re pretty jacked here in DC, the streets are pedestrian friendly and there are endless options to choose from. Navigating DC couldn’t be easier! When planning your trip, just bear in mind the infamous DC traffic gridlock!

Metro Rail

Washington, DC has one of the safest, cleanest and most efficient transportation systems in the world and Metro Rail is for sure one of the most effective ways to travel, there is no gridlock down there! Operating from 5am to midnight on weekdays and 7am to midnight on weekends, a quick visit to their website allows you to plan your trip, calculate the costs, purchase your SmarTrip card and be on your way. SmarTrip cards can be used for rail, bus and the DC circulator rides and often give a better rate, allow for repeated swiping, are rechargeable and can be purchased at any Metro station, many convenience stores and online. There are six color coded metro lines that will get you to anywhere you need to go, including all the major tourist attractions. Red, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Silver and Green. You’ll recognize the stations by the black pole with colored stripes and a M marking, it’s easy! Trains usually arrive every 5-6 minutes. At off-peak times, trains come every 12 minutes, while later trains typically arrive every 15-20 minutes. Base fares start around $1.35 for non-peak travel and kids under 4 ride free. Download the free DC Rider mobile app which allows quick access to all the information you need, while you are on the go!

Metro Buses


Metrobus run hundreds of routes throughout the city and the greater Washington DC area, so it if your destination isn’t near a metro line you’re likely to find a bus route to get you there. A little less user friendly than the Metro rail, but a great way to travel if you prefer to stay above ground. Tip: Try to travel non-peak to avoid the traffic (weekends and weekdays between 9:30am and 4pm and 7-10pm). Swipe your SmarTrip card and you are good to go! If paying cash, have the exact amount as drivers do not carry change.

DC Circulator


The DC Circulator buses are similar to metro buses, operating on six fixed routes running between the city’s main attractions and some of the more popular neighborhoods for visitors. At only $1 a ride which you can swipe on your SmarTrip card, it’s an easy, popular and affordable way to explore Washington DC. The buses run about every 10 minutes with a dedicated National Mall route on weekends. To get started, pop an address into their interactive map to find the closest routes and bus stops.


DC has one of the highest taxi-to-citizen ratios in the country, with more than 6,000 taxis servicing the city. A simple download of the DC Taxi Rider App will get you to where you are going but with DC’s notorious traffic you may be able to walk faster!


How we survived without Uber, I have no idea but they are convenient, safe, affordable and most of the time right around the corner. Thanks to modern technology, a quick tap on your phone and you are ready to explore the city and watch the sights along the way.


Lyft comes in right on the tail of Uber, their biggest competition and often more affordable! Same concept, same advantages, simply a different app to download! It’s that simple.

Capital Bikeshare

This may seem a little daunting but the roads of DC are logically laid-out and super bike friendly with bike only lanes throughout most DC neighborhoods. It’s easy to hop on a bus or jump in a taxi and have someone else lead the way but the adventurous at heart will add even more adventure and excitement to their trip as they explore Washington DC by bike! There are over 350 Capital Bikeshare docking stations throughout the entire city and it really is very simple, pick it up where you choose and drop it off where you choose. That’s great news, at least if you get tired you can drop it off and hop on a bus home. The first 30 minutes of each trip is free, with each additional half hour incurring a fee. You can purchase a single trip pass, 24-hour pass or if you’re a regular visitor an annual membership is available.

Hop On / Hop Off Trolley Tours


Speaking of hopping, Trolley Tours are another great way to get to see all the sights and experience the vibe of our Nation’s Capital. These tours are a little more expensive starting at $39.95 for a one day fully narrated tour with 25 hop off stops covering 100 points of interest. You’re sure to see the best of Washington DC’s attractions.

DC Streetcar


Street cars are new to DC and currently only consist of one line, a 2.2-mile stretch along H Street and Benning Road. So, if you’re in the area, it’s currently still free, bike friendly during non-peak hours, wheelchair accessible and runs every 10-15 minutes. We’re hoping more routes will be added quickly as it’s a great way to travel DC.


Washington DC looks spectacular from the water and a cruise or sightseeing tour along the Potomac River is a fun way to explore our Nation’s Capital. The Potomac River Boat Company and Spirit Cruises offer a variety of options from a Monument Cruise, Mount Vernon Cruise, Seaport Cruise or Specialty Cruise. There is even a Canine Cruise! 


Driving in DC can be more hassle than it’s worth and the least effective way of navigating our streets. Parking in DC is restricted to residents only with a permit, except on the weekends, not to mention the one-way streets, road closures and endless traffic circles! The public transport is incredible so we highly recommend taking full advantage and not driving around. If you’re in town with your car, you’ll need to check out the parking at SpotHero.