Where to stay in Washington DC without a car? In this article, we will help you to decide the best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car, how to get around without a car, and the best hotels in Washington DC without a car for all budget visitors.
It is entirely possible to get around Washington, D.C. without a car. The city has an extensive and efficient public transportation system that includes buses and Metrorail (subway) services, as well as various other transportation options.
Parking in D.C. can be expensive and limited, so relying on public transportation and other alternatives can be more convenient and cost-effective for getting around.
Additionally, Washington, D.C. is a pedestrian-friendly city with many attractions clustered together, making it a great destination for car-free travel.
Washington, D.C., officially known as the District of Columbia, is the capital of the United States of America. It is not part of any state and is instead a federal district created to serve as the nation’s capital.
Washington, D.C., is located on the east coast of the United States, along the Potomac River. It is bordered by Maryland to the north, east, and west, and Virginia to the south.
The decision to establish a federal district for the capital was made in 1790, and the city was officially founded in 1791. It was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States.
Washington, D.C., is the seat of the U.S. federal government and is home to many important government buildings, including the White House (residence of the President), the U.S. Capitol (home to the U.S. Congress), and the Supreme Court of the United States.
The city is known for its iconic landmarks, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The National Mall is a prominent open space in the city that features many of these monuments and memorials.
Washington, D.C., is home to numerous museums and cultural institutions, including the Smithsonian Institution, which is home to the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, and National Museum of Natural History.
Major airports serving the region include Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Dulles International Airport, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Where to stay in Washington DC without a car?
The best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car for tourists are Downtown, Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and Logan Circle. These are walkable neighborhoods, well-connected to public transportation, and offer easy access to top attractions.
In general, Downtown is the best area to stay in Washington DC for first-timers and car-free travelers who want to be in the heart of the city. Downtown is a very walkable neighborhood adjacent to the popular Penn Quarter, and within easy walking distance from major attractions.
When booking accommodations, consider staying near a Metro station or a major bus route. Additionally, many hotels in D.C. offer shuttle services to popular attractions, which can be a convenient way to get around the city without a car.
Overviews of best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car
Here is an overview of recommended areas in Washington DC for visitors without a car and why you should stay in each area:
|Best areas in Washington DC without a car||Why should you stay in this area?|
|Downtown||This area is close to major attractions like the National Mall, Smithsonian museums, and the Verizon Center. It’s also well-connected to public transportation, with several Metro stations nearby.|
|Dupont Circle||Dupont Circle is a trendy neighborhood with many restaurants, shops, and nightlife options. It’s also close to the Red Line Metro, making it easy to reach other parts of the city.|
|Capitol Hill||If you want to be close to the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, and Library of Congress, Capitol Hill is a good choice. The Eastern Market and Capitol South Metro stations serve this area.|
|Foggy Bottom||Foggy Bottom is home to George Washington University and is located near the State Department and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It’s a central location with easy access to the National Mall. The Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station is convenient for transportation.|
|Georgetown||While Georgetown is a bit farther from the city center, it’s a charming historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets, upscale shops, and waterfront dining options. You can use the D.C. Circulator bus to get downtown.|
|Logan Circle||Logan Circle is a trendy and artsy neighborhood with a mix of historic and modern buildings. It’s known for its hip restaurants, bars, and galleries. While not as close to the National Mall, it’s still well-connected by Metro.|
How to get around Washington DC without a car as a tourist?
Getting around Washington, D.C. without a car is not only possible but also convenient due to the city’s well-developed public transportation system and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.
Here are some of the best ways to get around the city without a car:
The Washington Metro is a rapid transit system that serves the D.C. metropolitan area. It consists of six color-coded lines and connects most of the city’s major attractions, neighborhoods, and suburbs.
You can purchase fare cards or use a SmarTrip card for easy access to the system.
The Metrobus system complements the Metrorail and covers a wide range of routes throughout the city and surrounding areas. Metrobus is a cost-effective way to reach places not directly accessible by Metrorail.
Washington, D.C. has a bike-sharing program called Capital Bikeshare. You can rent a bike from various docking stations across the city. It’s an excellent way to explore D.C.’s neighborhoods and monuments, especially during pleasant weather.
D.C. is a pedestrian-friendly city with many sidewalks and crosswalks. Walking is a great way to explore the National Mall, museums, and various neighborhoods.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, especially if you plan to walk a lot.
Taxis and Rideshares:
While not as common as in some other cities, taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are readily available in Washington, D.C.
They can be convenient for getting around quickly or for destinations not well-served by public transit.
The D.C. Circulator is a low-cost bus service that runs on specific routes within the city. It serves popular tourist destinations and can be a convenient way to reach specific areas such as Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Dupont Circle, U Street, Woodley Park, and Capitol Hill.
Amtrak and Commuter Trains:
If you need to travel to nearby cities or suburbs, Amtrak and commuter trains like the MARC and VRE are options. Union Station serves as the main Amtrak hub in D.C.
D.C. has water taxi services that operate on the Potomac River. These can provide a unique perspective of the city and connect you to waterfront destinations.
Electric Scooters and Electric Bikes:
Companies like Lime and Bird operate electric scooters and bikes for short trips within the city. You can use their mobile apps to locate and rent them.
TO get from Reagan Airport in Arlington to Washington DC, you can take a Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines or bus. From Baltimore Airport, you can take the MARC Train to Union Station in Washington DC.
To get to the city from Dulles Airport, use the 5A bus or the Silver Line Express Bus to the Wiehle-Reston East station on the Silver Line. From there, you can continue your journey into D.C. via Metrorail.
Rental cars and Taxis are available from all airports.
Car Rentals and Car-sharing Services:
If you need a car for a specific purpose, you can rent one from various car rental agencies or use car-sharing services like Zipcar.
Remember to plan your transportation in advance, check schedules, and consider using a combination of these options to make the most of your visit to Washington, D.C. The city’s public transportation system is generally reliable and efficient, making it easy to explore without a car.
6 Best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car are:
1. Downtown Washington DC
Downtown Washington D.C. is one of the best areas to stay in if you don’t have a car. It is the heart of the city, walkable, and well-connected by public transportation, offering easy access to major sights without the need of having a car.
Downtown D.C. is served by an extensive public transportation network, and is home to numerous Metro stations including McPherson Square Metrorail Station, Metro Center, Gallery Pl-Chinatown, and Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter.
Downtown D.C. is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets and well-maintained sidewalks. Many of the city’s attractions, restaurants, and shops are within walking distance of each other, making it easy to explore on foot.
Many of Washington, D.C.’s most famous landmarks, such as the National Mall, the U.S. Capitol, the Smithsonian museums, and the White House, are located in or near downtown. Staying in this area puts you in close proximity to important attractions.
Downtown D.C. offers a wide range of dining options, from upscale restaurants to casual eateries. You’ll also find theaters, entertainment venues, and nightlife options in this area.
There are numerous hotels, hostels, and vacation rentals available in downtown D.C., catering to a variety of budgets and preferences.
However, keep in mind that parking in downtown D.C. can be expensive and challenging to find. Additionally, hotel prices in downtown D.C. can be relatively high, so budget-conscious travelers may want to consider accommodations in other parts of the city.
If you’re not planning to use a car for your entire stay, you can save money and hassle by relying on public transportation and walking while staying in downtown Washington, D.C.
Best places to stay in Downtown Washington DC without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): JW Marriott Washington, DC
- Mid-range ($$): Hotel Washington
- Budget ($): Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC Downtown
2. Dupont Circle
Dupont Circle is one of the best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car. It is a vibrant and historic neighborhood located just northwest of Downtown and is well-served by the Dupont Circle Metro station on the Red Line.
The neighborhood is named after the traffic circle at its center, which is named after Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont. Dupont Circle has a rich history and has been a hub for artists, intellectuals, and the LGBTQ+ community.
Dupont Circle is a highly walkable neighborhood with numerous restaurants, shops, cafes, and cultural attractions within walking distance. You can explore the historic streets, visit art galleries, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere without needing a car.
The area around Dupont Circle is known for its diverse dining options and nightlife. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues to choose from, making it a great choice for those who want to experience the local food scene and nightlife.
You’ll find several cultural attractions nearby, including the Phillips Collection (an art museum), Embassy Row, and historic mansions like Anderson House. The neighborhood itself is known for its beautiful architecture and tree-lined streets.
Best places to stay in Washington DC in Dupont Circle without a car:BEST HOTELS IN DUPONT CIRCLE
3. Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is one of the best areas to stay in Washington, D.C. without a car, especially for tourists and those visiting for business or government-related purposes.
Here are some reasons why Capitol Hill is a great choice for car-free travelers:
Proximity to Major Attractions: Capitol Hill is within walking distance of many of Washington, D.C.’s top attractions, including the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall. This means you can explore many of the city’s iconic landmarks on foot.
Public Transportation: Capitol Hill is served by The Capitol South Metro station (Blue, Orange, and Silver lines), as well as the Eastern Market Station, making it easy to access other parts of the city via the subway. Additionally, several bus routes run through the neighborhood.
Walkability: Capitol Hill is a highly walkable neighborhood with a mix of residential and commercial areas. You’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores within walking distance.
Historic Charm: Capitol Hill offers a unique blend of historic architecture and charm, including row houses and cobblestone streets. Staying in this area can provide a more authentic D.C. experience.
Safety: Capitol Hill is generally considered a safe neighborhood, which is important for travelers who plan to walk or use public transportation, especially at night.
While Capitol Hill is a fantastic option for car-free travelers, it’s important to note that accommodations in this area can vary in terms of price and availability. It’s advisable to book accommodations well in advance, especially if you plan to visit during peak tourist seasons.
Best places to stay in Washington DC in Capitol Hill without a car:
- Mid-range ($$): Capitol Hill Hotel
- Mid-range ($$): citizenM Washington DC Capitol
- Budget ($): Duo Nomad
4. Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom is one of the more convenient areas to stay in Washington, D.C. if you don’t have a car, thanks to its central location and access to public transportation.
Here are some factors to consider:
Metro Access: Foggy Bottom is served by the Washington Metro’s Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, with the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station located in the heart of the neighborhood. This makes it easy to access many popular attractions and business districts in the city.
Proximity to Attractions: Foggy Bottom is within walking distance or a short Metro ride to many iconic D.C. landmarks, such as the National Mall, the White House, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and numerous museums and monuments.
Walkability: The neighborhood itself is quite walkable, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and services within reach. You can explore the nearby Georgetown neighborhood by foot as well.
Circulator bus: In addition to the Metro, the D.C. Circulator bus systems and local bus routes serve the area, providing access to different parts of the city.
Waterfront: Foggy Bottom is situated along the Potomac River, and the area along the waterfront has seen significant development in recent years. The Georgetown Waterfront Park and the Washington Harbour complex are popular destinations for residents and visitors.
Local attractions: The neighborhood is George Washington University (GWU), and the U.S. Department of State, which is headquartered in the Harry S. Truman Building.
Best places to stay in Washington DC in Foggy Bottom without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): Melrose Georgetown Hotel
- Mid-range ($$): The River Inn-A Modus Hotel
- Budget ($): Hotel Hive
Georgetown is one of the best locations to stay in Washington, D.C. without a car, primarily due to its walkability, access to public transportation, and proximity to a wide range of amenities and attractions.
Here are some reasons why Georgetown is a popular choice for visitors who don’t plan to use a car:
Walkability: Georgetown is known for its historic streets and charming, walkable neighborhoods. Many restaurants, shops, cafes, and entertainment options are within easy walking distance.
Public Transportation: Georgetown is well-connected to the Washington Metrobus and DC Circulator bus routes, providing convenient access to other parts of the city.
Waterfront: Georgetown is located along the Potomac River, and its waterfront area is a beautiful place to stroll, relax, or enjoy outdoor activities. Water taxis also operate from here, providing an interesting way to see the city.
Shopping: M Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown are famous for their high-end shopping boutiques, as well as a variety of other shops for clothing, accessories, and more.
Restaurants and Dining: Georgetown boasts a diverse selection of restaurants and eateries, ranging from casual to upscale dining options. You can find cuisine from around the world, as well as classic American fare.
Historic Sites: Georgetown is home to historic landmarks like the Old Stone House and the C&O Canal. These attractions offer a glimpse into the area’s history.
Nightlife: The neighborhood has a lively nightlife scene, with bars, clubs, and entertainment venues for those looking to enjoy the evening.
Best places to stay in Washington DC in Georgetown without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): Four Seasons Washington DC
- Mid-range ($$): The Graham Georgetown
- Budget ($): The Georgetown House Inn
6. Logan Circle
Logan Circle is a popular choice for visitors who prefer not to have a car in D.C. It is a vibrant and centrally located neighborhood that offers many amenities and advantages for pedestrians and public transportation users.
The neighborhood is named after its centerpiece, Logan Circle, a traffic circle with a statue of Civil War General John A. Logan at its center. The circle was originally built in the late 19th century and has historical significance.
Here are some reasons why Logan Circle is a good choice for travelers without a car:
Public Transportation: Logan Circle is close to Dupont Circle Metro station (Red Line) and McPherson Square Metro station (Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines) are both within walking distance, providing easy access to other parts of the city.
Walkability: Logan Circle is a highly walkable neighborhood. Many of the city’s attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops are within walking distance, making it convenient to explore the area on foot.
Cultural Attractions: Logan Circle is close to cultural attractions such as the National Mall, the Smithsonian museums, and various historic sites, all of which are easily accessible via public transportation.
Best places to stay in Washington DC in Logan Circle without a car:
- Luxury ($$$): Viceroy Washington DC
- Mid-range ($$): Washington Plaza Hotel
- Budget ($): Residence Inn by Marriott
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In conclusion, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and Logan Circle are the best places to stay in Washington DC without a car for tourists. Regardless of where you choose to stay, the public transportation and ride-sharing services can help you get around the city easily.
If you want easy access to museums and monuments, downtown or Capitol Hill might be your best bet. For a more vibrant and eclectic atmosphere, consider Dupont Circle or Logan Circle.
Georgetown offers a unique upscale experience, and Foggy Bottom is convenient for those with business at the State Department or GWU. The best neighborhood for you to stay in without a car depends on your interests and priorities.