There are a number of ways to get around the beautiful city of Washington, DC. I’ve lived around the DMV (DC, Maryland & Virginia) area for about 12 years, but now that I have been living in DC for about 5 months, I’m figuring out the best and cheapest ways to get around the city. Take a look!
Here are the best ways to getting around Washington, D.C.
My number one choice is hopping on the Metro. If you’re traveling around rush hour, the trains usually come every 5 minutes. You can also go on the website: wmata.com to check when the train is going to arrive, at what station you’re leaving from, and to download the Metro map. The metro is pretty easy to use, better than NY subway for sure. But I will say that it can get expensive at times. The prices can range from $2.50 – $5. 00. You do not have to wait more than 10 minutes for a train, unless you are traveling at night which then runs every 20 minutes.
If you have been keeping up to date with Metro alerts, then you’ll know that there have been some delays and issues with several Metro lines but especially the red line. However, I am still a firm believer that it is the best way to get around the city. They have been cutting back on the one-time use tickets, but if you’re going to be using the Metro for more than a day, you should get the SmarTrip. It is $10, $5 to purchase the card and the rest to use, but it comes in handy, easy to use and you can save it for when you come back. You can also monitor your balance online on WMATA.
*Starting in June 2016 the metro will be closed after midnight, until they’re done working on the repairs.
There is a capital Bikeshare located right by my apartment, which comes in handy when I need to quickly rent a bike for an hour to go pick up some groceries from Giant. So what is capital Bikeshare? Capital Bikeshare provides over 3,000 bikes in over 350 locations, and you will get 30 minutes free (source). What makes it convenient is that you don’t have to take it back to the same location. You can return it to any locations nearby to where you’re heading or coming from with no additional cost.
The cheapest and probably easiest way to get around DC is to walk. DC can be beautiful and busy in the summer so instead of sitting in traffic, you can just walk to where you need to go. I will say if you’re going sightseeing around the monuments, keep in mind that they are not close together AT ALL. In the end, you save money and get a great workout in if you plan on seeing most of them.
DC is not that hard to get around, the numbered streets run south to north and the lettered streets run east to west. If you do get lost, you can always ask someone – everyone here is pretty friendly. Too shy to talk to people? You can always pull out your phone and use google maps – Yes, it’s a lifesaver.
When you get tired of walking you can always hop on the nearest metro, bus, request an Uber, or look for the nearest Capital Bikeshare to get back to your destination.
The D.C. Circulator buses run about every 10 minutes during their operating hours.The specific metro locations where you can hop on the bus are: Union Station, Georgetown, Woodley Park-Adams Morgan, and McPherson Square Metro Station.
Buses loop around the National Mall on weekends only (source). The fare is $1 (exact change) or you can use your SmarTrip card.
Even though I have a love hate relationship with Uber, it is the quickest way to get around. Now that I live in DC, I realized that there is always a surge charge either in the early mornings or late at night. So yes, Uber can get expensive especially when you are unable to split the fare with other people. Another option is Uber pool because it provides a set price. However, you are only allowed to request 2 seats and have to share with other people. Which can make your trip longer than it is suppose to be. I would not recommend using Uber pool at night, that is when you get the crazy, drunk people sharing the Uber ride with you – Not so fun at all.
Uber is great for short trips if you are unable to take the metro or you get tired of walking. Just make sure you are keeping track of how much you spend, by the end of the day you could have used $30-50 just on Uber. But you get to meet some interesting Uber drivers that can tell you a lot about the area and good places to go visit, which is a plus.
Have you visited Washington, DC yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Comment below if you would like some advice on where to go or what the top hotels are around the area.