Washington DC Transportation Options

When you visit Washington, DC you will probably get around the city differently than you do back home. Many visitors are accustomed to hopping in the car and driving to where they need to go. For visitors, don’t get that rental car at the airport! These are six Washington DC transportation options to get you around the city without one.

6 Transportation Options to Get Around DC Without a Car

1. Walk!

Washington, DC is a walking city. Many visitors set personal records on their Fitbits and Apple Watches because of how much they walk while they are here. The most important thing to pack for your trip to Washington is your the most comfortable pair of walking shoes. A lot of sites are quite close together. Also, it is such a cool experience to just walk around the city and see everything right in front of you. Rather than traveling around in a tube underground or from the backseat of a cab or an Uber. And the best thing about this Washington, DC transportation option is that it will never cost you anything!

2. Capital Bikeshare

If you’re more of a cyclist than a pedestrian, Capital Bikeshare is for you. Capital Bikeshare was one of the first bike sharing systems in North America. The pricing is set up in a way that the longer you keep the bike out the more it’s going to cost you. If you want a bike for going on a long distance ride or just a long joy ride around the city, It is recommend to use a regular rental bike from a place like Bike and Roll instead. Make sure to download the Capital Bikeshare app to check out bikes and find out where Capital Bikeshare stations are located.

3. Metro

Metro is one of the first things visitors think of when they think about Washington, DC transportation. Metro is often a great way to get around, but not always! The metro map is not to scale it sometimes looks like you need to hop on Metro to get from one place to another. In fact, for many spots downtown, walking would be quicker, simpler, cheaper, and easier. Make sure to check Citymapper or Google Maps before you get on Metro to make sure that it is actually the best option.

4. Buses

An often forgotten form of the DC transportation system is the bus. Most tourists at some point will get on a train and ride Metro, but far fewer will ever ride a bus. That’s too bad because often it’s a better option. In downtown DC, you’ll probably notice two types of buses: the Metrobus and Circulator.

Metrobus has longer routes that tend to be useful to locals. Circulator has shorter routes that serve popular tourist destinations like the National Mall, Georgetown, and Dupont Circle. The great thing about the Circulator right now is it costs less to ride than Metro or Metrobus.

5. Uber and Lyft

The process of hailing a ride has changed drastically over the past few years. Not long ago, the only way you could hire a ride was by going out in the street and hailing a cab. Tourists appreciated the convenience of taxis; however, at that time it was cash only and it was expensive. DC cabs also had a reputation of trying to rip people off.

Now with ride hailing apps like Uber and Lyft people are much more confident and comfortable hiring a ride because many have already done it back home. Using these apps or using a cab is a fine way to get around. Just do not assume that it’s the only way to get around. Over-reliance on Uber and Lyft is a phenomenon we have notice lately.

6. Water Taxi

This is probably the least known Washington, DC transportation option. When the Wharf opened in Southwest Washington in 2017 it included a major water taxi expansion. There are actually quite a few places located right on the water, including Georgetown, the National Mall, Southwest Waterfront, and the Navy Yard, and that’s just in DC. You can also take a boat south on the Potomac to get to Alexandria. The water taxi is a fun way to get down to Alexandria. If you want to make a short little day trip there.

Coming to town and want to sign up for a Washington, DC tour?

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation’s Capital. Trip Hacks DC provides tips, tricks and travel hacks for planning your trip; and guided tours to show you around once you get here. Our tours are family and school group friendly and our guides specialize in the major Washington, DC sites. Click here to check out the upcoming tour options and to book your tour here today!Feel free to contact us if you have any tour questions.

About Trip Hacks DC

Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation's Capital.

Everyone wants to get the most out of travel experience; we know that planning a trip can be fun but sometimes stressful. The tips and travel hacks offered here will help you make the most of your trip and avoid missing out on the best things the city has to offer. Our trip planning e-book is the perfect resource for every first-time Washington, DC visitor.

If you're looking for a guided experience once you arrive, Trip Hacks DC specializes in private tours; but has public tours options as well. Visit the Guided Tours section to learn about some of the suggested tours and the trip planning resources section for help preparing for your trip. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

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