If you are planning an East Coast itinerary with your rental car, and therefore the American capital is not your point of arrival or departure, it is very likely that you need some advice on where to park in Washington DC. Fortunately, you can find quite convenient solutions close to the main attractions, especially if you are staying in the city for just one day.
- Where to park in Washington DC
- Find parking spaces with SpotHero
- Should you park along the streets?
Where to park in Washington DC
Let's start with a premise: the vast majority of city hotels they offer a parking service but, unless it is the hotel where you are staying, the prices are very high (usually 40 to 50 dollars a day). So if you are looking for something cheaper that is also convenient at the same time, take a look at the following car parks.
- Garage a Union Station: positioned under the famous station, it is a recommended location for its position (even if you have to use public transport) and has a reasonable cost: the rate for one day is in fact 24$. Once you have parked the car in just over 10 minutes on foot you will be able to reach the Capitol in Washington.
- Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center: this is definitely the best location of the whole city, literally a stone's throw from the White House and the Washington Monument. During the week, parking for a whole day will cost you 35$, but be careful! On weekends the rate will be for only 15$. As this is a fully-fledged government building, before entering you and your car will be subjected to a Security Check: that is, a scrupulous security check.
- City Center DC: this car park is located near Mt. Vernon Square and is therefore a little further away from the Washington monuments than the previous ones. However, it has the advantage of having numerous metro stops nearby. The rate is 22$ per day they become 27$ if you leave the car even during the night (overnight). The rate becomes particularly affordable on weekends because it will only cost you 12$ per day as long as you collect your car before 2:00 am.
- The Wharf: the Washington area that overlooks the Potomac River and offers numerous attractions, as well as being the boarding point of the Water Taxi. The cost is a bit higher than the previous examples, since you pay for a stop from 4 hours upwards 35$. Also note that the time count is reset at 4:00, so if you want to leave the car even during the night it will cost you double. From here it will take you about 15 minutes to walk to the Jefferson Memorial, while to get to the Smithsonian Castle more or less in the middle of the National Mall just over 10 minutes.
- Fashion Center at Pentagon Hill: with this parking lot we move to the other side of the Potomac River where we find a large shopping center near both the Pentagon in Washington (as you may have guessed from the name) and the Arlington cemetery. The main convenience is that you will have a dedicated subway stop (Pentagon City) served by both the Yellow and Blue lines. The 5-level car park is open 24 hours a day and the rate for a whole day is 18$.
If you want to save something, however, to the detriment of the convenience of the previous parking lots, then you can consider:
- Airport Economy Parking: this is the inexpensive car park of the Ronald Reagan Airport which costs 17$ Since the day. The disadvantage is having to take the subway to reach the city center which, however, is not far from the airport.
- End of the Line Metro Station: this is the car park located at the end of some subway lines, where you can leave your car for several days at a very convenient rate. Not all car parks have the exact same rate, but on average there are around 8$ for a maximum of 10 consecutive days. Parking is on Sundays free. There are additional discounts for those who already own a SmarTrip Card (activated in a subway station other than the one where you parked) which bring the cost down to approximately 5$ per day during the week ea 2$ Saturday. The stations that have this service are:
- Greenbelt on the Green Line
- Huntington on the Yellow Line
- Franconia-Springfield on the Blue Line
- Wiehle-Reston East sulla Silver Line
Find parking spaces with SpotHero
Obviously, if you are faced with the dilemma of where to park in Washington, you will not only have the aforementioned possibilities to choose from, in fact only the most important and comfortable ones have been reported in the article, but you will literally be spoiled for choice. By connecting to this site you can choose in real time the solution that suits you best by comparing the various prices.
However, when making your choice, keep doing a lot pay attention to the opening hours of the garage, because not all are open 24 hours a day, or during the weekends, and finding yourself unable to take your car back will certainly not be a pleasant experience.
Are you headed to Washington? You discover...
- The best areas to sleep
- What to see in 1 day
- How to get around the city
- I National Mall
- How to outline an itinerary based on the days available
- The Best Time to Visit Washington
- Where to eat in Washington
Should you park along the streets?
Generally I recommend avoid parking on the streets: both because in tourist areas it is not very easy to understand the signs with the times when it is allowed to do so, and because it can be convenient to leave your car only for one handful of hours (which will not allow you to fully enjoy your visit). The rates of the roads in the area National Mall, managed by the National Park Service for example, start at approx 2$ hour and have a limit of three hours, after which the stop cannot be renewed.
As regards the residential neighborhoods however, in most cases, parking is allowed only to the locals and, even if you manage to find an area free from these constraints, leaving your machine unattended and away from you for a long time is not very recommendable.
So, in my opinion, parking along the street only makes sense if you are interested in seeing specifically only one (or at most) two Washington monuments for a “hit and run” visit of the city. If you intend to take things more calmly, I suggest you consider the parking spaces indicated in the article.
I conclude by pointing out our guide to renting a car in the United States.
How to rent a car in the USA