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Parking downtown...

Canada
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Parking downtown...

Good day,

I hear parking in downtown Washington is practically non-existant or difficult to find, is that the case? Will be there for four days and doing the normal touristy (monuments and museums), also seeing a concert at the Verizon. Any suggestions?

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Downtown Washington Hostel
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Washington DC, DC
Maryland
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1. Re: Parking downtown...

I'm not sure that's the case. It's certainly expensive, and you may find some garages filled with office workers during the day. But I wouldn't call it non-existent.

That's why most people recommend that tourists doing the "normal touristy stuff" leave the car at the hotel and take Metro. It's much easier than driving. There is a Metro stop at the Verizon Center.

You will find it somewhat difficult to find parking garages near the monuments and museums.

Canada
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2. Re: Parking downtown...

Thanks Irishfan, the info is much appreciated.

Maryland
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3. Re: Parking downtown...

Downtown--not much different than any other big city. For a price (possibly more than you'd like to pay), you shouldn't have a problem finding parking in a downtown garage convenient to where you want to be.

The real challenge is that the monuments/memorials aren't in the downtown business district and parking around those can be difficult--how much money you're willing to pay for good parking is irrelevent. The parking options closest to them are free, but spaces are obviously limited (especially in tourist season) and you could be doing a lot of walking--or you could luck out and find something close.

Unfortunately, there's just no way to know--all it takes is perfect timing and positioning when a rock-star space car is leaving, and suddenly you're the rock star. Or you might be behind the car that gets the rock star space and the next available space is the better part of a mile further. A difference of a couple of seconds and a few feet of positioning really might be the difference between the two. That's why a lot of folks prefer to use Tourmobile, taxis, or other hop-on/hop-off tours vs. their own cars to see the Memorials if they aren't up to the possibility of a lot of walking. That transportation guarantees service that's pretty much door-to-door.

All this leads to the bigger question of why you think you may need or want your car downtown (other than parking it at a downtown hotel where you might be staying). Where are you staying?

Washington DC...
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4. Re: Parking downtown...

It's street parking that is difficult. If you are willing to park in a garage you should have no problem finding a place.

Raleigh, North...
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5. Re: Parking downtown...

Since I only go to DC on weekends, I don't find parking all that bad. Parking garages downtown are largely empty on weekend (spooky, actually), but expensive. Also, last few times we were able to easily find streetside parking on the Mall (both times it was on Sunday, around 10am). But generally, if you stay in a hotel in DC, it's much easier (and cheaper) to take a bus or a subway. Just look for a hotel that's close to public transportation.

Wisconsin
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6. Re: Parking downtown...

We've done our three trips to DC twice with a rental, once without. When we had the car we'd use it for driving out of the area (Mount Vernon, Gettysburg etc.) or a tour--without parking. We'd give the keys to the doorman at the Hampton, they'd park it and we'd get it back later. In other words, using a car in DC is NOT like back home. Whenever possible, walk, use the Metro, the Circulator or even public buses One night we did find parking near Old Ebbits, but it was a Saturday evening. We drove from out hotel to a restaurant in Georgetown (it took 20 minutes) then spent 20 minutes looking for a parking space. We drove back to the hotel, dropped off the car and took a cab back.

There are too many wonderful things to see and do to waste time with the car. Decide when it's most efficient, otherwise use the public transportation. We'd never used a subway and quickly got the hang of it.

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Gettysburg
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Georgetown
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7. Re: Parking downtown...

A car is the single biggest detriment to any trip to this city. Parking aside, the traffic is horrific - the third worst in America, the drivers are agressive, dangerous and completely oblivious; in addition, the streets are very confusing to strangers (and many residents) add to this giant potholes, kamikazee Metro Bus drivers and ..... well, like I said, a "detriment."

Wisconsin
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8. Re: Parking downtown...

Now tell us what you REALLY think about driving in DC! Yeah, my husband drove for a living and couldn't believe what it was like. There's no way you'd get me to do it. We were leery of trying the metro, never used one before but really enjoyed it.

WV
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9. Re: Parking downtown...

I'm going to be at the Capital Hilton and they charge $42 a day for parking. I was looking for some place reasonably close that would be less per day. I'm wanting to use the Metro for most things all week. Can anyone help?

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10. Re: Parking downtown...

We were there July 4 week and we found plenty of garages to park at for what we considered a reasonable all-day price (11 - 14 dollars for "early bird specials" of in by 10:00 am and out by 6:00 PM). We also found the drive into DC from northern Virginia to be a breeze, though the drive out during rush hour took longer.

If you use this web site http://dc.bestparking.com/index.php#1 they will give you the locations of lots of places to park and will even quote prices for many of them. We printed the coupons but ended up not needing them since the above mentioned early bird specials were cheaper

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