Washington D.C. parking.

Discussion in 'Travel' started by vuyisich, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. I will be in D.C. next week and will have Wednesday afternoon off
    (from 1PM on). I want to drive to the Mall, park somewhere, then
    walk around and take pictures. Can someone recommend a
    close/reliable/cheap parking spot? I would rather be closer to the
    west side (Washington monument) than east side (the Capitol). Thanks
    in advance.
  2. I'm not sure that parking in that area is any of the things you mention. There is landscaping going on around the Washington monument as of 2 weeks ago, when I was there. You might want to consider taking a taxi. They are plentiful, will take you right where you want to go and not that expensive. For the downtown area, I got to most places for about $10-12 plus a tip. The expense was worth it in terms of less walking and less hassle finding a place to park.
  3. If you just want to walk around the Mall area, you can find two-hour meter or free parking
    around the Mall area on weekdays. There are more parking spaces on east side than west.
    Enjoy your visit!
  4. Consider taking Metro to the Smithsonian station. Park your car somewhere for the whole day... that's cheaper than parking at one place until 1:00 p.m. and then moving the car -- and starting the clock on parking fees again at garage #2.

    You might get lucky and find on-street parking near where you want to take pictures. There certainly are some spaces in the area... but the more likely scenario is that you'd not find a spot just when and where you wanted one. Then you'd waste 30 minutes hunting for some not-so-ideal place to leave the car, and hoofing it back to the Mall.

    Even in the middle of a weekday afternoon, the demand for car parking near the Mall far exceeds supply.

    Be well,
  5. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    I agree with the above poster. Whenever I go to DC I park at the Metro Stations (several have parking). If you haven't used the subway in DC you'll find it is fast, frequent trains and very easy to use.
  6. There is free parking around the mall, but finding a spot can be a major challenge, especially arriving in the middle of the day. I recall circling the mall for two hours looking for one of those spots because my wife refused to pay to park. @#$@%!

    In my opinion, there are two practical options. One is to park in a garage a block or two away from the mall. There are a number of garages to choose from.

    The other options is, as others have mentioned, park at a Metro station in the suburbs and take the train into town. That's what I would probably do.
  7. Also check out the (very hard to read) D.C. taxi zone map. Leaving aside extras like rush hour, extra passenger, tip, it's $5.50 to go ANYWHERE in the huge central ZONE 1 around the capitol.

  8. You should have no trouble finding parking around the Jefferson Memorial which is a great place to start your exploration. Nice and close to the WWII and Vietnam memorials.
  9. Thanks everyone for their responses. I like the option of going into a parking garage the most. This is assuming that they have space, and that I can find one near the Mall (hopefully there will be signs). Of course, I will quickly scan for any open spots around the Mall first.
  10. Just though I would add that the annual Cherry Blossom Festival will be going full tilt then, so finding parking will be harder than normal especially around that end of the Mall.

    Haven't been down yet this year, but they are supposed to be in full bloom around the time you are going to be free. Enjoy!
  11. For every empty space, there are 15 cars orbiting, at least during the day. Many streets are closed or one-way and pedestrians are as thick as ants at a picnic. You can never tell when some street will be closed so some dignitary can enjoy nature. In a word, forget parking downtown.

    During the day, park in a suburban Metro lot and take the train to the mall. It's cheap to park, cheap to ride, and the service is outstanding. There is a terminal midway in the Mall, and stops near every point of interest too far to walk.

    Most of the monuments are open in the evening, and parking is easy to find after 7:00 pm.
  12. Wow, Edward's response scared me to the point where I will really consider taking the metro. I don't want to waste time looking for a spot and avoiding pedestrians.

    Is it safe to hang around the Mall until 8-9 PM, then take the metro back to my car? My hotel is in McLean, VA, so I'll be coming from that direction.

  13. Momo Vuyisich wrote: "...Is it safe to hang around the Mall until 8-9 PM, then take the metro back to my car? My hotel is in McLean, VA, so I'll be coming from that direction".

    Well, it might be safe, Momo, but would be pretty dull anytime after dark. Once, the Federal offices close, there isn't anything happening; they turn off the lights and roll up the sidewalks. If you are down by the Lincoln or Jefferson Memorials you could try for some nite photos cause they are nicely illuminated. I haven't heard of any safety problems in the mall area for awhile.

    The Metro runs until around 11:00pm to midnite during the week so that's OK. Parking at Metro might be as much a problem as parking around the mall. Call your hotel and ask if they have a shuttle to the closest Metro stop; most hotels around the area provide that service -- then you will be free to go whereever Metro goes. If you get off at Metro Center you will be downtown and there are plenty of restaurants and stuff like that.

    Remember that the Mall is something like 2.5 miles long plus the Jefferson and Roosevelt monuments are off to the side a bit. So plan on hiking a fair bit.

    Its raining cats and dogs at the moment, but by Wed the floods and puddles etc should have receded. Weather outlook for Next Wed is 68 degrees and partly cloudy.
  14. As a DC resident, I cannot recommend strongly enough taking Metro to get to the Mall. Street parking is atrocious, and garages are expensive, and during the week, most downtown garages are very short on space, if they have any. While the Mall is large, it is quite walkable as it is quite flat. It is quite safe at all hours of the day and night - You can get some very nice night photos. Don't forget the World War II memorial, in addition to the Lincoln, Jefferson, etc. During the height of the Cherry Blossom season, don't even try to get near the Tidal Basin with your car - you will circle for hours, fighting mobs of tourists. There are some other places you can go if you want to see cherry blossoms - there are some very pretty trees up near the Capitol building, and some suburban neighborhoods have them as well.
  15. <<My hotel is in McLean, VA, so I'll be coming from that direction.

    The Orange Line goes out to that part of the Virginia suburbs, but not into McLean or Tyson's Corner... most of the "McLean" hotels are in fact in Tyson's Corner, where the Beltway and Route 7 and Route 123 converge. Your closest Metro stop will either be West Falls Church (on Route 7) or Dunn Loring (south on Gallows Road). If the hotel doesn't have a courtesy shuttle to Metro, there will be a way to get there by bus. Yes, parking is available at both of those suburban Metro stops but it tends to fill up pretty early in the morning.

    Enjoy public transit! For downtown DC and for Tyson's Corner, public transit actually works quite well.

    I used to live right next to Tyson's Corner, way back when there was a truly wonderful camera shop (Vienna Camera) just down Route 123.

    Be well,
  16. West Falls Church and Vienna stops on the Orange line have parking. East Falls tends to fill up very early in the day. Definitely take Metro.
  17. Don't take taxis. They're expensive in DC.

    On 9th and G there's a good Garage. It's about 2 blocks from the mall. You'll end up around the middle (where the National museum of art is....)

    It's a good lot. All day, $15, and it's monitored. As a plus, when you're done, you can walk 3 more blocks from your car, and get a good Chinese meal in Chinatown at Tony Chen's. Great General Tso's.

  18. BTW, most things close by 5:30 (monuments, museums, Smithsonian...)
  19. Thank you all for your input. I decided to use the metro, and did not regret it. I took the hotel shuttle to West Falls Church, then rode the metro to the Smithsonian. The traffic downtown was horrible. I walked faster than the cars moved! Anyway, I had a good walk around the Mall and took some nice pictures. The cherry trees were almost peaking near the Jefferson memorial, but just starting elsewhere. This weekend should be perfect. THANKS AGAIN.

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