Best Area To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car

No car? No problem. When it comes to finding the best area to stay in Washington DC without a car, thare are many options. 

This list is divided into the following categories:

  • Best Places To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car: For Sightseeing
  • Best Places To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car: For Food & Culture
  • Best Places To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car: On A Budget

Best Area To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car: For Sightseeing

Many of DC’s most famous museums and monuments are clustered into one area of town. If you don’t mind walking a little bit you can be walking distance from both the Washington Monument as well as the iconic space museum. Let’s take a look at the best area to stay in Washington DC without a car for sightseeing and proximity to major attractions. 

Downtown DC – Near White House

Pros Of Downtown DC

Downtown DC is the area of DC that is north of White House and south of Logan Circle. This area has several metro stations and it is walking distance to the main attractions of the National Mall. 

If you are visiting DC during cherry blossoms season (end of March into April) this is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in because you can easily walk to the main areas that host the Cherry Blossom Festival. 

Cons Of Dowtown DC

The downtown area has some restaurants, but mainly the focus here is being in a central location where you can walk to many historic sites. If you are a foodie you may prefer to stay in Dupont, 14th street area or Georgetown.

This area is also more expensive than some of the other neighborhoods because it is so centrally located.

Historic Sites Near Downtown DC

This area is easily walkable to the National Mall, the Smithsonian Museums, and other places without having private transport. It’s also home to the Capital One Arena and the National Portrait Gallery.

  • National Museum Of Natural History: Easily one of the best museums in the Greater Washington area, this place is a hit with adults and families with children. 
  • National Gallery Of Art: right next door to the Natural History Museum is the National Gallery of Art. This art museum also has a beautiful garden that you can walk through as well as a cafe to eat at.
  • National Archives: Right across from the National Gallery Of Art is the National Archives. Here you can see the Bill Of Right, the Declaration Of Independence, and the Constitution. There are many street vendors in this area so you can grab a quick bite to eat or a cheeky souvenier.
  • Lincoln Memorial: This is one of the most iconic memorials in DC. Stand in front of the reflecting pool where Martin Luther King Jr gave his “I Have A Dream” speech. The National Parks Service even has a stone engraved on the site of where the famous speech took place. 

The only major site that is far from this part of DC is Arlington National Cemetery. But it is accessible easily by metro. 

Public Transportation Downtown DC:

Downtown DC has several metro stations as well. This will allow you to access many other parts of the DC area as well as the airport.

DC Metro / Subway Stations In Downtown DC

  • Metro Center: A major hub connecting the Red, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines. The Silver Line goes directly to Dulles International Airport.
  • Farragut North: On the Red Line, located near Farragut Square.
  • Farragut West: Served by the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, near Farragut Square. The Blue Line provides metro service to Reagan National Airport.
  • McPherson Square: On the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, located near the White House.
  • Gallery Place-Chinatown: Connects the Red, Green, and Yellow lines, near the Verizon Center and Chinatown.
  • Judiciary Square: On the Red Line, located near several federal and municipal courts.

DC Circulator: The DC Circulator also has stops in this area of DC. 

Best Hotels In Downtown DC

Here are some of the best options for hotels to stay in when you don’t have a car in Downtown DC. Because of their prime location in Downtown Washington DC, they tend to be more expensive.

  • St. Regis Washington DC – Ultra-luxury hotel near the White House and National Mall
  • AKA White House – This is a great hotel for families since most rooms have suites and kitchens. Usually, there is a minimum stay required
  • The Hay-Adams – This is a famous historic hotel that is also right next to the White House
  • Hotel Washington – This used to be the W Hotel. This popular hotel is adjacent to the National Mall and has a rooftop restaurant with unobstructed views of the Washington Monument.
  • JW Marriott – A sleek option that is very close to the National Mall, and about a 15 minute walk to the famous Tidal Basin. 

Foggy Bottom Neighborhood

Pros Of Foggy Bottom

The Foggy Bottom area of DC is another convenient place to stay without a car. There is a metro stop as well as convenient bus options nearby.

In addition, one of the most impressive points of staying in Foggy Bottom is that you can move from one place to another with a short walk. On foot, you can go to hospitals, restaurants, shopping malls, and other places. 

One of the most popular educational institutions, George Washington University, is in Foggy Bottom. Besides this, the area has attractions like the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial.

​Cons Of Foggy Bottom

There are limited hotel choices here. 

Public Transportation Options In Foggy Bottom:

There are many options in this area from the subway to the DC circulator. You can also walk to certain attractions like the Lincoln Memorial which is in close proximity to Foggy Bottom.

Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro / Subway Station: Located on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, this station serves George Washington University, the State Department, and nearby areas. It’s the main station for accessing the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.


Multiple routes pass through or near Foggy Bottom. Here are some of the metro bus stops that might come in handy while you are traveling.

  • Foggy Bottom / GWU Metrorail Station: This station serves the Silver Line metro which provides direct access to IAD Airport (Dulles International Airport)
  • I Street NW and 23rd Street NW
  • George Washington University
  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Washington Circle

DC Circulator: 

The DC Circulator also passes through the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. The Rosslyn-Dupont Circle route connects Foggy Bottom to other areas. Here are some of the DC Circulator stops near the Foggy Bottom.

  • Foggy Bottom-GWU Metrorail Station
  • George Washington University
  • Washington Circle

Best Hotels In Foggy Bottom DC

Here are some of the best options for hotels to stay in when you don’t have a car in Foggy Bottom. 

  • Courtyard By Marriot Foggy Bottom
  • Hotel Hive – A cute affordable boutique hotel that is very close to the Lincoln Memorial

14th Street – Ideal Neighborhood To Walk Everywhere! Top Pick

Pros Of 14th Street

14th Street in Washington DC is a great place to stay in Washington DC for entertainment and proximity to famous sites. From fun happy hours to great restaurants, there are many 14th street hotels that give you access to history as well as culture. 

Certain parts of 14th street are more accessible to the museums and sightseeing and some of the others are closer to the restaurants. If you are an avid walker you can pretty much access all of DC’s famous sites as well as some of the best restaurants and bars in Washington DC. 

Cons Of 14th Street

This is a busy area and can get quite crowded in the evenings and weekends. If you enjoy the bustle its perfect. If you want a quiet evening, weekend nights may be overwhelming.

Public Transportation Options In 14th Street Neighborhood:

Don’t feel like walking? Here are the DC metro stations nearby:

  • U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo: On the Green and Yellow lines, located at 13th and U Streets, this station is close to the northern end of 14th Street (near restaurants / bars) 
  • Columbia Heights: Also on the Green and Yellow lines, this station is near the intersection of 14th Street and Irving Street (near restaurants and bars)
  • McPherson Square: On the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, located near 14th and I Streets, this station is closer to the southern end of 14th Street, near the White House area (near museums and monuments)

Best Hotels Near 14th Street

These hotels have prime location on 14th street. They give you great access to both sightseeing and culture are those that are close to Logan Circle.

  • Hotel Zena – Closer to bars and restaurants, but also walking distance to the McPherson Square metro stop where you can easily access the rest of the city. 
  • Hotel Hamilton – Just one block from the McPherson Square metro stop. 
  • Eaton Hotel – This is on K street, very close to 14th street and also close to Chinatown

City Center Neighborhood – Another Top Pick

Pros Of City Center

The City Center neighborhood is beautifully laid out. The best part about City Center is that in addition to being not far from tourism, it also has a mix of high end shopping and great dining. This makes City Center in DC a great place to stay if you don’t have a car. And if you love high-end shopping, it is the perfect place for you.

Other neighborhoods that are very close to City Center are Chinatown and Penn Quarter. You can easily dine in these neighborhoods as well after a long day of sightseeing. 

Cons Of City Center

The hotels here can be expensive because of the location and the popularity with business travelers which can drive up prices. 

Public Transportation Options Near City Center Washington DC

For many places you can simply walk. If you don’t want to walk, there are several metro stations nearby to City Center. 

The closest subway stations are:

  • Metro Center: This station serves the Red, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines and is one of the main hubs of the D.C. Metro system. It’s just a short walk from CityCenterDC.
  • Gallery Place-Chinatown: This station, serving the Red, Green, and Yellow lines, is also within walking distance of CityCenterDC.

Best Hotels In City Center DC

From luxury to budget, there are plenty of options to stay here if you don’t have a car:

  • Conrad Hotel DC: Luxury hotel, walking distance to many attractions including food and sightseeing
  • Moxy DC On K Street: Hip, great for couples or friends traveling together or families with teens or older, walking distance to many museums and food establishments
  • Riggs Washington DC: Luxury and historic hotel, closest of all to the museums

Best Area To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car: For Food & Culture

If food and culture is what you want to come home to after a long day of sightseeing, then prioritize these areas of Washington DC. All of these locations below also have great access to bike shares. Biking around Washington DC is a great way to see the sites and save money. 


Pros Of Georgetown

Georgetown is an iconic neighborhood in Washington, DC and one of the best areas of DC. The historic neighborhood of Georgetown is very charming. One of the best things about Georgetown is that it is also considered to be a very safe area in Washington D.C.

Luckily, within Georgetown itself there are many things to do. You can explore the Georgetown Waterfront Park, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, Escape Room Live, and Dumbarton Oaks Garden. Even just spend a day walking through this picteresque residential neighborhood with its historic architecture. Check out Georgetown University, as well as some of the cute coffee shops and casual restaurants this area has to offer.

Cons Of Staying In Georgetown

The downside is that despite the rich history of the neighborhood, you are not very close to the monuments and memorials. You will have to take public transit or a ride share to get to many of the popular destinations when it comes to tourism. There is also no metro station in Georgetown itself.

Being one of the most iconic neighborhoods in the nation’s capital, Georgetown hotels are expensive. There are only a few hotels in Georgetown itself, and most of the cost several hundred dollars a night. If you don’t mind splurging, its a beautiful part of Washington DC to stay in. 

Public Transport In Georgetown

Metrorail (Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro Station):

While Georgetown itself does not have a Metrorail station, the nearby Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro Station serves the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines.

The station is located at 23rd Street NW and I Street NW, making it the closest Metrorail station to Georgetown.

Metrobus Routes (Georgetown Area): There are a couple bus routes that run through here.

  • Glover Park Line
  • Friendship Heights-Southeast Line

Best Hotels In Georgetown

There are not that many hotels in Georgetown, but there are a couple. While Georgetown is beautiful, it is also one of the most expensive areas of DC to stay in.

  • Four Seasons Georgetown
  • Rosewood Georgetown
  • The Graham Georgetown

Dupont Circle

Pros Of Dupont Circle

Even if you don’t have access to a car, you can still stay in Dupont Circle without any trouble. If you are staying right on the circle, the access to the metro is very easy.

Dupont Circle is well known for its very fun nightlife and arts scene. There are also many delicious Italian restaurants here as well as cocktail bars. 

Cons Of Dupont Circle

The major sites are not walking distance. You will have to take public transportion or use a ride share app.

Public Transport In Dupont Circle

Metrorail (Dupont Circle Metro Station): Dupont Circle has its own Metrorail station, known as the Dupont Circle Metro Station.

It’s located at 19th Street NW and Connecticut Avenue NW, making it a central transportation hub for the neighborhood.

Metrobus Routes:

You may find several Metrobus routes that help connect Dupont Circle to Downtown D.C.

  • Mount Pleasant Line
  • Crosstown Line
  • Connecticut Avenue Line
  • Glover Park Line

Best Hotels In Dupont Circle 

Dupont Circle has many options when it comes to hotels. The best choice is the Dupont Circle Hotel. The metro station is right outside of this hotel.

Logan Circle

Pros Of Logan Circle

The area is one of the historic neighborhoods of Washington, DC, and, needless to say, one of the best places to live without a car. It is also right near 14th Street which has many popular bars and restaurants

Besides, as the Logan Circle is located in the central part, you can have all the modern life facilities in the area. In addition, the beautiful architecture and some essential amenities will attract you to stay near Washington, DC. 

Cons Of Logan Circle

​Parts of Logan Circle are more residential than others so there are limited hotel options here. 

Public Transport Near Logan Circle


The nearest Metrorail station to Logan Circle is the U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Station. This station serves the Green and Yellow lines of the Washington Metro system. You can find it at U Street NW and 13th Street NW, which is just a short walk from Logan Circle.

Metrobus Routes (Logan Circle Area)

You may find metrobus in many routes of the city including these:

  • 52, 54 – 14th Street Line
  • 59 – 14th Street Crosstown
  • 90, 92 – U Street-Hechinger Mall Line

DC Circulator

Key stops of DC Circulator at Logan Circle may include:

  • Logan Circle (13th Street NW)
  • U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Station 
  • McPherson Square Metro Station 

Best Hotel Near Logan Circle

The best hotel option in the Logan Circle area is the Viceroy. This hotel is just off of 14th street and it is walking distance to many of the tourist attractions. 

Mount Vernon Square

Pros Of Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon Square is conveniently located very close to Union Station. Union Station can get you in and out of Washington DC very quickly by using the Amtrak train. Visiting DC from NYC is easily done by train. In addition, Union Station has several metro lines that run through it giving you access to any other parts of the city as well. 

In terms of food and culture, Mount Vernon Square is close to the many restaurants near Union Station as well as the many popular restaurants in the H street neighborhood. The United States Capitol is also not far from here. 

​Cons Of Mount Vernon

There are limited hotel options here. While it is close to other areas that have a vibrant dining scene, the restaurant scene here is still emerging.

Public Transport In Mount Vernon Square

Metrorail (Mount Vernon Square/7th St-Convention Center Station)

The closest Metrorail station to Mount Vernon Square is the Mount Vernon Square/7th St-Convention Center Station.

You can easily access it at 7th Street NW and M Street NW, right in the heart of Mount Vernon Square.

Metrobus Routes (Mount Vernon Square Area)

Here are several routes you can take by Metrobus at Mount Vernon Square

  • Georgia Avenue Line 
  • Mount Pleasant Line
  • 52, 54 – 14th Street Line

Best Area To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car: On A Budget

The most affordable areas in DC to stay without a car are Navy Yard and Capitol Hill. If you don’t mind crossing over the river, you can also stay in the nearby areas of Bethesda (Maryland) and Alexandria (Virginia).

Capitol Hill – Best For Seeing The U.S. Capitol Building

Pros Of Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill can also be good area to stay in DC if you don’t have a car. It is walking distance to the US Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, and also to many of the Capitol Hill restaurants. It is quite far from the National Mall and the Smithsonian Museums. If seeing these is a priority then choose one of the other neighborhoods mentioned above. 

Some popular places that are very close to Capitol Hill are Eastern Market, Union Station, and the popular restaurants of H street DC. Additionally, 8th street in Capitol Hill has many notable restaurants including the very popular Rose’s Luxury (several years in a row with a Michelin star) and Ambar Capitol Hill (a very popular DC brunch spot).

Cons Of Capitol Hill

​There are very limited hotel options and only one metro station.

Public Transport In Capitol Hill 


Capitol Hill is served by the Eastern Market Metro Station. It’s part of the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines of the Washington Metro system. 

You can find it at 7th Street SE and Pennsylvania Avenue SE.


Capitol Hill enjoys good Metrobus service, offering convenient local and citywide travel:

  • 96, 97 – East Capitol Street Line
  • 90, 92 – U Street-Hechinger Mall Line
  • 30N, 30S – Friendship Heights-Southeast Lin

Best Hotels In Capitol Hill 

There are no hotels that are an easy walk to the Eastern Market Subway Stop. Looking for an Airbnb may be your best option, or check out the AC Hotel Marriott Capitol Hill / Navy Yard (mentioned below). This hotel lies at the junction of Capitol Hill and Navy Yard and is closer to the Navy Yard Ballpark Metro. 

Navy Yard Washington DC – Top Choice On A Budget

Pros Of Navy Yard

Navy Yard is full of great restaurants and fun things to do. In addition to many bars and restaurants, Navy Yard is also right on the water with easy access to Nationals Park Baseball Stadium.

Cons Of Navy Yard

You will have to access the historic sites by metro or DC circulator. There are no major monuments or memorials that are walking distance.

Public Transportation Options In Navy Yard Neighborhood:

Navy Yard has plenty of options when it comes to dining and recreation that are walking distance. However, in order to get to many of the tourist sites in DC, you will have to use the metro or a ride share app.

Metro Stop

The Navy Yard / Ballpark station is on the Green Line of the Washington Metro system and is located near Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals baseball team, and the Navy Yard area. The station provides convenient access for baseball fans and visitors to the Navy Yard neighborhood.

From the green line you can access the following places in Washington DC: Mt Vernon Sq 7th St-Convention Center, Gallery Pl-Chinatown (transfer to Red and Yellow lines), National Archives Stop, and L’Enfant Plaza (transfer to Blue, Orange, Silver, and Yellow lines)

Alexandria, Virginia 

Alexandria is just across the Potomac river from Washington DC. It has its own scene of fun rooftop bars and restaurants as well as historical sites. There are also many hotels here that are close to metro stations which make getting in and out of the heart of the city easy. For budget travelers, staying outside DC and commuting into the city may be a great option. 

Bethesda, Maryland

Bethesda is a bustling suburb of Washington DC. It has great happy hours, yummy food, as well as tons of great shopping. There are also some hotels here that are close to metro stations which make getting in and out of Washington DC very seamless. 

DC Areas To Avoid If You Don’t Have A Car

Some areas of DC are not easily accessible. These include Rock Creek Park, Kalorama, Woodley Park, and Adams Morgan. While these areas have their own charm, its not a good idea to stay here for sightseeing, especially if it is your first time in DC. The easiest way to get around DC is either on foot or by metro. These areas are not very friendly to either of those options.

Best Area to Stay In Washington DC Without A Car: Summary

After New York City, Washington DC is one of the best cities when it comes to public transportation as well as being able to walk between attractions and sites. The best place to stay just for sightseeing is Downtown DC, and the best way to see DC fro here is on foot. But, your food options in Downtown DC will be limited, especially kid friendly options. The best mix of sightseeing and food is in the 14th street neighborhood and the City Center neighborhood. City Center is less busy than 14th street in the evenings if you prefer a more low key vibe. For budget friendly options, check out Navy Yard which is a good base if you don’t mind taking public tranpsortion. Navy Yard has a metro nearby to help connect you to the rest of DC. Staying just outside DC near a metro station in Virginia or Maryland can also be a good option. No matter where you stay you will have the best time in DC exploring all that this city has to explore. 

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