Where to stay in Washington DC without a car: 6 Best areas

Wondering where to stay in Washington DC without a car? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car along with a helpful map and the best hotels to stay in Washington DC without a car for all budget travelers.

Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, is a historic city known for iconic landmarks such as the White House, Capitol Hill, and the National Mall. It’s a hub of political and cultural significance, housing numerous museums, monuments, and government institutions. 

The city’s rich history and diverse neighborhoods make it a vibrant destination for both tourists and residents.

Getting around Washington, D.C. without a car is quite feasible and often preferable. The city is known for its extensive public transportation system and pedestrian-friendly layout. You can easily navigate around the city by using metro, bus, biking, walking, Uber, Lyft, and taxi.

Washington, D.C. has an efficient and extensive subway system called the Metrorail, commonly referred to as the Metro. It has six color-coded lines that cover most parts of the city and its suburbs.

The city’s Metrobus system complements the Metro by providing bus services to areas that might not be directly accessible by subway. Buses can be a convenient way to reach destinations not covered by the Metro.

The DC Circulator is a bus system that operates in specific routes around the city’s major attractions. It’s a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to get around popular areas.

Washington, D.C. is also bike-friendly, with bike lanes, trails, and bike-sharing programs available. You can use Capital Bikeshare program to rent bikes from various docking stations.

You can easily explore on foot because many areas in Washington, D.C. are pedestrian-friendly, especially around the National Mall and downtown areas.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can be a convenient option, especially if you’re traveling with a group. Taxis are also an option, although they might be a bit more expensive. 

If you’re looking to travel to nearby cities or suburbs, Amtrak and commuter trains like the MARC and VRE provide rail services. The Potomac River allows for water taxi services that connect certain points along the waterfront.

Remember that traffic can be congested in certain areas of D.C., and parking can be limited and expensive. Public transportation is generally a convenient and cost-effective way to get around the city.

Where to stay in Washington DC without a car?

The best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car are Downtown, Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Logan Circle, Foggy Bottom, and Georgetown. These neighborhoods are in close proximity to major attractions and well-connected by public transportation.

Downtown DC is the best place to stay in Washington for car-free travelers. It has the highest concentration of attractions, hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops. Staying here puts you in the middle of action, close to everything.

When looking for accommodations, make sure to check the proximity to public transportation options like the Washington Metro (subway) and bus routes. 

During my trip to Washington DC, I stayed in the 3-star budget-friendly Embassy Suites by Hilton. It was situated in a prime location in the downtown area, so I was able to explore most things on foot and by Uber. My room was a good size and the bed was comfortable.

Overviews of best neighborhoods in Washington DC without a car

Here is an overview of recommended areas to stay in Washington DC without a car:

Downtown DCis the heart of the city and offers easy access to major attractions like the National Mall, Smithsonian museums, White House, and U.S. Capitol. It’s also well-connected with multiple Metro lines and bus routes.
Dupont CircleKnown for its vibrant atmosphere, Dupont Circle has a mix of restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s within walking distance of the National Mall and also home to the Dupont Circle Metro station for further exploration.
Capitol HillIf you’re interested in the political and historical aspects of D.C., Capitol Hill is a great choice. It’s close to the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. The Capitol South and Eastern Market Metro stations serve the area.
Logan CircleA trendy neighborhood with plenty of restaurants, bars, and boutiques, Logan Circle is also well-connected via public transportation and is relatively close to attractions.
Foggy Bottomis home to several important institutions, including George Washington University and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is located near the banks of the Potomac River, home to the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station makes it convenient for getting around.
Georgetownis a charming historic neighborhood with cobblestone streets, boutique shops, and a scenic waterfront. While it’s a bit further from the downtown core, it offers a unique atmosphere. It is not directly serviced by metro, but is well-served by several bus lines.

Below is map of best neighborhoods in Washington DC without a car. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car
Map of best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car

6 Best areas to stay in Washington DC without a car

1. Downtown DC

Downtown, without the doubt, is the best area to stay in Washington DC without a car. This area is the heart of the city, offering a central location, excellent public transportation options, and a high concentration of attractions, restaurants, and shops. 

Downtown D.C. encompasses several neighborhoods like Chinatown, Penn Quarter, and the National Mall area, which are all popular choices for tourists and visitors.

Many of D.C.’s iconic historic landmarks and government buildings are located in or near Downtown, making it an ideal starting point for sightseeing.

Downtown D.C. is known for its pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalks. Many popular destinations, including the National Mall, the Smithsonian museums, the U.S. Capitol, and the White House, are within a reasonable walking distance from each other.

Additionally, Downtown is home to many metro stations, and bus routes, making it easy to travel to major landmarks, museums, and other attractions without needing a car.

Downtown D.C. boasts a vibrant culinary scene with numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s also home to theaters, music venues, and other entertainment options, ensuring you have plenty to do within walking distance.

Just be mindful that Downtown D.C. can be quite busy and crowded, and accommodation prices might also be higher in this area due to its central location and popularity. 

Overall, if you’re looking for an area to stay in Washington, D.C. without a car, Downtown is a solid choice due to its accessibility, amenities, and proximity to major attractions.

Best places to stay in Downtown Washington DC without a car:

Luxury ($$$): JW Marriott Washington, DC, 5-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Washington DC without a car, located in a prime location, close to everything. Within walking distance to major sights such as White House and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Easy access to McPherson Square and Federal Triangle Metro stations. 

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Washington, 4-star family-friendly hotel, ideally located right next to the National Mall, offering easy access to major attractions on foot such as US Holocaust Memorial Museum and National World War II Memorial. Close to McPherson Square and Metro Center stations.

Budget ($): Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC Downtown, 3-star hotel, one of the best places to stay in Washington DC without a car on a budget. It is centrally located in Washington, D.C., just 3 blocks from the White House. Easy access to the silver line stop at McPherson square.


2. Dupont Circle

DuPont Circle is one of the best places to stay in Washington D.C. without a car. This area is located just northwest of downtown, offering a central location, excellent public transportation options, walkability, and a plethora of amenities. 

DuPont Circle also offers easy access to Adams Morgan, Logan Circle, and Foggy Bottom. Its location makes it convenient to access major attractions, government buildings, and museums.

The neighborhood gets its name from the traffic circle located at the intersection of several major streets. At the center of the circle is a beautiful fountain, which serves as a gathering spot and a symbol of the area.

The area is also well-served by the Washington Metro’s Red Line, home to the DuPont Circle Metro Station, as well as several bus routes. offering easy access to various parts of the city without the need for a car.  

This area has a vibrant cultural scene with art galleries, theaters, music venues. This creates a lively atmosphere and plenty of activities to enjoy without needing a car.

DuPont Circle boasts a diverse array of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. The area is also known for its vibrant nightlife, including bars, clubs, and lounges.

DuPont Circle is close to several parks, including the namesake DuPont Circle Park and Rock Creek Park, providing green spaces for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Best places to stay in Washington DC in Dupont Circle without a car:

Luxury ($$$): The Dupont Circle Hotel, 5-star hotel, located at the top of Dupont Circle, close to The Dupont Circle Metro station, and just minutes from the historical landmarks of Washington, D.C. as well as numerous delicious restaurants.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Madera, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located in the heart of Washington, D.C., 2 minutes walk from Dupont Circle. Each room has a flat-screen TV, and a work desk. 

Budget ($): Lyle DC, great accommodation, located 5 minutes’ walk from Dupont Circle and the Dupont Circle Metro Station, featuring an on-site restaurant, serving American cuisine with a European influence.


3. Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Washington DC without a car, and for sightseeing. It is also one of the most popular and historic neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. It is close to the U.S. Capitol, the Library of Congress, and various government buildings. 

Many of the city’s major attractions are within walking distance or a short metro ride away. The National Mall, Smithsonian museums, and the Capitol itself are all nearby.

Capitol Hill has excellent public transportation options. The Capitol South Metro station and Union Station nearby provide easy access to different parts of the city.

Capitol Hill is a walkable neighborhood with tree-lined streets, historic architecture, and a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. It’s a pleasant area to explore on foot.

Capitol Hill has a variety of dining options, from casual cafes to upscale restaurants. The Eastern Market, a historic public market, offers fresh produce, artisanal goods, and a diverse selection of food stalls.

Best places to stay in Washington DC in Capitol Hill without a car:

Mid-range ($$): Capitol Hill Hotel, 4-star family-friendly hotel, located  in the historical neighborhood of Capitol Hill, a few blocks from the United States Capitol. Its location is only minutes from some of Washington’s most popular sites, including the National Aquarium, the Capitol Building and the National Mall. Capitol South Metro Station is a 5-minute walk away.

Mid-range ($$): citizenM Washington DC Capitol, 4-star hotel, located within walking distance from major sights such as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Close to L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station and Federal Center SW station.

Budget ($): Duo Nomad, adults-only hostels, featuring a garden, a shared lounge and a shared kitchen. It is located a 20 minutes walk from Capitol, easy access to Eastern Market metro station.


4. Logan Circle

Logan Circle is a great base in Washington DC without a car due to its proximity to Downtown and major attractions. It is a trendy and historic neighborhood located in the northwest quadrant of Washington D.C. 

The neighborhood is bordered by streets such as P Street, 13th Street, M Street, and 10th Street, and it’s situated between the Shaw, Dupont Circle, and Downtown neighborhoods.

The centerpiece of the neighborhood is Logan Circle itself, a traffic circle with a park in the center, featuring a statue of Civil War General John A. Logan. The park is a popular spot for residents and visitors to relax, walk their pets, and enjoy outdoor activities.

Best hotels in Washington DC in Logan Circle without a car:

Luxury ($$$): Viceroy Washington DC, 5-star pet-friendly accommodation, 4 minutes’ walk from Logan Circle, featuring  24-hour front desk and 24-hour fitness center. The hotel offers custom-designed PUBLIC bikes for riding around town.

Mid-range ($$): Washington Plaza Hotel, 4-star hotel that has a restaurant and lounge, a seasonal outdoor pool and a gym.It is located in a central location, within walking distance to the Mall and convention center.

Budget ($): Residence Inn by Marriott , 3-star hotel located within easy walk from Walter E Washington Convention Center, offering free bikes, private parking. Easy access to Mt Vernon Sq 7th St-Convention Center metro station, as well as attractions such as the National Gallery of Art, Washington Union Station and White House.


5. Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom is a convenient base in DC for travelers without a car. It is set on the western edge of the downtown area, adjacent to the George Washington University and the National Mall. 

This area is home to Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro Station, a convenient transportation hub, providing access to the city’s public transportation system and connecting Foggy Bottom to other parts of Washington, D.C.

Some key features and points of interest within Foggy Bottom include the George Washington University (GWU), State Department, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Watergate Complex, and Lisner Auditorium.

The area has a variety of dining options, cafes, and shops that cater to the local community and the university population.

Best places to stay in Washington DC in Foggy Bottom without a car:

Luxury ($$$): Melrose Georgetown Hotel, 5-star hotel, that has Excellent location, walkable to Georgetown, less than 3 blocks from a Washington Metro public transport station, 1 mile from Lincoln Memorial and Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Mid-range ($$): The River Inn-A Modus Hotel, 4-star hotel, located just a 4-minute walk from Foggy Bottom Metro Station. Offering an on-site restaurant, an Italian trattoria, a fitness center and accommodations with a kitchenette.  

Budget ($): Hotel Hive, the first micro hotel in Washington DC with 125 to 250 square feet hives. Easy access to Foggy Bottom-GWU metro station as well as landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, Georgetown, Kennedy Center, National Mall, and White House.


6. Georgetown

Georgetown is one of the best areas to stay in Washington, D.C., especially for those who don’t have a car. It’s a historic neighborhood known for its charming streets, upscale boutiques, excellent dining options, and proximity to various attractions. 

Georgetown is highly walkable, with many shops, restaurants, cafes, and landmarks located within a short walking distance from each other. The layout of the neighborhood encourages pedestrian exploration.

Georgetown is generally considered a safe area, making it a comfortable place for visitors to explore on foot.

While Georgetown itself doesn’t have a metro station, there are bus routes that pass through the area, making it easy to access other parts of D.C., including downtown and major attractions.

Georgetown is located along the Potomac River, offering scenic water views and opportunities for recreational activities. You can take a stroll along the waterfront, rent a bike, or even take a boat tour.

Georgetown is home to several historic sites, including the university that shares its name, as well as the Old Stone House and the C&O Canal. These sites provide a glimpse into the neighborhood’s history.

Georgetown is renowned for its diverse dining options, ranging from upscale restaurants to cozy cafes. You’ll also find a variety of shops, from high-end boutiques to more unique and local stores.

The neighborhood offers a vibrant nightlife scene with bars, live music venues, and theaters, providing plenty of options for evening entertainment.

While Georgetown is a great option for exploring the city without a car, it might not be the most affordable area to stay in. Accommodation prices can be higher compared to other parts of the city, given its desirable location and upscale atmosphere.

Best places to stay in Washington DC in Georgetown without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Four Seasons Washington DC, 5-star hotel, located within walking distance from  Foggy Bottom Metro Station.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Graham Georgetown, 4-star hotel, located within walking distance from  Georgetown Waterfront Park and The Shops at Georgetown Park.
  • Budget ($): The Georgetown House Inn, Located along the C&O canal in the retail and cultural epicenter of the nation’s capital, easy access to Georgetown Waterfront and Georgetown’s restaurants and boutiques.

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In conclusion, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Logan Circle, Foggy Bottom, and Georgetown are the best places to stay in Washington DC without a car. These areas are well-connected by public transportation and offer a variety of amenities within walking distance. 

Downtown DC is the overall best area to stay in Washington DC. It is the heart of the city, offering easy access to major attractions and important museums. It’s well-connected by the Metro, and you’ll find a mix of upscale hotels, restaurants, and entertainment options.

You can continue reading about Washington DC in these articles:

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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