Nearly 25 million people visit Washington, D.C. every year. Are you planning to join them in 2021? Whether you’re planning a springtime visit to take in the gorgeous cherry blossoms, or you’re gearing up for a full-blown tour of all the political hotspots, it pays to plan ahead. One of the most important aspects of your itinerary? Knowing where to find parking along your route. Today, we’re taking care of the legwork for you. Read on to discover five of the top places to play and park around the capital city.
Top Five Places to Visit in Washington, D.C.
First, let’s begin by saying that it would be impossible to list all of the must-see stops in D.C. A history buff’s perfect tour would look different from that of an art lover, or a foodie. For every iconic landmark, there’s a hidden gem or a spectacular restaurant that deserves an equal mention. Still, there are a few top spots that anyone traveling here should take the time to visit. Let’s take a look at five of our favorites.
1. The U.S. Capitol/Capitol Hill
The Capitol serves as more than just the seat for the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. It’s also a symbol of America, recognized and revered around the world.
One foot inside the gigantic, dome building and you’ll see why. The frescos are breathtaking, the statues are towering, and the free tours are top-notch.
Where to Park
While there is little public parking available near the Capitol, those in the know can still snag a spot. To the north, you’ll find the closest public parking facility, Union Station. There’s also metered street parking available to the west, along the Mall.
Want to save yourself the stress of showing up and circling for an hour? Use our app to plan where you’re going to park before you leave the house or hotel.
Start by checking out Lot 660, located at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. A 15-minute walk to the Capitol, it’s open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. There are also other nearby lots and spaces available, so search before you head out. If any are open, you’ll be able to reserve your place.
2. The National Mall
After a tour of the Capitol Building, you can travel to the National Mall, which spans from there to the Lincoln Memorial. This wide expanse of green lawns and clear pools are a welcome respite from the bustling cityscape. It’s also a great way to check out many of D.C.’s most prominent buildings and monuments. On one side of the Mall, you’ll find landmark memorials, including, among others:
- Lincoln Memorial
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Washington Monument
- WWII Memorial
On the other side, you’ll have access to a ton of incredible museums, such as:
- Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Air and Space Museum
- National Gallery of Art
- Natural History Museum
Where to Park
There are many different parking garages available off the National Mall. You can also find free, all-day parking along Ohio Drive, SW, though the spaces are limited. Alternatively, you can look for a spot in Lot A, B, or C just south of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
Want an easier way? Before you leave, search for a monument or memorial on our app. From there, you can see exactly which spots are available, and reserve them online. This way, you can cruise in, park, and start enjoying all the sights.
3. The White House
Of course, a visit to D.C. wouldn’t be complete without a stop at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Housing every U.S. president except George Washington, The White House was originally built in 1792. After being burned down by the British in 1814, it was rebuilt again in 1818.
If you want to see the inside, you’ll have to submit an official request through your Congressional office or embassy. However, it’s still worth the stop to simply take your photo outside of that historic front gate. While you’re there, be sure to visit the adjacent White House Visitor’s Center, which includes interactive exhibits and informative displays.
Where to Park
Street parking near The White House is very limited. The closest spots will be available at the nearby Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, located a block away from the White House Visitor Center. Here, you’ll find an underground parking garage that may have spaces.
The ParkMobile app can help you determine the availability of that garage, as well as other nearby spots. For instance, another go-to is Lot 626 at The Willard Intercontinental. The historic hotel is a five-minute walk away.
4. The National Zoo
Little ones, elders, and everyone in between will love a trip to The National Zoo. Opening officially in 1891, the zoo has become an incredible habitat for a wide variety of animals, from alpacas to wood ducks.
It also provides world-class education and conservatory programs, led through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). Whether you want to learn more about your favorite species or simply stroll the grounds, it’s worth a tour.
Where to Park
When you visit the National Zoo, you can obtain a paid parking pass to park at the facility. You can avoid this charge by walking or biking there, which will only require a (free) entry pass to get in. Lot 879 at Tivoli Square, for instance, is only a 20-minute walk or 5-minute bike ride away.
5. Arlington National Cemetery
Sitting just across the Potomac River from D.C., Arlington National Cemetery spans nearly one square mile. Here, more than 400,000 service members, veterans, and their family members have been laid to rest.
It’s a sobering visit, but one that you should experience while you’re in the city. From the John F. Kennedy gravesite to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, there are many stops to make along the way.
Where to Park
Unlike many places around D.C., the cemetery does have its own dedicated parking center. Accessible from Memorial Avenue, the paid spaces are usually ample.
If you’re looking for something different, there are plenty of other spots to check out when you reserve through our app.
Find Parking As You Tour D.C.
With so much to see and do around the D.C. area, you don’t want to spend your time waiting on a free parking spot to open up.
With ParkMobile, you can find parking ahead of time and reserve your spot. You can also use the platform to discover key details about each lot, such as handicap accessibility, covered spaces, EV charging, and more.