The Complete Guide to Parking in Washington DC!

Washington DC, America’s capital city, has so much to offer. From an array of historical and cultural sites to a fantastic variety of food options! It is no wonder so many people visit this beautiful city. However, with anywhere this busy, it is often a challenge to find parking; from parking restrictions to street closures, there are many things to keep track of when visiting. This guide will help you navigate the DC parking system and make your next trip to Washington easy.

You need a residential parking permit to park in many residential areas for more than two hours

If you live in a residential area, you need to get a residential parking permit (RPZ) if you want to park your car on the street for more than two hours. These permits are available from the DMV for $25 per year and can be purchased at any of their offices or online.

You’ll need to provide proof of residency when getting your permit—the DMV recommends taking photos of your house’s address sign or displaying it on the dashboard of your vehicle when parked. Residential permits are valid for one year from the date of purchase, but they’re only valid within the boundaries specified by the RPZ program.

Find cheap parking using Apps

Several apps are designed to help you find open parking spaces. So if you are looking for cheap monthly parking in DC, then look no further! They will help you find the nearest garage, lot, and spaces for rent and even reserve a spot for you in advance if you’d like. These services can save you a ton of money by giving up-to-the-minute information on available lots, garages, and spaces for rent across the city.

Tourists are advised to park at hotels rather than on the street

If you’re visiting Washington DC and need to park your car for a night or two, consider staying at a hotel. Hotels offer several benefits over street parking:

  • They often have large lots with more than enough room for all their guests’ vehicles.
  • They’re more likely to be open 24 hours, so if you arrive late at night or leave early in the morning and need to retrieve your vehicle, they’ll be able to accommodate you.
  • They almost always have security guards on duty who can help keep an eye on the cars parked there overnight. This makes it less likely that someone will break into yours while you’re away enjoying your stay in Washington DC!

Use an Internet search engine that locates open spaces

Generally, the most reliable way to find parking is by using an Internet search engine that locates open spaces. These services offer a variety of useful features like real-time updates on availability and prices.

  • Don’t rely on a parking garage: Parking garages often overcharge for their services (and take up space in downtown areas). While there are some exceptions—like when your vehicle needs to be parked indoors or has special needs—it’s usually not worth paying for this kind of convenience when many other options exist.
  • Don’t rely on private lots: Private lots may appear to be convenient because they’re close by and advertise cheap rates, but they tend not to have enough spots available when needed and can be expensive as well (especially if you don’t book ahead).

Time limits are clearly posted on signs near most meters and garages

Time limits are clearly posted on signs near most meters and garages. If you overstay the time limit, your car will be ticketed or towed. Meters are limited to two hours; section meters restrict parking to one hour. Garages are limited to four hours unless you have a garage permit, and then they’ll let you park up to 24 hours in some locations.

You can’t park in a garage for more than the posted limit (unless you have a garage permit), and it’s illegal for cars not displaying proper permits.

The DMV charges 25 cents for every hour of time added to a meter over the limit

The DMV charges 25 cents for every hour of time added to a meter over the limit. So if you park on the street and use a meter, you can use it for up to 2 hours, so long as you don’t exceed that limit by adding more coins or putting in new bills every 60 minutes (so if you go past 1:30 pm, all bets are off).

If you park in a garage and use their meters, they’re suitable for 8 hours at a maximum rate of $2 per hour (so $16 max).

You can use many different methods to find parking in Washington, DC

Although parking in Washington DC can be challenging, it is possible. There are many ways you can find parking in Washington DC.

  • The Internet: You can use the internet to look for parking online. Many websites have databases that allow you to search for parking by specific location or price range. You can also use them to compare different types of parking, such as a garage, lot, valet, and on-street/metered.
  • Apps: There are many apps available for smartphones that will help you find a convenient spot near your destination with minimal hassle. In addition to displaying nearby lots or garages, some apps also let you track down free street parking spots if they’re available in your area!
  • Parking Meters: You may want to try this option, especially if it’s the middle of winter and no other form of transportation is available besides walking (which isn’t always fun when it’s snowing outside). Parking meters usually charge less than other options but demand high turnover rates, so they don’t usually provide enough space for everyone who needs one unless they’re located very close together within easy walking distance from each other.

I hope this guide helps you find parking in DC! There are many options out there, so hopefully, one of them will work for you. If not, don’t be afraid to try another way or two until something works.


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