Washington D.C. Parking Guide

Washington D.C. is one of the United States largest and most important cities.  As our capital, it is the center of the US government.  D.C. was created as our capital and named in honor of George Washington in 1790 with the signing of the Residence Act.  The centers of all three branches of government are located in D.C. D.C. is also home to hundreds of monuments and museums, namely the Smithsonian museums.

There are over a hundred foreign embassies within the city limit.  Washington also hosts the headquarters of  large international and national organizations like the IMF, The World Bank, the Human Rights Campaign, and Americorps.  

Millions of tourists, foreign diplomats, and businessmen and women flood the city every single day to attend meetings or visit museums.  With all of those people, finding parking can be incredibly difficult. Our Washington D.C. Parking guide will help you find the easiest way to park in the city, regardless of your needs. Whether you're looking for a space on the street for a few hours, or a place to keep your car on a monthly basis, our guide will have your answers. Reserve parking ahead of time with Parking Panda to save time and stress.

Street Parking In D.C.

It’s insanely expensive, hard to find and most of all, it ruins your good mood. Parking. DC is all too familiar with this maddening daily task. Unless you’ve got a lot of cash to throw around, you’ll be circling for hours trying to find an affordable street parking space, risking missing your morning meeting. Even when you are lucky enough to find a spot, you're stuck endlessly feeding the meter or else receiving expensive tickets! According to an article from The Washington Post, Washington DC parking meter violations generated 1,731,861 tickets. 

There are around 17,000 on-street metered parking spots in D.C. The District Department Of Transportation launched multiple parking management programs to mitigate congestion problems (including a pay-by-phone parking meter option, residential permits, and visitor permits). The DDOT also accepts out-of-state disability permits and tags and has special ADA accessible meters (designated by a blue dome) and is currently working toward having disability parking available every two blocks.

Here at Parking Panda, we can help you  avoid receiving pricey tickets and paying for over-priced parking by allowing you to compare parking options and find the best deals in the area.

Metered Street Parking Hours & Rates

Not only is street parking hard to find, most streets have confusing zone-specific rules and regulations. Operating hours and costs for metered parking in Washington DC are listed below:

Metered Parking Rates: $2.30 per hour.

Metered Parking Hours:

Normal Demand Zones: Monday - Saturday (7:00am - 6:30pm)

Premium Demand Zones: Monday - Saturday (7:00am - 10:00pm)

Metered parking on Sunday's is FREE

Premium Demand Zones: 

  • Adams Morgan
  • Penn Quarter/Chinatown
  • Wisconsin Avenue NW (from Van Ness Street to Western Avenue)
  • Georgetown Historic District
  • U Street NW Corridor
  • Downtown Central Business District
  • Maine Avenue and Water Streets SW
  • The National Mall

Here is a map of the DC parking meter zones. For more information, please visit the District Department of Transportation website. There are restrictions on the street parking around the mall in the morning and during rush hour so be sure to follow the rules as posted in the locations.  

As always, please be sure to follow the rules and regulations posted on the street.  Your vehicle will get ticketed, towed, or booted if you break the rules.  

Off-Street Garage Parking

There are a number of parking garages and lots in Washington, D.C. Keep in mind that parking garages are privately owned and not a part of the DDOT. Prices and availability of garages fluctuate depending on the location and demand. For instance, parking garages closest to major attractions or destinations tend to charge more than those that are further away.

Many garages and lots charge by the hour, and off-street parking is typically more expensive than metered spaces. That being said, parking your car in a garage can be much more convenient as there is no need to constantly feed meters, your car is more secure, and . Garage parking is a better solution for those in need of a place to park for more than a few hours. 

One way to save money on garage parking is by finding the best deal in the area for the times that you need to park for. Parking Panda provides a platform to do just that. Many parking companies across the area list their garage or lot on Parking Panda. Drivers can enter the times that they need to park for and book the best deal near their destination. 

Monthly parking is also offered at many garages across the city. With this arrangement, drivers can pay one monthly fee and have unlimited access to their garage. This is a great solution for anyone who lives or works in downtown DC and needs a more permanent place to leave their car. Prices can range from $100 to over $300 per month. Some garages offer a discounted "reverse commuter" rate, which enables drivers who work outside of the city to park at night and on the weekends. 

Washington D. C. Parking Map

View the map below to explore off-street parking options throughout Washington D.C. Find a great deal by comparing parking options near your destination, and save time by reserving space ahead of time. 
Find Convenient Parking In Washington DC With Parking Panda

Use ⌘ + scroll to zoom the map

Map Data
Map data ©2018 Google
Map DataMap data ©2018 Google
Map data ©2018 Google
500 m 

How to Avoid DC Parking Tickets

The best way to travel around DC may be to park in a secure parking garage and then travel within the city using the capital’s easily-navigated transportation systems such as the Metro and DC Circulator.  If you are lucky enough to park in one of the coveted on-street parking spaces, there are some tips to keep in mind. Don’t forget, if  you ever have doubts or questions about a location, contact DDOT at (202) 671-2700.

Carefully check the signs:

Rush hour restrictions are strictly enforced between the hours of 7 and 9:30 a.m., and from 4 to 6:30 p.m. All meters are enforced Monday-Saturday and most of the free on-street parking is restricted to two hours. If the coin-meter is broken, you may call the DDT number at 202-541-6030 and they will give you a code that you can display on your car. However, the DDOT has announced that there is no guarantee that a ticketing officer will exempt the motorist from a ticket.

Ticket Facts:

District of Columbia does not require meter fees on official holidays. The list of official holidays can be found here. Perhaps surprisingly, parking ticket peaks come at the beginning, not the end of the month. Tourists were hit the hardest during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, with almost 68,000 tickets. According to the Washingtonian, most tickets were cited near Georgetown University campus, Lincoln Park, and the Congressional Cemetery.

How to pay for tickets

If you feel that the ticket was cited unlawfully, you can contest the parking ticket. Data from 2010 showed that 41% of the motorists beat their contested tickets. One of the best ways to win such a case is to gather concrete evidence by taking photos of where/how you were parked and conflicting or missing signs, if available. Also, look for mistakes on the actual citation - any incorrect information may be grounds for dismissal.

If you are ready to pay for a ticket, there are four options laid out by the DDOT:online, by mail, in person, or by phone at 866-893-5023. Don’t forget that tickets must be paid within 30 calendar days of the citation to avoid a penalty.

How Parking Panda Can Help ~ Guaranteed Parking Reservations

You can now compare parking facilities based on distance, amenities, and price, from your computer or on your smartphone. Know which neighborhood you’re heading toward? Check out parking options that are 100% guaranteed in each neighborhood.

General State of Parking

Parking issues are commonplace in Washington, D.C. With about 400,000 drivers commuting into the capital daily and parking spaces exceedingly difficult to find, it is no surprise that drivers paid almost $100 million in parking tickets alone last year. Officials are actively making the city more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, and on-street parking accessibility is taking a direct hit. On-street parking requires drivers to abide by confusing rules compounded by multiple signs on a single block. Just last year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic, the District Department of Transportation issued 1.8 million parking tickets, totaling $92.5 million. For the almost 75% of the 150 million annual visitors who drive into the capital, unfamiliar parking restrictions and confusing signs lead to parking violations that can run up to $500. For daily drivers and visitors alike, taking time to figure out the best way into the city can save money, gas, and time.

Washington D.C. Parking By Neighborhood

Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan is a fun, culturally diverse neighborhood located centered at the intersection of Columbia and 18th Street.  It is well known for it’s great night-life scene, funky, global restaurants, quirky boutiques, and hispanic infused culture.  

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is a largely residential neighborhood centered around the US Capitol Building.  The Hill, as it is more commonly referred to as, is an actual hill, rising slightly above the rest of the city.  Important features include the US Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Marine Barracks, and many senate and house office buildings.  It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.  

Chinatown DC

Chinatown is a small, asian influenced, neighborhood located on H and I streets between 5th and 8th Streets Northwest.  It is comprised of small restaurants and businesses.  It is known for the annual Chinese New Year Parade.  Other popular attractions include Verizon Center, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.  

Downtown Washington D.C.

Downtown is the central business district located in the northwest quadrant of the city.  Popular attractions include The National Archives, The National Aquarium, The National Portrait Gallery, and Ford’s Theater.  

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle is located in northwest DC.  It is named after Dupont traffic circle, which is at the center of the neighborhood.  It is in the historic district of Washington D.C and is bounded by 16th St NW, 22nd St NW, M St NW, and Florida Ave.  Dupont Circle, home to many foreign embassies, is where Embassy Row is located.  Other popular attractions include the National Museum of American Jewish Military History and the Loagai Museum.  

Falls Church

Falls Church is a city in Virginia that is included in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  It takes it’s name from an 18th century Anglican church called Falls Church.  The Silver Line of the Washington metro connects Falls Church with the rest of DC.  Falls Church is know for it’s rich American history.  Both George Washington and George Mason served in the vestry of Falls Church.  

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom is located in the heart of D.C.  Most of Foggy Bottom is made up of the campus of the George Washington University.  The neighborhood also houses the headquarters of the IMF, the American Red Cross and The World Bank.  Foggy Bottom is home to the Kennedy Center, the Eisenhower Executive Building, The Watergate Complex, and the State Department.   

Freedom Park

Freedom Park is a popular park located in Arlington, VA, just across the river from D.C.  Originally it was something of a museum park.  Sections of the Berlin Wall, stones from the Warsaw Ghetto, and pieces of MLK’s Birmingham jail cell, were all on display in the park.  Now it is more of a park for people to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.   

Gallery Place

Gallery Place is located adjacent to Chinatown in central D.C.  Popular destinations include Verizon Center,  Ford’s Theater, the Washington Convention Center, and the International Spy Museum.  


Georgetown is located in Northwest Washington D.C.  It is home to Georgetown University.  The neighborhood is centered around M Street, which is home to numerous high-end shops, restaurants, and bars.  It is mostly residential.  Georgetown is also home to many embassies including those of France, Cameroon, Sweden, Thailand, and Ukraine.  Georgetown has also been the used in many films including The Exorcist, Transformers, and the popular TV series, The West Wing.   

With most tickets around $50 and up to $500, it’s worth looking into safe, affordable options for parking your car, whether it is for regular parking or a special visit to D.C. attractions. Parking Panda offers variety of options of parking garage options around the District. Options include short-term parking, special event parking, and monthly parking passes with convenient locations throughout D.C.

Parking By Top Washington D.C. Attractions

Dupont Circle

Capital One Arena

The National Mall



Downtown D.C.

National Zoo

For all the ways to travel in D.C. after you park your car, check out the DDOT’s official transportation information website.

For more information on National Mall parking, please click here.

Happy parking and enjoy your Washington D.C. adventure!!

Keep up with Parking Panda through Facebook and Twitter for news, deals, and everything parking!

Parking Panda is free and available on the go with our iOS, Android, and Windows apps.