Driving / Parking, Washington D.C.
Seriously, parking is a major problem here, especially during cherry blossom season. Driving can be frightening. Remember, you are dealing with A LOT of tourists either gawking or looking for parking spaces OR if they're on foot, darting in front of your car.
D.C. is also divided into NW, SE, SW, et cetera and you can get seriously lost if, say, you are looking for an address of 50 SW and you're actually in 50 SE.
Parking on the streets is limited. Handicapped people cannot rely on their license plates or signs -- but must request a special permit from the city. Parking garages charge horrendous amounts -- a typical parking lot cost to go see a Capitols game is $20. A street may be fine to park on during the day but at rush hour, your car can get towed away.
And here's a good one -- it doesn't happen too often, I don't think -- but it does happen. If the President decides he's going to be somewhere all of a sudden and your car is parked near to where he is at, the Secret Service can up and tow it to another street. The catch is you have to try and find it, because they don't leave clues!
Add to that, the occasional protests that can shut down streets and you see why you should really should try to figure out our Metro system instead of driving
Listen to WTOP-1500 AM or 107.7 FM to get traffic reports from around the Washington, D.C.-region every 10 minutes, on the 8's, as they say. They do this 24 hours a day, and even offer updates on whether trains or subways are delayed. Useful if you have to drive or commute around the city. Also, if you go in the subway, message boards alert you to when trains are coming and if there are delays in the system. May not always be up to date, however.
I find driving in DC a breeze compared to NYC and the crowded roads around where I live. Parking is very easy on weekends in the downtown area when all the businesses shut and everyone heads to their homes in MD and VA. If driving, try to plan your visit on a weekend so you won't have to worry about paid parking or scrounging for a space. The Washington Metro is a joy. Clean, efficient, and cheap way to get around DC.
We drove from Chicago but watch out because it is common for hotels to charge $15.00 and up a night for parking.
Taxis were reliable and easy to come by. The public transportation is supposed to be excellent as well but we didn't have the chance to try it.
A 4-hour trip from New York City to Washington, DC seems to be a reasonable for driving your car. But the idea was to get everybody there relaxed, equally. We voted to take the Greyhound/Peter Pan bus from New York’s Port Authority at 42nd St., and 8th Ave. We had also the option of taking the Acela or MetroLiner train, which stationed at 34th St., and 7th Ave., but the fare was too pricey. Yet, trains are faster than buses. Which is why, majority of business travelers prefers the Acela or MetroLiner to get to DC on time. It is not recommended, however, to fly out from NYC to DC. As I understand, the traveling time from the BWI Airport to downtown DC is about 45 minutes and not to mention to LGA Airport in NYC or Newark Airport in New Jersey.
Getting around is always a matter of choices. As for me, to get acquainted with the place I always save my energy for walking. Riding a taxi or metro bus is also an alternative, only if my feet start to complain.
Although it is an old American city, I wouldn't think of getting around without a car. Especially in winter.