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Top Apps to Use When Visiting DC

Updated: September 1, 2023

There are plenty of options to help you get around Washington D.C.

Here are a selection of helpful apps you may want to download to make your journey easier.

1. Apps to Help Getting Around

Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Citymapper are just three of the options for mapping out your trip around the city.

Which one works best for you may depend on your personal preferences and which device you are using.

As a travel tip, you can often download offline maps to reference even if you do not have cell service.

2. Metro Apps

While DC’s Metro, WMATA, has an official app, most locals use their preferred maps app and select the transit option to see bus/rail schedules.

Our favorite Metro app, MetroHero, has just announced it will no longer be supported and WMATA says they will be creating a similar service.

But you can use the SmarTrip app to add funds.

3. Taxi & Rideshare Apps

We don’t recommend driving in DC if you can avoid it but if you need a cab, you can now use the Curb app. It works similarly to Uber or Lyft and is much easier than hailing one or finding a pick-up zone.

Having the Uber and Lyft app ready to go is a good idea as prices can vary between the two services. Both rideshare services are also connected to dockless bike and scooter rentals you’ll find around the city.

4. Bike & Scooter Apps

Capital Bikeshare docks are located around the city and are expanding out into Maryland and Virginia.

The app allows you to see nearby racks but also how many available bikes or open spots there are.

You can also use scooters to get around DC. The app can help you find where they are located.

5. Parking Apps

If you are driving, SpotHero can be a big help. This app will help you locate and book parking in garages or lots, sometimes at a reduced rate.

Perhaps you need to park on the National Mall or downtown DC. You can use the ParkMobile app to pay for your spot.

ParkMobile is a great way to pay for parking because you can add time via the app without having to go all the way back to your car.

6. Restaurant Reservations

The weather in D.C. isn’t the only thing that can vary from day to day. Restaurants might be somewhat quiet one night and packed the next.

To avoid long waits or worse, get your table ahead of time with OpenTable or Resy.

7. Food Delivery

You can also use apps like Grubhub, Uber Eats, or DoorDash to have food delivered from many local restaurants right to your hotel or Airbnb.

If you're using a food delivery app to a hotel, be sure to put a note in the note section with your room number. You can ask the driver to call you when they are outside or tell them to leave the meal at the front desk.

Not all hotels will allow drivers to come direct to the room.

A tip for supporting local restaurants is to use food delivery app to search for a nearby restaurant but then see if they have their own app for delivery. Many restaurants offer discounts for using their own app.

8. Toilet Finder

Sometimes it can be a challenge to find relief in Downtown D.C. Flush-Toilet Finder is an app that helps locate a restroom or WC.

About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Follow On Instagram | I'm a historian & tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. I have written for HuffPost Travel and have been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. I've also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. I am the producer of the podcast, Tour Guide Tell All. I am an authority on D.C. history, and have led tours in the city since 2011. I currently resides in DC, but have also lived in London and South Korea, and have traveled to over 28 countries and every US State but Hawaii. I homeschool my 2 children by exploring the plethora of museums in DC. Read More...
Updated: September 1st, 2023
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