Since public parking is very limited near the National Mall in Washington DC, it is a good idea to plan ahead so that you can enjoy your visit without spending too much time driving around looking for an available spot. The following guide provides tips and suggestions on finding the easiest places to park in the heart of the nation's capital. On-street parking in the busiest areas of the city is restricted during morning and evening rush hours (7:00-9:30 a.m. and 4:00-6:30 p.m.). There are many metered parking spaces on the National Mall along Madison and Jefferson Drives in front of the Smithsonian museums, but they usually fill quickly and on-street parking is restricted to two hours.
The best way to get around the downtown area and especially around the National Mall area is to take public transportation. If you choose to park in a parking garage or public parking lot in the downtown area, you should expect to walk a good distance to popular Washington, DC attractions.
Large Parking Lots and Access to the National Mall
East Potomac Park/Hains Point: Ohio Drive. 320 parking spaces. This parking lot is FREE and convenient to the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial. It is more than a mile walk to the Smithsonian museums.
Union Station: 50 Massachusetts Avenue, NE. More than 2,000 parking spaces. Rates: $8-22. The parking garage is near the east end of the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol Building. To get to the west end of the mall (and the Tidal Basin), take a tour bus for $5 or ride the Metro to Smithsonian Station. This is also a starting point for sightseeing tours including Old Town Trolley, and DC Ducks.
Ronald Reagan International Trade Building: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. More than 2,000 parking spaces. Rates: $10-23. Access is available from Pennsylvania Avenue and via two entrances on 14th Street. The parking garage is near the National Mall, the National Theater, and Freedom Plaza.
Colonial Parking Garages: Colonial owns many parking garages in Washington, DC. Some of the closest locations to the National Mall include:
- 1201 Pennsylvania Ave NW
- 1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW
- 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
- 122 C St NW
- 409 3rd St SW
- 400-430 10th S SW
- 1220 E Street, NW
- 500 12th Street, NW
- 415 11th Street, NW
- 875 D Street, NW
Accessible Passenger Loading Zones on the National Mall:
- National Museum of American History: Mall and Constitution Avenue entrances
- National Museum of Natural History: Mall entrance
- National Air and Space Museum: Mall entrance
- S. Dillon Ripley Center: Mall entrance
- Freer Gallery of Art: Independence Avenue entrance
Parking Garages Close to the National Mall With Accessible Parking Spaces:
- Colonial Parking in Capital Gallery (6th and Maryland Avenue, SW)
- Colonial Parking in the Holiday Inn (6th and C Streets, SW)
- and the Ronald Reagan Building (14th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW)
Long Term Parking
Parking in Washington, DC is expensive. If you are visiting for a few days, overnight parking options are limited, but there are a few alternative parking lots that will save you some money.