Visiting Washington, D.C., and getting familiar with Georgetown can be a struggle even for veterans of the Hilltop, so don’t worry too much about getting around D.C. Whether this is your first time visiting Georgetown or your family’s Hoya ties go back to the 1800s, here are some tips and pointers on navigating Our Nation’s Capital™.
Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle Service:
Did you know Georgetown is gracious enough to pay for five free shuttle bus services with two access points to the Metro? Hop on the GUTS bus to Rosslyn, Va., for access to the Blue, Silver and Orange lines that take you into Virginia or to the U.S. Capitol Building, or ride the GUTS bus to Dupont Circle for access to the Red line, which takes you through the heart of central D.C. into Maryland. These two services run every 10 minutes from the bus turnaround near McDonough Gym during weekday peak hours (6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.). Two other lines to the Georgetown University Law Center and Arlington, Va., depart from McDonough, and a fifth line to Georgetown’s offices on Wisconsin Avenue departs near St. Mary’s Hall. Each line has different schedules and frequency, so check the GUTS website before hopping on.
We don’t recommend you rent a car for more than your move-in day. Permit rules in Georgetown limit parking space in the neighborhood for non-residents, the university lacks enough space for every freshman and their family to park on campus, and D.C.’s streets are already congested enough. If you want a quick rental, however, use Zipcar and Car2Go: They offer rentals that charge your fare based on how long you use the car. Zipcar maintains rental locations on Tondorf Road between McCarthy Hall and Village C West and at the Medical Center.
Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft present your fare at the beginning of the trip, and rides from campus start at around $8. These drivers pick up passengers at the front gates, at the intersections of 37th Street NW and Prospect Street NW, at 37th Street and N St NW, or at 37th Street and P Street NW.
You can also hail a taxi at the front gates or across from the Walsh Building on 36th Street NW between N Street and Prospect Street. D.C. law requires taxis to take your credit card as payment, so you don’t have to worry about cash.
Important note: We are always fans of using public transportation, but using public transportation is not your best bet during the days leading up to new student move-in. Major sections of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines will be closed until Aug. 26, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or Metro, urges you not to use these lines at all. This means the closest working station and line will be the Red line at Dupont Circle, though service past Union Station is disrupted due to the closing of two stations. Plan ahead if you’re trying to take the Metro into Maryland.
But, as some background, WMATA operates six color-coded rail lines: Red, Orange, Silver, Blue, Yellow and Green. Though none of them offer service directly to the Georgetown neighborhood, the two closest stations are located at Dupont Circle for the Red line and at Rosslyn for the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.
Metrorail service begins at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday. Service ends at 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 p.m. on Sunday.
You’ll need a SmarTrip card — a permanent, reloadable card that pays your fare — to ride, and you can order one from home so you’re set to explore D.C. when you arrive. Your card will cost $10 and come with $8 of stored fare; you can only get it from WMATA vendors. Fares start at $2.25 and vary depending on the time of day and distance of your trip. The maximum fare is $6 for a trip, and you can reload money online or at a farebox in any Metro station.
WMATA’s Metrobus service puts its rail service to shame, giving Hoyas access to the entire city for a flat rate and free transfers to other buses within a two-hour period if you pay with a SmarTrip card.
Fares start at $2 per ride on a regular bus and $4.25 for express bus lines with limited stops. The G2 bus connects Georgetown to Dupont Circle and Le Droit Park and stops right outside the front gates. This bus is fairly reliable and runs about every 20 to 25 minutes.
A seven-minute walk to 34th Street NW and Q Street NW gets you to the D2 bus, which runs from Glover Park through Georgetown and into Dupont Circle. The D2 and D6 lines share the same route when they get to Wisconsin Ave, but the D6 goes past Dupont and into the city center. To explore M Street and Foggy Bottom, consider any of the 30-series bus lines that run up and down Wisconsin Avenue. The closest stop is on Wisconsin between Dumbarton Street NW and N Street NW.
For the most up-to-date information, consult wmata.com; for updates on WMATA in general, check The Hoya’s coverage.
The D.C. Circulator also offers bus services on select routes, with two lines serving Georgetown. Circulator buses provide service to high-profile sites for a flat rate of $1 — cash and SmarTrip card accepted. Hop on the Union Station-bound line at stop across from &pizza on Wisconsin Avenue to see D.C.’s downtown sights.
By the time you get to campus, you’ll have missed D.C.’s dockless bike-sharing bubble. Of the five services, only Spin and Jump remain, with Lime Bike moving to cement its Lime Scooters. The safest bet with biking is to rent a Capital Bikeshare bike, found right outside the front gates. Rent a bike for 30 minutes at a $2 fare, but make sure to read the instructions carefully: You want a single-trip ride in most cases, because if you don’t return your bike before the 30 minutes are up, CaBi will add fees to your ride based on 30-minute increments, meaning you can end up spending more than $10 for an hour and a half-long trip
Getting Home for Holidays:
Whenever you decide to go home or take a vacation, you’re sure to have many options to travel.
Living on the East Coast? Use a train or bus. Union Station is a hub for Amtrak, Megabus and BoltBus, all providing service to most major cities along the East Coast.
For those flying home, Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Airport all offer flights from the D.C. metro area to all major cities.
Reagan (DCA) is the closest air hub to campus — read The Hoya for the low-down on the neighborhood’s fight to redirect those noisy planes. An Uber or taxi to the airport will cost you under $20, while WMATA’s Blue line will take you right up to the check-in level. Just hop on the GUTS bus or take the Circulator across the bridge to the Rosslyn Metro station.
Dulles (IAD) and BWI are much further, however. A trip into Northern Virginia will cost you about $60 for a taxi or Uber, while WMATA operates the 5A bus from the Rosslyn Metro station to Dulles for $7.50. A taxi or Uber to BWI will cost you upwards of $100, but Amtrak or the MARC rail service can get you there for as little as $7 for MARC or $12 for Amtrak if you are willing to get to Union Station.