Visiting Washington, D.C., and becoming familiar with Georgetown University can be a struggle even for veterans of the Hilltop, so don’t worry too much. 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 your new home in the nation’s capital.
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 nonresidents, 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 behind Lauinger Library.
Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft present your fare at the beginning of the trip, and rides from campus start at around $8. Uber and Lyft fares vary depending on a number of factors, such as the time of departure, the amount of drivers nearby and the volume of people requesting a ride. These drivers pick up passengers at the front gates and at the intersections of 37th Street and Prospect Street, 37th Street and N Street, or 37th Street and P Street. If leaving from the north side of campus, drivers can also make pickups at the intersection of 37th Street and Reservoir Road.
You can also hail a taxi at the front gates or across from the Walsh Building on 36th Street 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.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or 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. If you’re coming from Reagan National Airport on the Blue or Yellow lines, though, be prepared to transfer to an express shuttle service between certain stops because of a platform improvement project underway until Sept. 8.
Metro service begins at 5 a.m. on Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday. Service ends at 11:30 p.m. on 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, if you want to get ahead. 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 it 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 and Q Street 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 Avenue, 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 and N Street.
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 free as of right now — cash and SmarTrip card accepted otherwise. Hop on the Union Station-bound line at the stop across from &pizza on Wisconsin Avenue to see D.C.’s downtown sights.
Bikes and Scooters
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 in 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.
If your destination is too close for a bike but too far to walk comfortably, scooter rental services have begun taking over campus and in the Georgetown neighborhood. Some brands like Lime have their own app, while Uber and Lyft both have scooters available to rent within their own app. These scooter rentals usually start at a base fee for your first 30 minutes and then gradually increase every 30 minutes after that.
There aren’t any set docking stations for the scooters, so use your preferred app to find the closest one and activate it by scanning a QR code or tapping your phone to the scooter. Once you’re done with your scooter, place them somewhere off to the side that won’t block the sidewalk and decrease the accessibility of the path.
Getting Home for Holidays
Whenever you decide to go home or take a vacation, you’re sure to have many options to travel. Are you from 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 is the closest air hub to campus — read The Hoya for the lowdown 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 and BWI are much farther, 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 that both depart from Union Station can get you there for as little as $7 for MARC or $12 for Amtrak.
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 Arena 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 from the intersection of 37th Street and Winfield Lane. Each line has a different schedule and frequency, so check the GUTS website before hopping on.
File Photo: Daniel Smith/The Hoya