Being Car-Free in DC


So, you moved to DC. Without a car. You’d heard that living in DC without a car was totally doable, but I’m sure the following thoughts crossed your mind:

  • How am I going to get my groceries?
  • How will I be able to get to places that aren’t near the metro?

Life Without a Car

Of all the problems I thought having no car would cause, the problem with groceries concerned me the most, especially during the summer, when it can be a pain walking in the humidity and heat. Eventually, I found solutions to these challenges:

  • Groceries — During the summer, I get my groceries either early in the morning or late at night to avoid the heat. I’ll do the reverse during the winter, depending on my schedule.
  • Getting around — For trips closer to home, I’ve used Zipcar for trips that would take only a few hours, or rented a car for a day from one of the rental car companies at National Airport. For trips to visit friends in Philadelphia or New York, the variety of bus and train options available in the Northeast has been a lifesaver. Moreover, I don’t have to worry about paying for tolls!

Benefits of Being Car-Free in DC

After living without a car for the past 4 years, here are several reasons why I strongly urge you to move to a transit-friendly area in DC so that you can ditch the car:

Don’t have to struggle with finding or paying for parking.

Many of the older neighborhoods, particularly in DC proper, only have street parking available. If your apartment complex has parking, you can expect to pay at least an additional $100 a month for a dedicated parking unit. If you’re commuting by car into DC, many parking garages charge about $10 per day.

Don’t have to pay for car insurance or gas.

Even though the price for gas at the time of writing this blog post is the lowest it’s been in years, paying for gas and insurance is another expense you don’t have to worry about.

Don’t have to make car payments.

With no car, there aren’t any car payments to make!

Your Car-Free in DC Experience

I can go on and on about the benefits of being car-less — the health benefits involved with walking, being more environmentally friendly, the psychological benefits of being “lighter” by not having a car, etc. — but I’d love to hear about your experience of being car-less in DC.

What were the concerns you had when you moved to DC without a car? How were you able to solve them? And what are some of the benefits you’ve discovered by not having a car? Let me know in the comments below!