D.C. day trip: how to get there

By Katelyn Shibilski

Our country’s capital is full of places to explore, and it is only a short ride away. A trip to D.C. can be a great way to spend a day, whether it be to see the monuments around the mall or to see a world class collection of art. But first, you have to know how to get there. 

There are two main ways to get to D.C.: the train system or driving. Let’s start with the trains.

I recommend starting at Odenton Marc station at 1400 Odenton Rd, Odenton, MD 21113. The only thing to be wary of is if it is a weekday parking may be close to full because this is a popular station for commuters to D.C. If you arrive early (around 6 A.M.) the parking won’t be bad, but past then on a weekday you may have to park further away.

There you can buy your ticket to ride the Marc train to connect to the D.C. metro. The best way is to buy a Round Trip (light rail only) ticket, which is $3.40. This pass will pay for your first ride on the Marc as well as your ride back later that night. Then you get on the Marc and ride it until you get to the New Carrollton station.

When you get off at the New Carrollton station you will need to go downstairs to purchase a metro ticket if you don’t have one. I recommend putting around $10-$15 on your card, that way you have money for your trip to D.C. and any other traveling you do inside D.C.

Then you can get on the New Carrollton metro, which is an orange line. You can take this all the way into the center of the city. There are two major stops, one that brings you close to the monuments and the National Mall and another that brings you close to the Smithsonian museums. If you plan on going to the monuments or the National Mall the best place to leave is L’Enfant Plaza. This will put you close to all the monuments. If you want to visit the Smithsonian museums, the best place to leave is Smithsonian.

If you travel anymore inside the city, you can use the metro map down below. When heading back home, just jump onto an orange line headed to New Carrollton and take it all the way to New Carrollton. Then use your Marc ticket for the ride back to the Odenton station.


Now, getting to D.C. by car. Before even starting directions, you will most likely need a spot to park. There is always street parking in the city, however this will be at an hourly rate with a parking meter, so be careful that your meter does not run out. Another option is a parking garage, one option is Lot 256, a parking garage within walking distance of the National Mall. For this parking garage you must reserve a spot, and you can either pay $11 for one hour or $20 for 16 hours. The prices are subject to change so just check the website before deciding this is the option for you. The address for Lot 256 is 398 6th St SW, Washington, DC 20547. If you’d rather head in the general direction of Washington D.C., I’ve put the directions below (leaving from Gambrills).

Have fun in D.C. and be safe!