7 must-have apps for living in DC

Totally transform your experience with these tech tools.

Editorial Team

By Editorial Team

Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Navigating your route to a new job across town? Wondering which award-winning restaurant you should eat at in Dupont Circle? Looking to locate the District’s best historic landmarks?

Today, all of these problems can be solved from your smartphone. We’ve compiled a list of 7 great mobile applications that will help you make the most out of your Washington, D.C. experience. Take a look and start downloading!

Need-to-know facts when you’re new in D.C.

  • The cost of living is above average, reflected in the cities higher standard of living and the fourth most expensive rental market in the country
  • D.C. is teeming with free and easy to find entertainment and activities
  • The city is highly walkable with a super-efficient public transit system.
  • Bike culture is big in the Capitol, serviced by many parks and biking trails
  • On the busy escalators in the metro, remember this simple rule: pass on left, stand on the right

From the city to the suburbs, D.C. is full of diverse neighborhoods. There’s certainly something here for everyone to enjoy. Whether you prefer quiet tree-lined streets or an active nightlife scene around the corner. Fortunately, being based here also means having tons of exciting options nearby if you’re looking to have a weekend getaway.

1. Washington Post app

Washington, D.C. is a major political stage where the current affairs climate is continuously changing. Stay clued into the conversation around local news and global issues with the digital version of the Washington Post.

Also, for a lighter read, delve into the Lifestyle, Food, or Arts & Entertainment sections. All editions are even adaptable to read on your device in ‘print edition’ digital formats.

Available for iOS and for Android.

2. parkDC

Public transit is the preferred way to get around in D.C.

In fact, some residents opt to use their car only on weekends. As traffic is regularly in a jam, and parking spaces are scarce or overpriced, locals can completely avoid the standard parking problems by using parkDC.

Top view of 2 red, blue and yellow cars parked

This great city app provides real-time parking availability and rate information across all D.C. neighborhoods.

Available for Android.

3. OpenTable app

Make your dining decisions easier. Whether your taste buds are telling you they want Contemporary American in Foggy Bottom, or a Barcelona-style tapas bar in Dupont Circle, this app helps satisfy all cravings.

On this app you can filter lists of cuisines and dining scenes by area. Plus check out local favorites, and research hot-spots shortlisted as ‘hard-to-get reservations’. With the app you can also reserve and manage restaurant reservations to avoid lines and wait times.

Available for iOS and for Android.

While branching out to new areas, stay in a furnished, equipped and move-in-ready Blueground apartment. The flexible lease terms mean you can change apartments and areas to suit your tastes and exploratory mood.

4. National Gallery of Art

Enhance your visits to the world-class National Gallery of Art. You’ll gain a new perspective as you listen to the stories behind the masterpieces. It’s the perfect pocket companion while you stroll through the gallery.

woman stands in art museum looking at the art while holding her smartphone

You can also plan your visit in advance with the app’s maps, hours, and other crucial visitor information.

Best of all, it helps you locate works of art by name or specific theme.

So when you’ve got visitors in town and want to show them around, you’ll look like a pro! Play find and seek the artwork or entertain the family with the Kids Tour feature.

Available for iOS and for Android.

5. D.C. Bus and Metro

This free app will help you make sense of the WMATA bus and metro system. You can stay on schedule with real-time arrival information.

Including, alerts regarding any hiccups or disruptions to the bus and metro lines. For regular journeys, make sure to use the application’s favorites folder to download maps for your most commonly used metro and bus stops.

Available for iOS and for Android.

6. Smithsonian app

The Smithsonian Institution consists of 17 world-class museums, galleries, gardens, and a zoo. That’s a crazy amount of D.C. culture to cover.

Also, make exploring the city’s must-see cultural landmarks easier by downloading the curated Smithsonian app. It allows you to plan your visits by providing access to museum hours, locations, floor plans, and more. You can even bookmark events and exhibitions to create your own custom tour or scrapbook of your visit.

Or try out the AR application, “Smithsonian that Way,” offering a behind-the-scenes look at the museums.

7. Capital Bikeshare

Capital Bikeshare speaks to D.C. residents’ preference for biking by providing a fleet of specially designed and durable bikes. Locked into docking stations throughout the city, these bikes can be unlocked from one station and returned at any other.

red capital bikeshare bikes lined and locked up in Washington D.C.

On the app, you can purchase a pass, unlock a bike, and ride right away. You’ll get a bonus when you sign up that provides free trips under 30 minutes. The application also tracks your ride by a timer and locates nearby bike stations. Navigating the city on two wheels has never been easier!

Available for iOS and for Android.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The Blueground editorial team covers the best things to see, do, and experience in our cities around the world.