You can rent a car at one of D.C.’s airports, but it’s by no means necessary to get around. If you do decide to drive, be warned: The concentric circles can get very confusing, so print directions beforehand, or rent a GPS.
There are three airports serving the Washington, D.C. area: the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), and Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI). The Metro system serves them all, but the easiest way to get to the city from the airports is by taxi. Rates range from $20 from Reagan National to $60 or more from Dulles.
Washington is divided into four quadrants – S.W., S.E., N.W. and N.E. – and all are well connected by the Metro, an underground system that is safer and more comprehensive than in most major cities. The Washington Metro Area Transport Authority website is a great tool for planning any travel within the city or in suburban Maryland and Virginia.