Whether you arrive in your car or rent one during some part of your stay in the District, you should consider leaving your car at a parking garage as you go and see the sights inside city limits. Most visitors park their cars in the hotel's parking lot for an additional fee of up to $25 a day. Or you may choose to take advantage of the services provided by the twenty-four-hour parking lot at Union Station (30 Massachusetts Ave. NE, 202-898-1950, www.unionstationdc.com), since it offers cheaper rates than hotel parking. Maximum extended daily rate is $15. Entrances are on H Street between N. Capitol and 2nd Sts. NE; and on Massachusetts Ave. at Columbus Circle.
There is metered parking downtown (free from 6:30 to 10:30 P.M. in Georgetown — and on weekends), but you can get ticketed if you run over-meter or park in the wrong place. The amount varies with the severity of your misconduct and location. If your car is towed (and it won't be unless it constitutes a public danger), it will be taken to a tow pound. To retrieve your car, call 202-541-6078, and they will tell you where and how to retrieve it. You'll also get a ticket if you speed on Washington D.C. streets, which are patrolled by robot cameras. And they will find you. Check out the cameras at http://app.ddot.dc.gov/services_dsf/traffic_cameras. Eliminate all this worry by reading the well-posted traffic rules on signs and meters.