Riding the metro is a big part of visiting Washington DC.
I love the metro; the stations are such a busy, energizing place, and riding the trains is always an adventure.
The adventures start with a long decent by escalator deep underground. In DC there were some of the longest escalators I have ever seen. About halfway through they can get disorienting and make you feel like you are going straight up or down. I always felt like I was going to fall over and ended up holding on really tight and got afraid to move. Haha!
On our last visit, we didn't bring a car so we used to metro to travel everywhere. Paying for metro trips will add up really fast, so it's best to get a metro pass if you'll be there for more than a few days.
We bought the 7 day short trip pass, which costs 36 dollars and allows unlimited trips off peak hours, and covers trips up to $3.60 during peak hours. After the $3.60 you just have to load some money on your card to pay the difference. The maximum fare is $5.90, so you will never pay more then $2.30 per trip. Another pass is offered for 60 dollars that includes unlimited on peak trips, but it is not really worth the money if your average trip will not go over $3.60. You can check the cost of your metro trips here and determine if you will be traveling many long distances during your stay or not. Peak hours are from opening until 9:30 AM, and 3:30 to 7:00 PM.
With an unlimited pass that means you can ride the metro anywhere and everywhere, without worrying about paying anything extra!
We ended up riding the metro many times during rush hour. The trains were jam packed, but that was part of the fun. It's interesting to see all the busy people heading to work, and trying to imagine what they do, and where they are hurrying off to.
This trip was the first one we have ever taken without a car. It feels a lot more adventurous to try and make your way around the city by a combination of walking, metro riding and bus riding. I wish my own city had a metro system!