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Not Bored in DCNot Bored in DC Things to do, eat, and know in Washington, DC

WMATA Map: DC Metro Map for 2024

Whether you are planning a trip to Washington, DC or just trying to get around your city, you’ll need a DC Metro map.

The Metro is the subway system for the Washington, DC region. Run by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the DC Metro connects the downtown core to the residential areas of the region. It’s a cheap and easy way to get around the city.

Current WMATA Map for 2024

There are a few ways you can view the WMATA map: stylized system map image, a PDF of the metro, or a live map showing the location of the rail cars.

Metro System Map

DC Metro System Map PDF

If you want to download a WMATA map PDF to keep it handy, you can download the PDF version of the DC metro map here.

Live DC Metro System Map

Map of central DC showing the metro lines and locations of the trains

WMATA created a live map that shows where each train is within the system. On the map, you can see each rail line, the stations, and each train with an indicator of what direction it is going. Clicking on the station will also tell you the status of the next trains.

The WMATA live map can be accessed here.

Understanding the DC Metro Map

Metro Lines

The DC Metro has 6 different lines, all named after a color. They are:

  • Red Line
  • Blue Line
  • Orange Line
  • Green Line
  • Yellow Line

Some lines share track with another line for some period. Typically, these lines will share track in the city and branch off in the suburbs.

What About the Purple Line?

The Purple Line is currently under construction and slated to open in 2027. However, the Purple Line is not a part of the WMATA system, and is instead being built by the Maryland Department of Transportation. When it does open to riders, it is not expected to be a new line on the WMATA map. The project has been continually delayed.

Transfer Stations

Close up of WMATA map showing transfer stations
Transfer stations shown with concentric circles

All lines overlap with each of the other lines at different transfer stations. Transfer stations are shown on the WMATA map as larger, concentric circles.

For example, Metro Center is a transfer station between the Red, Blue, Silver, and Orange lines, while Gallery Place is a transfer station between Red, Yellow, and Green lines. When lines share a track, the last station where the track is shared is also shown as a transfer station. Mt. Vernon Square, the last stop for the Yellow line, is shown as a transfer station between Yellow and Green.

If tracks overlap but do not have a transfer station on the WMATA map, there you will not see the concentric circles. This can be seen when the Red line from Farragut North to Metro Center crosses over the Blue, Silver, and Orange lines.

For lines that share track, shared stations (such as McPherson Square) are shown in the middle of the lines.

Other Train Lines: Amtrak, MARC, and VRE

Union Station on WMATA map

On the WMATA map, you may see icons at certain stations for other train lines, specifically Amtrak, MARC, and VRE.

Amtrak is the US rail system that connects the continental United States. In the DC area, Union Station in DC, New Carrollton in Maryland, and King Street in Virginia all connect to Amtrak stations. Note that if you are traveling through DC (for example, going from New York to Miami), your train will have a longer-than-normal stop at Union Station to switch locomotives. South of Union Station, trains use diesel locomotives while north of Union Station, electric locomotives are used.

MARC is the Maryland commuter rail. It’s a cheap way to get to Baltimore or BWI Airport, but because it’s a commuter rail, service on the weekends is infrequent. The shortest wait times are when people would be commuting to work: mornings and evenings.

VRE is Virginia’s commuter rail system, and it is built specifically for commuters into Washington, DC. Trains run only when Virginians would be commuting into the city, meaning that trains to DC are scheduled weekday mornings, and trains out of DC are scheduled weekday evenings. Trains do not run on federal holidays or weekends. However, if your travel aligns, you can travel to Spotsylvania or Manassas with VRE.

Bus Lines

The WMATA bus system is much more complex than the Metro system. In part, this is because there are multiple transit systems that operate the buses. Metrobus is run by WMATA. Circulator is run by DC’s Department of Transportation. Each surrounding county operates their own bus lines, including Arlington’s ART, Alexandria’s DASH, Montgomery County’s RideOn, and Prince George’s County’s TheBus.

My suggestion (as someone who rides the bus frequently) is to use Google Maps to find the best bus routes and up-to-date timing.

The Future of the DC Metro

WMATA has put forward its Blue/Orange/Silver Capacity & Reliability Study and asked for the public’s comments in the fall of 2023. In the study, they proposed a number of ways to improve reliability and capacity through the Rosslyn station bottleneck. This ranged from increasing bus service to building new lines through the city.

While I fully support more lines through the city, I was disappointed that it wasn’t as ambitious as I would have liked. My dream metro system and WMATA map has more coverage for all of the city than anything that was proposed.

Valerie Moore

Having lived in Washington, DC for the past 16 years, Valerie has a lot of thoughts about the best things to do, eat, and know around the city. She loves doing deep dives into the interesting things she finds, and sharing with the world. You'll often find her dog, Lil Mikey, along for the ride.

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