The modern economy is all about sharing things. Whereas we might have all owned our own cars in the past, new business innovations are making us questions even that idea.
Car sharing networks and car sharing companies are popping up all across North America and Europe, offering an entirely new car rental experience (one that works on-demand and uses sophisticated mobile apps). The traditional players in the rental car industry, such as Avis Budget Group, Hertz, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, are rightfully nervous.
One company leading this industry disruption is Zipcar. The company lets members rent cars 24/7 using the Zipcar app. This mobile app lets users find cars in their area and book them at either an hourly rate or a daily rate.
Members unlock cars by touching their membership card (called a “Zipcard”) to the card reader on the vehicle. Each car also comes with a gas card, insurance, and free roadside assistance, meaning you’ll always be prepared when you go out on the road.
In many cities, the cost of Zipcar is cheaper than owning a car, especially when combined with public transit, biking, and walking. In this article, we’re going to look at the 10 best cities for using Zipcar in the United States. We’ll look at why each city is such a good fit for Zipcar, as well as where Zipcars are available in each location.
- Zipcar in Boston
- Zipcar in Chicago
- Zipcar in Washington, D.C.
- Zipcar in San Francisco
- Zipcar Seattle
- Zipcar Denver
- Zipcar Portland
- Zipcar Los Angeles
- Zipcar in Miami
- Zipcar in San Diego
- Zipcar FAQ
One of America’s most historic cities is also a place where you can make personal transportation history. With the robust BART system in place, it’s already easy to get around Boston without a car. Zipcar can help you go car-free and save money.
Zipcar is available all throughout the Greater Boston Area, including Cambridge, Massachusetts, and even at the Boston Logan International Airport. Rentals start as low as $11 per hour or $78 per day.
Boston is also notable for being the only city in which Zipcar allows one-way trips. Normally, Zipcar trips are round trip; you have to pick up and drop off your Zipcar in the same location. In Boston, however, select Zipcars can be picked up in one location and dropped off in another.
Chicago is known for its rich history, spectacular restaurant scene, and serious sports fans. Unfortunately, it’s also known for its terrible traffic. Since it has excellent public transit, however, it’s a city where foregoing car ownership is quite feasible.
For the few times that you do need a car, you’ll find Zipcars throughout the Chicago area, available everywhere from the Loop to Wicker Park. What’s even better is that all Zipcars come with a parking spot, saving you from having to pay the exorbitant parking fees common in the city. Zipcars in Chicago start at $11 per hour or $78 per day.
As the nation’s capital and a center of international politics and business, D.C. is an exciting place to live. Driving in the city, however, can be more exciting than most people would like to deal with on a regular basis. With a robust subway and bus system, plus a high level of walkability, it’s easy to live in D.C. without a car.
Still, sometimes you do want access to a car in order to escape the city for the weekend. In this case, a car sharing service like Zipcar can provide the flexibility you need. Zipcars are available throughout the D.C. metro area. So whether you’re on Capitol Hill, in Georgetown, or over in Penn Quarter, you’ll be able to find a vehicle. Zipcars start at $10 per hour or $76 per day in D.C.
The San Francisco Bay Area is known as a center of technology and innovation. It’s also a great place to go car-free, something that Zipcar can help you do. With a bus and train network, plus lots of innovative transportation options like electric scooters, you can live in the city without a car.
For when you do need a car, however, Zipcar is available everywhere from Oakland to Berkeley. Zipcars in San Francisco start at $11 per hour or $79 per day.
Known for its rainy, temperate climate, influential music scene, and superb coffee, Seattle is another city where you can live without a car. Transit is available via bus, train, and even ferry, meaning you may not even need a car most of the time.
When you do need one, though, you can count on Zipcar. There are Zipcars available all throughout the Seattle area. If the spirit moves you, you can even take one all the way up into Canada (perhaps to visit Vancouver, another city where Zipcar has a presence?). Or, drive south to Tacoma for the day.
Zipcars in Seattle start at $11 per hour or $73 per day.
Denver isn’t known as a city where you can live without a car, but it’s quite possible to do so. The RTD provides bus and light rail service throughout the city, and the network of bike paths makes it easy to get around using just the power in your legs.
Sometimes, however, you might want to take a road trip to enjoy all that Colorado has to offer. Perhaps you want to visit Colorado Springs for the weekend or take a day trip to Red Rocks to get a break from the big city. Zipcar can help you in these cases, with rentals starting at $9 per hour or $74 per day.
Portland, Oregon is a city known for its eclectic culture, vast number of breweries, and mild weather. Cars are a common sight in PDX, but so are bicycles and light rail. This means that you don’t have to have a car to get around the city.
If you need to escape the city, however, then Zipcar can offer you the vehicle you need. Explore wine country or take a trip to the beach starting at just $11 per hour or $74 per day.
Going without a car in Los Angeles, a city known for its car culture and freeways that back up for miles during rush hour, seems kind of crazy. With Zipcar, however, it is possible if you live in the right area. LA does have public transit, even if you don’t hear much about it, and bike lanes are available in certain neighborhoods.
For when you do need a car, however, Zipcar can get you around. Whether you want to cruise down Hollywood Boulevard or visit the Santa Monica pier, you can do so starting at just $9 per hour or $66 per day.
Zipcar doesn’t have a huge presence in Miami, but it’s still significant enough to make the service useful for people without cars. After all, Miami-Dade County has the 14th largest public transit system in the United States, as well as the largest in Florida.
If you need to use a car to drive to South Beach, the University of Miami, Miami Beach, or even all the way up to Fort Lauderdale, you’ll find a Zipcar for it in the city of Miami. Downtown Miami has a large concentration of Zipcars, but you’ll find them throughout the city. Start exploring everything South Florida has to offer for as low as $10 per hour or $74 per day.
One of the gems of California, San Diego is a city of rich history, award-winning breweries, and proximity to some of the greatest natural beauty on the Pacific Coast. With a bus system and lots of well-planned, bikeable neighborhoods, you can get around San Diego without a car.
For the times when you want to drive out to La Jolla or up the Pacific Coast, however, Zipcar can be your transportation. Do note that you cannot take Zipcars into Mexico, so you’ll need to find another method if you’re planning a trip down to Tijuana. Zipcars in San Diego start at $10 per hour or $77 per day.
To conclude this guide, we wanted to address some common questions people have about Zipcar locations:
1. What vehicles does Zipcar offer?
Zipcar vehicles range from practical Honda sedans to Subaru SUVs to luxury vehicles and even truck rentals. If you have a type of personal vehicle in mind, Zipcar probably has one in their fleet. To find cars available in your city, check the Zipcar app.
2. How much does Zipcar cost?
We already discussed the specific rates for different cities, but all Zipcar members also pay certain fees that don’t vary based on your city. The first is the Zipcar membership fee. This is either a $7 monthly fee or a $70 annual membership. You also have to pay a $25 application fee.
3. What methods of payment does Zipcar accept?
Zipcar accepts payment via all major debit or credit cards. Cash payments and checks are not accepted.
4. Where can I learn how to use Zipcar?
For information on using Zipcar, check out our guide to how Zipcar works.
Zipcar Is Available in Your City
We hope this guide has shown you the wide range of cities where Zipcar is available across the United States. This is far from a complete list. For a full list of cities where Zipcar is available, visit Zipcar.com.
For other ways to get around without owning a car, click the links below: