Arriving in Washington D.C.: How to Get from the Airport to the City Center

Congratulations! You have landed in Washington DC airport and cannot wait to start exploring the city. But first, how to get to the city? More importantly which airport have you landed at and how far is it from the city center? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. 


Washington D.C. Airports

There are three nearest airports to land at when travelling to the US Capital –

·        Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (airport code: DCA)

·        Washington Dulles International Airport (airport code: IAD)

·        Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (airport code: BWI)

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport 

The smaller of the other two commercial airports operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is the nearest and most convenient airport to the city. The airport is about four miles south of the city and has proximity to the city and good access to the Metro, making it an ideal choice to land at this airport. Here’s how you can get to the city from this airport. 

Metro Rail System 

Connected directly by a pedestrian bridge to the metro station, the blue and yellow line metro is the most inexpensive way to travel to the city from the airport. With a travel time of 15-20 minutes, the metro rail runs regularly from Monday-Thursday between 5 AM to 11:30 PM, between 5 AM to 1 AM on Fridays, 7 AM to 1 AM on Saturdays and 8 AM to 11 PM on Sundays. Prices range between 1.85 USD to 3.60 USD per person depending on where you are headed. 

Go Airport Shuttle

Running 24/7, this is a great door to door service, with private and shared vans. Pricing is arranged when you book and can sometimes be convenient when you need a direct service. The travel time depends on traffic and rush hours. This service also provides car seats for children and kennels for pets.

Taxi

Another option is to take a taxi from the airport. It is a 10-minute drive from the airport to the city costing anywhere between 15 USD – 20 USD. Operating out of the taxi stand outside baggage claim, this could be a faster and less expensive mode of a commute if you are travelling with luggage with more than one person. An alternative would also be to book an Uber or Lyft.

Washington Dulles International Airport

This international airport is located approximately 26 miles away from downtown Washington D.C. It is one of the three major airports in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Here’s how you can get to downtown D.C. from this airport. 

Metro Bus 

The D.C. metro bus provides bus services from Dulles International Airport to downtown D.C. The price is around 7.50 USD per person and the exact change must be rendered. The travel time is roughly around 50 minutes depending on the time of day and the traffic. Buses are at the airport every 30 minutes and one hour depending on the time of day. Although this is the cheapest mode of transport, it could be inconvenient during the rush hour.

Go Airport Shuttle

Running 24/7, this is a great door to door service, with private and shared vans. Pricing is arranged when you book and can sometimes be convenient when you need a direct service. The travel time depends on traffic and rush hours. This service also provides car seats for children and kennels for pets.

Taxi

Another option is to take a taxi from the airport. It is roughly an hour drive from the airport to the city costing anywhere between 60 USD – 80 USD. Operating out of the taxi stand outside baggage claim, this could be a faster and less expensive mode of a commute if you are travelling with luggage with more than one person. An alternative would also be to book an Uber or Lyft.


Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

An international airport located about 30 miles from downtown Washington D.C., it is the busiest airport in Maryland and the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Here’s how you can travel from the airport (BWI) to Washington D.C. city center. 

Train 

The most popular mode of transportation from the airport to the city, there is a regional service (AMTRAK) and a suburban commuter (MARC) that connect the two destinations. The airport offers free shuttle services from the BWI train station to the terminal at regular intervals of 6 minutes except between 1 AM and 5 AM when it operates every 25 minutes. 

Travel by MARC takes approximately 35 minutes, making it quick and convenient for several travellers. The cost of travel is around 7 USD per person one way when purchased at the station. A surplus charge of 5 USD is added when bought on board. Trains run every 20 – 60 minutes depending on the time of day.

Travel by AMTRAK takes approximately 20 – 30 minutes and is more expensive than the MARC. The cost of the ticket depends on your travel time, ranging anywhere between 15 USD to 45 USD for a one-way ticket. Although it reduces travel time, it is more expensive and does not allow checked baggage on the train. Trains depart every 10 – 60 minutes depending on the time of day.

Go Airport Shuttle

Running 24/7, this is a great door to door service, with private and shared vans. Pricing is arranged when you book and can sometimes be convenient when you need a direct service. The travel time depends on traffic and rush hours. This service also provides car seats for children and kennels for pets.

Taxi

Another option is to take a taxi from the airport. The travel time from the airport to the city depends on traffic and the time of day and can cost around 90 USD. Operating out of the taxi stand outside baggage claim, this could be a faster and less expensive mode of a commute if you are travelling with luggage with more than one person. Although this is an expensive option if you’re travelling alone. An alternative would also be to book an Uber or Lyft which would cost anywhere between 45 USD to 55 USD depending on the time of day.