|By plane |
Washington D.C. is served by three major airports.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), on the west bank of the Potomac River just south of the city, is the closest and most convenient. Walkways connect the concourse level of the B and C terminals to the Washington Metro rail platform. To get downtown (10 minutes), take the Yellow Line toward Mt Vernon Square/UDC. For West End destinations, take the Blue Line toward Largo Town Center.
Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located at Dulles (pronounced Dull-ess), Virginia, 26 miles west of downtown DC. To get to DC, the most convenient option is the Washington Flyer coach, which operates every half hour on the quarter-hour to and from the West Falls Church Metro (Orange Line). It takes 20-25 minutes and costs $8 one way or $14 round trip. The Metro rail service from West Falls Church to downtown DC takes another 20-25 minutes. The cheapest option is the 5A Metrobus, an express bus which makes stops at Herndon, Tyson's Corner, Rosslyn (Blue and Orange Lines) and downtown L'Enfant Plaza (Green, Yellow, Blue, and Orange Lines). It departs hourly and takes 50-60 minutes; the fare is $3 each way.
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is in Maryland and is 30 miles north-east of DC and 10 miles south of downtown Baltimore. Metro operates the hourly B30 express Metrobus to the Greenbelt Metro Station (Green Line). It boards on the lower level outside the International Pier. The fare is $3 each way and it takes about 30 minutes. The driver does not provide change. The Metro rail service from Greenbelt to downtown takes another 25 minutes approximately. There are also train services from BWI Rail Station (see next section).
Amtrak services arrive from all over the country, particularly the Northeast Corridor (Boston-to-Richmond). All stop at downtown Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave NE, on Metro's Red Line -- a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol steps. A few lines also stop in Alexandria, VA, very close to King Street Metro, on the Yellow and Blue lines. If you are coming from the south, it might be easier to stop there, depending on your destination.
Virginia Railway Express (VRE ) also provides rail from the southwest, starting in Virginia suburbs of Manassas and Fredericksburg, for those who do not wish to drive into the metropolitan area.
From BWI Airport, a free "Amtrak/MARC" shuttle bus runs from the airport terminal to the BWI Rail Station MARC local rail operates weekdays to New Carrollton (Orange Line) for $5 each way, or Washington Union Station (Red Line) for $6. Amtrak provides access to Union Station (from $13; 30-35 minutes) and to nearby Alexandria, Virginia near the King Street Metro station on the Blue and Yellow lines (from $27).
Washington DC is primarily served by I-95 from Baltimore, MD or Richmond, VA. I-95 South is particularly bad on Friday afternoons and any time people are likely to be going to the beach. Other interstates of note are:
• I-495 is the DC Beltway. On the East side of the city, I-495 follows I-95. Avoid during rush hour if you can. Particularly bad spots include:
• the inner loop (clockwise) between I-66 and I-95 and also approaching the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the morning rush
• the outer loop (counterclockwise) between I-95 Springfield and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge during the afternoon rush
• I-270 connects from I-70 in Frederick, MD to I-495 in Bethesda, MD
• I-395 connects downtown with the I-495/I-95 interchange in Northern Virginia.
• I-295 connects downtown with I-495/I-95 at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Southern Prince George's County, MD.
• I-66 starts at the eastern part of downtown and goes 75 miles west, ending near Front Royal, VA. Inside the beltway, it is HOV-2 only eastbound from 7AM to 9AM and westbound from 4PM to 6:30 PM. US-50, US-29, and the George Washington Parkway are the alternatives.
The Greyhound stop for Washington, DC is at 1005 1st St NE. The stop is a few blocks north of Union Station where you can catch the Red Line Metrorail. (New York Avenue station recently opened, giving faster access to Metro.) Current fares are around $30 from New York (city). Other Greyhound stations are located in Silver Spring, Maryland and Arlington (Virginia).