The best ways to get to and around Washington, DC

Interior of Union Station in Washington, DC, where people are walking in an open area with an arched architectural ceiling
Union Station is one of the hubs you can travel into when visiting Washington DC. Jimfeng/Getty Images

With multiple airports, a central train station, and several major roadways, Washington is very accessible. The most challenging part is picking your preferred mode of transportation. Here are the best ways to get to and around DC:

Getting to Washington, DC

Dulles International Airport (IAD)

More than 30 national and international airlines operate out of Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Once you arrive, take a taxi, shuttle, rental car, or app-based ride service to downtown DC. A $US5 ($AU7) shuttle connects you to the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station on the silver line. From there, it’s about a 40-minute train ride to downtown Washington.

Reagan National Airport (DCA)

Located just across the Potomac River, Reagan National Airport is the closest airport from downtown DC. Though it houses under 10 airlines, flying in and out of DCA is super convenient, especially for short trips to the district. Take a shuttle, rental car, or app-service ride to the city. You can also take the Metro from the airport.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

BWI has both national and international airlines. Located 30 miles (48km) northeast of Washington, BWI is about a 45-minute car ride from the district. Take an Amtrak, MARC train, shuttle, rental car, or app-service car ride into the city.

Union Station

Serving as Amtrak’s headquarters, Union Station is one of the busiest train stations in the country. Amtrak, MARC trains and the Virginia Railway Express all stop here. There’s also an underground Metro station (WMATA’s red line). Don’t forget to marvel at the incredible Beaux-Arts architecture as you exit the main hall.

Getting around Washington, DC

DC is one of the most walkable cities in the country. There are, however, other modes of transportation to get around, including:

  • The WMATA Metrorail: This is a great way to get to the National Mall and explore DC. Check the WMATA trip planner to plan your trip by Metro or bus.
  • App-based car services: Uber and Lyft are popular modes of transport around the city.
  • Capital Bikeshare: With over 500 stations located around the district, Capital Bikeshare makes getting around the city easier.

View Insider’s comprehensive guide to visiting Washington, DC.