In continuing in my east coast swing of guides to public transportation, it is only fitting to add Washington DC to the mix in order to complement the previous Baltimore Blog. It really doesn’t get any easier than the setup in DC because there are a ton of options which are easy to use and best of all, cheap!
Which Airports to Use?
There are the same 3 airport options for Washington DC as were for Baltimore. As mentioned before, depending on the part of the country your flying from as well as how much extra time you have on your hands any of the airports could possibly be the right choice. BWI is the airport for Baltimore and is located about 12 miles from downtown Baltimore and 32 miles from Washington DC. Regan Airport (DCA) is 4 miles from Washington DC and 40 miles from Baltimore. Lastly, Washington-Dulles Airport (IAD) is in Northern Virginia and is 27 miles from Washington DC and 60 miles from Baltimore. There is a significant tradeoff when flying into Dulles as far as a greater distance away, however there are an abundance of budget airlines that fly to Dulles that might just make the trip worth it.
Traveling from Regan International Airport or Washington Dulles International Airport to Washington DC
The best way to get somewhere and get there cheap in DC is to use the famed Metro Subway System. If you have a flight into Regan National (DCA) it couldn’t be easier to get into the city because the airport has its own Metro stop. There is an elevated Metrorail station connected to the concourse level of terminals B and C at Regan National Airport. Metrorail fare cards may be purchased at machines located at all entrances to the Airport Metrorail station. The line that stops at this station is the yellow line and it will take you into the heart of the city. If you happen to be looking for Union Station you just need to transfer to the Red Line at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Stop. For all other destinations, use the simple Trip Planner that they have on their site.
Washington-Dulles Airport (IAD) is not serviced by train or the Washington DC Metro Subway. The best bet is to take an express bus, but it certainly gets the job done. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) offers express bus service between the airport and L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in downtown Washington DC. It will cost you $3 and the service operates daily from 6:28am until 11:40pm once an hour. A second option is the Washington Washington Flyer Coach Service will take you non-stop to Metro’s West Falls Church Station for just $9 one-way. This is where you can connect to the highly acclaimed DC Metro system and continue on to your final destination.
Traveling to Washington DC from BWI
Basically this is the reverse of what I typed in the Baltimore Blog, but I will summarize again. The best way to get from BWI to Washington DC is to take the MARC Train (Penn Line) from the airport to Union Station. It should cost $6 and you can get on the DC Metro to wherever you need to go. The last and even cheaper bus option called the Greenbelt-BWI Airport Express Line is brought to us by Sara T, another Vandy med student. The bus is a direct connection between BWI airport and Greenbelt–a DC Metrorail stop on the green line. It runs from 7 AM to 11AM on the weekdays but doesn’t start running until 9:15 AM on the weekends. Note the bus runs 7 days per week as opposed to the MARC train and it costs $3.10 so don’t forget to bring change.