When planning your trip to Washington DC, you’ll find plenty of options for airports.
One of them is the Dulles International Airport. Originally designed to relieve congestion at the National Airport, Dulles offers an excellent gateway to the city.
But if it’s your first time traveling to the city, you may wonder how to get from Dulles Airport to Washington DC via Metrorail.
Should you take a taxi, a bus, or a private shuttle?
Today, we’re going to share with you the easiest and most convenient way of traveling between the two – the Metro.
- Why Use the DC Metro Rail
- Tickets and Schedule
- How to Get to Dulles by Metro
- Guide to using the DC Metro
- Things to Do in DC
By taking the Metro, you can save time, money, and effort. It’s fast, efficient, and it can take you to any part of the city.
DC travelers have a choice of airports (Baltimore-Washington is also accessible by Metro but it is much longer and DCA Reagan National Airport is the prime location for short travel to and from DC) but Dulles is a main airport for international flights.
With the recently opened Silver Line extension, passengers can get to Washington Dulles International Airport at a low-cost and quickly.
Silver Line can only take about 30-40 minutes from Dulles International Airport to the heart of DC.
To get from Dulles International Airport to Washington DC, you’ll want to take the Silver Line.
You can access the Silver Metro Line from a dedicated Metro station called the Dulles International Airport Station.
The station is right at the airport and easily accessible by shuttle bus or on foot.
A Silver Line train runs from past Dulles station through Tysons and Arlington, downtown DC and ends in Largo Maryland on the other side of Washington DC.
Among the famous tourist attractions on the route are the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Washington Monument, and the White House.
You can change to another Metro rail line at five stations along the route:
- (Orange Line) - East Falls Church
- (Blue Line and Orange Line) - Rosslyn
- (Red Line) - Metro Center Station (this will take you to Union Station the main hub for Amtrak in DC)
- (Yellow Line and Green Line) L'Enfant Plaza
With the Metro app, you can always know where you are on the system and how long it’ll take you to get to your destination. There's even a specific trip planner for commuters. The app can also tell you what station is closest to your hotel, restaurant, or attraction.
It will be a long journey, but you won't be trying to switch crowded train cars with a bunch of luggage.
When taking the Metro is NOT the best option:
A downside, however, is that the Metro is not the best experience if you have lots of luggage or a lot of young kids.
Crowded Cars: While the subway cars are large, the Metro can get crowded during peak hours.
Elevators: There are elevators at each station, though there are often outages due to maintenance.
Transfers: If you're going to a station that is NOT on the Silver line, you'll need to transfer.
This usually means exiting the train and navigating the station's escalators and platforms. This can be stressful for visitors even without luggage to carry!
Metro Tickets from Dulles to Downtown DC
Using the Metro to get to or from Downtown DC to Dulles Airport is the most cost-effective way to travel.
We also have a post that covers how to purchase tickets for the DC Metro.
OPENING HOURS of the Metro Station (the station opens 10 minutes before the first train)
- Monday - Thursday, 5:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
- Friday, 5:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. ·
- Saturday: 7:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
- Sunday: 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
NOTE: Sometimes, especially on weekends, there may be updated hours or closed lines due to scheduled maintenance. Be sure to check the WMATA website for a particular station status.
How much is a Metro ticket from Dulles to Downtown?
DC's Metro system charges based on what time of day and how long of a journey you'll have.
The most you will ever be charged is $6 per rider (travel during peak service for a long trip) - due to the distance of Dulles Station from downtown DC, it will almost always be $6 unless you're staying closer to the airport.
Metro Fares (as of March 2023)
|Weekday AM Peak Fare (5:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.)|
Weekday PM Peak Fare (3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.)
|$2.25 - $6|
|Weekend Flat Fare||$2|
|Late Night (after 930pm)||$2|
|Weekday Off-Peak Fare (9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.)|
$2.00 - $3.85
A few examples of how much it cost to get from Dulles to metro stations near popular hotels during off-peak hours.
How to pay for a Metro ticket at the Airport?
There are Metro fare cards available for purchase at the entrance of the station at the Airport.
You may purchase a SmartTrip Card (find out more about those) or top up an existing card.
You can also use contactless payment if your SmartTrip Card is loaded into Apple Wallet or Google Wallet
How to get to the Metro Station from the Airport?
The Dulles International Airport Metro Station is connected to the main terminal by an indoor pedestrian tunnel with moving walkways.
You can easily get to both ticketing and baggage claim levels and Parking Garage 1 via this underground walkway.