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DCA Metro Reagan Airport to and from Downtown DC

Updated: May 7, 2023

This post is about how to get to downtown Washington, DC from DCA - Reagan National Airport using the Metro, and how to get back.


Washington Reagan National Airport is the closest airport to the nation's capital for the convenience of tourists and locals.

DC travelers have a choice of airports (Baltimore-Washington and Dulles are also accessible by Metro but it is much longer) but DCA is the prime location for short travel to and from DC.

The biggest advantage of landing at DCA (Reagan National Airport) is that it is centrally located and on the Metro system's blue and yellow lines.

The station is located at 2401 Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Access Rd, Arlington, VA 22202, but is considered the local Washington DC airport.

You can take either line into DC but if you're headed downtown, the Yellow line is usually faster.

We have a guide on how to ride the Washington DC Metro, which includes tips on how to purchase a Metro Pass.

From Reagan National Airport station, it is only four stops on the Yellow Line to get to L'Enfant Plaza.

It is 12 stops to get to the same station on the Blue Line.

Tip: If your aim is to get to a station on the Blue Line that is past L'Enfant Plaza (such as Eastern Market or Stadium Armoury) it is faster to take a Yellow Line train from the airport to L'Enfant Plaza and then change to a Blue/Orange/Silver line.

However, if you're not in a rush and you have a lot of luggage- especially during rush hour- just get a Blue Line train.

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 Blue or Yellow 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 DCA to Downtown DC

Using the Metro to get to or from Downtown DC to the DCA Reagan National 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 DCA 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 person (travel during peak service for a long trip).

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 DCA to metro stations near popular hotels during off-peak hours.

If you're looking for a place to stay, be sure to read our post on where to stay in DC.

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 DCA Reagan National Airport station is very conveniently situated near the actual airport.

There is a pedestrian bridge to access the platform of the Metro station from either end of Terminal 2 at Gates B, C, D, or E.

These bridges lead you to the concourse level of Terminal 2.

How to get to Terminal 1 from the Metro?

If you're arriving or departing from Terminal 1 (Gates A), you can also get there via the Metro station but it is a bit further away.

These gates are usually for Air Canada, Southwest Airlines, and Frontier Airlines.

There is an Airport Shuttle Bus that connects Terminal 1 to the Metro if needed.

However, it is also possible to walk from Terminal 1 (A Gates) to get to the Metro. It is about a 10-15 minute walk.

Other Ways to Get To DC from DCA


There are a number of companies offering van service from Reagan National Airport to points in and around Washington, DC.

Most are shared services, so how long your journey will take will be dependent on the order of passenger destinations. Some offer direct service for an additional fee.

TIP: Some area hotels offer free shuttle service from the airport.

GO Airport Shuttle

GO Airport Shuttle offers 24/7 airport pick up and drop off with private cars and shared vans - you can even get a limousine!

With upfront pricing, you'll know how much your trip will be when you book. You can also request a car seat or a kennel.

Pros: Door-to-door service.  Good choice for those with luggage or who want direct service for a lower cost. Offers car seat or kennel if traveling with children and pets.

Cons: Can take a lot of time depending on traffic and how many others in the van get dropped off before you.

Super ShuttleSuper Shuttle Washington DC

Super Shuttle offers rides from airports around the world.

It’s difficult to say for sure what the fare will be, as it depends on where you are going to and how many people are at your party.

On their website, fares into the city start at $16 for the first passenger. To get a better idea, you can use their fare estimator.

They also offer a direct express service (1-3 people) for $46. This is a private vehicle for you and your family.

Pros: Door-to-door service.  Good choice for those with luggage or who want direct service for a lower cost. They also offer an AAA discount.

Cons: Can take a lot of time depending on traffic and how many others in the van get dropped off before you.

TIP: If you are alone, then you might consider Viator, which offers single-passenger tickets for Super Shuttle for as low as $17, but additional passengers have no discount unless purchased separately.

Due to COVID-19 this service has limited offerings.

TAXI TO AND FROM DCA (Reagan National Airport)

DCA is just across the river from Washington DC and just down the road from major hotel centers such as Crystal City or Pentagon City.

For this reason, Taxis and Ubers/Lyfts are relatively inexpensive options.

Rates depend on which cab you take (both local DC cabs and local Virginia cabs operate from DCA but have different rates), as well as exactly where you're going.

Some taxi companies charge an additional airport fee of around $3. There are also additional fees if baggage is handled by the driver.

Taxis operate out of official taxi stands at baggage claim. During busy times these lines can be excessively long.

There are no tricks to skipping the line but if you're traveling with someone else, send them out to get in line while you wait for your bags.

Pros: Fastest and most convenient.

Cons: One of the most expensive options (if you are traveling solo). Lines can be excessively long.

TIP: If you are traveling solo, ask other waiting taxi passengers to share a cab.

Looking for a ride? Download the Lyft App and use Promo Code DCBFRIDES for $5 OFF your first ride with Lyft.


Uber and Lyft are taxi alternatives that provide rides on demand through an app.

It’s cashless so the ride is automatically charged to the card on file in the app, which is convenient especially when you’re trying to wrangle luggage.

There are many options within the app, uberX is the basic option, but they also have uberXL if your group is large or you have many bags, and uberBLACK which has high-end luxury sedans.

Generally, Uber/Lyft works out cheaper than a taxi, uberX into the city is estimated to be between $15-$25 (you can check an estimate for your specific trip here).

For more information on Uber, you can see our post here.

Pros: Convenient app, different options to suit you

Cons: Not a good option at rush hour. UberX/Lyft Line means some drivers are not as familiar with the city as taxi cabs.

Looking for a ride? Download the Lyft App and use Promo Code DCBFRIDES for $10 OFF your first ride with Lyft.

CAR SERVICE TO AND FROM DCA (Reagan National Airport)

If you are looking for peace of mind that you will be picked up from the airport on time and taken to your destination in a timely manner, DCAcar car service is an excellent choice.

You can make the reservation ahead of time, and give the company your flight information so they know whether you’ll be early or late.

At DCA your driver will meet you at the baggage claim and help you with your luggage.

You can get a rate estimation and make a booking with this highly-rated car service company here.

Pros: Luxury personalized service

Cons: Costly - but DCByFoot guests get a 5% discount by using the promo code: dcbyfoot.


Most of the major car rental companies operate out of DCA Airport.

This is a great option if you are traveling with children in car seats, which can make using taxis or public transport challenging.

It also gives you the freedom to visit many sites around DC which are a little more difficult to reach by public transport, such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon or even a day trip to Gettysburg.

You can use to compare prices.

Pros: Gives you freedom for your trip, great if you have young children or are staying outside of the Metro area.

Cons: Navigation and parking can be difficult and expensive in downtown DC.

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About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Follow On Instagram | Canden is a historian & tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the producer of the podcast, Tour Guide Tell All. She is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city since 2011. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has traveled to over 28 countries and every US State but Hawaii. She homeschools her 2 children by exploring the plethora of museums in DC.
Updated: May 7th, 2023
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