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How To Get From Washington Dulles International Airport to Washington, D.C. [2024]

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James Larounis
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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...
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Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is approximately 30 miles from downtown Washington, D.C. The airport has seen major expansions to transit into the city in recent years, and it’s become dramatically more accessible to travelers across the D.C. region.

Dulles is home to most of the international flights in the region. Its sister airport (also operated by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, or MWAA) is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), and while much closer to D.C., only offers domestic flights, many of which are shorter because of perimeter restrictions.

Washington, D.C., Airports

There are 3 airports in the Washington, D.C., region, and each serves different airlines:

  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is the primary international airport for the region, and you can find a variety of major international carriers here. It’s a hub airport for United and also features the longest runway in the D.C. area. It’s in Loudon and Fairfax counties in Virginia.
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is right next to Washington, D.C., in Arlington County, Virginia, and is the closest airport to the city. It’s home to American and offers primarily domestic flights, with a few flights to Canada as well.
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is just outside Baltimore, Maryland, but is still considered a D.C.-area airport. Southwest has a major hub here. It’s often the cheapest of the 3 airports to fly into or out of D.C.

Overview of Cost Estimates

Transit MethodCost Estimate
MetroDepends on the end destination and time of day, but usually about $6
Ride-ShareFrom $55
TaxiFrom $60
Hired CarFrom $175


Dulles Airport Metro Station Fare Gates
The Dulles Airport metro station is located a short walk underground from the main terminal. Image Credit: James Larounis

Until last year, Dulles Airport was almost completely inaccessible via the Washington Metro, the city’s rail system. In order to get to the city, you had to first take a bus (which required a separate fee) to a Metro station about 15 to 20 minutes away and then catch a train from there. It was a highly inconvenient experience, especially with luggage.

In 2023, Metro extended the Silver Line all the way to and past Dulles Airport, meaning you can now take the Metro from Dulles all the way to D.C. Fares cost about $6 or so, but the Metro employs a variable fare system that charges you a different amount depending on where you’re traveling to.

To access the Metro in Dulles, go to the baggage claim level and follow the signs. Go down and walk on an underground walkway (essentially walking under the daily parking lot in front of the terminal building) and then come out the other side, where the Metro station is. It’s about a 10-minute walk, and there are moving sidewalks to help speed up the process.

The train takes approximately an hour to reach D.C., so it’s certainly not a fast ride, but you avoid having to sit in traffic. The Silver Line serves many downtown stations, including Foggy Bottom/GWU, Farragut West, McPherson Square, Metro Center, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza. You can easily transfer to other lines as well.

Hot Tip:

Only the Silver Line serves Washington Dulles, though fortunately, this line also continues into Washington, D.C., without needing to transfer. You won’t need to connect if you’re headed downtown.


Washington Dulles Airport exclusively uses Washington Flyer taxis, and you can find these at the airport 24/7. After you’ve claimed your bags, proceed out of door 6 or door 2 and find the taxi stand.

Because of the distance from Dulles to Washington, D.C., you can expect to pay around $60 to $70 for the one-way trip, exclusive of tip. We only recommend traveling by taxi for those expensing the charge or those traveling with multiple people to split the fare.

The good thing about using a taxi is that traffic can be light for part of the way. The Dulles Toll Road is exclusive and free for all cars coming from Dulles to I-495, the highway that surrounds Washington, D.C. This means that you’re unlikely to hit any traffic on this stretch, though you may encounter some traffic on I-66, depending on the time of day.

Hot Tip:

Taxis are metered, so once you get past I-495 on the Dulles Toll Road, you could be paying more to sit in traffic, which could be extensive during rush hour. Keep this in mind when calling a taxi.


Both Uber and Lyft serve Dulles Airport, and you can find these services on the pickup level of the airport, up the ramp from baggage claim. Simply use the appropriate app to call the ride to the appropriate pickup point and wait outside until the vehicle arrives.

Ride-share services to Washington, D.C., typically start at around $55, though it depends on the type of vehicle that you call. In the end, it’s usually cheaper than using a taxi, though there is a significant downside. Ride-share drivers serving Dulles are notorious for calling would-be passengers to ask where they’re going and then canceling if the driver feels they wouldn’t be going far enough for a good fare. Consider this if you’re taking ride-share, since it may take a few attempts to find a driver willing to go where you want.

Hired Car

If you’re on a fixed schedule and want to ensure a vehicle is waiting for you as soon as you arrive, you may want to consider a hired car, though this is the most expensive option.

Here are some sample prices from Dulles to Washington, D.C.:

  • Luxury sedan for $175
  • Luxury SUV for $200
  • Premium sedan for $225
  • Sprinter van for $385
  • Small bus for $1,100
  • Large coach bus for $1,800

Hired cars or vans are best with multiple people, as you can split the cost, or when you’re on a fixed schedule where you need to ensure a vehicle is waiting for you as soon as you walk out of the terminal.

Final Thoughts

While Washington Dulles is farther from Washington, D.C., than its sister airport, Reagan National, there are still several options to get downtown. If you don’t have much luggage and want a predictable ride, take the Metro. If you’ve got room in your budget or have heavier bags, consider taking Uber or a taxi, though you should be sure to account for traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Uber pick up at Dulles Airport?

Uber, Lyft, and Alto are authorized to pick up at Dulles Airport. Simply proceed upstairs after exiting baggage claim and tell the driver which door or sign you’re at for a quick pickup.

How much is an Uber from Dulles to D.C.?

An Uber from Dulles Airport to downtown Washington, D.C., costs roughly $55, though there may be peak demand, which increases the fare.

How much does a taxi cost from Dulles to Washington, D.C.?

A taxi from Dulles Airport to Washington, D.C., can start at roughly $60, though rides often exceeds $80, depending on distance and traffic conditions.

Is there a train at Dulles Airport?

Washington Dulles Airport is served by the Metro Silver Line, which starts in Loudoun County, Virginia, passes through the airport, and then continues to Washington, D.C., without you needing to transfer lines.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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