Transportation in the DC Area


Washington, DC is a city of around 600,000 people, but there are over 5.3 million people (like Rithrandil and I), that live in the Maryland or Virginia suburbs of DC, as well as DC itself. As such, it feels more like a big city than Columbus does, for those of you that went to that meetup, even though Columbus itself is about the same size as DC.


Getting to Washington, DC -

Airports -

There are three airports that serve the area. If you are flying in, Reagan National Airport is your best bet (airport code DCA), since it is closest to the city, and there is a Metro line right at the airport that will take you to most places that you will want to go on this trip.I would check an airline aggregator like and check the box to give you nearby airports to get the best price if you want, and/or choose a direct flight. 


If your ticket is much cheaper to there, you could use Washington-Dulles airport (airport code IAD). This is actually the largest airport in the area. They just started building a Metro line out to there, so for now you would need to take a shuttle to the city, which will probably cost you about $60.


There is a third option. Again, if you find a plane ticket that is much cheaper to there, you could use Baltimore-Washington Airport instead. This airport is located in Maryland between Baltimore and DC, and you can take a quick Amtrak ride to get into the city. You would then take Metro to your hotel. 


Travel by car –

DC traffic has notoriously bad traffic. Sure, you can drive in DC, but I don’t do it unless I absolutely have to, and with Metro going to most of the sights you’ll want to see anyway, it isn’t really necessary. If you are driving here, I’d recommend planning on leaving the car at the hotel all weekend, but it’s up to you.


Travel by train –

Those of you that live in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and points in between those cities and DC, Amtrak may be a good option for you. You can get from NYC to DC in less than four hours, and it’s quite comfortable. I’ve taken that route a few times myself.