Washington Layover Guide (DCA)

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is an international airport located in Arlington, Virginia, located adjacent to the border of Washington, D.C. It is located 8 km (5 mi) from the center of Washington, D.C. It is the nearest and most convenient commercial airport to the capital. Washington, D.C. is known for being the seat of the United States government, culture, commerce, history, tourism and as the cultural center of the nation.

Can you leave Washington Airport (DCA) airport during a layover? Do you need a visa?
Many foreigners require a visa to enter Washington D.C. However, it's possible for certain travelers to have a visa waiver depending on nationality. (more info).

What are you looking for in DCA? Tours/To do | Relax/Sleep | Internet/SIM | Transport | Storage | Money

Tours, Things to do, Sightseeing

Organized Tours

Washington, DC: New International Spy Museum Ticket

This is one of the most unique public museums in the world. It provides a global perspective from the world of espionage. Intelligence has played a pivotal role throughout history which still continues today. The museum has the largest public display of international espionage artifacts. It is found only two blocks from the National Mall and The Wharf. Visitors are invited to step into spy shoes and test their espionage abilities through state-of-the-art interactive and immersive RFID technology. » book this tour

Washington, DC: Open Top Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

This tour allows you to explore America’s capital city at your own leisure pace on an open-top double-decker bus with the option of hopping on or off as many times as you want. The bus makes over 30 different stops including the city’s iconic landmarks such as the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery and the Pentagon. There are two routes, one of these takes you through the historic Georgetown. » book this tour

Washington DC: Capitol Building

Capitol Hill is one of the most historic and beautiful neighborhoods in Washington, DC. The tour begins at the most visited site in the whole city, Union Station. From there, you get to explore all of the monuments and memorials around Capitol Hill. Visit the Supreme Court, then walk inside the stunning architectural masterpiece, Library of Congress Jefferson Building. Feel the heart of the action in America’s great seat of power on this one-of-a-kind walking tour. » book this tour

Things to do / Sightseeing

The White House

Among the many purposes that The White House serves, it is where the President works and lives with his family. The House is also the symbol of the United States to the rest of the world. The President officially meets with leaders of foreign nations and hosts them at state dinners here. George Washington was the one who selected the site for the magnificent building, but President John Adams was the first to live in it. After being burned by the British during the War of 1812, it was reconstructed. Self-guided tours are available for visitors who plan ahead should they request a tour through their congressman’s office 21 days to six months before the time.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It takes an average of 10 minutes to get here by taxi or 30 minutes by using the subway.

Washington monument

This structure was built in the name of a powerful man, the Washington Monument being one of the top places to see in Washington DC, was built to honor the first-ever president of the country, George Washington whose name later also inspired the city’s name. This monument comes with so many stories with regards to history.

Time required: An hour or more.

Airport to here: it’s just a 5 minutes drive to get here by taxi or 30 minutes by shuttle..

Lincoln Memorial

Being one of the City’s many monuments, Lincoln Memorial is also among travelers’ favorites. History lovers might find interest in the man of few yet powerful words’ two famous speeches, the second inaugural, and the Gettysburg addresses, which are both inscribed into the memorial’s opposing walls. Aficionados of art history and architecture will enjoy admiring the building’s striking design by Henry Bacon, complete with 38 Doric columns, 36 of which signify the states in the Union at the time Lincoln passed away.

Time required: An hour or more.

Airport to here: it takes 10 minutes to get here by taxi or bus and by the recommended shuttle, 40 minutes..

National Air and Space Museum

As a part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Air and Space Museum offers plenty of hands-on activities for kids of all ages. The museum is a treasure trove about America’s air and space programs. Some of their Exhibits include the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Apollo 11 moon-landing expedition, and exhibits on how scientists are exploring space today. You don’t even need to be a kid to be amazed.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It takes almost 5 minutes to get here by taxi or 15 minutes using the subway.

Library of Congress

From humble beginnings,the Library of Congress is today the largest library in the world. It was founded in 1800 as a keep for early documents of the United States that were transferred from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. For the first 100 years, it was initially a reference library for Congress, but today is home to 158 million items that include 36 million books in 460 languages and 69 million manuscripts and has the largest collection of rare books in North America.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: It usually takes 10 minutes to get here by taxi or 25 minutes by bus.

The National Mall

While on tour in Washington D.C, you wouldn’t want to miss a quick stroll at the National Mall. The National Mall stretches on the west from the US Capitol building to the Potomac River and on the east from the Jefferson Memorial to Constitution Avenue.

Time required: 2 hours.

Airport to here: it usually takes 5 minutes to get here by taxi or 45 minutes by bus.

Jefferson Memorial

The Jefferson Memorial is a tribute to the US’ third president, Thomas Jefferson, and incorporates many of his thoughts on architecture. Its former style looks like the Pantheon in Rome. This design created controversy because some felt it looked too much like the Lincoln Memorial. This was settled by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who laid the cornerstone in 1939. It features a statue of Jefferson looking toward the White House and is intended to memorialize Jefferson’s views as a statesman and philosopher

Time required: An hour.

Airport to here: It usually takes almost 6 minutes to get here by taxi and 39 minutes by shuttle.

Relaxing and Sleeping

Airport Lounges and Relaxing
There are many lounges in each terminal. » view all lounges or buy a lounge pass or membership online

Hotel and Sleeping
There are many options for hotels, only a walking distance from the airport. » view all or book an airport hotel online

Rest Area and Sleeping in Airport
There are no designated rest areas.

WIFI/Internet and SIM Card

WIFI/Internet: Connect to the network, “FlyReagan” for free wifi.

SIM Card: There are several shops within the airport that sell SIM cards.

Transportation to/from airport

Taxi: Taxi stands are located outside of each airport terminal on the baggage claim level.

Train: The Washington, DC Metrorail system provides easy and affordable access to locations throughout Washington, Virginia, and Maryland. There are elevated Metrorail stations connected to the concourse level of Terminals B and C at Reagan National Airport. (more info).

Bus: Shuttle bus service operates 24 hours a day. There are pick up and drop-offs for all shuttles at Terminals B and C are now located on the ticketing level on the 3rd floor. (more info).

Shuttle: Authorized shuttle buses may pick up customers from different locations at the airport.

Car rentals: On-Airport rental car counters are located on the first floor of Terminal Garage A. If you are a rental car club member, proceed directly to the 2nd or 3rd floor of Garage A to pick up your keys. There are two ways to reach the pick-up location for rental cars from the airport. » view available cars or rent a car now online

Parking: There are convenient garage locations with easy, indoor connections to all terminals.

Luggage Storage & Lockers

There are no designated luggage storage and lockers.

Money Exchange and Withdrawal

- Washington Airport (DCA) ATMs, currency exchanges and banks
- Order your foreign currency ONLINE and PICK IT UP at the airport!