One of New York City’s advantages is that it’s not far from other major U.S. cities, so taking a day trip from NYC to Washington, D.C. is easier than you think.
Visiting the nation’s capital is one of the best day trips from New York City, so if you have time during your trip to the Big Apple, I highly recommend adding Washington, D.C. to your itinerary. There are different ways to travel between the two cities, and you can even take a Washington, D.C. tour from NYC.
I spent about five years living in Philadelphia, so I’ve had the pleasure of visiting both New York and Washington many, many times, and I can tell you that they both have a unique atmosphere. Washington, D.C. is one of the most historical cities in the country with lots of attractions and sights, so it’s an awesome place to visit. Even if you’re short on time, a Washington, D.C. day trip from New York City will give you enough time to see the highlights.
Guide to the best day trip from NYC to Washington, DC
Taking a day trip to Washington, D.C. from New York City is possible, but it takes some planning. In this guide, I’ll share all the information you need to organize your itinerary, including transportation and things to do during your trip.
- How far is Washington, D.C. from New York City?
- How to get to Washington, D.C. from New York
- Best tours to Washington, D.C. from New York
- Things to do in Washington, DC
How far is Washington, DC from New York City?
The distance between Washington, D.C. and NYC is 229 miles, give or take.
You can take public transportation or a day tour, but if you want to drive, you may be wondering how long the drive from NYC to D.C. is. It depends on traffic conditions, but it typically takes around 4 – 4.5 hours.
How to get to Washington, D.C. from New York
The most important thing to consider before your trip is how you’ll get from Manhattan to Washington, D.C. Fortunately, there are several ways to travel between these two cities, so keep reading to see all the buses and trains from NYC to Washington, D.C. I’ll also tell you how to drive from NYC to Washington, D.C.
Bus from NYC to Washington, DC
Taking a luxury bus from NYC to D.C. is a great option if you don’t want to worry about driving and parking in the city. In addition, there are several companies offering buses from NYC to Washington, D.C. every day, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a ticket.
First, Ourbus is a reputable company known for its comfortable buses with onboard charging ports, free Wi-Fi, water, and reclining seats. The ride takes about four hours, departing from 12th Avenue and W. 30th Street in Manhattan and arriving at the Stadium-Armory Station in D.C. Keep in mind that you must buy separate one-way tickets for your outbound and inbound trips, and they cost about $31 each.
|You can save $11 on Ourbus and other bus tickets to D.C. from NYC by booking through Omio and using our discount code.|
FlixBus is another bus company that operates buses out of Manhattan. Buses from NYC to Washington, D.C. depart from 8th Avenue and W. 31st Street and can drop you off at 6th Street and New York Avenue in Washington. The ride takes about 4.5 hours and costs about $28 one-way, although you can save $11 by using our discount code on Omio.
Another well-known bus operator is Megabus, which runs multiple buses per day, as well as night buses. Tickets cost about $60 round-trip, although the price goes up the closer you get to your departure date. Taking Megabus from NYC to Washington, D.C. takes about 4.5 hours, departing from 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues in Manhattan and arriving at Washington’s Union Station.
Most people are familiar with Greyhound, which operates nationwide and offers comfortable rides with extra legroom, individual charging ports, and free Wi-Fi. However, these buses make additional stops during the trip, so the ride takes 5-6 hours. It costs $81 round-trip from New York to Washington, D.C., departing from NY’s Port Authority and arriving at Union Station.
Finally, Peter Pan’s round-trip bus tickets from NYC to Washington, D.C. cost $76. The buses travel from New York’s Port Authority to Union Station, but usually make a stop in Baltimore, Maryland, so the trip takes 4.5 to 5.5 hours.
Train from NYC to Washington, DC
While a bus is one of the cheapest ways to go, you can also take a day trip from New York to Washington D.C. by train.
Amtrak’s Northeast Regional rail service is the best way to travel from New York to Washington, D.C., and other major nearby cities. These trains are dependable, comfortable, and quick, getting you to Washington in 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
The trains depart from NY’s Penn Station and arrive at Union Station in D.C. An NYC to D.C. Amtrak ticket costs about $100, round-trip, and you can save $11 by using our discount code on Omio.
An even faster option is Amtrak’s Acela express train from NYC to Washington, D.C. It also departs from Penn Station but takes about three hours to get to Union Station. Round-trip tickets cost around $196, so if you want to take the Acela, I recommend using our Omio discount code.
Driving from NYC to Washington, DC
Of course, public transportation isn’t the only way to travel. Driving from NYC to Washington, D.C. takes about 4 to 4.5 hours and allows you to make as many stops as you want along the way. So, if you want to extend your trip or add another city to your itinerary, this is the way to go.
You can rent a car in New York City, then make the drive along I-95 South:
- Take Hudson Street to the New Jersey Turnpike/I-78 W.
- Merge onto I-95 S/NJ Turnpike S and follow it to US-50 W.
- Take the US-50 W exit and continue on New York Ave NE.
Once you arrive in Washington, your best bet is to park at one of the parking garages. Colonial Parking and Laz Parking have dozens of garages around the city, with daily rates ranging from about $10-$30.
Best tours to Washington, D.C. from New York
Before you decide on how to go to Washington, D.C. from New York, consider taking an organized tour. Not only will you get to see the most famous attractions in D.C., but you won’t have to worry about setting up your transportation or itinerary.
The best 1-day tour to Washington, D.C. from New York
If you have just one day to tour Washington, D.C. from New York, I recommend this excursion. This full-day tour departs from Broadway in Manhattan and drops you off right in the nation’s capital. You’ll see the most iconic landmarks like the U.S. Congress building, the Capitol, and the White House.
Capture beautiful photos of historical monuments like the Vietnam War Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, then visit one of the best museums in the city, the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.
Best of all, this day tour includes a live tour guide who will lead you through the city and point out hidden gems you might have otherwise missed. Then, you’ll board the luxury bus/coach and return to Manhattan.
The best 2-day tour from New York to Washington, D.C.
If you’re able to extend your trip by another day, you can take a 2-day tour to Washington, D.C. from New York. I recommend this tour, which goes to D.C. as well as Philadelphia.
Your first day includes a visit to the City of Brotherly Love, where you’ll visit Independence National Historic Park, Elfreth’s Alley, and other famous attractions in Philadelphia. Then, you’ll take a short trip to Amish Country in Lancaster, PA, where you’ll enjoy a traditional buggy ride and learn about the Amish way of life.
Day two of this New York to Washington day trip includes a stop at the Jefferson Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Capitol Hill, and several historic memorials. You’ll also visit one of the most popular Smithsonian Museums before heading back to Manhattan.
Must-see attractions during your day trip to Washington D.C.
If you opt to take public transportation or drive from NYC to Washington, D.C., here are some tips to help you make the most of your day in the city. Also, we have a complete guide with the best things to do in Washington, D.C., so check it out for more ideas.
Since most trains and buses disembark at Washington’s Union Station, it’s a good idea to start your day there. From the station, it’s about a 15-minute walk to the U.S. Capitol building, one of the most historic places in the country. You can even take a free guided tour if you’re interested in learning more about this U.S. landmark.
Behind the Capitol building, you’ll find the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. Then, make your way west along the National Mall, where most of the city’s top attractions are located. For example, the Smithsonian Museums are especially popular, so I recommend visiting one during your trip. The National Air and Space Museum, National Gallery of Art, and National Museum of Natural History are three of the best.
Next, you’ll see the famous Washington Monument, a 555-foot-tall obelisk. You can go up to the viewpoint or admire the monument’s reflection in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Also, to the right of the Washington Monument, you’ll see the White House, while the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial are to the left. The latter is especially pretty in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
It’s also worth paying your respects at the Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, and other war memorials on the National Mall. As you reach the Potomac River, you’ll see the imposing Lincoln Memorial. If you have time, cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge, and visit Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for over 300,000 people, including U.S. soldiers and former presidents.
FAQs – Day trip from NYC to Washington, DC
Here are the most commonly asked questions about taking a New York to Washington day trip.
If you’re concerned about price, the best way to travel from New York to Washington, D.C. is by bus. That said, the train is the fastest way to go and driving from NYC to Washington, D.C. offers more flexibility.
The distance between Washington, D.C. and NYC is 229 miles.
Yes, and the easiest way to drive from NYC to Washington, D.C. is via I-95 S.
The NYC to D.C. drive time is 4 – 4.5 hours, but it could take longer depending on traffic.
Bus tickets from NYC to D.C. cost around $56 to $81 depending on the company and your trip dates.
Train tickets from NYC to D.C. cost around $100 to $200 depending on whether you take Amtrak’s Northeast Regional rail or the express Acela train.
During your trip from Manhattan to Washington, D.C., you’ll have the opportunity to see some interesting attractions and landmarks, such as:
- Amish Country
- Longwood Gardens
- New Hope, PA
- Valley Forge
- Baltimore, MD
With that, you have everything you need to plan your ultimate day trip from NYC to Washington, D.C.! Of course, if you have any questions about driving, taking public transportation, or booking a Washington, D.C. tour from NYC, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment. I’ll be happy to help. Until then, have a wonderful trip!