How To Get From Raleigh Airport To Downtown

If you’re planning to fly to Raleigh, NC let me tell you how to get from Raleigh Airport to Downtown, with all transport options available.

Raleigh Airport is officially called Raleigh-Durham Airport, as it has a perfect location right between both cities. Considering that Raleigh is the second-largest city and one of the best places to visit in NC, the Raleigh-Durham (RDU) is quite a busy airport, with an average of 180 daily departures.

While you’re here, you may also want to find out what to do in Raleigh in 3 days. This Charlotte itinerary may also be useful, as well as how to get from Charlotte airport to Downtown.

About Raleigh-Durham Airport

Raleigh-Durham Airport has two terminals with a total of 45 gates. Terminal 1 is the small one, with only 9 gates and exclusively serves Southwest and Spirit Airlines. Terminal 2 is used by 14 other airlines, so if you’re not flying with Southwest or Spirit Airlines, you will be landing at Terminal 1.

There are several options of transportation from Raleigh Airport to downtown

Raleigh Airport Lounges

RDU Airport offers passengers all modern conveniences, including ATMs, restaurants and cafes. Raleigh Airport also has three lounges. However, they’re all located in the departures area in Terminal 2.

Raleigh Airport lounges are open for limited hours, unlike others in major airports which are open 24/7. Unfortunately, the lounges at RDU are not affiliated with LoungeKey or Priority Pass. If you’re traveling from Raleigh to RDU Airport and plan to use one of the lounges, these are the details you need to be aware of.

American Airlines Admirals Club

Location: Terminal 2, across from Gate C3
Daily from 4:30m to 8pm

Delta Air Lines Sky Club

Location: Terminal 2, across from Gate C3
Sunday-Friday: 4:30am to 7:45pm; Saturday: 4:30am to 7pm

United Club

Location: Terminal 2, across from Gates D1 & D
Daily: 5am to 7:30pm

How To Get From Raleigh Airport To Downtown

Raleigh city center is located around 15 miles from the airport. So traveling between RDU Airport and downtown Raleigh is fairly quick, depending on what kind of transportation you choose. There are several ways to get from Raleigh Airport to Downtown and the best type of transport will depend on your personal preferences and how long you have.

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The cheapest way to travel from Raleigh Airport to Downtown is by bus. There’s no rail service between Raleigh Airport and Downtown.

Raleigh Airport Shuttle (RDU Bus)

Getting from Raleigh Airport to Downtown by public transportation is not the most convenient way to make this journey. There is no direct bus from RDU to Downtown Raleigh. Despite being the cheapest way to travel from RDU to Raleigh, the bus journey is time-consuming and requires one transfer.

The GoTriangle bus departs from both Terminals 1 and 2. At Terminal 1, it departs from between zones 2 and 3. At Terminal 2, the GoTriangle bus leaves from between zones 6 and 7.

The bus will not take you directly into Raleigh Downtown. You’ll take the RDU Connect bus, headed to the GoTriangle Service Center. There, you’ll take Route 100 to Downtown Raleigh. The whole journey from Raleigh Airport to Downtown will take around one hour, depending on traffic.

RDU Bus Schedule

The RDU bus departs every 30 minutes from 6:38am (from Terminal 1) to 6:08pm from Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, the RDU bus schedule is from 7:38am (from Terminal 1) to 6:08pm. The RDU shuttle bus does not run on Sundays.

The journey to the GoTriangle Regional Transit Center takes only 12 minutes. There, you will take the bus route 100 to Downtown Raleigh. There, you must take another bus (Route 100) to Downtown Raleigh. You can check the schedule for bus 100 here. The bus stops at Hillsborough St at Gardner St and terminates at GoRaleigh Station.

A ticket from GoTriangle Transit Center to Downtown Raleigh on Route 100 costs $2.25.

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RDU Taxi To Downtown Raleigh

Taxis from Raleigh Airport to Downtown depart from the taxi ranks in both terminals. There’s no need to book it.

The RDU Taxi dispatch is located outside zone 4 at Terminal 1, and outside zone 5 at Terminal 2.

For any taxi queries, you may call (919) 333-3333.

Private Transfers From Raleigh Airport To Downtown

The fastest and most convenient way to get from Raleigh Airport to Downtown is by booking a private car transfer. You can book your RDU transfer to Raleigh through your hotel, which will charge an extra fee, or do it online.

The main benefit of booking a private transfer from RDU Airport to Raleigh is that you don’t have to worry about anything. You just book it in advance and, when you go through the arrivals gate, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall with a sign with your name on it. That also makes it the fastest way from  RDU to Downtown Raleigh.

You can book your private transfer here and, if necessary, cancel it up to 24 hours before arrival.

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Uber From RDU Airport To Raleigh

Uber is available in Raleigh and you can also call a car after you’ve landed. It costs around $35 pretty much the same as the taxi and you can book it on your phone using your Uber app.

You must go to the pick-up point, located in the Arrivals/Baggage Claim level, next to the taxi stop.

Accommodation in Raleigh

The best place to stay in Raleigh NC is in the Downtown area. There are several good hotels downtown, close to the main tourist attractions, restaurants, and the business district.

The StarView Hotel: Part of the Autograph Collection, you will also collect Marriott Bonvoy points by staying here. The hotel has an outdoor pool, free parking, ATM, and a restaurant and breakfast is included in most rates. The hotel is rated 8.9/10 by guests and 9.3 by location.

See rates and availability here.

DoubleTree by Hilton Raleigh Midtown: Located a short drive from downtown Raleigh, the hotel has an outdoor pool with a hot tub, a restaurant, and a fitness center. Highwoods Business Park is nearby. The hotel is rated 8.2/10 by guests.

See rates and availability here.

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