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Access and Directions

Getting to NIH and the Clinical Center

See Directions to the Clinical Center (en español) for driving directions from the nearby airports and for using the public transportation system at the nearby airports.

View Map

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Vehicle Access

Daily 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Special Campus Entrance for Patients and Patient Visitors

Use West Drive Patient Entrance (en español) at the intersection of West Cedar Lane and West Drive, directly north of the main entrance of the Clinical Center. The facility is designed to ease and speed NIH access for patients by providing one-stop security screening. (Please bring a photo ID if you are 16 or older). See NIH Campus Access for Clinical Center Patients Arriving by Vehicle for additional information.

This gate is for entry only (except in emergencies). To leave NIH, follow signs to other exits.

When the Patient Entrance is Closed

Daily 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

When the patient entrance is closed, enter through the the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) on Route 355 (Rockville Pike) between North Drive and Wilson Drive. Once you go through the vehicle inspection, follow the driveway until you reach Center Drive and make a right turn. Continue on Center Drive and follow signs to "Patient Parking" and "Clinical Center". The main entrance to the hospital will be to your left on Center Drive.

Campus Traffic Updates

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Pedestrian Access

Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Use the NIH Gateway Center.
Location: Rockville Pike (Route 355) and South Drive

Monday-Friday 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.; weekends and holidays
Use the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF). Once cleared through security, a shuttle will take you to your destination on campus. Location: Rockville Pike (Route 355) between North Dr. and Wilson Dr.

If arriving from METRO Monday-Friday 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.; weekends and holidays
At the top of escalator, turn right and proceed towards "Bus Stop" area. To walk to the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF) Entrance, follow the blue directional signs marked "CVIF" or to access a shuttle, use your personal cell phone to call 301-496-3316 and request a shuttle pick-up at Metro. A shuttle marked "Children's Inn/ Family Lodge" will arrive and take you directly to the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Facility (CVIF). Once cleared through security, the shuttle will take you to your destination on campus.

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Security Note for Visitors and Patients

Please be aware that Federal law prohibits the following items on Federal property: firearms, explosives, archery equipment, dangerous weapons, knives with blades over 2 1/2 inches, alcoholic beverages and open containers of alcohol.

Possession of Marijuana (Cannabis) is prohibited in National Institutes of Health (NIH) campuses, facilities and its grounds. Persons are not allowed to bring medical or recreational marijuana onto the NIH campuses, facilities and grounds, even if they are enrolled in a state-approved medical marijuana program or have a prescription for medical marijuana use. State laws governing the use of marijuana do not apply at the NIH. Marijuana (Cannabis) is an illegal, Schedule I controlled substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801(c)(c)(10).

Security Notices

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Getting Around the Hospital


Hospitality desks are located throughout the hospital, including at the main entrance and in the lobby adjacent to the Patient Parking garage. Staff can answer your questions and provide directions.

The Clinical Center's  free app for smartphone devices called NIHCC Take Me There is available to download from the Apple Store or Google Play. It enables users to pinpoint their current location and view directions to nearly anywhere inside the building. There is also a web version,, which allows users to view directions online and share with others via email or print.

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Patient Services

Many of the resources patients need have relocated to the first floor of the new hospital. Near the Central Elevators you'll find Admissions and Patient Travel. The Cashier and Voucher offices are located in the in the lobby at the main entrance to the hospital. Luggage can be stored in lockers located in the Transportation/Waiting Area at the main entrance. Social Work is on the second floor. Outpatient clinics remain in their current locations.

The hospital's two cafeterias (B1 and 2nd floor) remain in the Magnuson Center. A coffee bar in the new hospital's first floor atrium is open weekdays, 7 am – 5 pm.

More information on Patient Services

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Shuttle Service and Public Transportation

NIH operates free shuttles to and from BWI, Dulles, and Reagan National Airports from Sunday to Friday, and on the following Federal holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Columbus Day, and Veteran's Day. NIH also operates free shuttles to and from several area hotels, the Children's Inn, and the Family Lodge. The shuttles leave from the main entrance of the NIH Hatfield Center. For shuttle routes and schedules visit A Metro stop is located on the NIH campus at the Rockville Pike and South Drive intersection. Shuttle service is available to the Metro location.

Shuttle schedules are online.

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For More Information

If you have questions before your upcoming visit, please call Admissions, 301-496-3141.

Visitors who are not patients should be aware of our visitor approval process.

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This page last updated on 05/25/2022

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