At central nervous system synapses, agonist binding to postsynaptic ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) results in signaling between neurons. N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors are a unique family of iGluRs that activate in response to the concurrent binding of glutamate and glycine. Here, we investigate the process of agonist binding to the GluN2A (glutamate binding) and GluN1 (glycine binding) NMDA receptor subtypes using long-timescale unbiased molecular dynamics simulations. We find that positively charged residues on the surface of the GluN2A ligand-binding domain (LBD) assist glutamate binding via a “guided-diffusion” mechanism, similar in fashion to glutamate binding to the GluA2 LBD of AMPA receptors. Glutamate can also bind in an inverted orientation. Glycine, on the other hand, binds to the GluN1 LBD via an “unguided-diffusion” mechanism, whereby glycine finds its binding site primarily by random thermal fluctuations. Free energy calculations quantify the glutamate- and glycine-binding processes.