Where to Stay in Washington, DC
From the historic charm of Alexandria, to the bustling bar scene at Clarendon. Washington, DC offers up a variety of experiences for all types of travelers who are debating where to stay in Washington, DC. Whether it is finding where to stay in Washington, DC for attractions, sightseeing, or nabbing the right hotel on a budget this article will make it easy to find the right location in the nation’s Capitol.
Q: Where to Stay When Visiting Washington, DC? On the Metro.
It is important to know that DC has an outstanding public transportation system that offloads the hassles of driving around what is notoriously one of the most congested cities in the U.S. Getting around DC can often be made a lot easier by considering what areas have a Metro station and a hotel within walking distance of the station. The Metro opens the doors to many of the urban hubs that surround DC and makes getting in and out of the city a breeze. See the DC hotel map for more. Here are tips for identifying where to stay in DC.
Where to Stay in DC on a Budget
Debating where to stay in Washington, DC on a budget comes down to two factors. First, are you visiting during the week or weekend? Travelers will find the average hotel price drops by $50 to $75 on Friday and Saturday nights. Coming on the weekend saves. Weekday travelers must debate offsetting the hotel costs by commuting into the city on the Metro. Consider this, the last station on the Red line, Shady Grove will take you an hour to commute to the Smithsonian metro station on the National Mall and round trip fares average $8. That is about the worst possible commute into the city. The further out you stay often the cheaper, but weekend travelers and those who don’t want to spend an hour or more per day commuting will have to contemplate the convenience to cost. Don’t forget hotels often charge for parking near the city, so factor this in as well. Some of the most consistently affordable hotels are near the Shady Grove, Branch Ave, Largo Town Center, and East Falls Church Metro stations. One of the best hotels for value to cost is the Holiday Inn at Rosslyn. Read more about cheap places to stay near Washington, DC. One of the cheapest hotels is the Americana, picture to above to he left.
Where to Stay in Washington, DC for Sightseeing
Where to stay when visiting Washington, DC near attractions like the Smithsonian museums is pretty straight forward. The hotel with the best access to the National Mall and museums is Capitol Holiday Inn just 3 blocks from the National Mall. The backside to location is that there are not many restaurants, or night life attractions. Families might appreciate this. If having nightlife options is a priority look at hotels near the Gallery / Chinatown metro station, or hotels near Metro Center. These hotels are within walking distance to the National Portrait Gallery and Spy Museum, not to mention close by to a litany of restaurants and bars. It is going to be possible to walk to the Mall in about 15 to 20 minutes from these locations. Walking to the White House will take a little less than 15 minutes.
Where to Stay for Experiencing DC’s Urban Neighborhoods
The area between downtown DC and the National Zoo on the Red line are home to DC’s affluent historic neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are populated with embassies and large residential brownstone homes. Dupont Circle will charm and entertain most travelers. Staying near Adam’s Morgan will provide a look a variety of socio economic neighborhoods. Adam’s Morgan is a popular place for young 20 year olds to party, but it’s also home to the National Zoo. Even though U Street doesn’t have many hotels travelers who appreciate ethnic cuisine and live music will want to check out this location. As you drift east past the Mt. Vernon Sq. Metro station and north of Union Station the neighborhoods begin showing signs of harder times. Some travelers have no problems in these locations others feel unfordable. The neighborhoods near the NoMa station and Nationals Ballpark are going through transitions.
Places to Stay in DC with Good Bike Trail Access
If you love to bike DC loves you. There are over 75 miles of trail spanning in all directions and bikers often don’t have to navigation busy roads to enjoy the miles and miles of bike trails. Bikers who are comfortable riding between 10 to 15 miles per day can experience riding from their hotel to the National Mall. Stay in Bethesda and commute in via the Capital Cresent trail, or through Rock Creek Park. Stay in Ballston and take the Custis trail. Or, stay in Alexandria and ride in via the Mt. Vernon trail, along the way you’ll pass the Reagan National and be able to stand under the planes landing. Alternatively, go the other way down the Mt. Vernon trail and end up at George Washington’s house.
Where to Stay in DC for Families with Kids
Parents typically prioritize a safe neighborhood, a hotel with a pool, and suite rooms when researching where to stay in Washington, DC with kids. The Capitol Holiday Inn 3 blocks from the National mall has a rooftop pool, and is often well spoken of by families. Embassy Suites has three locations near the Metro. One in Pentagon City, another in Alexandria near the Kind Street Metro and the other in Friendship Heights located in the affluent Chevy Chase neighborhood. Read more about the best places to stay in Washington, DC with families.
Best Places to Stay in DC for Nightlife
Couples or groups passing emails about where to stay in DC will likely demand a mix of nightlife options and accessibility to tourist spots. There are bars between Dupont Circle and downtown, this area carters to gays and lesbians. Hotels near Chinatown which is in the heart of downtown DC near the Version Center will offer up plenty of bars. Clarendon is well suited for 20 somethings, and Adam’s Morgan is a rowdy area with a lot of bars.
Best Places to Stay in DC for Shopping
Tysons Corner is home to two massive malls, but is suburban and congested. Alexandria has a better mix of main street and high end chain stores. The same goes for Georgetown, but the metro doesn’t connect with Georgetown. DC cupcake is in Georgetown.
Where Not to Stay / Unsafe Area in Washington, DC
Places to Stay in Virginia near Washington, DC
When thinking about where to stay in Virginia near Washington, DC it is helpful to break VA down into seven categories.
- Arlington along the Orange Line – Yuppie, affluent young professionals, lots of restaurants and bars, more chains toward Ballston, more unique options in Clarendon. Access to Smithsonian and downtown within 20 minutes, will be crowded on the Metro during rush hour.
- Tysons Corner – Shopping mecca, congested traffic, but easy access to I-495 and I-66. 40 minute ride into tourist hubs. If shopping in a giant mall is a priority stay here. There is a popular affordable hotel at he Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons.
- DCA Airport / Pentagon / Crystal City – Less attractive than Ballston and Clarendon, but the same appeal in terms of chain restaurants and young professionals, quick access to downtown via the yellow line, probably idea of business travelers, less attractive to tourist.
- Alexandria – Entirely different feel from the rest of DC. Main street small businesses, lots of shops and restaurants, historic, charming and easy access of I-495, or Mt. Vernon. Best for middle age couples who want options for nightlife without 20 some feel. Some people opt for staying near the Eisenhower station to save on hotels.
- I-66 along Orange Line – Typical suburbia, good hotel deals, often a short drive to the Metro accept for the Courtyard year the Dunn Loring station. The East Falls Church Ecnono Lodge is another popular alternative for an affordable hotel.
- Dulles Airport – 45 minute plus commute into the city, no hotels yet within walking distance to metro that have a shuttle to the Dulles airport. Reston is the closest Metro station and offers a shuttle from the airport, and to the Reston Metro station.
- I-95 Suburbs – Best for budget minded travelers who are only spending time at the hotel to sleep. Check out Franconia for affordable hotels.
Places to Stay in Maryland Near Washington, DC
When thinking about where to stay in Maryland near Washington, DC it is helpful to break MD down into seven categories.
- Bethesda – Great restaurants, cute downtown with shopping, a mix of families and young professionals.
- Silver Spring – A good runner up to Bethesda, less strong on restaurant, but vibrant downtown, and family oriented.
- University of Maryland – budget minded hotels, suburbia. Greenbelt or College Park.
- East of DC I-495 – budget minded hotels, suburbia, Branch Ave, Largo Town Center, New Carrollton
- Suburbs along I-270 – budget minded hotels, suburbia, Shady Grove.