A Local’s Guide to Hotels Near National Mall

hotels near national mall in washington dc

Expert Tip – Align on a Neighborhood First

There are hundreds of hotels near and around the National Mall in Washington, DC. As long time DC residents we suggest considering what is most important to you and aligning on a neighborhood before selecting a hotel.

If savings is most important than looking into using the Metro to commute a short distance to the National Mall makes sense. Another important aspect is parking, there are no hotels within walking distance to the National Mall that offer free parking, and there are no hotels in downtown Washington, DC that offer free parking. Here is a map of hotels in Washington, DC that offer free parking. Thus, if you want to walk to the National Mall from your hotel anticipate a daily parking fee of about $30 or more.

If being able to walk to the National Mall and having immediate access to restaurants, bars and nightlife is important than staying downtown in Chinatown is best. If access to nightlife is not a priority than hotels south of the National Mall offer the shortest walking distances to the Museums and are in quiet neighborhoods.

One important factor to keep in mind is that weekend rates at most hotels drop by $50 to $75. This is a result of business travelers leaving the area. In summary, if you’re visiting DC on the weekend anticipate being able to explore more options due to lower hotel rates.

Staying in Downtown DC & Walking to National Mall

Neighborhoods like Chinatown, McPherson Square, Farragut and Foggy Bottom are only a few blocks away from the National Mall. All these areas are considered to be downtown DC. Travelers who want the best access to restaurants and nightlife will want to consider staying near the Gallery Place Metro station, aka Chinatown. This is the pulse of downtown DC. Anticipate spending 15 minutes to walk to the National Mall from downtown DC. The main downside are the prices of the hotels, as they are more expensive than other hotel options. Another downside is that there are no hotels with free parking.

Hotels Within Walking Distance to the National Mall

For travelers who want to prioritize being within a short walk to the National Mall, you’ll be happy to know there are a good number of options. These are hotels are in the area south of the National Mall. The nearby Metro stations are L’Enfant, Federal Center, and Capitol South. The L’Enfant and Federal Center neighborhoods won’t appeal to travelers who want access to bars and restaurants as this area is primarily made up of government buildings.

Families will strongly appreciate hotels south of the National Mall because it is home to the Capitol Holiday Inn, Hyatt House and Residence Inn. All of these hotel choices are excellent for families. The Capitol Inn also has a rooftop pool.

Cheap Hotels Near the National Mall, by Commuting on the Metro

One of the best ways to find cheap hotels near the National Mall is to utilize the Metro and commute to the Smithsonian Metro station on the National Mall. By staying outside of Washington, DC you can find more affordable hotel options in addition to hotels that offer free parking.

A Metro ride from Arlington, or Alexandria locations is only 20 minutes to the Smithsonian station. Travelers coming to DC will want to prioritize the neighborhoods of Ballston, Clarendon and Rosslyn because they are situated along the orange line which is home to the Smithsonian station. Staying along the orange line even further outside of Washington, DC can save on additional money.

Commuting to the National Mall from Arlington, VA

Arlington is just across the Potomac river from the National Mall. Arlington can be divided up into two areas. Those areas are Crystal City near DCA airport and the neighborhoods of Ballston, Clarendon and Rosslyn along the orange line. Expect to find a wider variety of price points for hotels in these areas in addition to a few hotels that offer free parking. A commute from these locations to the National Mall will take between approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Commuting to the National Mall from Alexandria, VA

Alexandria, or Old Town, has three metro stations: Braddock, King Street and Eisenhower. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the National Mall from these Metro stations. You’ll find that Braddock and Eisenhower areas often have cheaper rates over King Street station. In addition staying near the Braddock station places you close to the Potomac river front, and closer to the primary shopping and restaurant areas in Alexandria.

As for the other two Metro stations, King Street is suited toward business travelers and several blocks away from the shops and restaurants in Alexandria. Eisenhower often has the cheapest rates, but it is on the edge of Old Town. Within itself Alexandria has a lot to offer, so checking out the National Mall during the day and returning to Alexandria during the evenings is worth considering.

Hotels near the Tidal Basin

The Tidal Basin is a body of water between the Jefferson Memorial and the National Mall. This park is the focal point for DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival held every year. Travelers who wish to be close to the Tidal Basin should look into staying in L’Enfant Plaza and Federal Center areas, as they are the closest and most convenient locations.