Where to Stay in Washington DC: Best Areas and Hotels
If you’re wondering where to stay in Washington DC, or where is the best area to stay in Washington DC, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will give an insight into the best places to stay in Washington DC for first-time visitors, couples, families, backpackers, all budget travelers; read on as I show you the best of Washington DC.
Welcome to my insider guide choosing the best places to stay in Washington DC. This city is the capital of the USA and its political center. But there is so much to see and do that you are sure to have a fascinating and memorable stay here.
Washington is a large city, though, and what I’m going to do here is to describe the very best parts of the city so that you can decide which area best suits your needs and those of your fellow travelers.
Where to Stay in Washington DC: Tips & Info
Washington is one of the most rewarding tourist centers in the whole of the USA, with literally hundreds of fascinating things to see and do. By American standards, Washington is a relatively compact city of just under a million people. This is good news for visitors because it means that whatever part of town you choose to stay in, you are not too far away from the major sights and attractions. Having said that, the majority of the galleries, museums, and historic buildings of the city are located in an area of downtown called National Mall.
If you’re only in Washington for a short time, then it’s a good idea to stay somewhere Downtown or in nearby suburbs like Capitol Hill or pretty waterfront Georgetown.
If you’re traveling on a budget, then there are affordable and exciting districts not far from the center like Logan Circle, Palm circle, or Adams Morgan, which is the heart of the city’s night scene.
Wherever you stay in Washington, you will find that there is an extensive range of accommodation. In addition to top hotels, there are many apartments and townhouses for rent that provide an interesting alternative, particularly if you plan to stay for a while.
If you choose to stay in a suburban area like Woodley Park, then it’s a good idea to try and book a hotel that is located close to the city’s excellent Metro subway system. This regular service is a great way to tour the city without the risk of getting caught up in gridlock.
Where to Stay Washington DC – 8 Best Areas to Stay in Washington DC
So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What follows is a detailed description of the most exciting and rewarding districts of Washington DC, all of which have different characteristics and appeal to different travelers. Read on, and you were sure to find a part of the city that suits you down to the ground.
Where to Stay Washington DC – 8 Best Areas to Stay in Washington DC
Where to Stay in Washington DC map
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1. Georgetown, Where to Stay in Washington DC for Sightseeing
Georgetown can justifiably claim to be the very heart of Washington DC, since his affluent and attractive neighborhood, on the west side of the city, dates back to the mid-18th century. It is a prestigious part of town that enjoys a beautiful waterfront setting next to the Potomac River. There are few places in the USA that feel as European as this district, with its cobblestone streets and beautiful historic red brick buildings.
Georgetown is very convenient for all the major tourist attractions of the center of Washington. Because of this great location, it is the accommodation choice for many of the US’s political world’s movers and shakers. Because of this, Georgetown has become one of the wealthiest parts of Washington. The area is full of top-class haute cuisine dining, and if you are the kind of shopper who doesn’t worry too much about price tags, you will discover some fabulous shopping in this area.
Georgetown is home to Georgetown University, and this institution injects a youthful exuberance into the social fabric of the area. So if you’re looking for some buzzing nightlife, you will find plenty of bars and clubs that cater to a student crowd. Notable venues include Blues Alley, a jazz club of international renown, or you could try Martin’s Tavern, which belies its unprepossessing look by being the watering hole of many top politicos, including John F. Kennedy.
While you are in Georgetown, you should make the most of its attractive waterfront setting by taking a stroll through Georgetown Waterfront and Park, a delightful oasis of greenery on the banks of the Potomac River.
You Should Stay Here If:
- You want to shop in top designer stores.
- You want to be within walking distance of the top tourist sights.
- You have the budget for that top of the range hotel or a luxury apartment.
- You want to party with the university crowd.
2. Downtown DC, Where to Stay in Washington DC for First Time Travelers
Downtown DC is, well, downtown. No part of the city is more convenient for all of the significant landmarks and attractions. Highlights of this central part of town include many museums like the famous Smithsonian, the city’s theater district, and The National Mall, a vast two-mile-long park that runs from the Potomac River on the west side to the Capitol Building on the east.
Downtown DC is the most popular tourist spot in the city and is packed with free of charge monuments and museums. The Lincoln Memorial is here, as is the Jefferson Memorial. There are also memorials commemorating World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and a monument commemorating Martin Luther King.
Other major attractions and landmarks in this treasure trove of tourist delights include The White House, the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, and The Pentagon. Amongst the museums and galleries, you will find the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Museum, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Freer Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, the Hirshhorn Museum, and The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Because of this central location’s convenience, most of the hotels here are in the mid to high price bracket. But even if you are on a budget, you can find a few hostels and more affordable accommodations if you scout around. A good option for families and people traveling as a group is to look for furnished apartment rentals since this area has some lovely examples.
You Should Stay Here If:
- Want to be right The heart of the city.
- Want to be in walking distance of all the major sights and attractions.
- Want to stroll through the grandeur and greenery of The National Mall.
3. Dupont Circle, Where to Stay in Washington DC for Nightlife
Dupont Circle is a conveniently central area just north of Washington’s city center. The area spreads out around a central roundabout where ten roads meet, and this junction is symbolic of the eclectic mix of cultures and activities that you will find here.
All of the tourist sights of central DC are just a few minutes strolled to the south, but there are some interesting places to visit in Dupont circle itself. The Phillips Collection is a well-curated art gallery dating from 1921 that is well worth a visit. The gallery houses a vast collection of international modern art. Dupont Circle is also home to the National Geographic Museum.
On the west side of Dupont Circle are Oaks Park and Montrose Park. These open spaces join together to form a large area of greenery that is a delight to stroll through, giving a pleasantly suburban feel to this area, despite its central city location.
Dupont circle is also a central hub of dining and nightlife, so if you are a night owl, then this is an excellent choice of place to stay. The multicultural mix of Washington DC is reflected in the impressive variety of international cuisines you can find in this area. Dupont Circle is a popular place to live for twenty-something professional couples, and the nightlife here reflects this young and energetic age group, with lots of bars and clubs.
This part of Washington doesn’t have a huge number of places to stay, but there are still quite a few decent hotels, mainly in the mid-range price group. There are also quite a few apartments for rent that are an excellent choice for groups and families.
You Should Stay Here If :
- You are looking for a vibrant, happening inner-city neighborhood.
- You want some excellent nightlife.
- You want great dining for old budgets.
- You want to explore Washington DC on foot.
4. Logan Circle, Where to Stay in Washington DC for Budget Travelers
Logan Circle is a district of Washington DC that spreads out around a large roundabout and park. This is one of the oldest parts of the city, and you will find some delightful old historic buildings here. But it is a very modern area and is one of the trendiest and most happening parts of town.
Logan Circle is a convenient place for tourists since it is just a few hundred meters to the northeast of the downtown area with the White House and all the other tourist attractions. Chinatown’s buzz and excitement is just to the South, and the happening Dupont Circle isn’t far away to the west. In fact, Logan Circle enjoys similar youthful energy, coupled with a sophisticated charm, to its Western neighbor. This is a mostly residential neighborhood, and the area is crammed with restaurants, bars, and cafes.
Logan Circle is well catered to with mid-range and five-star hotels, with some of the city’s best places to stay. And, as is the case with much of Washington DC, a great alternative to a hotel stay is to book one of the scores of fully furnished apartments, which represent excellent value for money, and almost make you feel like a resident of the city.
Logan Circle is a revitalized and gentrified urban area redeveloped in the 1980s and 90s as suburban city dwellers moved back into the city’s central areas, breathing new life into previously run-down districts. These days Logan circle is a very well-heeled and respectable neighborhood with steep property prices and some excellent shopping and infrastructure.
You Should Stay Here If:
- Want a Buzzing, hip locale.
- Want to be just 10 minutes from downtown.
- Want excellent med and higher range hotels.
- Want to enjoy lots of Victorian architecture.
5. Adams Morgan – Best Multicultural Area in Washington DC
Adams Morgan is Washington DC’s most hip and happening area. It is packed full of affordable accommodation, fabulous international eateries, and scores and scores of bars and clubs. If you are a city lover and revel in areas that run 24/7, then this is the place for you.
Adams Morgan is located a little to the North of Downtown, and it is well connected to the center of town by the red line of Washington’s Metro service. There are also regular buses that offer a quick and convenient way to get to all of the city center sights.
All you need to do for a great night out is head to 18th Street in the southwest corner of the Adams Morgan since this has an incredible number of bars and clubs packed into a very compact area.
As is the case with so much of central Washington, this is a beautiful area, full of historic Victorian architecture. Adams Morgan is Washington’s street art center, and the juxtaposition of giant murals and classical architecture has to be seen to be appreciated. Few parts of Washington DC have the spirit and exuberance of this splendid part of the city.
You Should Stay Here If:
- Want to stay in the heart of Washington’s nightlife scene
- Want an exciting multicultural area
- Want to be surrounded by murals and street art
- Are traveling on a budget
6. Foggy Bottom, Where to Stay in Washington DC without a Car
The evocatively named Foggy Bottom is an extremely photogenic part of Washington DC. The area is in a waterfront location to the northwest of downtown. There are splendid views across the Potomac River to Theodore Roosevelt Island and Little Island, two islands covered with attractive tree-filled parks.
Foggy Bottom is home to the John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts and also houses the National Symphony Orchestra. The area is also very well provided for when it comes to hotel accommodations. There are many places to stay here, with the majority of hotels coming in the mid-range price bracket. It is a convenient part of town for tourists who want to avoid public transport because all of downtown’s highlights are just a few hundred meters away to the Southeast.
The US State Department is located in Foggy Bottom, and the students of George Washington University add a youthful vibe to the area. No visit to this part of Washington is complete without a stroll down the waterfront, soaking up the atmosphere of this historic part of the city.
You Should Stay Here If:
- Want a good mid-range hotel
- Wonderful waterfront views
- wants to stay a short walk away from downtown
- Want to visit the theater
7. Woodley Park – Best Area in Washington DC to Stay With Family
Woodley Park is an excellent place to stay if you want to explore the city from a leafy suburb. The area is located 3 km Northwest of downtown Washington. Despite being a little way out of the city, it is very simple to get into the center of town by jumping on the subway at the nearby Woodley Park Zoo/ Adams Morgan Station.
The Washington National Cathedral is an imposing edifice on the western side of Woodley Park. Another notable local site is the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, which is an extremely well-curated zoo that is a great place to take the kids.
Since Woodley Park is a little way out of the city center, it is a good choice for people looking for great value accommodation. The area is exceptionally well provided for in terms of hotels, guest houses, and apartments, and budget-conscious travelers will find plenty of places to stay here.
Heading north from the National Zoological Park is Washington’s largest area of parkland called Rock Creek Park. This is a delightful and extensive area of parkland that surrounds a tributary of the Potomac River. It’s a lovely place to explore to get away from the rush and bustle of downtown Washington.
You Should Stay Here If:
- You want to visit the Smithsonian national zoological Park
- you want a suburban location with good transport links to the center of town
- You want a good choice of budget and mid-range accommodation
8. Capitol Hill, Where to Stay in Washington DC for Shopping
Capitol Hill is a conveniently central district of Washington that spreads out around the capitol building, over on the east side of downtown. This area has a number of federal buildings, including The Supreme Court of The United States and the Library of Congress. It is a green and leafy area with Lower Senate Park running into the extensive cultivated parklands around the capitol building itself. Seward Square, Folger Park, and Garfield Park are other green areas in the vicinity.
Capitol Hill is a residential area that is very popular with lobbyists, politicians, and civil servants, and the local bars, cafes, and restaurants are favorite places for political machinations and the brokering of deals.
In addition to all the area’s political buildings, visitors can check out The Congressional Cemetery, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Guard Museum, and the National Postal Museum. There is some striking architecture around Capitol Hill, not least the highly impressive frontage of the grand and imposing Union Station.
You Should Stay Here If:
- You want to enjoy shopping in the Eastern market.
- You want to explore the heartland of American politics.
- You want to stay really close to downtown.
- Where To Stay In Washington DC With Family?
- Where To Stay When Visiting Washington DC On A Budget?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC With A Car?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC For Sightseeing?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC Walking Distance?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC Near Museums?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC Near Attractions?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC To See Cherry Blossom?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC As A Tourist?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC For A Weekend?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC First Time?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC For Nightlife?
- Where To Stay In Washington DC For Christmas?
- Washington, DC: Where To Stay Outside The City?
Where To Stay In Washington DC With Family?
If you are visiting Washington DC with your family, then Woodley Park is a leafy and low-key suburb that is an excellent base for exploring the city. Your kids will love visiting the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and exploring the footpaths and walkways of Rock Creek Park to the north.
There are some excellent budget-friendly places to stay here, and if you are traveling with your family, you could consider renting an apartment, complete with cooking facilities and lots of space. Despite being a few kilometers to the northwest of the city center, Woodley Park is connected by the Metro subway line, so all of the sides are just a few minutes train ride away.
Where To Stay When Visiting Washington DC On A Budget?
Washington has some great value accommodation, and people visiting the city on a budget will have no trouble finding good places to stay in cosmopolitan districts like Dupont Circle.
If you are traveling with your family or as a part of a group, then a great way to economize when visiting Washington is to consider renting an apartment or a private home with kitchen and cooking facilities. Preparing your own meals is a great way to stick to a budget.
Budget travelers will also be pleased to discover that the majority of the museums and tourist destinations in the city are free of charge.
Where To Stay In Washington DC Without A Car?
Buy American standards Washington DC is a remarkably compact city, and visitors will be happy to find that they don’t need a car to explore all of the sights. Since the majority of the most interesting sights are located in and around The National Mall in the downtown area of the city, it makes sense to stay somewhere close by if you don’t want to rely on public transport.
Although Washington has an excellent Metro subway system and as long as you are a short walk from a station, you are never far from the center of town.
Any of the central parts of town like Capitol Hill, Downtown itself, or Foggy Bottom are convenient for exploring the city on foot.
Where To Stay In Washington DC With A Car?
Washington is a city with excellent public transport, and all of the main signs are concentrated together in the central downtown area, so even if you visit the city by car, you will probably find that you don’t need to use it on a day-to-day basis.
During the morning and evening rush hour, traffic can be very congested, so why not save yourself the trouble of traffic jams and use public transport instead? Having said that, since most Americans travel by car, most hotels have parking facilities, and whatever area of town you choose to stay in, you will have no trouble finding a hotel with a car park.
Where To Stay In Washington DC For Sightseeing?
Washington, DC is one of America’s tourist highlights, and the city is absolutely packed with things to see and do. Thankfully the very best sights and activities are clustered together in the heart of downtown in and around the public park known as The National Mall.
If you want to stay somewhere within walking distance of this central part of town, then suburbs like Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, and Downtown DC itself are all extremely convenient.
Where To Stay In Washington DC Walking Distance?
Washington DC is a distinctly walkable city, more so than most American cities, which are characteristically more spread out. If you choose to stay in the Downtown Area, then you are right on the doorstep of all the most interesting sights. An alternative if you want to stay close to the scenic Potomac River is Georgetown on the city center’s western side. And if you want to be within walking distance of the best nightlife in the city, then Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan is an excellent choice of destination.
Where To Stay In Washington DC Near Museums?
One of the best things about Washington DC is that all of the principal sights and landmarks are clustered together in the downtown part of the city in an area of parkland known as The National Mall. Here you will find The White House, The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the United States Capitol Building. In addition to these landmarks, this area houses the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Museum, this Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and the Hershon Museum. The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler gallery.
Other nearby museums include The National Museum of African American History and Culture. There really is so much to see here in America’s capital city. If you want to have all of these attractions on your doorstep then you just need to book a hotel in the Downtown area of the city.
Where To Stay In Washington DC Near Attractions?
The compact nature of Washington DC means that there are a number of central suburbs of the city that are all extremely convenient for the main tourist attractions.
While the majority of the things to see and do are located in the Downtown part of the city, you can stay in central suburbs like Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, or Adams Morgan and still being within a short walk of all of the attractions. Washington also has a comprehensive bus network, scores of taxis, and a great Subway network.
Where To Stay In Washington DC To See Cherry Blossom?
Springtime is a glorious time of year in which to visit Washington DC because of the great washes of pink cherry blossoms that are to be found throughout the city’s parks and open spaces. These are such an iconic part of the city that Washington actually holds a national cherry blossom festival that commemorates the gift of a cherry tree by the mayor of Tokyo city in 1912.
This festival occurs over a couple of weeks centered on the date of the gift, which was March 27th. Since then, cherry trees have spread throughout the city and make for a glorious springtime sight. One of the best places to see this is along the banks of the Potomac River in suburbs like Georgetown on the western side of the city center.
Where To Stay In Washington DC As A Tourist?
Washington, DC has such a wealth of attractions and entertainment to offer tourists that you could make the argument for staying in almost any part of the city. There are so many intriguing parts of town to explore that you will find plenty to see and do almost wherever you stay.
Having said that, most tourists end up choosing a central location just for the convenience of being able to have most of the sights within convenient walking distance. Since Washington DC is first and foremost a seat of government, a stay in the Capitol Hill area will be very rewarding for tourists.
This Central suburb is located just to the east of Downtown, and it is home to many of the city’s political machinations. It’s a fascinating place to sit over a coffee or a beer, watching deals being brokered and bargains being made.
Where To Stay In Washington DC For A Weekend?
If you visit Washington DC on a brief weekend break, it makes sense to stay somewhere close to the center of town. This way, you will have ample opportunity to take in as many of the fabulous sights, attractions and galleries, and museums of the city and get a good flavor for the place.
Why not choose a hotel in pretty Georgetown? one of the main attractions of this suburb is that it is situated on the banks of the Potomac River and is scenic but central. All of the political buildings and sights of the National Mall are a short walk away to the east of Georgetown.
Sure, the hotels in Georgetown come in at the mid-to-luxury price range, but since you are just going to spend a couple of days in Washington, it makes sense to splash out a bit and enjoy the very best experience that you can. If this area proves to be beyond your budget, then don’t worry; Washington has lots of alternatives. A great budget-friendly part of town in which to spend a weekend stay is Dupont Circle. This cosmopolitan area is full of cool shops and well-priced cafes and restaurants that will allow you to stay somewhere central without breaking the bank.
Where To Stay In Washington DC First Time?
If you have never been to Washington DC before, then you are almost spoiled for choice with the enormous number of things to see and do in America’s historic and fascinating capital city. It’s a good idea to stay somewhere reasonably central so that most of the sights are nearby.
But the city Metro subway service is an excellent form of public transport, which means you are never too long a journey from the center of the city. Perhaps you should stay in a hip and happening suburb like Adams Morgan.
This has an excellent range of accommodation for all budgets and is just a few hundred meters from the center of the city. There are also many bars, restaurants, and shops here, so you will never be starved of entertainment.
Where To Stay In Washington DC For Nightlife?
Washington has some fantastic nightlife, with scores of bars with live music, fine international dining, and some excellent nightclubs. The city’s busiest night scene is a cluster of bars and plugs located on and around 18th Street in the Adams Morgan area of town just north of downtown. This vibrant and colorful part of town also has an incredible number of restaurants and has a good claim to being the hippest part of town.
Where To Stay In Washington DC For Christmas?
Despite the chill, Christmas is a delightful time of year to visit Washington DC. Christmas trees and decorations adorn many of the parks and public spaces of the city.
You should probably choose to stay somewhere close to the Downtown district at this time of year if you want to make the most of sights such as the National Christmas Tree, which decorates President’s Park close to the White house. The tree is lit up at sunset every evening after the first week of December when the president officially lights it.
Another lovely festive tradition of Washington is the Zoolights event at the Smithsonian National Zoo in the north part of DC. During the Christmas period, the zoo is festooned with more than half a million beautiful LED lights.
Washington, DC: Where To Stay Outside The City?
Washington DC occupies the Northeastern Bank of the Potomac River. If you want to stay somewhere outside the city, then you might consider staying in Arlington, Virginia, over on the Southwestern Bank of the Potomac.
This town is connected to Washington DC by a number of bridges, and so all of the things to see and do are just a few minutes away. Arlington also has some interesting sights of its own, like the US Marine Corps Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, a military cemetery in a huge park. The pentagon is another iconic landmark in Arlington.
Arlington is also home to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and so is a convenient place to stay for onward air travel.
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So, there you have it, now you too are an expert on Washington dc. Now that you know everything about this fascinating and vibrant city, all that you have to do is make a reservation and start planning your trip. I know that you’re going to have some wonderful experiences in Washington, enjoy!