Where to Stay in Washington D.C.: 10 Best Areas

Welcome to my insider guide choosing where to stay in Washington D.C. – best areas to stay in Washington D.C. 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. 

See more about the USA: Where to Stay in Denver

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 stations. This regular service is a great way to tour the city without the risk of getting caught up in gridlock.

💖 Best Area:Georgetown
💎 Best luxury hotel:The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Georgetown Inn
💰 Best budget hotel:The Georgetown House Boutique Inn

>> 🔍BEST HOTELS IN WASHINGTON D.C. <<

📌10 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.

Best areas to stay in Washington D.C map

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1. Georgetown, where to stay in Washington D.C. for families

best area to Stay Washington DC – Georgetown
Georgetown

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 around Wisconsin Avenue and M Street.

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.

You can also have attractions like Exorcist Steps, Dumbarton Oaks, Old Stone House, Washington Harbor, and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to explore in this area.

Stay in Georgetown If you want to shop in top designer stores, especially at the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenu; 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.

Best places to stay in Washington DC in Georgetown:

Georgetown Inn This 4-star mid-range hotel is located within walking distance from Georgetown Waterfront Park, also close proximity to John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Georgetown University, Lincoln Memorial, Union Station, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The Georgetown House Boutique Inn Situated along the C&O canal, within easy walking distance from Georgetown’s restaurants and boutiques and Georgetown Waterfront. Some of the popular restaurants nearby are the Italian Il Canale, Sea-Catch Seafood, Sushi to Go, and Martin’s Tavern. The inn is also close to the White House, the Washington Monument, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Smithsonian Museums.

The Graham Georgetown This is a mid-range hotel located close to Georgetown Waterfront Park, Georgetown University, the Shops at Georgetown Park, the White House, and the National Mall.

🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN GEORGETOWN

Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Washington Dc in this video or continue reading:

Where to stay in Washington DC: Best Areas to Stay in Washington DC

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2. Downtown DC, where to stay in Washington D.C. near tourist attractions

best places to Stay Washington DC – Downtown DC
Downtown DC

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 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, White House Visitor Center, and CityCenterDC.

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 can also find historic street Pennsylvania Avenue here, it is the location of many important parades, marches, protests.

Stay in Downtown DC if you want to be right The heart of the city; you want to be in walking distance of all the major sights and attractions; you want to stroll through the grandeur and greenery of The National Mall.

Best Hotels In Downtown DC:

Hamilton Hotel – Washington DC Located in the real heart of Washington DC, this 4-star is very close to from the McPherson Square Metro Station, and some of the attractions such as the White House, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Washington Monument, and easy access United States Capitol Building by metro.

Washington Plaza Hotel This mid range hotel offers an onsite restaurant, a gym, an outdoor swimming pool, and free wifi. It’s also located close to Washington Convention Center, Metro Center station, Gallery Place–Chinatown, the FBI Headquarters, and Washington Plaza.

Hotel Lombardy Located on world-famous Pennsylvania Avenue, within walking distance from Foggy Bottom–GWU Metro station, JFK Center for Performing Arts, and Lincoln Memorial.

Hyatt Place Washington DC/White House This budget hotel offers a rooftop bar with city views, a fitness centre, and free wifi. Its close proximity to Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, and National Mall.

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3. Dupont Circle, the best place to stay in Washington D.C. 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. This is the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue, and Connecticut Avenue.

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 the 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. Eighteenth Street Lounge is a favorite dance club for locals.

Other places to visit are the Brookings Institution, the Institute for Policy Studies, the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, the Stimson Center and the Peterson Institute, the Spanish Steps, the Phillips Collection, and the Mansion on O & O Street Museum.

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.

Stay in Dupont Circle 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; you like art galleries.

Best Hotels In Dupont Circle:

The Dupont Circle Hotel This 5-star luxury hotel is located very close to the historical landmarks of Washington such as Washington Convention Center, National Mall, and JFK Center for Performing Arts; also within walking distance from Dupont Circle Metro station.

The Darcy Hotel, Washington DC Located close to many city attractions like the White House and National Mall, and a short ride from Washington National Airport.

The St. Gregory Hotel Located within a few minutes’ walk from the Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom metro stations. This hotel provides an onsite restaurant, a business centre, free wifi, and rooms with flat-screen TV, refrigerator, and a coffee maker.

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4. Logan Circle, where to stay in Washington DC on a budget

Best place to Stay Washington DC – Logan Circle

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.

Attractions are the Fourteenth Street Historic District, the Logan Circle Park, Logan Circle Heritage Trail, and Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church.

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 cafes, restaurants, and bars.

Logan Circle is well catered to with mid-range and five-star boutique 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.

Stay in Logan Circle if you want a Buzzing, hip locale; you want to be just 10 minutes from downtown; you want excellent med and higher range hotels; you want to enjoy lots of Victorian architecture.

Best Hotels In Logan Circle:

Viceroy Washington DC  offers pet-friendly accommodation in Washington, 4 minutes’ walk from Logan Circle. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Private parking is available on site.

Duo Housing is located 1.8 km from The White House in Washington, Duo Housing offers free WiFi access. The property has a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage.

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5. Adams Morgan, a charming neighborhood for young travelers

Best area to Stay Washington DC – Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan –  a historic neighborhood, 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. 

Some of the places to check out nearby are Meridian Hill Park, Lanier Heights, Madam’s Organ blues bar, and Kalorama Recreation Center.

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.

Stay in Adams Morgan if you want to stay in the heart of Washington’s nightlife scene; you want an exciting multicultural area; you want to be surrounded by murals and street art; and you are traveling on a budget.

Best Places to stay In Adams Morgan:

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6. Foggy Bottom, within a short walk from Washington Downtown

location to Stay Washington DC – Foggy Bottom

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.

You can also have the campus of George Washington University, the DAR Constitution Hall, the Washington National Opera, Lincoln Memorial, Textile Museum, and State Department’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms.

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.

Stay in Foggy Bottom if you want a good mid-range hotel; wonderful waterfront views; you want to stay a short walk away from downtown; you want to visit the theater.

Best Hotels In Foggy Bottom

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7. Woodley Park, a leafy suburb, home of Smithsonian National Zoological Park

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.

Stay in Woodley Park 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.

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8. Capitol Hill, where to stay in Washington D.C. near Downtown

best areas to Stay Washington DC – Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill

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 neighborhood is a residential area that is very popular with lobbyists, politicians, and civil servants, and the local cafes, restaurants and bars 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 the Capitol Hill neighborhood, not least the highly impressive frontage of the grand and imposing Union Station.

Stay in Capitol Hill 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.

Best Hotels In Capitol Hill 

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9. Chinatown

Where to Stay in Washington D.C: chinatown

Many big cities in the USA, and beyond, have a district known as Chinatown. Washington is no exception, and it is a great place to visit, or to make as a base during time in the city. Friendship Arch marks its entrance, and you will see it above H Street where it crosses 7th Street. There is a metro station that links Chinatown with other parts of Washington.

You should consider Chinatown for accommodation. There are several hotels that are reasonably priced so staying within this residential area is an interesting idea. Residential it may be, but there are around 20 restaurants, mostly Chinese but also serving other Asian cuisine, to enjoy as well.

Other than the restaurants, you will find Capital One Arena in Chinatown. It is the city’s premier sport and entertainment indoor centre and there is likely to be something happening there during your stay. 

Best places to stay in Chinatown:

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10. Northeast (Union Station)

You will find this neighbourhood north of East Capitol Street and east of North Capitol Street. It has other names as well, Little Rome or Little Vatican because of its strong links to Catholicism. Gallaudet University, The Catholic University of America and Trinity Washington University are all found here.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops HQ, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Saint John Paul II National Shrine are also local. Add Union Street Station, the United States National Arboretum and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and you can see its attractions.

With good transport links, Northeast makes a great base in the city. There is no problem finding a good restaurant for dinner or planning a night out elsewhere in the city. It is an inexpensive district, and you should be able to find a room to suit any budget.

Best places to stay in Northeast:

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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!

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