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The downtown DC neighborhood is where you will find the largest cluster of affordable hotels, though the farther you move outside the city limits the cheaper the hotels will be. Be sure to note where the budget hotel you book is and what major public transportation is nearby.
There are many chain hotels in Washington DC, like The Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Best Western, and Embassy Suites offering rooms starting at $72 a night. Cheap hotels in Washington DC also range in size from the small 45 room Windsor Park Hotel to the popular 245 room Hotel Harrington. The unique Henley Park Hotel is one of the many historic Washington DC hotels you can book for the low price of $109, and families will be comfortable at the George Washington University Inn, a steal at $160. By staying in the suburbs of DC, travelers can expect to save a bit more on budget accommodation.
There is no shortage of luxury hotels in Washington DC, and if money is no object you have plenty of options for an elegant stay in Washington DC. Want to rest your head where Lincoln once lived? Perhaps you want to gaze at the White House from your hotel window? Both of these options are available when you're traveling to the capital of the USA.
The downtown neighborhood is where you will find the largest cluster of luxury hotels. Hotels like the Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Monaco Washington DC, St. Regis Washington DC, and Omni Shoreham Hotel are within walking distance of the White house and National Mall. There are also many luxury options on the other side of the Potomac: The Ritz Carlton Pentagon City is a 366-room luxury hotel close to the Jefferson Memorial. The Westin Crystal City is a good family friendly option, and Le Meridien Arlington has floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook DC.
There are over 1000 available options for Airbnb rentals in the greater DC area, and you will find everything from shared rooms to full houses. For as low as $40 a night, you can reserve a bed or couch in a shared room with a friendly local. For a bit more money choose a private room in a shared house.
If sharing with strangers isn’t your thing, it is possible to find full apartments and houses that are cheaper than many luxury Washington DC hotels. Airbnb rentals are everywhere in DC, so pick a place to suit your budget, your style, and your desired neighborhood. Just like with Washington DC hotels, the farther you travel from the center of the city, the cheaper the rooms will be.
Boutique and independent hotels have become popular recently, and they are not hard to find in Washington DC. The Kimpton Boutique Hotels chain have eight hotels in downtown DC. These boutique hotels offer many perks that enhance the already fair prices, including complimentary coffee, nightly wine hour, complimentary public bikes, and pet friendly rooms. The Hotel George is one of these and in a central spot in DC. The Donovan House is another boutique option downtown and appeals to a hip crowd who likes to party at the rooftop pool. The Georgetown neighborhood has many boutique hotels as well, like the Graham Georgetown and the Melrose Georgetown.
Two airports surround DC, offering many options for staying close to catch an early morning flight. Reach both airports by DC public transportation. If flying from Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) the Radisson Hotel Reagan and Hampton Inn Suites Reagan are good budget options. Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) is for the international traveler, and some good hotel options are the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, Crowne Plaza Dulles, and Holiday Inn Dulles.
Washington DC is a popular destination all year, though certain times are better to beat the crowds and get the best deals. Hotel prices tend to drop on the weekends when government business is on hiatus, which is perfect for a weekend traveler looking to score a good deal.
Traveling in March and April will allow you to see the famous cherry blossoms, but crowds and prices will be high. Certain events throughout the year rocket hotel prices and bring in more tourists: college graduations in May, the fourth of July celebration, the Presidential inauguration in January (every four years), and the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Crowds tend to dissolve in July and August when the summer heat scorches the city, and in December and January during the snowy winter. Check if there are any big conventions in the city during the time of your visit, as hotel prices will raise with the influx of people. If you know what to expect, you can make smart decisions on when you want to travel to Washington DC.
Known for the University of the same name, the Georgetown neighborhood is young and hip and full of culture. Shops, bars, and restaurants line popular M Street, where the unique mix of people (college students, politicians, members of high society) eat, drink and stroll. Its spot, smack dab on the Potomac River, was once a popular port town, and the restored historic homes highlight the remnants of it.
Saturated with restaurants, bars, nightclubs, coffee houses, hookah bars, book stores and art galleries is the Adams Morgan neighborhood just north of Dupont Circle. This neighborhood is well-connected to downtown DC and is a popular place to enjoy nightlife, boutiques, and international food. The scene is lively and hip and geared toward young professionals who work hard and play hard.
Sophisticated, glamorous, and diverse are three words to describe the Dupont Circle Neighborhood. From the people to the buildings to the activities, there is something for everyone here. Popular with recent college graduates, this neighborhood is also home to museums, historic buildings, and Embassy Row. The wide range of restaurants and activities makes it popular place to enjoy a night out in DC.
The DC Metro is a clean and convenient way to get around the city. Trains run until midnight during the week and 3:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Buy SmarTrip metro cards to in the metro stations or online, and swipe them when you enter and exit the station. Fares range from $2.15-$5.90 during peak travel times and $1.75-$3.60 during off-peak travel times. It is important to know that eating on the subway is illegal in DC.
Buses are a bit more complicated than the easy subway system, but they offer another great way to get around the city. The same SmarTrip cards used on the subway are also for the buses, but only swipe once when you get on. Exact change is also accepted on the buses. Regular fare is $1.75, express bus rides are $4.00, and a bus ride to the airport is $7.
There are plenty of taxis all around the city. You can call a cab company and arrange for a pick up, but hailing a cab is as simple as stepping to the curb and waving your hand. The base cab fare is $3.27 and it costs $0.27 per ⅛ of a mile. Uber and Lyft are also popular car hire services and are often cheaper than a taxi ride.
Stressful and congested are two words that can sum up the driving situation in DC. With all the public transportation, it is easy and recommended to avoid driving in the city. Many traffic circles and one way streets are confusing to those who do not know the area well. If you absolutely have to drive in the city, it is important to note a few things. First, finding a spot to park on the street is tricky, so parking in a garage downtown is your best option. Second, there is a huge amount of bikers and pedestrians, so being more cautious than usual is important. And last, road stops and congestion can happen at any time, leaving you in gridlock for who knows how long.
Whatever medium of art intrigues you, chances are you will find something to tickle your fancy in DC. Discover historic and modern sculptures, paintings, and photographs in many of the DC art galleries and museums, and take in a performance at one of the 65 professional theaters.
Head to the National Gallery of Art for paintings, sculptures, and the only Leonardo Da Vinci painting in the US. The Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle is the first museum of modern art in America and holds many works from Matisse and Picasso. At the Smithsonian Art Museum, find paintings, photographs, and sculptures from American artists. The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the Wolly Mammoth Theater Company, and Arena Stage are all well-known and influential leaders in the DC theater scene.
Looking to catch a professional sports game while in Washington? You are in luck, as DC has many professional sports teams. The Washington Redskins play football games at their stadium in Landover, Maryland, accessible via the metro. The baseball team, the Washington Nationals, play 81 home games a year at their ballpark in southeast DC. The Washington Wizards basketball team takes to the court in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. There are also men's and women's soccer teams, a hockey team, and a tennis team that play in DC year round.
With over 74 National landmarks, choosing what to see on your visit may seem a bit overwhelming. See how the US government runs with tours of the Capitol Building, the National Archives, and the White House. Experience history and remember lost loved ones at Arlington National Cemetery, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, and the World War II Memorial. Honor previous Presidents at the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Washington Monument. Strolling along the National Mall, a two-mile long stretch of greenery in the middle of the DC, is an enjoyable activity and provides easy access to many of these landmarks.
There are tons of things to do in Washington DC that don't even require that you open your wallet. The Smithsonian Complex has 19 museums including, The Natural History Museum, Air and Space Museum, and the National Zoo, and are all free of charge! There are also tons of parks that are free to explore and get you outside and active during your trip. The National Mall is one of those free parks.
The best way to see as much as possible during your time in DC is to visit the museums during the day then head to the monuments at night.
The city is ideal for exploring by foot, and a little research will have you understanding the layout in no time. The city is a grid; lettered streets run east to west, numbered streets are north to south, and diagonal streets (mostly named for states) intersect at circles. Having this information handy will help you easily navigate and fit in everything that you want to do.