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This post is a list of 15 of the best cheap hotels and hostels in Washington DC, including mid-level and efficiency accommodations.
The most popular place to look for affordable hotels is just across the river in Virginia (Rosslyn, Pentagon City, and Crystal City).
All are Metro-accessible, but you will need to keep in mind the cost of driving, parking, and longer Metro rides.
And if you are out late, you will need to take a taxi or know when is the last train.
Look into hostels and bed and breakfasts as well.
While hostels are known for having multiple travelers staying together in one room, many DC hostels have single and double private rooms.
Bed and Breakfasts offer a lot of personalized amenities, not just the first meal of the day but you might find some that have free access to bicycles to help you get around town.
Check out TripAdvisor’s Top 30 Affordable hotels, which has hundreds of reviews and is a go-to source for finding information before you book.
Downtown Washington DC can me a lot of different things but generally speaking it’s the area around the White House, north of the National Mall. Chinatown, Penn Quarter, Archives, Federal Triangle are all Metro stations in this area so you can get on basically any Metro line if you’re staying central.
You’ll find a lot of high-end hotels in this area, but with advance planning you can get a room at some centrally located affordable hotels here as well. They won’t be the least expensive hotel in the DC Metro area, but you’ll also have the convenience of a centrally located place to stay.
Hotel Harrington – On 11th and E Streets NW
This hotel opened in 1914, so as history enthusiasts we have to put this on our list. Nothing fancy here but the location is…. the best. Steps away from Ford’s Theater and Pennsylvania Ave, all the sites and museums are nearby. In fact, our Lincoln Assassination tour ends one block away! The fact that it is still family run gives it added charm. Busy season rates can be $130 – $190 a night, and in the off season you can find an even better deal here. This hotel is a great secret of Washington tourism so check out their website and let us know if you stay there.
Hilton Garden Inn – 14th and H Streets NW
Located on 14th Street, one of the most vibrant streets in the city. Guests can easily walk down to the memorials on the National Mall, the Smithsonian Museums, or the White House. As part of a hotel chain, the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown might not have as much character as other hotels, but the service is very reliable.
HI – Washington, DC – 11th and K Streets NW
This is part of a global hostel chain (Hostelling International) that includes more than 4,000 hostels in 80 countries. In fact, HI is the 6th largest provider of travel accommodation in the world. Guests can thus expect HI – Washington, DC to similarly meet the high standards expected of all HI affiliated hostels in terms of cleanliness and the quality of the staff. Other perks of this hostel include its 24-hour front desk service and spacious common area. HI – Washington, DC is also very conveniently located within a 15 minute walk of 3 different metro lines and the White House.
As the former home of the Kennedy’s, Georgetown is a high end neighborhood with a lot of luxury hotels. We list a few of the more affordable Georgetown options below. Most DC residents will tell you that once you cross over Rock Creek headed east, you aren’t in Georgetown anymore. The Foggy Bottom neighborhood, home to George Washington University and the Kennedy Center still has some hotels that boast “Georgetown” in the name.
There is no Metro station in Georgetown but you’ll find it not a far walk from the Foggy Bottom station on the Blue, Orange or Silver Lines. There are also many bus routes, including the free Circulator that go to Georgetown.
This hotel only offers suites from studio to 2 bedroom, all of which include free WiFi and contentinel breakfast. The Georgetown Suites is located near the waterfront at the Georgetown Harbor with access to the meeting and drop off point of many of the sightseeing boat tours.
A highly rated hotel located on Washington Circle, not far from the Foggy Bottom Metro station and an easy walk to Georgetown. We have many guests stay here with wonderful things to say about the staff and location.
Dupont Circle has a number of boutique hotels and a great night-life scene. Embassy Row starts at Dupont Circle and heads west down Massachusetts Ave NW and you’ll also find the Phillips Art Collection here.
It is serviced by the red line station, Dupont Circe, as well as the Circulator bus line.
The Carlyle Dupont Circle – 1731 New Hampshire Ave NW
A beautiful boutique hotel right off of Dupont Circle. Very reasonably priced rooms and excellent customer service. The White House is just a few blocks away, and the metro is across the street. Dupont is a fun and less touristy part of town, with easy access into Georgetown.
Embassy Row Hotel – 2015 Massachusetts Ave NW
Newly renovated and right on Embassy Row, this hotel comes with one of the only rooftop pool bars in the city. A kitchen with homemade gin drinks and great food downstairs and beautiful views, you might not want to leave. This hotel offers a great location as base to explore all of the city. In fact, you might run into many of our guides at the pool in the summer as it’s one of our favorite secret oases in the city!
American Guest House – 2005 Columbia Rd NW
This Washington DC bed and breakfast in hip northwest DC is accessible by public bus and 15-minute walk from the ever popular Dupont Circle and its Metro station – and our Dupont Circle/Embassy Row Tours!
The perfect location for access to the National Mall, Georgetown, Union Station, National Zoo, and Chinatown by public transportation. As a B&B, you get a clean and comfortable room but better yet a delicious, homemade breakfast – even to go if you ask in advance!
Hotel Tabard Inn – 1739 N Street NW
A charming inn with a fireplace in the parlor, hardwood floors, and a true feel of escaping with no television in the rooms, the Hotel Tabard Inn is an oasis in DC. Also located at Dupont Circle, you won’t feel the hustle and bustle of the nearby city life. A late eighteenth-century townhouse, the rooms have private or shared bathrooms and a full restaurant downstairs. Tabard Inn brunches are renowned in DC so be sure to try their homemade donuts that some of our guides wait weeks to get a reservation for!
While it’s on the higher end of our recommendations, the charm, location and restaurant make it a great choice.
Capitol Hill is more than just our government, it’s a residential neighborhood as well. The ever popular Eastern Market has weekend farmers markets and Barracks Row is home to some of the best locally owned restaurants. You’ll also be near the National Mall’s east end where the Air and Space Museum, National Gallery of Art, and Spy Museum are located.
Most of the Metro stations in this area on on the Blue, Orange, Silver line – like Capitol South and Eastern Market.
You’ll find this location is popular with lots of international groups so don’t be surprised to see many British high schoolers in the elevator! Located just steps from the Air an Space Museum and an easy walk to the Capitol, it is a great location. The hotel has a restaurant and bar as well as a Starbucks in the lobby.
William Penn House – 515 East Capitol St SE
A unique option, the William Penn House is a Quaker Meetinghouse that offers lodging in a great location. It’s more of a hostel in that there are shared rooms but a great way to meet other interested visitors to the city. Breakfast is included in the inexpensive room rates, but if you’re still hungry you can join us on our Eastern Market Dessert Tour just down the street. As it is a religious house, there are worship services but the Quaker house is open to all.
Union Station is the main transport hub in the city as a stop for Amtrak, MARC, Megabus and more. The Metro also has a red line stop here. The area around Union Station has become more developed with hotels, restaurants and bars.
This hostel offers up a fun and relaxing atmosphere for those looking to make a few new friends during their time in DC. There are many books, game and even a Wii console available for use. Also, Downtown Washington Hostel is located along H Street, perhaps DC’s hippest and most up and coming neighborhood. There are endless restaurants and bars in the area, though unfortunately no metro stations directly on H Street. However, Union Station — a hub for Amtrak, Metro, and many buses — is only 5 blocks from the hostel.
Literally across the street from Union Station and within walking distance to the Capitol, this is a great location. This historic hotel is considered a premier option but the rates are comparable to many other affordable hotels around the city. It has incredibly good reviews and is a great option for business travelers.
Not only is staying in Virginia less expensive than staying in DC, it is also a great area to explore. You’ll find many great restaurants in Rosslyn, which is an easy walk to Georgetown as well. Pentagon City is home to our nearest shopping mall and is across the street from the Pentagon. Crystal City has a walkable main street with lots of food options. And all of these hotels are on the same metro line as DCA Airport.
TIP: See our post Navigating the DC Metro to help you get to downtown DC from across the river.
There are so many hotels in Virginia that you can find anything from a Econolodge to a Marriott. What to keep in mind when looking at the various options is to find a hotel that is walking distance to a Metro station or offers a shuttle.
Arlington Virginia Hotels – this includes Pentagon City and Crystal City, as well as hotels near DCA Airport. Rossyln Metro Station and surrounding area is walkable from Georgetown and just a few Metro stations from the National Mall.
DISCOUNTS ON HOTEL PARKING:
One of the most frustrating expenses associated with staying at a hotel can be paying the outrageous prices that they charge you to store your car on the premises. If you’re driving into the city, it’s almost impossible to avoid these fees. Until now.
A popular service in DC called SpotHero enables drives to view all of the available parking options near their destination and see how much it might cost to park for any particular time period. You can even pay for a guaranteed space ahead of time online. While your hotel may charge upwards of $50 per night, you might find a garage through SpotHero right down the street for less than half the cost!
What’s more, these garages often offer discounts for booking online through SpotHero. Once you purchase your spot, SpotHero will email you a parking pass and make sure that a space is reserved at the garage. You can drive into DC knowing that a parking spot will be waiting for you, and that you saved a few bucks in the process!
You can save even more money by booking a spot at a garage outside the heart of the city, but close to a Metro stop. Simply drop the family off at the hotel, go park the car, and Metro back to the hotel. It takes a bit of work, but you’ll surely be outsmarting the crowd.