As local DC tour guides who offer budget-friendly walking tours, we know a thing or two about visiting DC on a budget.
We've put together this list of best budget hotels and hostels in Washington DC based on suggestions from guests in our Washington DC Travel Tips Facebook Group, as well as where we have been seeing our tour guests stay.
It's a common request that we get once someone books a walking tour with us. "Could you help me find an affordable hotel?"
Our group is comprised of locals, like our tour guides, veteran Washington, D.C. visitors, as well as newbies to the city.
You don't need to be a member in order to read the posts, comments, and suggestions. You'll find guests reporting back on where they've stayed and their experiences in different hotels in DC.
So, check the group out when you are finished reading this post.
HOW TO FIND CHEAP ACCOMMODATION IN DC
Generally speaking, the most popular destination 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. With the exception of a few places in Virginia, these hotels are not walkable to the main attractions in downtown DC like the Washington Monument. And if you are out late, you will need to take a taxi or know when is the last train.
Something to keep in mind when looking for cheap hotels in DC is that they will have fewer amenities.
If you're looking for an outdoor pool, indoor pool, rooftop bar, business center, gym, spa, or room service, you may not find them at some of the less expensive hotels.
What is the average hotel room cost in DC?
A lot of this depends on when you're visiting! Hotels during the Cherry Blossom Festival in Spring will be more expensive than in January.
The average hotel room in DC is $200 per night according to Kayak.com. It is a myth that hotel prices change depending on the time of day.
But, if you're looking to get the best deal it is cheaper to get a hotel room much closer to your trip than you expect.
Hotel prices are generally cheaper the same week of travel!
You'll also save if you check in on a Sunday rather than mid-week.
Look into hostels and bed and breakfasts for an affordable price and comfort.
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.
It's also good to check which hotels have free wifi, a 24-hour fitness center, late check-out, allow pets, and other amenities.
We also recommend finding a hotel that has free cancellation.
Some resources to help you find budget hotels:
Downtown Washington DC can be 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, and 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 - HOTEL HARRINGTON IS CLOSING IN DEC 2023!
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.
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.
As the former home of the Kennedys, Georgetown is a high-end neighborhood with several 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.
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 who stay here with wonderful things to say about the staff and location.
Dupont Circle has a number of boutique hotels and a great nightlife 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 Circle, as well as the Circulator bus line.
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 to Georgetown.
Newly renovated and right on Embassy Row, this hotel comes with one of the only rooftop pool bars in the city.
With a kitchen with homemade gin drinks great food downstairs and beautiful views, you might not want to leave.
This hotel offers a great location as a 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!
This Washington DC bed and breakfast in hip northwest DC is accessible by public bus and a 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!
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.
Most of the Metro stations in this area are on the Blue, Orange, and 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 and 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.
A unique option, Friends Place 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.
There are not a lot of hotels on Capitol Hill because it is a residential neighborhood, so a popular option for this area is a house or apartment rental from AirBNB / VRBO.
These offer the benefit of proximity to places like the Capitol building, great location restaurants, free wi-fi and spacious rooms.
- Capitol Hill & Library of Congress Walking Tour
- How to Get Tickets to the Capitol
- Visitor's Guide to Supreme Court
- Library of Congress Self-Guided Tour
- Eastern Market
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 a fun and relaxing atmosphere for those looking to make a few new friends during their time in DC.
There are many books, games, 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, but 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. All of these hotels are on the same metro line as DCA Airport.
What to keep in mind when looking at the various options is to find a hotel that is within walking distance of a Metro station or offers a shuttle.
There are so many hotels in Virginia that you can find anything from an Econolodge to a Marriott.
Arlington Virginia Hotels - this includes Pentagon City and Crystal City, as well as hotels near DCA Airport.
Rosslyn Metro Station and the surrounding area are walkable from Georgetown and just a few Metro stations from the National Mall.