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Hotels & Airbnbs to Stay at in Washington DC

for First Time Visitors

Updated: February 6, 2024

Unless you're visiting friends or family, picking a place to stay is one of the most important parts of planning a trip to Washington, DC. As the nation's capital and tourist destination, there are A. LOT. to choose from.

Luckily, we've worked with thousands of visitors to DC and have a list of places we recommend you check out that have gotten 5 stars from our tour guests for location, amenities, service and more.

Recommended Hotels...

FOR FAMILIES: Capitol Hill Hotel

NEAR THE NATIONAL MALL: Hilton DC National Mall or the Madison Hotel

IN GEORGETOWN: The Georgetown Inn


IN THE SUBURBS: Residence Inn/Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel 

We list the most popular places to stay based on our experience in DC and a few tips on choosing your own below.

How We’ve Organized Our Recommendations 

Our hotel recommendations are arranged by neighborhood, both in and outside the city.

First, we explain a bit about the area, what makes it unique, and who might enjoy staying there.

We list some of the nearby attractions and museums in that neighborhood. 

We then break down hotels into price ranges:

  • Budget (under $200 per night)
  • Mid-Range ($200 - $300 per night)
  • Expensive (more than $300 per night)

Note that we do not include DC occupancy tax of 14.95% or resort fees that may be added to your stay in our price brackets. 

Lastly, we recommend some of the best places to stay in Washington, DC for families, for easy transportation options, nightlife, and quiet neighborhoods.

TIP: If you are on a tight budget, take a look at our post on Budget Accommodations in Washington DC.

Why Trust Our Advice?

Why should you rely on our information? Because we speak with tourists every day during our walking tours. 

They tell us what they like and don’t like about their accommodations around the city. Some rave and some rant.

We listen and then share what they tell us with our readers.

We learn even more from the hundreds of detailed comments and recommendations from visitors on our Washington DC Travel Tips Facebook group which has over 28,000 members!

These comments are filled with up-to-date hotel recommendations with detailed information from actual hotel guests.

Click the link to join the conversation.

Where To Stay In Washington DC By Neighborhood

Below are some of the best hotels to stay in Washington, DC selected from popular neighborhoods.

We also include hotels in nearby Virginia and Maryland. 

There are many other great hotels in lots of neighborhoods in DC, but we can't cover them all here.

For more recommendations, join our Travel Tips Facebook Group

Hotels Outside of the City

If you’re looking for a less expensive option when visiting Washington D.C., consider staying outside the borders of the city itself.

Areas like Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring in Maryland, and Alexandria, Clarendon, and Pentagon City in Virginia have numerous hotels and fairly easy access to the city via public transit, cycling, or rideshare.

Rosslyn, Pentagon City, and Crystal City are all neighborhoods (with correspondingly named Metro stations) in the city of Arlington, Virginia.

Crystal City Virginia

Crystal City is perfect for this. You can often find relatively inexpensive hotels with spacious rooms and helpful amenities.

Breakfast, room service, and free shuttles to and from the nearby Metro station or the airport are not uncommon.

Crystal City is close to historic Alexandria, Ronald Reagan Airport, and Pentagon City, as well as just a short Metro trip from D.C.

It also has a lot of food options.

If you’re traveling northbound to the D.C. area via Amtrak, some trains stop in Alexandria at a station right by the King Street Metro station.



  • Le Méridien Arlington
  • Crystal City Marriott
  • Residence Inn Ballston
  • Embassy Suites Chevy Chase


  • Ritz Carlton Pentagon City

Attractions within Walking Distance

National Harbor, Maryland

This is often included as a suggestion on where to stay outside the city, but we don't recommend it if you're really trying to pack a lot into your DC stay.

National Harbor is pretty far from the city and does not have easy access to public transportation.

It's its own city itself with numerous restaurants, activities, the Capitol Wheel, public art, and events - this makes it great for a day escape from museums.

But we wouldn't suggest making it a base for a trip to DC! If you do decide this is the place for you, though, read our post on how to get to and from downtown DC.

National Mall (Southwest Washington, DC)

Something to keep in mind is that the National Mall is HUGE. It is 2 miles (3.2 km) long.

Now you won't be able to stay on the National Mall, but several hotels are within walking distance, and one popular area is Southwest DC.

Southwest DC includes area names such as Federal Center, Capitol South, The Wharf, and Southwest Waterfront.

Due to the number of Metro stations in this area, you may find a hotel that is walkable to the Green Lines and the Blue/Orange/Silver lines to make it easier to get anywhere.

This area is good for: Everyone! This area is popular with everyone - families like the access to nearby museums, younger couples like the vibe of the Wharf, and those looking for luxury can find it at the Salamander!

These areas are less residential and are occupied on workdays by federal government employees.

That means there may not be many evening or weekend amenities. But you'll be an easy walk to many of the major sites in DC.

Just south of this area is the Wharf, which will be a little bit of a further walk but is going to have more nightlife to it.

The area is well-served by Metro trains and buses.


While this hotel is a little further north of the National Mall, it's a great option if you're looking for a more spacious room (the hotel was recently renovated) and a nice hotel bar/restaurant.  This hotel  is only a couple blocks walk to McPherson Square Metro and less than 15 minutes by cab/Uber/Lyft to most major sites.  There are some very good restaurants nearby - Grazie Nonna, Dauphine's, Little Chicken, and Bozzelli's.

Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in this area.


  • Hyatt Place
  • Residence Inn


  • citizenM
  • WhyHotel
  • Holiday Inn
  • Hyatt House at the Wharf
  • Canopy at the Wharf


  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Hilton Washington DC

Attractions within Walking Distance

For more things to do in the area and restaurant recommendations, read our guide to the National Mall.

National Mall (West Side) | Foggy Bottom

The other half of the National Mall is made up of memorials.

Many of the hotels in this area will be in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. This is where George Washington University is located as well.

Since half the neighborhood is a college campus, there will be more cheap and quick restaurants.

Washington Monument | National Mall

This area is served by the Foggy Bottom - GWU Metro Station on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.

This area is good for: Travelers who want easy access to Georgetown without payment Georgetown rates find this location appealing.

You'll be able to walk to the memorials and this area is also close to Georgetown.

Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in the National Mall area and set filters.


  • Hotel Hive
  • State Plaza Hotel
  • 2500 Penn
  • West End Tapestry by Hilton


  • The River Inn
  • Fairmont
  • Westin Marriott
Review from Guest in our Facebook Group | Washington DC Travel Tips & Hacks


  • Watergate Hotel
  • Park Hyatt
  • Ritz Carlton

Attractions within Walking Distance

For more things to do in the area and restaurant recommendations, read our guide to the National Mall.

Capitol Hill | Navy Yard

Capitol Hill is both the place where Congress works and the neighborhood behind it.

This is a great local neighborhood for families or to enjoy cafes, bookstores, and outdoor markets.

As you get closer to the Potomac River, the neighborhood becomes Navy Yard where you'll find Nationals Park, and Yards Park.

The southern half of Capitol Hill neighborhood (where most of the hotel options are) is close to the Capitol South and Eastern Market metro stations on the Blue/Orange/Silver lines.

Heading toward Navy Yard, you'll find stations on the Green Line.

District Donuts on Barracks Row on Capitol Hill

This area is good for: Families! The number of family-friendly activities and restaurants here make this a popular location for families.

But also anyone who is looking to get more of a hometown feel of Washington, DC.

This is a very welcoming neighborhood and a great place to meet locals. The newer and more modern Navy Yard area is popular with younger business travelers.

Capitol Hill is home to Eastern Market, one of the original markets in the city. You'll find farmer's markets, flea markets and lots of great local restaurants.

Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in the Capitol Hill area and set filters.


  • Capitol Hill Hotel


  • AC Hotel
  • Homewood Suites
  • Thompson Washington DC
  • Hampton Inn

Attractions within Walking Distance

  • Eastern Market
  • Yards Park
  • Nationals Park

For more things to do in the area and restaurant recommendations, read our guide to the National Mall.

White House | Downtown | Chinatown

There are a lot of hotels downtown near the White House and in the neighborhoods surrounding Chinatown.

Downtown is a subjective term in Washington DC - different groups and maps label it differently, and there is no centralized downtown.

We're grouping areas north and east of the White House together.

The swankier hotels are east along Pennsylvania Avenue or north on 16th Street Northwest and are more budget-friendly options as you get further northeast of the White House near the Mount Vernon metro station.

As expected the closer you are to the main sites, the fancier the hotel.


This hotel is all about location, location, location.  You can walk to the White House, Washington Monument, several Smithsonian museums, Ford's Theatre, and much more in 10 minutes or less.  It's also close to Metro Center (a major Metro hub) and several popular downtown restaurants.

Waldorf Astoria Hotel | Downtown DC

The exception to this in this neighborhood is the historic Hotel Harrington - great price and location, few amenities, and while perfectly nice, would not be considered upscale. (note this hotel is closing in December 2023. We really hope that changes!)

You'll be able to walk to many of the museums like the National Portrait Gallery or attractions like Ford's Theatre.

Or if you're attending a Capitals hockey or Wizards basketball game at Capital One Arena.

You'll find this area gets quiet at night when federal workers go home. There are some restaurants but not a lot of nightlife.

Review from guest in our Facebook Group l Washington DC Travel Tips & Hacks

This area is good for: Location!

This area is popular with travelers looking for luxury hotels and those who don't mind paying extra for a good location but aren't looking for late-night entertainment.

Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in the Downtown area and set filters.


  • Capitol Hilton
  • Architect
  • Club Quarters
  • Hotel Zena
  • Hotel Harrington (note this hotel is closing in December 2023. We really hope that changes!)


  • Grand Hyatt
  • Sofitel
  • Hampton Inn


  • Hay-Adams
  • The Willard Hotel
  • Waldorf-Astoria at the Old Post Office
  • Hamilton Hotel
  • Hotel Washington
  • Riggs Hotel
  • Washington Marriott

Attractions within Walking Distance

Dupont Circle | Embassy Row

This area of DC is a perfect mix of neighborhood, nightlife, and history. One of the cities' best late-night eats, Kramer's is in Dupont Circle.

North of the circle is Embassy Row. It's a very DC thing to say you stayed next to a historic mansion that now houses the Indonesian Embassy.

Embassy Row

Like most neighborhoods, Dupont Circle is the name of the area but also the Metro station located there.

Dupont Circle is on the red line - good for quick access to sites downtown or the National Zoo.

This area is good for: This neighborhood is popular with younger couples and single travellers who want nightlife but also families who want to get to the Zoo and the Museums easily.

You can take our Embassy Row tour to learn more about the neighborhood, too.

Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in the Dupont Circle area and set filters.


  • The Ven at Embassy Hotel
  • The Baron Hotel
  • Tabard Inn


  • Oakwood Suites
  • The Dupont Circle Hotel
  • Residence Inn
  • Yours Truly


  • Mansion on O
  • Courtyard Marriott

Attractions within Walking Distance

For more things to do in the area and restaurant recommendations, read our Embassy Row.


Georgetown is technically part of Washington DC but it feels a world apart. There is so much in this neighborhood that we offer four tours of Georgetown!

This historic neighborhood is older than downtown and has a very colonial / European vibe.

There is no Georgetown Metro station but the walk to Foggy Bottom or Rosslyn (both on Blue/Orange/Silver lines) is only 15 minutes.

The neighborhood is also served by many buses and a unique way to get around - the water taxi!

Historic Georgetown | C&O Canal

This area is good for: Older couples. Georgetown is popular with couples traveling without children. It has a sophisticated vibe and requires a walk to get to any metro station.

Since Georgetown is a neighborhood, you'll have late-night restaurants and cafe breakfasts.

Georgetown has nightlife on the main streets of Wisconsin Ave and M St NW but also quiet sections of the neighborhoods.

Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in the Georgetown area and set filters.


  • The Georgetown Inn


  • The Graham
  • The Avery


  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Four Seasons
  • Rosewood

Attractions within Walking Distance

  • Exorcist Steps
  • Tudor Place
  • Dumbarton House
  • Dumbarton Oaks

For more things to do in the area and restaurant recommendations, read our guide to Georgetown.

Old Town Alexandria

Like National Harbor, this is a bit far to make it a home base for a busy trip, but like Georgetown, this historic neighborhood is older than downtown and has a very colonial / European vibe.

The port town offers a lot to do without having to make your way into DC and is very popular with older couples who don't plan on running around the city anyways.

Old Town Alexandria has a much slower pace than Washington, DC and the hotels are often high-end and historic.

It is located on the Yellow line to get into downtown Washington DC so while it is a longer ride than if you were staying in Crystal City, it is still very easy to get to DC.

Alexandria has nightlife on the main streets - Washington Street and King Street, but also quiet sections of the neighborhoods.

Recommended Hotels

You can also view all hotels in the Alexandria area and set filters.


  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hilton Old Town
  • Residence Inn


  • Hotel Indigo
  • Morrison House
  • The Alexandrian

By our pricing structure, there are no hotels in Alexandria that regularly charge over $300 a night but that is mostly due to its location outside Washington, DC.

The hotels listed in Mid-Range are mostly 4-5 star luxury hotels.

Attractions within Walking Distance

Best Places To Stay In Washington DC For Families

There are a few tips that apply to any budget and location when looking for family-friendly hotels.

It's a good idea to stay somewhere close to a Metro station so you can get to and from attractions without too much walking.

If you want to save money on food, look for a hotel with a kitchenette.

Many families are looking for extra amenities like pools for a break from the museums. We have a list of hotels with pools below!

Hotels in neighborhoods are going to be close to Metros, likely have local playgrounds, and be more welcoming to families.

Recommended Hotels 

  • Hyatt House at the Wharf - larger rooms and kitchenettes
  • Capitol Hill Hotel - kitchenettes, kids' activities
  • Homewood Suites - a full kitchen, adjourning room, and free breakfast!
  • Omni Shoreham Hotel - within walking distance to the Zoo, rooftop pool, and kids' activities.

Check out our post on things to do with kids in Washington DC

DC Hotels With Special Features

Choosing a hotel is more than just picking a location. The amenities hotels have to offer are important considerations.

Below are recommended hotels that meet some of the most frequent features people seek when deciding where to stay in DC.

Where To Stay In DC For Peace And Quiet

  • Hotel Hive (Foggy Bottom)
  • Churchill Hotel (Embassy Row / Dupont Circle)
  • Melrose Hotel (Georgetown)
  • Capitol Hill Hotel (Capitol Hill)

Where To Stay in DC that has Free Parking

There are NO hotels in downtown DC that offer free parking! But you can find some good hotels just outside the city that are still Metro accessible.

  • American Inn (Bethesda, Maryland)
  • Club Wyndham (Old Town Alexandria, Virginia)
  • Comfort Inn Ballston (Ballston, Virginia)

Where To Stay in DC that has a Pool

  • Hotel Zena (White House)
  • The Watergate (Foggy Bottom)
  • Omni Shorem (Woodley Park/Zoo)
  • Hyatt Regency (Capitol Hill)
  • Yotel (Capitol Hill)

Tips For Choosing A Hotel In DC

  • Think about whether you want to pay extra to stay inside the city or if you're okay with commuting to save some money. Hotels in Virginia are literally across the river but can save you lots of money. But you will need to deal with a rush hour or just the fact that you won't be able to walk to any of the attractions.
  • Pick a hotel near a metro station. Don’t add extra walking time to your day of DC exploration. If this is your first visit to DC, you may find our post on navigating the DC Metro helpful.
  • If you are traveling in a big group (over four people), make sure that the hotel offers rooms that can accommodate your entire group. Otherwise, you may have to book two rooms. In that case, remember to request that the rooms be next to each other, or even adjoining rooms.
  • Decide if you want to stay near attractions and museums in the federal core or in a neighborhood. Neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown are going to offer a homey vibe, great places to eat, and a chance to get a taste of DC life. But if you want to stay downtown near the museums, it's better to stay in the federal core around the White House and Smithsonian.
  • Look into booking your hotel through a website like See why we like below.
  • If you don't want to stay at a hotel, consider using a service such as Trusted Housesitting to find a nice place to stay without worrying too much about the price!

Benefits of Using

Of all the online hotel booking companies, our pick is to find the best places to stay in DC. Here’s what we like about them.

  1. Free cancellations! Most rooms allow you to cancel, without any penalty, even up until the day of your arrival. You get a full refund! 
  2. The price you see is the price you pay. Do look to see if local tax is excluded - some cities have high local hotel taxes - so you will want to make sure you see the total price before booking.
  3. Their loyalty program, Genius, is great! After you book a certain number of hotel stays, you get discounts on hotel prices, free breakfasts, and other perks. It is free to create an account.
  4.’s app is awesome. This user-friendly app has your confirmation information, so no need to print anything. Manage your booking through the app. You can even chat with your booked hotel through the app.
  5. They have a price match guarantee. If you do find a cheaper rate, will match it. Though you will need to show proof of the lower price you found elsewhere.
  6. Over 93 Million Reviews! Unbiased reviews help you decide what hotel is good for you.

About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Follow On Instagram | I'm a historian & tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. I have written for HuffPost Travel and have been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. I've also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. I am the producer of the podcast, Tour Guide Tell All. I am an authority on D.C. history, and have led tours in the city since 2011. I currently resides in DC, but have also lived in London and South Korea, and have traveled to over 28 countries and every US State but Hawaii. I homeschool my 2 children by exploring the plethora of museums in DC. Read More...
Updated: February 6th, 2024
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