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Washington, DC

Best hotel near museums

I want to take my husband to Washington DC. We are into all the historic sites and museums especially the Smithsonian. Where should we stay so that we can see everything and not have to rent a car?

20 Answers

top answer by
Michael from Staten Island

I agree with the other comments that you should make sure you stay near a metro stop. However, I would recommend that it's in NW. The other quadrants are great, I live in SE, but for a vacation, it's best to stick to NW. If it's too pricey for ya, look at Arlington (Virginia), along the Orange line but don't go past the Ballston stop. Pentagon City and Crystal City have a lot of hotels and are both on the Blue and Yellow line. The only issue I have with those neighborhoods is that it's dead on the weekends and after 6pm during the week.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Arlington (Virginia) (city)
  2. Pentagon City (neighborhood)
  3. Crystal City (neighborhood)
16 thanks

answered by
David from Washington, DC

To stay closest to the Smithsonian and other monuments near the National Mall, look for hotels close to downtown around:

  1. Metro Center
  2. The White House
  3. L'Enfant Plaza 

Also keep in mind that the Mall is very accessible by Metro (Blue & Orange Lines) and taxis, so these other areas are a short trip to many of the museums and sites in downtown DC: 

  1. Walter E. Washington Convention Center
  2. Union Station 
  3. United States Capitol / Capitol Hill
  4. Foggy Bottom
  5. West End
  6. Historic Georgetown
  7. Rosslyn (across the Potomac in Virginia) 

Most of the Smithsonian Museums on the Mall are between 12th and 4th Streets between the Washington Monument and the Capitol, so check out the maps on the Smithsonian site to get a sense of where things are located:

There tends to be more neighborhood activity and nightlife in the evening as you move away from the Mall, especially near Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, the 14th & U Street NW Corridor, Historic Georgetown, and parts of downtown near Chinatown, and Capitol Hill. If you want to enjoy some of the many dining and theater options, look for a hotel closer to those areas. DC's attractions and nightlife hotspots are fairly compact, so don't be afraid to jump in a cab to explore!

DC is growing and changing all the time, and development has pushed East in a big way over the past decade. Neighborhoods such as U Street NoMa and the H Street Corridor are home to many new dining and nightlife options, you'll be surprised if you haven't visited in a few years!

Good luck, and have a nice trip!

UPDATE: Google has a cool new Hotel Search feature where you can search for hotels "x minutes" from a given location pin. This could be a good research tool to look for convenient hotels within your budget. When you've narrowed your search, zoom in to look for hotels near a metro stop, or check if the hotel offer a shuttle bus connection to metro.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Metro Center (attraction)
  2. The White House (attraction)
  3. L'Enfant Plaza (attraction)
  4. Walter E. Washington Convention Center (attraction)
  5. Union Station (attraction)
  6. United States Capitol (attraction)
  7. Foggy Bottom (attraction)
  8. West End (neighborhood)
  9. Historic Georgetown (attraction)
  10. Rosslyn (city)
  11. Washington Monument (attraction)
  12. Logan Circle (attraction)
  13. Dupont Circle (attraction)
  14. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  15. Capitol Hill (neighborhood)
  16. U Street (attraction)
  17. NoMa (neighborhood)
  18. H Street Corridor (attraction)
13 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Toni from Croatia

Hi Jessica,

As Richard said - DC metro is really convenient. Washington DC hotels can be expensive. You can get good deals in Crystal City and Pentagon City part of Northern Virginia.

National Cherry Blossom Festival ( is only weeks away so you might want to coordinate the trip around the Festival.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Virginia (state)
  2. Crystal City (neighborhood)
  3. Pentagon City (neighborhood)
9 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Richard from Owings Mills

Because hotels vary so much in price, I would recommend making sure that you get a hotel that is walking distance from a metro station.  The metro system in Washington, DC is very good and you can pretty much get around DC on the subway system.  Since it extends into Maryland and Virginia, you may be able to score some hotel deals on hotels a little further out and save some money.  You can visit the metro at to plan trips to different stops as they will tell you exactly how much fare will be needed for each trip.  I think they even have a map that may list some of the hotels that are very convenient.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Washington, DC (city)
  2. Maryland (state)
  3. Virginia (state)
8 thanks

answered by

We rented a great place via VRBO when we went to DC---we were within walking distance of the United States Capitol and Eastern Market, just a short walk to the train. It was great b/c we could spread out, eat breakfast at "home", and our cost was about the same as a nice hotel. Our home was gorgeous too. Our car never left its (free, came with the house) parking spot in the 5 days we were there. (here is the link to the house our family of five rented:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. United States Capitol (attraction)
  2. Eastern Market (attraction)
7 thanks

answered by
Bill from San Diego

Washington Court Hotel, 525 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington DC 20001

Phone # 202-879-7912 or 202-628-2100

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Washington Court Hotel (hotel)
5 thanks

answered by

There are many hotels in downtown DC, all of which are convenient to the museums and monuments.  Look for hotels in the area around the JW Marriott Hotel or near the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  This gives you two options in DC.  However, these hotels will be expensive. 

For a less-pricey option, try hotels in Crystal City, VA.  It's a short metro ride across the river and a very popular place for tourists to stay.  Rosslyn is another close-by location in Virginia.

To save even more money, look at hotels in Rockville, MD.  From there, the metro will take longer - about 30-40 minutes, and you'll have to use the airport shuttle to get to/from the metro station.  But you'll save a bundle.

For specific hotel recommendations in these areas, I'd recommend TripAdvisor.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. JW Marriott Hotel (hotel)
  2. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (attraction)
  3. Crystal City (neighborhood)
  4. Rosslyn (city)
  5. Rockville (city)
4 thanks

answered by
Angela from Houston, Texas

I stayed at the AKA White House last year.  It is blocks away from the Mall and White House.  We were in the middle of most of the points of interests.  It would be really great for families and groups.  The rooms are mini apartments.  It was only a couples of blocks from the Metro stop.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. AKA White House (hotel)
3 thanks

answered by
Ryan from Mount Airy (Maryland)

A few years back I went to DC to go to the museums and explore, and I stayed at the Omni Shoreham Hotel at Washington D.C.. It's a bit expensive, but compared to the other hotels it's not that bad- the Ritz-Carlton is $150 more a night. For the money you get a really nice hotel, with a restaurant that serves a great food, a convenience store, room service, and beautiful rooms; it's in the middle of DC so a taxi can take you anywhere (we walked mostly), but despite being in the city the hotel has a lot of outdoor room (like pools and gardens and areas to walk and get some fresh air). ...and the Beatles used to stay there; I just thought that was pretty cool. Hope that helped answer your question! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Omni Shoreham Hotel at Washington D.C. (hotel)
3 thanks

answered by

Stay somewhere near Smithsonian Metro. The neighborhoods to search for hotels in are Chinatown/ Gallery Place, National Archives, L'Enfant Plaza, Metro Center, or Capitol Hill. Also, be sure to check out the National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of American History -- two of the best!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Smithsonian (attraction)
  2. Chinatown (neighborhood)
  3. National Archives (attraction)
  4. L'Enfant Plaza (attraction)
  5. Metro Center (attraction)
  6. Capitol Hill (neighborhood)
  7. National Museum of American History (attraction)
  8. Gallery Place (attraction)
  9. National Museum of the American Indian (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Austin from Capitol Hill Neighborhood

No matter where you stay, you won't need a car to get around DC. It's an extremely walkable city and the public metro system is terrific. However, if you want to be close to the museums, I'd recommend Hotel Monaco.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hotel Monaco (hotel)
2 thanks

answered by
Brian from Baltimore

Dupont Circle is a great place to stay. Take the metro red line to the National Mall and see all of the Smithsonian museums for free. Then back to Dupont for some great restaurants at night. Chinatown would also be another option.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dupont Circle (attraction)
  2. National Mall (attraction)
  3. Chinatown (neighborhood)
2 thanks

answered by
Rebecca from Austin (Texas)

As long as you choose a hotel in or around one of the Smithsonian museums or a monument, you will be fine.  You can take the subway to historic sites and museums in and around that area.  It's easy transportation.

2 thanks

answered by
Alisa from Charleston (West Virginia)

Where ever you stay there is Metro. No car needed. I'd stay Old Town Alexandria or in the District Hotel Monaco

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Old Town Alexandria (neighborhood)
  2. Hotel Monaco (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Michael from New York City

Stay at the W Washington DC - best for a couple traveling sans kids who want to be in a lively neighborhood + walking access to everything.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. W Washington DC (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Laura from Atlanta

' The George' is a neat hotel in a great location.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. The George (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Shannon from Albuquerque

Hotel George Washington DC is a great place, close to the mall, great restaurant at a great price.  You can often find it on sites like Hotwire or Expedia.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hotel George Washington DC (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Sofia from Washington, DC

There are a lot of details that need to be taken into consideration when deciding where to stay in D.C. First, how much are you looking to spend (there are areas that are more expensive)? Also, I would look at the metro website ( to see the locations of the stops and then look for hotels in these areas. Everything is relatively in walking distance in D.C., so it really depends on what kind of experience you are hoping to have during your trip. One bit of advice: Founding Farmers is an awesome restaurant that I suggest you try.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Founding Farmers (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Lawrence from Washington

There are many hotels in DC that won't require you to rent a car as the Metro system is excellent. Try the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hyatt Regency Washington (hotel)
1 thanks

answered by
Kevin from Philadelphia

Anywhere in the NW quadrant would work. If you stay in Chinatown it won't break the budget and it's where the most popular train lines connect. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chinatown (neighborhood)
1 thanks

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