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ADAMS MORGAN

Inns and bed-and-breakfasts are far more common than hotels in Adams Morgan. In fact, only one hotel lies truly inside Adams Morgan boundaries, the Line. I’ve also listed the Normandy, which technically is situated in the Kalorama neighborhood (where the Obamas now live), but is geographically close to Adams Morgan (a 5-minute walk eastward, crossing Connecticut Ave.).

Best for: Travelers who want to stay “in” the city but not downtown.

Drawbacks: The closest Metro stops (Dupont Circle and Woodley Park) are each about half a mile away.

ON OR NEAR CAPITOL HILL

For proximity to the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and other Capitol Hill attractions, the hotels in this section can’t be beat. We've included the one hotel that’s truly located on the Hill and two others that lie due north of the Capitol, a quick walk away. Union Station (both the Amtrak station and Metro stop) is here, right across the street from two of the hotels and not far from the other.

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Best for: Travelers who have business at the Capitol and tourists whose priority is visiting the Capitol, its sister sites, and the Capitol Hill neighborhood, while staying within easy reach of other attractions throughout the city.

Drawbacks: These neighborhoods are in the thick of things during the day, but not so much at night.

MIDTOWN

Think of the White House as center stage, with an array of hotels, law and lobbyist office buildings, and restaurants at its feet. Several historic hotels, as well as less sophisticated, more affordable, contemporary properties, are among the options.

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Best for: Travelers interested in a central location that’s less raucous than the Penn Quarter at night. Also those on business with the executive branch or at one of the law, lobbying, or association offices that line K Street.

Drawbacks: Urban sounds (traffic, construction, garbage collection) may be part of the experience.

CAPITOL RIVERFRONT

About 1 mile south of the U.S. Capitol is this southeast riverside enclave where development has been going full throttle ever since the 2008 opening of the Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium, Nationals Park. (The Southwest Waterfront lies due west of the Capitol Riverfront, a single Metro stop away on the Green Line.) The Courtyard by Marriott Capitol Hill/Navy Yard, the sole hotel here for a decade, now has three rivals, including the current favorite, Hampton Inn & Suites Washington DC-Navy Yard. 

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Best for: Those with business on Capitol Hill or visitors who want to experience a young and vibrant waterfront neighborhood located just south, but within easy reach, of the city’s core. And during baseball season, baseball fans!

Drawbacks: Sights and sounds of construction will continue on these streets for many years to come.

DUPONT CIRCLE

This neighborhood of quaint town houses and beautiful embassies, bistro restaurants, art galleries, and bars is home to more hotels than any other neighborhood in the city. Boutique hotels reign supreme, though several chains have outposts here, too.

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Best for: Travelers who love a city scene minus the office buildings. Also for gay and lesbian visitors, since Dupont Circle is LGBT Central.

Drawbacks: If you have business on Capitol Hill or in the Penn Quarter, this might not be your first choice, since there are plenty of closer options.

FOGGY BOTTOM/WEST END

This section of town is halfway between the White House and Georgetown; Foggy Bottom lies south of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the West End north. Together the neighborhoods are home to town-house–lined streets, the George Washington University, International Monetary Fund offices, World Bank headquarters, and mostly all-suites and upscale lodging choices.

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Best for: Parents visiting their kids at GW, international business travelers, and those who desire proximity to the Kennedy Center, also located here.

Drawbacks: Around 11,500 undergraduate students attend GW and sometimes make their presence known throughout the Foggy Bottom neighborhood in ways you’d rather they wouldn’t. On the flip side, the West End might seem too quiet if you like being where the action is.

GEORGETOWN

Bustling day and night with shoppers and tourists, Georgetown’s handful of hotels range from the city’s most sublime accommodations to one that I believe offers one of the best values in town.

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Best for: Shopaholics, tourists, and parents, students, and academics visiting Georgetown University.

Drawbacks: Crowds throng sidewalks; cars snarl traffic daily. College kids and 20-somethings party hearty here nightly, but especially on weekends.

GLOVER PARK

North of Georgetown, south of the Washington National Cathedral, Glover Park is a residential neighborhood of family homes and group houses for Georgetown and American University students, all of whom gather at the bars and low-priced eateries that line the main drag, Wisconsin Avenue. The couple of hotels located here are unfancy and moderately priced.

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Best For: Visiting professors and parents of college-age children at nearby American, George Washington, and Georgetown universities; those on business at area embassies; and families on vacation.

Drawbacks: Glover Park has public bus transportation, but no Metro stop.

NATIONAL MALL

Several neighborhoods bordering the National Mall are less than a mile away, an easy walk, from the Mall, including the Penn Quarter to the north and Capitol Hill to the east. Closest of all is the neighborhood immediately to the south, across Independence Avenue from the National Mall. The streets in this southwest quadrant of the city have long been home to government buildings and old residences, joined gradually over the last 15 years or so by a smattering of hotels and other developments. In addition to the phalanx of Smithsonian museums and other Mall sites, area attractions include the International Spy Museum, newly relocated here in 2019, the Museum of the Bible, and the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum. Affordable family-oriented properties predominate, with the Mandarin Oriental hotel offering a more luxurious option. 

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Best for: Travelers who want to be as close as possible to the National Mall, as well as within easy access to Capitol Hill. 

Drawbacks: You’re in the thick of things during the day, but these streets shut down at night. You will need to travel elsewhere in the city for restaurants, nightlife, urban liveliness. You should also be aware that passenger and freight trains run on tracks that lie close to all of the hotels in this neighborhood, so ask for a room away from the train-track side of the hotel for maximum quiet.

PENN QUARTER

At the center of the city is this hot locale, jammed with restaurants, bars, museums, theaters, the Capital One Arena, and the posh CityCenterDC shopping arcade. Hotels include modern venues catering to convention crowds, historic properties switched up for luxury-loving funseekers, and one of D.C.’s new pod hotels.

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Best for: Those who love being in the thick of it all. Business travelers are within easy reach of downtown offices, the convention center, and Capitol Hill. Likewise, the Penn Quarter is a prime home base for tourists, with attractions within its boundaries and the National Mall just across Pennsylvania Avenue.

Drawbacks: Crowded sidewalks and noisy traffic can be annoying—and sometimes even overwhelming.

SHAW

Shaw is now home to several hotels, including the city’s largest, with 1,175 rooms: the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., adjacent to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Only one hotel, the Cambria Hotel & Suites, is located in the very heart of the historic neighborhood.

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Best for: Travelers who are attending a conference or event at the convention center or are visiting nearby Howard University. Also: those who enjoy an urban residential feel and prefer to be within walking distance of nighttime attractions over sightseeing venues. 

Drawbacks: The city’s major attractions, from Capitol Hill to the National Mall, are at least a mile away. In addition, there’s a lot of construction going on, so be prepared for building sights and sounds and road obstructions.

SOUTHWEST WATERFRONT

Arena Stage, boating activities, and fish markets have long been the main reasons anyone, out-of-towner or local, might visit this neighborhood located on the Washington Channel, south of the downtown. The debut of the Wharf complex in October 2017 reinvented the quarter overnight, adding many more reasons to visit: live music venues, restaurants and bars, tons of watersports and other outdoor recreational activities, shops, and three hotels, all strewn along the picturesque waterfront. In spring, summer, and fall, day and night, the place is lively—crazy lively on the loveliest days. On cold days and in winter, however, the neighborhood can seem quiet and out of the way. But you’re less than a mile south of the National Mall, and a free shuttle travels continuously daily, connecting the Wharf, Metro stations, and the Mall. Water jitneys and water taxis travel the waterfront, taking you to and from Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria, or National Harbor in Maryland.

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Best for: Those who prefer water views and activities over city views and vibes, and for anyone wanting to experience D.C.’s newest trendy neighborhood. 

Drawbacks: The Wharf’s location, between Maine Street and the waterfront, limits its access, which can create traffic nightmares when there’s a lot going on in the city and at the Wharf itself. Insufficient and/or poorly placed signage can make travel confusing; be sure to get precise directions from your hotel. Ongoing construction also interferes with traffic and scenery as the Wharf works on Phase 2 of the development, scheduled for completion in 2022.

U & 14TH STREET CORRIDORS

Hotels abound in nearby Dupont Circle and downtown, but in the U & 14th Street Corridors proper, only one hotel truly can claim to be in the neighborhood.

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Best for: Travelers who prefer to stay close to the buzziest restaurants, bars, and clubs than to cultural attractions.

Drawbacks: Sometimes the party never ends! (Especially in pleasant weather when the hotel’s rooftop lounge itself is a nightlife destination.)

WOODLEY PARK

This Connecticut Avenue–centered upper northwest enclave is a residential neighborhood of little stores and restaurants, the National Zoo, and two of Washington’s biggest hotels.

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Best for: Families who like a tamer experience than found downtown and proximity to Rock Creek Park and the zoo. Travelers interested in lodging that lies close to nightlife hotspots but not actually in their neighborhood (Adams Morgan is a quick stroll east of the hotel, over the Duke Ellington Bridge). Business travelers and other groups requiring a big hotel without a convention ambience.

Drawbacks: This area may be a little too quiet for some, especially at night.

 

 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.