Do DC like a local!
So you're headed to DC, BUT where do you stay? What neighborhood or area of town is best? When you come to DC there are many places that you could choose to stay! DC has it's fair share of hotels ranging from the The Capital Hilton (located behind the White House) to some really cool boutique hotels, like the Watergate Hotel. Both are beautiful and you can find one in just about any area of town depending on what you are hoping to get out of your DC experience. Below are a few of my personal suggestions about where to stay so as to help you out as you are figuring out the details of your trip!
Hotels are great and I will share one of my favorites in this post, but if you aren't sure about staying in a hotel during your visit thats OK! By no means do you have to! DC has a LARGE selection of places you can rent right off of Air bnb and they range from single rooms to large homes that have 8 bedrooms right in the heart of town. We have done at one point or another all of these options for ourselves and our guests when they were in town.
My go to when looking for a place to stay is renting homes in DC because it let's you do life as the locals do for a few days. You walk out your front door and you are a part of the neighborhood, you can walk to the shops around the corner and grab coffee at the coffee shop right down the way. PLUS DC homes have SOO much character as a lot of older homes and cities do!
One of the places we rented was for my daughters first birthday, and we rented a home on Capitol Hill right near Lincoln Park (which I referenced in last weeks DC guide) and it used to be a bed and breakfast but was bought and turned into a single family home. It had so much character and we ended up nicknaming it the Antique House Roadshow because it was FULL of old antiques in every room and it was just so fun to walk through the house and look at everything the owners had collected and put in this house. We rented it for the weekend and it made an excellent location to host Aila's birthday party. It ended up raining that day so we have plenty of space inside to accommodate everyone as well as a sunroom off the back of the house so you could somewhat be outside if you wanted. We have always been big fans of "staycations" as people call them, and doing something fun and different in our own town! We love how it allows you to experience a new part of town as if you lived there and did it everyday. We rented places of all sizes while living in DC and this is just one example of what you can find through Air bnb!
BUT again there are many hotels that are beautiful and will meet all your needs for your trip to DC. One of my personal favorites is The Watergate Hotel.
I love history no matter what it is and so staying in this hotel was exciting to me because of its story. It is located in the stretch of Watergate buildings along the Potomac River and is absolutely stunning! My daughter and I stayed there for a mother/daughter getaway and were so impressed with the staff. They had amazing customer service and were so incredibly attentive to whatever we may have needed.
The room we stayed in was very comfortable, clean and modern/up to date. I also really loved how our room door was not right off the hallway. The doors connected to the main hallway open up to an entry way where there are two rooms inside. This was great because even though we were near the elevators you couldn't hear any hallway noise because your room was set back so far from the hallway. Parking isn't the easiest in DC period and hotels are no exception but they have valet for you right as you drive up and then you can come and go as you please never having to deal with all the parking time limits and such.
All in all I would highly recommend The Watergate Hotel for it's beauty, history, customer service, and all around services!
As far as what areas of town to start looking in, there are so many amazing spots to stay! I would first decide what it is you want to do most and then start looking nearby so as to cut down on your travel time whether by car or public transportation. If you are going to spend most of your time doing the museums, memorials, and things of that nature then I suggest staying downtown or up on Capitol Hill. This will put you within walking distance of some things and an easy hop onto public transport for everything else. DC has amazing public transportation and can get you just about anywhere! The other plus of using public transportation is you do not have to deal with parking because parking can be intense between all the traffic and rush hours where the parking availability changes.
If you do not mind being away from the National Mall then Georgetown or NW in general is very beautiful and has a lot to offer from restaurants, shopping, coffee shops, splash pads & playgrounds, parks, etc... (Embassy Row, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, National Cathedral, Tenleytown).
Another great spot that we have liked staying in is NE DC over near H Street. This part of town feels like city DC and there is always a lot going on and filled with fun restaurants, an outdoor market on the weekends, and more playgrounds and parks. It also has a cafe that I am a big fan of... (Big Bear Cafe). I will give you all the details on that place in our next post!
Again... you can stay just about anywhere and get around with either the Metro, bus, or using something like Uber. DC is full of Uber drivers and it takes no time at all to get one to scoop you up and navigate through all the traffic for you! Why drive yourself when the locals who know the city by heart will drive for you??!
DC has some really cool spots that boarder it as well in Virginia and Maryland like Arlington, Crystal City, Alexandria, National Harbor, Bethesda and Silver Spring. If you have time while you are visiting these are great spots to visit as well. I won't be going into much detail about these spots in this travel guide but I wanted you to be aware of them and know that they were all places that we frequented while living in DC as well!
I hope that this weeks addition of our DC travel guide has been helpful and I am excited for next weeks as I share more spots to go in the DC neighborhoods with you all!
Leave us some comments below letting us know how you are enjoying this guide or if you have any specific questions that I could potentially cover for you in the next post!