Where to stay in Washington DC: best areas and neighborhoodsOpen Index
vThe capital of the United States is an amazing city. Forget the tall skyscrapers of New York, the concrete and the confusion, Washington is surrounded by greenery, with wonderful parks and is great for cycling. The central district is Downtown, the financial heart of the city, and marvellous residential districts develop all around it.
Are you planning a trip to the American capital? Here are our tips on where to sleep in Washington.
Useful tips: the best neighbourhoods to stay in Washington DC
If you only have a few days to visit Washington DC or it's your first time in the city, the best neighbourhood to stay is Downtown, the heart of the capital, a few steps from the White House and the National Mall, where the main monuments are located. It is, of course, also the most expensive area of the city. If you want to stay here but are on a budget, the small neighbourhood of Chinatown is located near Downtown, with more affordable prices.
If you are looking for nightlife, opt for Georgetown or Dupont Circle. The first is located slightly outside, connected to the centre only by buses, but it is a very characterful young university district. Dupont Circle is located just north of Downtown and is the nightlife district of Washington and offers various accommodation at affordable prices.
In addition to Downtown, if you are traveling with your family you can opt for the Foggy Bottom or Capitol Hill neighbourhoods, both close to the National Mall, very quiet, well served by public transport and close to the main attractions.
- Recommended areas to stay on a budget: Chinatown, Dupont Circle
- Recommended areas for families with children: Downtown, Foggy Bottom, Capitol Hill
- Recommended areas for young people: Georgetown, Dupont Circle
- Best accommodation: we have selected the best hotels, B&Bs and hostels in Washington DC. Check out our recommendations and make your reservation on Booking
If you are in Washington DC for business or as a one-day stopover to other destinations, consider sleeping near the airport. Find the best solutions and selected hotels on booking.com
Guide to the areas of Washington DC
Washington DC, the American capital, is part of the federal district of District Columbia. Despite being a fairly large city, with an area of 177 sq km and just over 700,000 inhabitants, it does not have a complicated internal subdivision and it is quite intuitive to move around and settle in.
The capital is divided into 26 areas, called neighbourhoods. From a tourist point of view, the most important districts are the central ones, which develop around Downtown, the heart of the city. Here you will find yourself close to the major attractions, which are mainly found at the National Mall, and the area is well served by public transport.
Taking the National Mall as a reference point: to the north you will find the districts of Downtown (immediately after the White House) and Dupont Circle; to the west, the Foggy Bottom district; to the east, the Capitol Hill neighbourhood (which houses several government buildings, such as the Supreme Court of the United States); finally, to the north west, more distant and connected to the centre only by bus, the university district of Georgetown.
Not recommended areas: the suburbs of Northeast and Southeast, east of Downtown, due to the crime rate and poverty in the area.
Downtown is definitely one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Washington. It is the financial and commercial heart of the city, but don't expect the big skyscrapers of New York or Los Angeles: lively by day, but very quiet in the evening, it is full of elegant and modern buildings but not excessively tall ones. From here you can easily reach the National Mall, with the main attractions of the city.
This is a recommended area for first-time visitors to Washington and families. In fact, as already mentioned, it is very quiet in the evening, as the nightlife is concentrated in other districts, and there is no shortage of services you will need, such as restaurants for every price range and numerous shops.
Finally, staying here will allow you to move easily throughout the city thanks to the metro (all lines, Silver, Blue, Orange and Red). You can also reach the White House on foot.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €80,00 for low-cost accommodation to €700,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Holiday Inn Washington-Central/White House
|3-star hotel with seasonal swimming pool on the top floor, restaurant, gym, parking. Large and spacious rooms. Ideal for couples and families
|Hostel with free WiFi, 24-hour reception and luggage storage. Dorms with bunk beds for 4 to 12 people. Ideal for young people
|Club Quarters Hotel in Washington DC
|4-star hotel in Farragut Square, within walking distance of major attractions. Gym, parking, some rooms with kitchenette. Ideal for couples and families
|The Hay - Adams
|Historic Washington hotel across from Lafayette Square (where the White House is located). 5-stars, gym, restaurant, room service, parking. Ideal for couples
A few steps from Downtown is the small neighbourhood of Chinatown, or the Chinese community of Washington. It runs along H Street and I Street and between 5th Street and 8th Street in the northwest. Once this area was very populated, but in recent years there are only a few hundred Chinese residents. Here you can stroll among small craft shops, clubs and restaurants with oriental scents and take a picture under the large archway.
Chinatown is a great neighbourhood for those on a budget. Despite being in a very central location, the costs are lower than in Downtown and you can find many offers.
Finally, from here you can move on foot or use public transport: Chinatown is less than 20 minutes away on foot from the White House, alternatively it is served by the Gallery Pl-Chinatown metro stop (Green, Red and Yellow lines).
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €80,00 for low-cost accommodation to €250,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Small 2-star hotel with rooms with cable TV, air conditioning, free WiFi and private bathroom. Restaurant on the premises. Ideal for couples
|Downtown Large Garden Apartment
|67 sqm apartment between Chinatown and Downtown, great location. One bedroom, equipped kitchen, washing machine and bathroom. For up to 4 people. Ideal for families and small groups
|Motto by Hilton Washington DC
|3-star hotel opposite Gallery Pl-Chinatown metro stop. 24-hour reception, gym, restaurant. Ideal for couples
|Morrison Clark Inn
|4-star hotel in a historic 19th century Victorian house. WiFi, gym, on-site parking. Ideal for couples
Just north of Downtown is the Dupont Circle neighbourhood, Washington's stylish and fashionable neighbourhood. Here you will find, in addition to boutiques, restaurants, and numerous clubs, it is the hub of the capital's nightlife. It is also a neighbourhood with an international atmosphere as Massachusetts Avenue is here, also known as Embassy Row, as most of the embassies are located here.
Given its characteristics, it is a neighbourhood recommended mainly for young people and those looking for nightlife. In many ways, this area is reminiscent of Downtown. Plus, while it's a fairly posh area, it's still cheaper than Downtown.
Finally, Dupont Circle is well connected by public transport: the reference stop is Dupont Circle Station, where the Red metro line passes, which leads directly to Metro Center Station (5 min), a few steps from the White House and the National Mall.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €70,00 for low-cost accommodation to €350,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|U Street Capsule Hostel
|Capsule hotel with air-conditioned rooms, free WiFi, express check-in and check-out, gym. Private rooms, female, male or mixed dorms. Ideal for young people
|May flower Hostel
|Hostel with air-conditioned rooms, shared lounge and kitchen, WiFi and daily maid service. Private rooms or 4 or 8 bed dorms. Ideal for young people
|4-star hotel 2.5 km from the White House. With two swimming pools, gym, restaurant, parking. Ideal for couples and families
|The Dupont Circle Hotel
|5-star hotel with gym, 24-hour business area, restaurant and room service. Large rooms with windows, marble bathrooms. Ideal for couples
In addition to Downtown, there is another neighbourhood ideal to stay if you are visiting the city for the first time or only have a few days to spare: Capitol Hill. As you can already gather from the name, this area is home to one of the symbols of the city, the United States Capitol, as well as other government offices such as the Supreme Court of the United States and the Library of Congress. The Capitol is also the starting point of the National Mall.
It is an ideal neighbourhood for families and those who want to get around on foot given its proximity to the main attractions. Furthermore, if during the day it is a very lively area, frequented by men and women who work in government offices and by tourists, in the evening it is very quiet, ideal for resting for the day after.
Finally, this neighbourhood is in an excellent location: from the Capitol you can walk along the National Mall or use the Circulator bus, National Mall Route, which follows a circular tour around the National Mall.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €80,00 for low-cost accommodation to €400,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Residence Inn Washington DC/Capitol
|3-star hotel with rooms equipped with private kitchenette. Swimming pool, business centre, gym and parking. Ideal for couples, families and business travellers
|Hostel 1.8 km from the Capitol. 24-hour reception, entertainment, daily cleaning service. Dorms with 4 to 8 beds. Ideal for young people
|Capitol Hill Fully Furnished Apartments
|One and two bedroom apartment complex with shared barbecue area. Free WiFi, air conditioning and garden, equipped kitchen and bathroom. Ideal for families
|Capitol Hill Hotel
|4-star hotel a few blocks from the Capitol. Gym, parking, business centre, large rooms with equipped kitchenette. Ideal for couples
We now move from the Capitol Hill neighbourhood to the opposite side of the National Mall: at the western end is Foggy Bottom, a very quiet neighbourhood a stone's throw from the main attractions. It doesn't have much to offer, but the location itself is really great and you'll be very close to the Lincoln Memorial and the White House.
It is an ideal neighbourhood for families and those seeking tranquillity. It is not busy day or night, it is surrounded on two sides by the wonderful green areas of the National Mall and it is full of cafes and clubs.
Finally, the neighbourhood is well served by public transport: the reference station is Foggy Bottom GWU Metrorail Station, where the Orange, Silver and Blue metro lines pass, which in 6 minutes lead directly to Metro Center Station.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €100,00 for low-cost accommodation to €450,00 for more expensive options- compare the best accommodation on booking
|Courtyard by Marriott Washington D C /Foggy Bottom
|3-star hotel within walking distance of major attractions. Swimming pool, gym, restaurant, parking. Ideal for families
|Bluebird Suites on Washington Circle
|Residence of apartments equipped with kitchen, WiFi, air conditioning, seasonal outdoor pool, gym and private parking. Ideal for families and groups
|The River Inn-A Modus Hotel
|4-star hotel with restaurant, gym and self-catering accommodation. Studios for two people or accommodation for up to 6 people. Ideal for couples, families and groups
|ARC THE HOTEL Washington DC
|4-star hotel with gym and room service. Rooms with 32-inch flat-screen TV, CD player, microwave, refrigerator, and coffeemaker. Ideal for couples
Finally, the last recommended area to stay is the Georgetown neighbourhood, the university district of Washington. It is a young district, full of university students, and lively both day and night, with many clubs, restaurants and pubs in which to mingle with the locals. The architecture of the neighbourhood is typically colonial, with very elegant buildings housing high-end cafes and boutiques.
It is a neighbourhood recommended especially for young people and those looking for a bit of nightlife. At the same time, hotels have high costs, so it's better to opt for apartments that also give you more autonomy.
The only downside is its slightly tricky location: it is a neighbourhood slightly further away from the others and not served by the metro. To reach Downtown or the National Mall, you will have to use the bus (on average 10 min).
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €110,00 for low-cost accommodation to €500,00 for more expensive options- compare the best accommodation on booking
|The Georgetown House
|Small hotel 300 metres from Georgetown Waterfront. Rooms with private bathroom, shared kitchen and terrace. Ideal for couples and young people
|Hyatt Place Washington DC/Georgetown
|3-star hotel with swimming pool, gym, WiFi in public areas and private parking. Accommodation for up to 5 people. Ideal for couples, families and groups
|The Avery Georgetown
|4-star hotel with 24-hour reception, terrace and bar. Large rooms with satellite TV. Ideal for couples and families
|The Watergate Hotel
|Historic hotel with luxurious rooms with private balconies and river views. Free WiFi in public areas, swimming pool, spa and wellness centre, restaurant. Ideal for couples and families
Places to stay near Washington DC
Staying in Washington is the best solution, especially if you are short on time or if you are visiting the capital for the first time. As we have seen, there are several neighbourhoods that offer different services and accommodation for all types of travellers and for all budgets.
If you have a longer stay or want to find cheaper accommodation, then you could consider staying just outside the city. The cities of Arlington and Alexandria are excellent solutions, with accommodation at very affordable prices and they are a short distance from Washington:
- Arlington (8 km / 15 min): famous for hosting the Pentagon, the Military Cemetery, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (for internal flights). It offers wonderful views of Washington and is very quiet. Connected to the capital by the blue line metro (10 min) - compare accommodation on booking
- Alexandria (13 km / 16 min): historic city located on the banks of the Potomac River. Quiet, with budget accommodation and all services. It is located south of Washington, to which it is connected by the blue line metro (20 min) - compare accommodation on booking