Places to stay in Washington DC

JBReed

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 7, 2004
20
0
We're planning a family trip to Washington DC. Any recommendations on places to stay? Parts of the city safer than others?

Thanks for any thoughts.
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
how much do you wanna spend? there are a million places to stay here in town, all over the city. depends on what you want to do. are you going to focus on downtown? the meuseams? or the surrounding areas?

i have a big fold out couch downstairs ;) :D
 

Hoef

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2004
825
0
Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
More info such as budget and purpose would be nice ..... If you don't go into DC, because of cost, try to stay in a hotel along the metro line. In Northern Virginia: Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon or Ballston (all Arlington county) or towards Crystal city. My dad had a good deal in Rosslyn (priceline), very close to DC, 5 mins with metro. DC folks from Maryland please chip in.....
 

lordmac

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2004
241
0
Santa Cruz, CA
i agree

Hoef said:
More info such as budget and purpose would be nice ..... If you don't go into DC, because of cost, try to stay in a hotel along the metro line. In Northern Virginia: Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon or Ballston (all Arlington county) or towards Crystal city. My dad had a good deal in Rosslyn (priceline), very close to DC, 5 mins with metro. DC folks from Maryland please chip in.....
I agree with this both because its cheaper and sense the metro is right there you don't have to drive. Driving in this area is a huge pain in the ass well I suppose the gridded parts of dc are ok but everywhere else it's horrible. This is do to very bad and confusing traffic signs. :)

Hope you come soon as the weather here is really quite amazing right now. Its was 60° on news years day(ie really really weird for here.) Oh ya here are the closest apple stores: Clarendon in Arlington, VA and Mclean in Tyson's corner (a mall), VA and there are 2 in Bethesda, MD one in a mall :D
 

phonemonkey

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2004
136
0
Virginia
I would consider staying in Silver Spring, which is just on the maryland side. There are plenty of places to shop, a variety of hotels. They also have a Metro stop right on the border for easy access to the city..
Oh yeah they also have Blair High, GO BLAZERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,407
0
VA
I'm originally from Alexandria, myself - and Old Town's quite nice, but any of the cities on the Virginia side will work and they have great views of the city across the Potomac.

It all depends on how much you want to spend....in most cases DC isn't that much more than VA. Connecticut Ave, in and around Dupont Circle isn't that bad. Right downtown might be a little more, but there are a few places around the Mall off of 14th-12th that are quite nice.

Have fun and let us know where you plan on going, I can give you a ton of good restaurants if you're looking for some suggestions.

D
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
stay in the city... you dont want to mess around with metro all day long to get to where you're going. the entire city is walkable at night, and its nice to be able to get back and forth to your hotel easily.

good restaurants: cafe milano, mendocino, ardeo/bardeo, occidental grille, thaiphoon
 

jywv8

macrumors 6502
Jan 11, 2003
322
0
Chicago
gwuMACaddict said:
stay in the city... you dont want to mess around with metro all day long to get to where you're going. the entire city is walkable at night, and its nice to be able to get back and forth to your hotel easily.

good restaurants: cafe milano, mendocino, ardeo/bardeo, occidental grille, thaiphoon
I agree: stay in the city. I was in D.C. this spring and stayed at the Marriott downtown. The room was so-so, but the location was fabulous.

For food, I recommend Occidental, as well. Bobby Van’s Steakhouse is great. Sequoia (K Street in Georgetown) was nice.
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
yeah... i left out sequoia... used to be you payed for the view (fabulous, of the potomac and the kennedy center), but lately i've heard good things. i had a bad meal there a year ago and hadnt been back. i'd check it out though, good suggestion!

my favorite place to stay in town is the woodley park marriot/wardman towers. located near the zoo/dupont/adams morgan area of town. beautiful old hotel (wardman park side). fantastic views of downtown, or of the national cathedral if you're on the other side of the building.
 

JBReed

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 7, 2004
20
0
Thanks for all the thoughts. We're going to be doing the tourist thing. My son is 13, very much into doing "stuff", likes history, so is a perfect age for seeing the sights (it'll be his first trip there). We will probably look at staying in the city to minimize travel but will definitely be using the metro to travel (or walk). How significant a difference is travel time if one stays in VA versus in DC? Ease of travel (time and convenience) is important. Leaning toward staying in the city for now.

Is safety an issue staying anywhere, areas to avoid, or is common sense the rule?

Thanks for all the ideas about restaurants. That's definitely good information. My wife's been to DC several times when she was working in AIDS research but I've never been either so I'm also really looking forward to it.

Any other specific places to stay in DC people would recommend?

Any suggestions on must see sights beyond the usual?
 

joetronic

macrumors 6502
Dec 9, 2004
419
0
New Oxford, PA
phonemonkey said:
I would consider staying in Silver Spring, which is just on the maryland side. There are plenty of places to shop, a variety of hotels. They also have a Metro stop right on the border for easy access to the city..
I agree, many nice places in SP. I can't think of any names at the moment, but I have stayed in some nice places that didn't empty the wallet.
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,407
0
VA
jywv8 said:
I don't know if it is beyond the usual, but we went to the Internation Spy Museum (http://www.spymuseum.org/index.asp). Seem like it would appeal to a 13 year old boy. I thought it was cool, and I'm a 30 year old gal.
Its a great place, definitely go if you have the time. But if you haven't been to the Air and Space Museum, that's a must see as well - especially for a 13 y.o. boy.

There are a good many place for good food - but do you want something you need reservations for and could be a little more expensive, or are you more interested in something more casual?

D
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
You did not say whether you were going to do a rental car or not. If you pick a good hotel, the car is not needed. Silver Spring is always a great location. But Falls Church has Metro Rail available and hotels close by.

Check out the following site on specials on transit that are geared towards your family:

http://www.wmata.com/

Though I can not name any, I would suggest looking at some bed&breakfast places as well.

For your son, take the Air and Space shuttle bus to the new facility in Chantilly Virginia. It is near the Dulles Airport. It is a $7 round trip ride I believe from the downtown Air and Space Museum. I would suggest taking the earliest possible bus if you take this option. Otherwise the parking fee is $12 a day at the Dulles facility.

As to safety, this is much like any big city. I would say that any where that the Metro Rail can take you, you have a reasonable exception of safety.

One of the things that you can do if you have time before your visit is to contact your local Senators or Congressperson for a meeting and private tours.

By all means also take the TourMobile. It is a bus system that runs regular routes through the tourist areas. You can join the bus at any point during the day you buy the pass.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
I've visited Washington DC twice so here's the tourist point of view

The first time I stayed in Crystal City. It was handy for the Metro system (a few stops into the main downtown area and close to one of the big shopping malls - always important as a Brit coming to the US!) We came home very late after a football game and it was a little strange to walk around. Lots of concrete and the Metro station was through a small mall.

This time, in September, I stayed near in the Hilton near Dupont Circle (mainly cos the NFL were paying for it! :) ) Round Dupont Circle was lovely - it was still easy to get around on the Metro (a stop from the Zoo and easy to get into downtown too). There were some nice restaurants and little shops around there too.

I was disappointed by the American History museum - regardless of the first Mac in the basement. Many of the interactive aspects weren't working and the descriptions weren't that impressive. Air and Space was brilliant. The new Museum of the American Indian was also amazing - both architecturally and exhibitwise.
 

MongoTheGeek

macrumors 68040
phonemonkey said:
I would consider staying in Silver Spring, which is just on the maryland side. There are plenty of places to shop, a variety of hotels. They also have a Metro stop right on the border for easy access to the city..
Oh yeah they also have Blair High, GO BLAZERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
...Does Blair actually have a football team this year? When I went they had to ship a team in from Cambridge so we could win homecoming...

Anyway. I would definitely recommend someplace on the metro. If you fly in there are some hotels around national, right on the metro.

The best plan is to catch the subway down to the smithsonian and just walk around there. Everything is in a 4 block radius.

Stay in tourist areas. Do not go East from the capital building. Try to avoid being east of Rock Creek Park.

Most of the museums are free. Parking is where you get screwed. DC cops don't have a quota, but they all seem to write 120 tickets a shift or more or else have evaluation problems... :cool:

Driving in DC is like driving in NY, Philly or Boston. The roads are labeled in a mostly obvious manner.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
MongoTheGeek said:
Stay in tourist areas. Do not go East from the capital building. Try to avoid being east of Rock Creek Park.
Rock Creek Park is in one of the "better areas" of the city. And one of the higher income areas as well.

It is harder to give straight answers as to where to stay a way from. The SE has the waterfront, which is nice to see . And the is home to FDR memorial.

NE has the U Street area that is starting to become a strong area of the Arts and local dining.

In the end any area that has tourist spots in DC can be considered safe IMO. Just use common sense. I would not suggest the O Street area SE (though not a very family friendly are to begin with). Nor would portions of the Shaw area be high on my list. But 10 to 20 years ago the Dupont Circle was considered a "marginal" area.
 

Hoef

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2004
825
0
Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
JBReed said:
How significant a difference is travel time if one stays in VA versus in DC? Ease of travel (time and convenience) is important.
I live right on the orange line, Courthouse stop and it takes less than 10 minutes with the metro to the national mall (smithsonian or l'efant plaza exit). Sometimes that is a 4 to 8 minute wait for the metro to arrive. We have tons of visitors and they love it.
If you arrive after March, go to the Washington Monument (the giant obilisk - sp) in front of the white house. It has windows so you can see very far in all directions (need to see the pentagon from above) : http://www.nps.gov/wamo/home.htm
 

JBReed

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 7, 2004
20
0
Thanks for all of the information. It is so fabulous to tap into the knowledge of the community. We're going to be going to DC the first week in April (spring break for my son). We don't plan on driving anywhere and prefer not using a rental car, just use the metro, cabs etc. as needed. Definitely plan to check all of the monuments, Air and Space museum, Smithsonian, spy museum sounds great for my son as well as the Indian museum, Holocaust museum (still learning all that's available). As far as food goes we'd probably be eating casual (13 yo boy again) primarily.

the link to the metro site is very helpful. thanks.

Appreciate any and all ideas.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
JBReed said:
Thanks for all of the information. It is so fabulous to tap into the knowledge of the community. We're going to be going to DC the first week in April (spring break for my son). We don't plan on driving anywhere and prefer not using a rental car, just use the metro, cabs etc. as needed. Definitely plan to check all of the monuments, Air and Space museum, Smithsonian, spy museum sounds great for my son as well as the Indian museum, Holocaust museum (still learning all that's available). As far as food goes we'd probably be eating casual (13 yo boy again) primarily.

the link to the metro site is very helpful. thanks.

Appreciate any and all ideas.
You and your boy might like eating at the ESPN Zone then....