Washington DC is one of the most recognizable cities in the USA. It has a rich history, magnificent landmarks, and is bursting with culture.

But with so many things to see and do, choosing where to stay can be overwhelming. Which is exactly why we wrote this epic guide for where to stay in Washington DC.

Written exclusively for the Broke Backpacker, this article breaks down Washington DC’s best neighborhoods into easy to read and digest bites, so you can quickly find the area the suits your style, needs, and your budget.

Whether you’re looking to see the tops sights or party all night long, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are our recommendations for where to stay in Washington DC.

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN WASHINGTON DC

Foggy Bottom

Located in the city’s West End, Foggy Bottom is our recommendation for where to stay if you’re visiting Washington DC for the first time.

Places to visit:
  • Dine on delicious dishes at Founding Farmers DC
  • See the imposing and inspiring Lincoln Memorial
  • Excite your senses at Rasika West End

Quick Tips – These are the Neighborhoods in Washington DC

The Best Places to Stay in Washington DC

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Washington DC

Best Hostel in Washington: Duo Circle DC

A friendly staff, a home-like atmosphere and brand new everything – it is no wonder this is our pick for the best hostel in Washington DC At the heart of the neighbourhood, this property is close to landmarks, sightseeing and great restaurants and bars. It has free internet and spacious sleeping quarters.

Best Hotel in Washington: The River Inn-A Modus Hotel

The River Inn-A Modus Hotel is a charming and elegant four-star property. It has a fitness centre, free bike rental, and a friendly staff. There is also a popular on-site restaurant and a stylish lounge bar. All this combined makes it our pick for the best hotel in Washington DC

Washington Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN WASHINGTON DC
Foggy Bottom, Washington DC
FIRST TIME IN WASHINGTON DC

Foggy Bottom

Located in the city’s West End, Foggy Bottom is our recommendation for where to stay if you’re visiting Washington DC for the first time.

ON A BUDGET
Logan Circle, Washington DC
ON A BUDGET

Logan Circle

For travellers on a budget, there’s no better place to stay than Logan Circle. This charming and historic neighbourhood is where you’ll find a great selection of budget hostels and boutique hotels to fit any budget.

NIGHTLIFE
Dupont Circle, Washington DC
NIGHTLIFE

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle is a trendy and historic neighbourhood where you’ll find the best bars, pubs, nightclubs and dancehalls, as well as restaurants, galleries, and shops in DC.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
H Street Corridor, Washington DC
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

H Street Corridor

Culture vultures, fearless foodies and trendsetting travellers won’t want to miss the H Street Corridor. What was once one of the city’s most shattered area, the H Street Corridor is now one of the hippest and most happening parts of town.

FOR FAMILIES
Georgetown, Washington DC
FOR FAMILIES

Georgetown

Georgetown is one of Washington DC’s most prestigious and upscale areas. The oldest part of the city, Georgetown is famous for its narrow cobblestone streets that are lined with tall, leafy trees and spectacular historic homes.

Washington DC is a small city that packs a big punch.

The capital city of the United States, Washington DC is where you’ll find some of the country’s most storied and important landmarks, monuments, museums, and attractions.

There’s plenty to see and do in Washington DC, from dining on delicious cuisine and dancing the night away to stepping back in time and exploring the stories and figures that shaped the USA.

Although the city covers an area of less than 180 square kilometres, Washington DC is home to a whopping 131 neighbourhoods.

Downtown is located at the centre of Washington DC It contains the city’s most visited attractions, including the Smithsonian, the White House and the Kennedy Centre.

Travel north of Downtown and you’ll arrive in bustling and vibrant Dupont Circle. A great destination if you’re looking for a night out, Dupont Circle is home to vivacious bars and lively clubs, as well as great restaurants, cafes and shops.

West of Downtown are the prestigious neighbourhoods of Georgetown and Foggy Bottom. Here you’ll find everything from energetic nightlife and eclectic restaurants to historic architecture and urban greenspaces.

Head east from Downtown and you’ll pass through Capitol Hill and the H Street Corridor. One of the city’s newest hotspots, the H Street Corridor is where Washington DC’s hip and trendy population like to hang out.

Still not sure where to stay in Washington DC? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Washington DC

Now, let’s take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods to stay in Washington DC Each is a little different than the last so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s the right fit for you.

1. Foggy Bottom – Best Place to Stay in Washington DC for First-Timers

Located in the city’s West End, Foggy Bottom is our recommendation for where to stay if you’re visiting Washington DC for the first time.

Don’t be distracted by the name, Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest neighbourhood in the city. It sits nestled between the White House and the Potomac River and is packed with must-see attractions and historic landmarks.

In addition to the White House, Foggy Bottom is within walking distance of the infamous Watergate complex, the National Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian and more. Here you’ll also find plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes and boutiques.

Foggy Bottom, Washington DC

Things to See and Do in Foggy Bottom

– Take a tour of the White House, the official resident and workplace of the President of the United States.

– Wander through the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex.

– Catch a free performance every night at 6 PM at the outstanding John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

– Dine on delicious dishes at Founding Farmers DC.

– Enjoy incredible food and a stylish and welcoming atmosphere at CIRCA at Foggy Bottom.

– See the imposing and inspiring Lincoln Memorial.

– Walk, bike, hike or run through lush and leafy Rock Creek Park.

– Excite your senses at Rasika West End.

Best Airbnb in Foggy Bottom: Historic home in Urban Area

Start the journey of exploring DC at this cute townhouse. You can have the whole thing all to yourself in the heart of America’s historic districts. The home is sitting in the historic Mews located near most of DC’s major attractions. This home is expansive, and affordable accommodating up to 4 people if you wish. And hey, if couch snoozing is your thing, these couches are to die for they are, in fact, cuddle puddle material sofas.

Bring your walking shoes —the metro is only 2 blocks away and 3 blocks from Whole Foods! Yes, that means you can explore and make time to grab some groceries to cook in the beautiful kitchen this home has.

Best Hotel in Foggy Bottom: The River Inn-A Modus Hotel

The River Inn-A Modus Hotel is a charming and elegant four-star property. It has an on-site fitness centre, free bike rental for guests, and a helpful and welcoming staff. There is also a popular on-site restaurant and a stylish lounge bar. All this combined makes it out top pick for where to stay in Foggy Bottom.

Best Budget Accommodations in Foggy Bottom: Stay Alfred at Varsity on K

This four-star property is the place to stay if you’re visiting Foggy Bottom on a budget. It boasts an unbeatable location and each of the 15 apartments is outfitted with modern and essential amenities. Just a short walk away you’ll find all of Washington DC’s top attractions, including the White House.

Best Hotel in Foggy Bottom: ARC THE HOTEL Washington DC

ARC THE HOTEL is a modern, stylish and strategically located three-star hotel in Washington DC Set in central Foggy Boggy, it is close to shops, restaurants, nightlife and tourist hot spots. Recently refurbished, each room comes complete with air conditioning, tea/coffee facilities, a private bathroom and a refrigerator.

2. Logan Circle – Best Place to Stay in Washington DC on a Budget

For travellers on a budget, there’s no better place to stay than Logan Circle. This charming and historic neighbourhood is where you’ll find a great selection of budget hostels and boutique hotels to fit any budget.

Logan Circle is characterized by its Victoria home and colourful storefronts. Although it is mainly residential, this neighbourhood enjoys a central location and is within walking distance of Washington DC’s most popular tourist attractions.

But you don’t need to leave the neighbourhood to have a good time. Logan Circle is packed with interesting landmarks and attractions. It offers delicious restaurants, trendy bars and a great selection of stylish boutiques.

In Logan Circle, travellers can enjoy all the very best of Washington DC without breaking the bank!

Logan Circle, Washington DC

Things to See and Do in Logan Circle

– Tease your taste buds at Compass Rose, a restaurant whose dishes are inspired by the owner’s exotic travels.

– Catch a show at the Black Cat, a two-level music hall with pinball, pool tables, and a fantastic menu.

– Marvel at the detail of the National City Christian Church.

– Enjoy a glass of wine at Barcelona Wine Bar 14th Street.

– Grab a seat and indulge in a delicious meal at the rustic and trendy restaurant, the Pig.

– Dig into a dish of American fare at the Logan Tavern.

– Snap a pic of the colourful and quirky Watermelon House.

Best Hostel in Logan Circle: Duo Circle DC

A friendly staff, a home-like atmosphere and brand new everything – it is no wonder this is our pick for where to stay in Logan Circle. At the heart of the neighbourhood, this property is close to landmarks, sightseeing and great restaurants and bars. It has free internet and spacious sleeping quarters.

Best Airbnb in Logan Circle: Cozy Apartment in Login Circle District

This entire condo can be your oasis for the weekend as you learn and explore as much as you please. Located just outside of Logans Circle, you can walk to the Plaza, Long View Gallery for more of an artsy hip sense of DC and minutes from the Whole foods grocery store.

Kick your feet up and lounge on these “fit for a king” size sofas that have you slowly drifting into a nap before your night out. You’ll feel right at home here as you are overlooking the neighborhood from above or lying on the shag carpet petting it almost like its an animal.

Best Hotel in Logan Circle: The Architect Washington DC

Enjoy spotless rooms and a central location at this fantastic 2.5-star hotel. Located within the Logan Circle neighbourhood, the Architect is well connected throughout the city. It has 72 comfortable rooms that are outfitted with stylish and modern amenities. Nearby you’ll find a great selection of bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants.

Best Hotel in Logan Circle: Embassy Inn Washington DC

The Embassy Inn is a great base for your time in Washington DC Close to famous landmarks and popular tourist attractions, many of the city’s top sites are within walking distance. It has 38 recently refurbished rooms with essential amenities, private bathrooms and cable/satellite channels.

3. Dupont Circle – Best Place to Stay in Washington DC for Nightlife

Dupont Circle is a trendy and historic neighbourhood where you’ll find the best bars, pubs, nightclubs and dancehalls, as well as restaurants, galleries, and shops in DC.

In Dupont Circle you can dance the night away in a restored mansion, sip custom cocktail is a swanky lounge, or sing your heart out as DJs spin the hottest tunes from the 80s, 90s, and now.

Located just north of Downtown, Dupont Circle is an ideal base for your time in the capital. Not only is it within walking distance of Washington DC’s top landmark and attractions, but it’s well connected via transit making it easy and convenient to explore other parts of the city.

Dupont Circle, Washington DC
source: Ron Cogswell (Flickr)

Things to See and Do in Dupont Circle

– Enjoy a wild night at Eighteenth Street Lounge.

– Eat, dance and party the night away at Café Citron, a club with a fiery Latin flair.

– Sip signature cocktail at Heist.

– Dance until dawn at Decades.

– Dine on fresh and delicious oysters, seafood and more at Hank’s Oyster Bar.

– See incredible works of art at The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art.

– Choose from more than 20 beers on tap and a great selection of vintage games at Board Room.

– Enjoy one of the best happy hours in DC at the Madhatter.

– Climb to the top of the Spanish Steps and enjoy the view.

Best Hostel in Dupont Circle: Hotel Baron

Located close to Dupont Circle, Hotel Baron is our pick for the best budget accommodations in the neighbourhood. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops nearby, and Washington DC’s top tourist attractions are a short walk away.

Enjoy newly renovated rooms, modern amenities, and comfortable beds.

Best Airbnb in Dupont Circle: Victorian Boutique Room

Nestled on a beautiful tree-lined street in the majestic home in the Dupont Circle district. —The party spot! And the coolest cafes like Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, which you have to make sure you stop by before leaving. This home is located on the 2nd floor of Victorian Brownstone, the furnishings are anything but average, and the intricate interior will make you feel like royalty. One of the best things this home has is the bathroom pullout mirror. You’ll see what we mean.

Best Hotel in Dupont Circle: Beacon Hotel & Corporate Quarters

The Beacon Hotel is located right at the centre of the city. Close to popular tourist attractions, this 4-star hotel has plenty of bars, restaurants, nightlife and shopping nearby.

Guests of the hotel can enjoy using the in-house gym as well as free unlimited wifi. Breakfast is also available each morning.

Best Hotel in Dupont Circle: The Fairfax at Embassy Row Washington DC

This classic and elegant four-star hotel is our top choice for where to stay in Dupont Circle. Centrally situated in Washington DC, this hotel is close to top tourist attractions and landmarks. Each of its 207 rooms is filled with modern facilities and amenities to ensure a pleasant stay.

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4. H Street Corridor – Coolest Neighborhood in Washington DC

Culture vultures, fearless foodies and trendsetting travellers won’t want to miss the H Street Corridor. What was once one of the city’s most shattered area, the H Street Corridor is now one of the hippest and most happening parts of town.

Stretching just one-and-a-half miles in Northeast DC, the H Street Corridor is a dynamic neighbourhood packed with nightlife, bistros, festivals, and fun. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it in the H Street Corridor.

Love to eat? This is the place for you! The H Street Corridor is home to some of D.C.’s most innovative and eclectic restaurants. Enjoy everything from hearty bowls of ramen to New York-style bagels in this happening ‘hood.

H Street Corridor, Washington DC
source: Ted Eytan (Flickr)

Things to See and Do in H Street Corridor

– See fantastic performances by artists and musicians at the Atlas Performing Arts Centre.

– Shop the stalls, stands and local brands that showcase their wares at the weekend H Street Farmers Market.

– Eat incredible seafood at Granville Moore’s.

– Grab a snack at Maketto.

– Enjoy an afternoon of backyard beers at Biergarten Haus.

– Climb to the top of Ben’s Upstairs and enjoying amazing views of the city.

– Sip signature cocktails at Copycat Co.

– Grab a drink at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar.

– Indulge in amazing Asian food at Toki Underground.

– Discover your new favourite band by catching at Rock & Roll Hotel.

Best Hostel in H Street Corridor: City House Hostel Washington DC

Fun, social, and centrally located – you won’t find a better hostel in the H Street Corridor. Conveniently situated near Downtown, this hostel is surrounded by cars, cafes, restaurants and boutiques. It boasts a fully-equipped kitchen, spacious rooms, and the facilities are super clean thanks to its shoes off policy.

Best Airbnb in H Street Corridor: Home in Amazing Location

Enjoy this charming home full of light and energy that is calling your name. The home is in a prime location off H Street. (THE spot for nightlife). If you enjoy picking up weights and setting them down, there happens to be a small gym in the basement for your convenience, no need to pay a gym fee here.

Plus, throw your dirty clothes in the Washer/Dryer while you can use it for free. And if you are musically talented and creative, enjoy the acoustic guitar that’s hanging up free to play. The best part of the home is the location 100 percent with the nightlife.— The H street bars are about a 5-7 min walk, and Union Market less than a mile away.

Best Hotel in H Street Corridor: Capitol Hill Fully Furnished Apartments

Located near the H Street Corridor, this property is the perfect home away from home for your time in Washington DC These comfortable and fully-furnished apartments come complete with large bedrooms, well-stocked kitchens and bathrooms. The property also boasts an outdoor swimming pool, terrace and BBQ area.

Best Hotel in H Street Corridor: Phoenix Park Hotel Washington DC

A great location and comfortable beds are just two of the reasons this is our recommendation for where to stay in the H Street Corridor. Close to well-known and popular attractions, this hotel is set at the centre of the city. It has concierge and valet services, as well as an on-site restaurant and lounge.

5. Georgetown – Best Place to Stay in Washington DC for Families

Georgetown is one of Washington DC’s most prestigious and upscale areas. The oldest part of the city, Georgetown is famous for its narrow cobblestone streets that are lined with tall, leafy trees and spectacular historic homes.

Mainly a residential neighbourhood, Georgetown is also home to a myriad of great restaurants, national landmarks, and enchanting activities and attractions. This is why Georgetown is our pick for where to stay for families visiting Washington DC

Overlooking the Potomac River, Georgetown is a great neighbourhood for enjoying a day in nature. It boasts lush parks and the waterway offers a wide range of activities, from SUP to canoeing, kayaking and more, that are sure to enthrall all members of your family.

Georgetown, Washington DC

Things to See and Do in Georgetown

– Rent a boat and spend an afternoon gliding along the Potomac River.

– Indulge in a rich and delicious cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes.

– Shop until you drop at Georgetown’s upscale boutiques.

– Enjoy an afternoon in bustling Washington Harbour. If visiting in winter, rent a pair of skate and go for a spin on the outdoor ice rink.

– Wander along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

– Explore Tudor Place.

– Get back to nature at Dumbarton Oaks.

– Marvel at the incredible architecture.

– Grab a bite to eat at Sequoias.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Dough Jar.

Best Hostel in Georgetown: The Georgetown House Boutique Inn

A short walk to Washington DC’s best and most popular tourist attractions, this hotel is the ideal base for your time in the city. It is composed of 11 recently refurbished rooms each outfitted with extraordinary amenities. Enjoy a great selection of eateries, boutiques and family-friendly attractions nearby.

Best Airbnb in Georgetown: Huge Suite in Townhome

Live like a local resident staying in the east village of Georgetown. Hands down the most phenomenal place to stay with lots a little personal touches to make you feel right at home when you are looking for some peace with the kids.

There are three floors, and the third is entirely yours during the stay. Sink your eyes on one of the many books on the bookshelf or find yourself getting cozy on this huge peaceful bed as the neighborhood is nice and quiet you can watch cable TV with HBO or work from home at the desk. You are welcome to let the kids play in the backyard as you enjoy your morning cup of joe or glass of vino is that’s what suits you.

Best Hotel in Georgetown: Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center

Conveniently located at the heart of the city, this three-star hotel is close to restaurants, shops and Washington DC’s most famous landmarks. The rooms are spacious and well equipped with private showers and all the essentials. There’s even a fantastic on-site restaurant to dine in.

Best Hotel in Georgetown: Georgetown Suites Harbour

This is our pick for where to stay in Georgetown. Strategically located in the neighbourhood, this hotel is close to Washington Harbour, shops, restaurants, bars and beyond. The rooms come complete with air conditioning, a refrigerator and comfortable seating area. Enjoy free wifi and express check out.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Washington DC

Washington DC is a city that offers so much to travellers, from its rich history and diverse culture to a fantastic food scene and an awesome nightlife. No matter your age, interest, style or budget, there’s something for everyone in the nation’s capital.

In this post, we’ve highlighted the five best neighbourhoods in Washington DC, but if you’re still not sure where to stay, here’s a quick recap.

Our favourite hotel is The River Inn-A Modus Hotel. This elegant and charming four-star hotel is in a great location and offers free bike rentals to guests.

Duo Circle DC is a great option if you’re travelling on a budget. This relatively new property is close to landmarks, restaurants and all of DC’s hottest spots.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!

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