Our 5 favorite neighborhoods for the ultimate Capital City adventures
If you’ve elected the Nation’s Capital as your next vacation destination, we’re willing to bet your approval rating is sky-high. Thanks to its famed museums, fantastic culinary scene, and fun attractions for any type of traveler, Washington, D.C. truly has no equal. Before mapping out what to do and when to do it, you’ll likely be figuring out where to stay in Washington, D.C. and scouring the web for advice on the best area to stay in Washington, D.C.
From A Street to W Street: Your Guide to Washington, D.C.
Deciding where to stay in Washington, D.C. for sightseeing is no easy task, especially when the entire city is basically one big sight to see. Here at Stay Alfred, we’ll take any chance we can get to simplify the travel booking process for you, so we’ve compiled a guide for our five favorite neighborhood in the District so you can choose the ‘hood that’s right for you. Looking for where to stay in Washington, D.C. near attractions or where to stay in Washington, D.C. on a budget? Our handy-dandy guide will answer all of your burning questions about Capital City eats, activities, and, of course, accommodations.
Wondering where to stay in Washington, D.C. with family (or without)?
The Capital City offers fun-filled activities for any age, making it a perfect destination for the kids’ spring break, a reunion with your own childhood friends, or a romantic getaway without the kids. Deciding to come to D.C. is the easy part; deciding where to stay in Washington, D.C. with a family might not be so simple. With a myriad of luxury hotels and vacation rental options, there’s no denying that you have choices here, but only one company offers the best of both
Every well-appointed Stay Alfred travel apartment in Washington, D.C. features a full kitchen, a private bedroom (or a couple of ‘em!), and everyday essentials like in-unit laundry and fast WiFi. Our buildings offer upscale, hotel-style facilities, like modern fitness centers and rooftop decks, all while giving you the space and privacy of your own place in the city. Families love our travel apartments not only for their convenient amenities and prime locations, but also for the peace of mind that comes with our professional management and guest service team. Go ahead and veto those cramped hotel rooms! You deserve better.
Though it’s far from the only traffic circle in town, Washington D.C’s Logan Circle neighborhood is the only one where homes still line the perimeter of the circle. Visiting this charming area is like taking a step back in time, which may be why it has become a favorite of locals looking for a break from the normal hustle and bustle of city living. Logan Circle’s tree-lined streets are filled with cozy restaurants, eclectic boutiques, and even a few music venues.
Neighborhood Highlights: Logan Circle
Ready to cast your vote for Logan Circle? If this residential ‘hood speaks to you, you can now weigh the pros and even more pros of Stay Alfred on 14th Street and Stay Alfred on M Street, Both feature full kitchens in every spacious travel apartment, but the tough part comes when you need to decide between M Street’s charming courtyard and 14th Street’s scenic rooftop grilling area.
Logan Circle For Friends
With an influx of new watering holes and a thriving population of young professionals, the bar scene in Logan Circle is now one of D.C.’s best. From obscure beers to classic cocktails, you can find whatever tickles your fancy behind one of Logan Circle’s sophisticated brick storefronts. When a night out with friends is on the agenda -- and beer is also on the agenda -- pop into ChurchKey to worship your favorite imperial stout or saison. Featuring a bible-sized beer menu, this brick-walled hangout sits just one block from Logan Circle.
Other notable drinkeries include Duke's Grocery, which has an upbeat, pub-style atmosphere, Sotto, a tucked-away speakeasy known for retro cocktails mixed by skilled bartenders, and Players Club, featuring foosball tables and vintage arcade games.
Logan Circle For Families
When you’re traveling to the Capital City with the kids, you want to be near all the top attractions, but it’s also nice to stay in a residential neighborhood with quiet streets away from the crowds. Take a break from the big museums at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, a favorite indie bookstore which offers storytime for kids twice per week, or grab a sweet treat at Dolcezza Gelato & Coffee.
Staying in the Logan Circle area also puts you within a short drive or Red Line ride of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. Since it’s part of the Smithsonian, entry is completely free, and the little ones will love spotting giant pandas, lions, and even naked mole rats. Looking for more science-y diversions? The National Geographic Museum is just a half-mile walk from Logan Circle and features exhibits with incredible photographs and artifacts that all ages will enjoy.
Logan Circle For Couples
Instead of jetting off on a culinary tour around the world, why not embark on a gastronomic adventure around Logan Circle with your special someone. International restaurants like the impeccably French Le Diplomate, with its zinc bar and brasserie menu, will make you forget that you’re still stateside.
Don’t miss a date night at Little Serow, with a host of fiery Thai classics that will add some spice to even the most ordinary Tuesday night. Indulge in some Incan specialties at the Peruvian favorite Nazca Mochica, slurp steaming ramen noodles at JINYA Ramen Bar, or share Spanish small plates at Estadio. No passport needed; global cuisine is at your fingertips in this vibrant neighborhood.
Logan Circle For Business Travelers
While D.C. welcomes millions of visitors for the museums and monuments, it’s also a world-class convention destination and a busy business center. For some business travelers, the best part of the trip is the work itself, but for others, it’s the lunches on the company card. If you find yourself searching for lunch at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, you’re in luck; the restaurants of Logan Circle are just a short walk away.
For top-notch Indian fare, like saucy butter chicken or tandoori salmon grilled over an open flame, head straight to Pappe. Another solid bet is Convivial, with its classy French fare featuring menu items like trout amandine and beef tartare. Or, keep it casual and grab a hand-held lunch from Arepa Zone. And if you don’t want to stray too far from the convention center, Unconventional Diner is always a good choice with their inventive twist on diner classics.
Wondering where to stay in Washington, D.C. near attractions? You can’t really get any more central than Penn Quarter. Well, other than pitching a tent in the middle of the National Mall. This central district is classic D.C.; you’ll find iconic theatres, renowned museums, and some of the city’s best restaurants all within a few steps of each other. Even within Penn Quarter, mini-districts like Chinatown and CityCenterDC add more options for sightseeing and things to do.
Neighborhood Highlights: Penn Quarter
If you’re ready to decide where to stay in Washington, D.C. for sightseeing, Penn Quarter is as close to the highlights as you’re going to get. And the Stay Alfred travel apartments in this neighborhood make it even more desirable. Stay Alfred at Lexington and Stay Alfred on 8th Street both have upscale amenities and decor that would render even the most long-winded politician speechless.
Penn Quarter For Friends
Did you even visit D.C. if you didn’t take a selfie in front of the Washington Monument? Whether you take the elevator up to the top or keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, checking out this Capital City landmark is a must - especially when you’re in town with friends.
You’ll also want to delve into D.C.’s myriad of museums on nearly every topic imaginable. Many of these are found in the Penn Quarter, like the Newseum, which features interactive exhibits about the media industry and pop culture. From some of the most iconic photographs to behind-the-scenes looks at top headlines, it’s a fascinating place to spend a few hours. Other super-cool -- and super-specific -- Penn Quarter museums include the National Postal Museum (a favorite of many a philatelist) and the National Building Museum (a favorite of architecture buffs).
Penn Quarter For Families
Exploring the Capital City with a crew of kids in town is easier for everybody when you stay just blocks from the top attractions. Setting up shop in Penn Quarter means you’re just a short walk from the country’s best museums: the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The young’uns will love seeing their favorite dinosaurs and spacecraft up close, and everybody will undoubtedly learn a thing or two.
In addition to the Smithsonian institutions, don’t miss the one attraction that might inspire the kids to lead lives of international intrigue and espionage: the International Spy Museum. Adults are often surprised to see how much they enjoy this museum too, which lets you test out life as a spy for a few hours. Hear stories from real intelligence officers and even try out some spy-approved code-breaking tricks.
Penn Quarter For Couples
A city getaway doesn’t always sound as romantic as an escape to a Caribbean island or a weekend jaunt to Paris. Well, we’re here to tell the Louvre to move over, because Washington, D.C. is home to enough romantic restaurants and fabulous art museums to make it just as strong of a contender for a honeymoon or kid-free vacation. In Penn Quarter, you’ll find many of the city’s best art museums, which offer a broad variety of works. Featuring collections that span continents and centuries, the National Gallery of Art is a must for any art lover, and the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian American Art Museum (D.C.’s third-oldest federal building), is definitely worth a visit too.
Penn Quarter also features galleries with a more specific theme. For contemporary art lovers, add the Hirshhorn Museum to the agenda, and to see contemporary and ancient pieces from Africa, check out the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art - a one-of-a-kind collection. Rounding out your artsy adventure, perhaps before grabbing a glass of bubbly at Flight Wine Bar or a cocktail at Farmers & Distillers, pay a visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, highlighting works by female artists throughout history.
Penn Quarter For Business Travelers
Coming to D.C. for a business trip doesn’t mean your entire time has to be spent in the office. Take a break from the corporate world and enjoy some exciting things to do after work in Penn Quarter. Instead of crunching numbers, why don’t you crunch on sideline snacks while watching the Washington Capitals hockey team or the Wizards or Mystics basketball teams at Capitol One Arena, which is just an 8-minute walk from the convention center.
Nobody likes office drama, but everybody likes a play at Ford's Theatre (also notable as being the site of Lincoln’s assassination) or the National Theatre DC. Penn Quarter’s vibrant food scene will also help you forget about the stresses of corporate life, especially when the finger-lickin’-good Hill Country Barbecue Market is slinging their famous Texas BBQ and featuring live music on a regular basis.
A favorite of legislators and visitors alike, D.C.’s residential Capitol Hill neighborhood is where many of the country’s lawmakers spend their time outside the Capitol Building. It’s just a stone’s throw from the National Mall and a myriad of museums, though there are enough attractions right here to keep you busy -- and satiated. Enjoy vibrant bars, award-winning restaurants, and even a historic food hall. Craving a food tour of the Capital City? We vote for Capitol Hill.
Neighborhood Highlights: Capitol Hill
The leafy streets of Capitol Hill are lined with 19th-century brick homes, restaurant patios, and charming parks. From one block to the next, you might stumble upon a Michelin-starred restaurant, a whiskey lounge, or a Civil War-era hospital. A little bit old, a little bit new, and quintessentially D.C., Capitol Hill is an ideal place to stay for any Capital City visitor.
Capitol Hill For Business Travelers
As the home base of many a government big-wig, it only makes sense that Capitol Hill has its share of breakfast spots where the city’s elite can fuel up for a busy day ahead. For business travelers coming to D.C., Capitol Hill offers convenient access to the convention center and the financial centers across state lines in Maryland and Virginia.
Get a head start on a productive day with a headline-worthy breakfast at Ted's Bulletin or The Market Lunch, where you can feast on benedicts, pancakes, or waffles. For classic diner fare with greasy spoon prices, try Jimmy T's Place, which is worth a visit to admire its Victorian surrounds too. If coffee is your breakfast of choice, pop into Little Pearl or Hype Cafe to get your pre-work caffeine fix, or bring your laptop and catch up on emails without going into the office at all.
Capitol Hill For Families
A trip to Disneyland might be fun, but a trip to Washington, D.C. is fun, memorable, and educational. Where else can the kids see historical landmarks from their textbooks in real life?! When deciding where to stay in Washington, D.C. with family, Capitol Hill is an excellent choice, since it’s just steps away from the United States Capitol itself. This legendary building features an iconic 180-foot dome and the chance to see your local legislators in action. Remember to book tours ahead of time if you visit when Congress and the Senate are in session.
Other landmarks not to be missed are the Supreme Court of the United States, where you can take a photo between the massive columns or on the iconic steps, and the Library of Congress, also famous for its status as the world’s largest library. After all those educational adventures, maybe the kids just want to be kids for an afternoon, so the playground at Garfield Park or a treat from Pitango Gelato are always good ideas.
Capitol Hill For Couples
Okay, you might be wondering what’s so sentimental about a neighborhood with landmarks like the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. Well, even congresspeople like going on date nights, right? One of the city’s most charming places for a hand-in-hand stroll is the United States Botanic Garden, which sits just in front of the Capitol Building. This beautiful collection of flora and fauna includes a butterfly garden, an endangered plants garden, and even events like community yoga classes.
After a walk through the gardens, why not enjoy an intimate meal at one of D.C.’s best restaurants? Dig into Michelin-starred cuisine at Pineapple and Pearls, where you can revel in the luxury of not having to decide what to have for dinner thanks to their creative tasting menus. Of course, they’ll accommodate any dietary restrictions. Take a tasty trip to Serbia at Ambar Capitol Hill, which features an eclectic menu of Serbian classics, or feast like a Florentine at Acqua Al 2. Craving some relaxed, French countryside type of romance? Snag a table at Montmartre and leave the fancy clothes in your Stay Alfred’s closet.
Capitol Hill For Friends
A friends-only trip to D.C. might take you to the excitement of Penn Quarter and the nightlife of Logan and Dupont Circle. But a visit to Capitol Hill should definitely be on the agenda too. Group-friendly highlights in this historic neighborhood include Eastern Market, a massive food hall which has been in operation since 1873. Open every day of the week except Monday, you’ll find everything from charcuterie to ice cream to local produce from the market’s vendors.
During the summer and fall, an afternoon at Nationals Park is another fun way to experience some authentic D.C. culture. This stadium is the home of the Nationals baseball team, and it’s easily accessible by metro if your squad is staying elsewhere in the District. Before the game, be sure to visit The Bullpen for food trucks, bars, live music, and a crowd of energetic fans.
If you stay in Foggy Bottom, you’ll have some pretty famous neighbors. Just a few blocks away sits none other than the White House, where every president (with the exception of George Washington) has lived and worked. While entrance to the building itself is limited, anyone can walk up to the gates, snap that iconic D.C. photo, and probably spot a few secret service officers in the yard.
Neighborhood Highlights: Foggy Bottom
Wondering where to stay in Foggy Bottom? If you like high-end amenities and the luxury of your own full kitchen, the answer is crystal clear. Stay Alfred at Varsity on K offers a funky game room, a spacious gym, a sparkling demonstration kitchen, and even a sunny picnic area for enjoying those beautiful summer days. Travel apartments here have either one or two bedrooms so you can rest easy in your own room.
Foggy Bottom For Friends
D.C.’s legendary happy hour scene always sounds like a good idea around 5pm on a Friday, but it doesn’t sound so tempting anymore when you wake up with a headache on Saturday morning. Your brain might feel a little foggy, and the only sure-fire cure we know of is to make a beeline to Foggy Bottom’s favorite brunch spots. Founding Farmers bound to be busy as soon as their doors open for Saturday or Sunday brunch -- and for good reason. This Capital City standby is known for their local ingredients, decadent beignets, and tasty “breakfast cocktails.”
Other notable Foggy Bottom brunches include the sophisticated Ris, which is possibly the only place in D.C. where you can enjoy a mimosa in popsicle form. For brunch with a Greek twist, check out the mouthwatering menu at Kellari Taverna, and if a spicy, flavorful morning meal is what gets you going on a Sunday morning, the Sunday brunch at Rasika West End features the city’s best Indian cuisine.
Foggy Bottom For Families
Have you (or your young traveling companions) ever wanted to see eye-to-eye with your favorite famous figure? With Foggy Bottom as your launchpad, you’re just a short walk away from some of D.C.’s most iconic landmarks dedicated to notable individuals throughout history. The most famous is the Lincoln Memorial, where you can look up at the 19-foot statue of Honest Abe, but he’s not the only stone celebrity around here.
Also near the National Mall, kids will love checking out their favorite physics whiz at the Albert Einstein Memorial or their favorite civil rights leader at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. And don’t forget to visit two remarkable presidents at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. History has never been so personable!
Foggy Bottom For Couples
Tredici Enoteca - wine and small plates
Foggy Bottom For Business Travelers
Due to the sizable population of young professionals living in Foggy Bottom, it’s only natural that there would be a thriving happy hour in this vibrant neighborhood. When the clock strikes five on any day of the week, it seems like D.C.’s newest members of the corporate world instantly flock to the patio at CIRCA at Foggy Bottom or the bar at District Commons. If you’re in the Capital City on business, why not join them?
Though those two spots are certainly two of the most popular afternoon hangouts, happy hour enthusiasts and seafood connoisseurs alike will appreciate the post-work oyster specials at Old Ebbitt Grill, a historic tavern which claims the title of D.C.’s oldest saloon and survived a relocation around the corner. Literally. The building was uprooted, transported, and re-installed in its current location. How about more happy hour recommendations? Also with a historic bent, the grungy 1831 Bar & Lounge serves up drink specials every day of the week, and Boqueria features Spanish tapas dishes and sangria that will help you forget all about the meetings that could have been emails.
Featuring quaint cobblestone streets, charming Federal-style architecture, and an impressive array of culinary offerings, Georgetown is one of D.C.’s hidden gems. Well, it’s not really hidden, but since it is just out of walking distance of the famous landmarks like the US Capitol and the Smithsonian museums, it often gets overlooked. We’re here to say, “Look!” Georgetown is a fabulous spot for shopping with friends, enjoying the Potomac River, dining with loved ones, or just grabbing a cup of coffee between activities.
Neighborhood Highlights: Georgetown
The best way to become acquainted with Georgetown is to take a leisurely stroll down M Street. One of D.C.’s most iconic streets, this cozy avenue is packed with cafes, boutiques, and restaurants, so it’s easy to let a whole afternoon fly by as you peruse the storefronts. Wander down a side street and you just might find yourself Googling “Georgetown townhouses for sale.”
Georgetown For Business Travelers
With a busy day ahead, business travelers in Georgetown may be less fixated on the charming cobblestones and more excited about the prospect of getting some caffeine ASAP. Nestled between bistros and boutiques, you’ll find a plethora of fantastic coffee shops that will deliver that caffeine fix you crave. We recommend Grace Street Coffee Roasters, well known for their expert roasts, and Blue Bottle Coffee’s sunny cafe that overlooks the C&O canal.
A few blocks north of M Street, Corridor Coffee is the perfect place to find cold brew, and if you’re craving a sweet treat to go with your java, head to Baked & Wired for their signature baked goods.
Georgetown For Families
After a jam-packed day of museums and monuments, the kids deserve a treat, don’t they? Georgetown is filled with bakeries that will satisfy even the most dedicated sweet tooth. Embark on a family version of Cupcake Wars, where you decide whether Georgetown Cupcake or Sprinkles Georgetown has the better dessert. Or indulge in something yummy that supports a good cause at Dog Tag Bakery, which is run by disabled D.C. veterans. Are the kiddos in the mood for a sweet treat with a hole in the middle? Don’t miss District Doughnut’s wacky and wonderful flavor combos that change with the seasons.
There’s nothing sweeter than playing with a furry friend while snacking on a freshly baked cookie, and at Georgetown’s Crumbs & Whiskers cat cafe, the whole family (at least those over 7 years of age) can spend up to 70 minutes with the friendly felines. Not into cute kittens (it’s okay we don’t judge)? Cool off with some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream at Thomas Sweet, then once the kids are all sugared up, head to Georgetown Waterfront Park and let them run loose. Bonus points for the scenic, waterfront park benches for the grown-ups.
Georgetown For Couples
Nothing spells romance like 200-year-old buildings, quaint alleyways, and world-class cuisine, and luckily for the romantics out there, Georgetown has all three. This neighborhood is home to a handful of D.C.’s most romantic restaurants that will surely make for a memorable night out. The ultimate hideaway for an impeccable French meal, Chez Billy Sud channels all the cozy vibes with a fireplace and brick walls. Also featuring a cozy ambiance is 1789, where diners can savor inventive American fare in a converted Federal house.
Bring an international twist into date night at Filomena Ristorante, known for life-changing Italian fare and housemade pasta, or take in the river views at Fiola Mare, known for their fresh seafood. Top it all off by catching a show at the Blues Alley Club, Georgetown’s very own jazz venue.
Georgetown For Friends
If you’re visiting Washington, D.C. with a group of friends, you might be slightly less enthused about the romantic restaurants and sugar stops than our loved-up readers or family vacationers. What’s in Georgetown for you? Sometimes you just want to throw on sweats and grab a beer and a low-key meal with your pals. Well, Georgetown has your back.
Before a night out or before a night in front of your Stay Alfred’s flat-screen TV, grab some grub at Good Stuff Eatery, which has done us all a favor and reinvented fast food favorites so they don’t contain any of the bad stuff. It’s like guilt-free junk food, which we are totally onboard with. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more herbivorous, chow down on some veggie-centric tacos from Chaia Tacos, which pair beautifully with an ice-cold beer.
Falafel Inc puts a unique spin on the idea of “food that makes you feel good,” since their charitable mission means every meal supports the community. Other sandwich options include Simply Banh Mi for the Vietnamese classic and DCG - District Chicken & Gyro, which is open until the wee hours on weekends. Have no fear, you’ll never have FOBH here (that’s Fear Of Being Hungry) in the Capital City.
We’ll C U in D.C.!
Now that you know that the National Mall isn’t a place you’d go for retail therapy and there’s an entire museum devoted to espionage, you can consider yourself a true D.C. expert. There’s no better time to plan a Capital City getaway, especially when you have a slew of swanky Stay Alfred travel apartments awaiting your arrival.
Pack your presidential best (consider our packing list to be your trusty advisor) and make the executive decision on where to stay in Washington, D.C. If you need to phone a friend, our friendly guest service team is standing by; just give ‘em a ring at 1.866.232.3864 for the world’s best travel apartment advice. Here’s to the captivating Capital City!