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Where to stay outside DC?

Stayton, Oregon
Level Contributor
47 posts
8 reviews
Where to stay outside DC?

Four of us (two couples) are planning a trip to the East Coast next summer. We hope to visit DC for a week. We would prefer not to drive in the city. Is there a nearby town (where it is easier to drive) that you would recommend we get a hotel or condo (name of lodging?) from which we could easily catch a train or a bus to DC. What would be your suggestion? I have been looking at both Alexandria & Arlington - do you have other suggestions?

Thanks for your help!

New Jersey
Level Contributor
223 posts
40 reviews
1. Re: Where to stay outside DC?

either would suit your needs, perhaps selecting a hotel that it is right on the metro line or a short walk. old town alexandria has a few hotels directly across the street from the king street metro, and there are quite a few hotels in arlington very close to the metro. (one block or less)

we've stayed at the sheraton national (need to take shuttle to the metro) and the quality inn courthouse plaza (newer, nicer section of hotel; 2 blocks to metro up a hill, but hotel provides a shuttle).

Level Contributor
2,635 posts
104 reviews
2. Re: Where to stay outside DC?

Just a thought, because I know you said you prefer not to drive into DC, but whenever we stay there, we do stay in downtown DC, but we just park the car for the duration of our stay and take the Metro wherever we want to go. The Metro is a great public transportation system, very easy to use and reasonably priced. You'd have to drive in and out of the city once, but I just wanted to mention that. Cabs in DC are fairly reasonably as well.

I have stayed in Arlington 2x - both times at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City. I love the place. I think it is reasonably priced for a Ritz (check on their website under "packages" for the best deals - many times you can get breakfast and parking included in with your room rate. The metro is right next to the hotel and it is attached to a great mall in DC. If you are all splitting a room with 2 double beds, you might be surprised at how reasonably their rates can be. The also have a nice indoor pool and hot tub in the hotel as well. Food is really pricey there, but if you can get the breakfast buffet included with your stay, that spread should feed you practically until dinnertime!

I like Alexandria, but it is a little further away from downtown DC, but there is a metro as well, at King Street. I have not stayed there myself but have heard good things about the Embassy Suites in Alexandria - I believe it is near the Metro and Embassy Suites offers a full breakfast (not just continential) with their room rates plus a manager's reception in the evening from 5-7 with free drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as well as light snacks. There are also other Embassy Suites in the DC area as well - the only ones I have stayed at is the one in downtown DC (on 22nd Street) and the one in Chevy Chase. The one in Chevy Chase might be a good consideration for you because it isn't, technically, in downtown DC, but it is very close by. Both hotels were great and I highly recommend. I think the chain, in general, does a great job. The rooms are suite-style, with 1 bedroom (can get either 1 king of 2 double beds), a bathroom, a living room with a dining table, a little kitchen area with a sink, microwave and fridge. Definitely worth a consideration as well.

Hope this helps, feel free to ask questions. Good luck!

Level Contributor
505 posts
83 reviews
3. Re: Where to stay outside DC?

I live in Alexandria, so I'm biased, but I think you might like it more than Arlington if you're visiting for a week. Arlington is extremely confusing and less concentrated. If you won't have a car, it's also less convenient to get to from the airport. Alexandria has a lot more that's worth seeing on its own; so if you don't feel like heading into DC for dinner or breakfast you can still do fine.

The Hampton Inn Alexandria-Old Town/King Street is walking distance to a Metro station that would get you into DC easily. (It's my parents' favorite place to stay in town, and I know they've researched for good value). If you do stay there, wander down King St. 2 blocks to Hard Times Cafe for chili one night. You'll enjoy it.

The Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City does have fairly good rates on weekends, and it's located at a mall, if that's your thing; but there's nothing but mall in walking distance.

The Embassy Suites Alexandria Old Town is nice and even closer to the train station to get into DC, but further from the body of Alexandria. So it's a good choice if you think you'll be going into DC exclusively.

Alexandria and Arlington are the two easiest choices, but you might also look into hotels in Bethesda, Maryland. If you fly into BWI airport it might be a little more convenient for you. If you fly into Reagan National airport, Alexandria is a five minute train ride south. If you fly into Dulles, see other threads on good places to stay. In many ways it's the least convenient of our three airports.

I applaud your decision not to try to drive in DC; it's horribly set up for tourists in cars.