View Full Version : Places to stay and restaraunt suggestions in D.C.

07-30-2007, 03:50 AM
We are flying through D.C. in September and are looking at staying a couple extra days to visit w/ some friends and see some sites in D.C., any good hotel suggestions? Restaruant suggestions? Any great activities? We are already looking at the National Zoo and Aquarium, what else is a must see? There will be 3 children (2 and under) and 4 adults.


07-31-2007, 09:19 AM
My SIL moved there a few years ago and we have gone to visit a few times since then. She lives in Arlington so we like to stay there.

I discovered a good hotel there though so even if I didn't have an Arlington connection I think I would still stay there- the Hilton Garden Inn at Courthouse Plaza. It's nothing terribly exciting but it is very reasonably priced (however like most city hotels there is a big price difference between weekday and weekend rates!), clean, well maintained, parking isn't expensive, next to the courthouse/ police station (so it feels pretty safe to walk even late at night), Metro is about 1-2 blocks away), restaurants up the street, farmers' market across the street from hotel on weekends, movie theater across street...and free fruit and cookies at the check in desk. :) Since it right by the Metro it is really easy to get to DC and the tourist attractions.

We have stayed at the Grand Hyatt in downtown DC. That was nice. It has a Metro station in the basement. I just hadn't realized how long of a walk it would be to the actual station from the hotel. Parking was more expensive here than at the Hilton.

We also have stayed at the Georgetown Inn. I don't think I would stay there again unless all I really wanted to do was hang out in Georgetown (which I don't think I would with a child). I say that b/c the Metro doesn't run to Georgetown so you either have to do busses, taxis or a lot of walking.

I have heard that the Aquarium isn't a major "wow" but I haven't actually been there! I imagine if my child liked fish though it would be a fun outting. :) The zoo is really nice. We showed up abou 2 hours before closing one day and that was great b/c he crowd had thinned out. We probably could have used longer but we only wanted to see a few specific animals that day.

The Smithsonian museums are almost all (all?) free and have a lot to offer. I think for this age I would hit the National Air and Space Museum and the Natural History Museum. I like the eating options at the American Indian Museum and the National Gallery of Art.

15 best places to go with kids in DC area:

I spent some time researching restaurants on places like the Washington Post's website before my last visit there. I have an entire list of recommended restaurants, their addresses, and closest Metro station. If you are interested I can post that.


08-01-2007, 11:06 AM
We're staying with my mom in Fairfax, VA this summer so I can't advise you on hotels. But I was wondering if you meant the National Aquarium in DC or Baltimore? I would skip the one in DC because it's horrible. You can probably go through it in 15 minutes and I believe it's the only museum/attraction in DC that charges a fee.

If you have the time, Baltimore is about 45mins away and there is a lot at the inner harbour to do and eat. The Aquarium and Museum of Science are right in the harbour. And nearby is Port Discovery which is a great children's museum. There is also the Baltimore Zoo, which I have not visited. And within walking distance is Little Italy.

Definitely check out the National Zoo, I just love the pandas, and get a map of the area around it. Rock Creek Park is lovely and I think there are some nice walking trails.

I love the Air and Space Museum but your kids may be a little young to appreciate it and it was mobbed when I was there on Sunday. If you are in the VA suburbs, Clemyjontri Park is a nice park in McLean http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/clemyjontri/

08-02-2007, 02:17 PM
I agree to skip the National Aquarium. Its worthless.

The American Indian Museum is spectacular. The food is good, but pricey and not good for a picky eater.

The Old Ebbets Grill is a great place right across from the White House. Its very child friendly.

08-09-2007, 02:17 PM
I live in the area and work in DC. Last year I was researching hotels for a group and below are some recommendations - but I personally have never stayed at any of these hotels. All are within walking distance of a metro (subway) stop.

Embassy Suites Hotel Washington (good quality, nice pool, family friendly, breakfast included, bit longer walk to the metro but near two stops)

Embassy Suites Hotel at the Chevy Chase Pavilion (metro stop right beneath the hotel, breakfast included, in upscale neighborhood/shopping)

Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse (not within DC but close and near metro stop; parking is included which will save you at least $20 a day compared to DC hotels, good quality but no pool, good value)

As far as activities - a agree the aquarium downtown is disappointing but I actually think kids 2 and under might like it if they're into fish. The one in Baltimore is amazing but be warned that strollers are not allowed. There is a carousel near one of the Smithsonians (Smithsonian Castle, maybe?) that the little ones might like riding on. The National Building Museum has a nice children's play area, I'm told. The Air and Space Smithsonian is a "must see" in my book but I don't know how much a 2 year old would get out of it. I believe you can get a paddle boat in the Tidal Basin (near the Jefferson Memorial - which is my favorite memorial). I think it worth the trip to see the Lincoln Memorial (and the view it offers of the Mall). I'm not so keen on the Washington Monument.

Can't really recommend any restaurants downtown that are family friendly. Old Ebbitts is good though.

08-10-2007, 06:27 AM
Thanks everyone for the recommendations! :) Though we are flying into D.C. and doing some final business stuff there we are actually now planning on staying in Baltimore. All your recommendations about the Inner Harbor are wonderful and we cant wait to check out the Aquarium. Thanks for the heads up on the strollers I would have been upset if I would have taken my stroller and they wouldnt let me in w/ it.

Thanks again!!!

08-10-2007, 07:26 AM
You can take your stoller inside but you have to check it, that way you can have it with you when you're done. They do offer the back pack carriers if you need one. Be sure to go to Little Italy to eat. This is our favorite and is kid friendly.It's a short walk from the Aquarium.


They have the best house salad there. I'm not much of a salad eater and I love their's.

There are many restaurants to choose from in this area.

You can also buy your aquarium tickets online, then you won't have to wait as long to get in.

08-10-2007, 12:07 PM
Yes, good point about the strollers - they will check them for you. And the last time I went (without my son) it looked like they actually have a decent selection of different types of carriers (backpacks, front carries) you can borrow from them.

The Science Museum at the Inner Harbor is cool too.

My son is almost 22 months old, and I think at this age he'd have more fun at the Inner Harbor than in downtown DC.

08-13-2007, 02:04 AM
Thanks for the link and all the great tips.

I think we may avoid Little Italy. We've been living in Italy for the past 3 years and would appreciate *anything* but Italian food. Lol :) Though we may check it out just for a nice walk.

Thanks again for your help!