Ask Chris: Where to stay in Washington DC with a family?

by Chris on March 25, 2010

A reader asks: Where in Washington DC should I stay with a family?

I’ve received a couple of travel questions that might be helpful for other people planning similar itineraries, so I’m going to repost them here occasionally.

Q: Where would you recommend staying in DC? – Jane

This question came to me through my 6 Favorite Places to Take a Family Vacation post, so I assume that they are looking for a family-friendly hotel in the District.

When I think of hotels for families, I consider three criteria: Does the hotel have a suite-style setup? (so parents and kids can share a room yet still have a little privacy). Is the hotel easy to get to the major sights? And finally, are there amenities at the hotel that will keep the kids entertained, such as a pool?

Taking all three of these factors into account, finding a good hotel in DC is harder than you think. Here are a few options:

1. Embassy Suites, 1250 22nd St. NW.  We used to stay in Embassy Suites growing up – while they aren’t the trendiest bed in town, their two-room setup can be incredibly convenient for families. This Embassy Suite has a heated indoor pool, a Koi pond where kids can watch staff feed the fish and an on-site game room. Best of all, they have packages aimed at families, so you know you’ll be welcome. The West End neighborhood is safe and lively, and it’s not too far from the sights and memorials on the western side of the Mall, such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and the FDR memorial. And Embassy Suites are often available on booking sites such as Priceline and Hotwire so you might be able to get a deal.

2. Hotel Palomar, 2121 P Street NW. For families who want a little more of a boutique feel, the Palomar might be an option. I stopped in their lobby recently while walking through the neighborhood (it’s between Dupont Circle and West End), and saw plenty of families (as well as people with pets – the hotel is dog friendly) taking advantage of the afternoon snacks. The Palomar is part of the Kimpton chain, which has KimptonKids services available such as a welcome gift, cribs and playards, high chairs and booster seats and even a child-size animal print robe for loan or purchase. There’s also an outdoor pool. One thing: this hotel is also popular with singles and couples on romantic getaways. So you might not get as warm a reception here from other guests as you might at a more traditional property.

3. Residence Inn, 333 E St. SW. This suite hotel is located on the southeast side of town, within walking distance of the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, as well as the Capitol. While it’s not in the heart of the city, there is a Metro stop around the corner. There’s an indoor pool, free breakfast and free dinners on some nights (which is great, as this area doesn’t have many restaurants). The rooms all have full kitchens.

Anyone else with kids, feel free to weigh in!

Send me your travel question at If I can’t answer it, I’ll get you in touch with someone who can.

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| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine Schiavo March 27, 2010 at 11:40 am

Washington Suites, Georgetown: 2500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20037. This is perfect for families. We stayed there a couple years ago and have recommended it to others, all of whom liked it. It is reasonably priced, situating on the fringe of Georgetown (about 5-minute walk to heart of Georgetown) and just off the GW campus, with close proximity to the subway. Its best feature is a full kitchen, with utensils, pots and pans and full refrig so you don’t have to eat every meal out. There is a small grocery about a block away too. And when we stayed there, the hotel even offered a continental breakfast in the lobby and outside courtyard. I think it used to be an apt building that was made a hotel.


Chris March 31, 2010 at 10:27 am

Thanks for adding, Christine! I actually read about that place, but hesitated to add it because I had never stopped by.


PJ October 6, 2010 at 5:21 am


I’d like to go to Washington one day. I recently visited New York City, SoCal, San Diego and Las Vegas. It was a great experience and I kind of fell in love with the US! Defenitly want to see more of it.
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