Great vacation rental in DC?
July 17, 2011 12:30 PM   Subscribe

Where to stay in DC?

We're a a family of 4 with 11 and 8 year old kids planning a vacation to Washington DC November 19th for about 6 days.

We'd like to do the standard touristy things and would like to try to get by without a car.

Where should we stay? Ideally we'd like a small 1br apartment for the week with close proximity to the Metro. So far we've seen interesting rentals on

As an interesting tidbit my company HQ is in Fairfax. I've spent time near there on business.

Also how cold will it be? Thanks!
posted by toastchee to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Cold will vary. But certainly you can do stuff outside.

You'll be fine metroing everywhere.

I'd do VRBO or AirBnB. As it gets closer, meMail me and I can look on my neighborhood listserv. There are constant postings looking for 'free' housesitters. We had a family with 2 young kids stay at our house for a week last month. They stayed for free and fed our cats. We knew that someone was in our house. win-win.
posted by k8t at 12:33 PM on July 17, 2011

I'm not sure how much 1br apartments go for, but my family's going to DC in a few weeks and I did the Priceline thing and got the Marriot Yardman which is across the street from the metro and the zoo for $90/night ( for 4 nights). I've spent more time than I'd like to admit looking into getting a hotel via either via Priceline or Hotwire so PM me if you want more details.
posted by jeremias at 2:53 PM on July 17, 2011

Oops, make that the Marriott Wardman.
posted by jeremias at 2:55 PM on July 17, 2011

If you want to try and spend a night at a fancy hotel downtown while you're there and you don't mind dropping a little bit of extra cash, try checking the Kimpton Hotels every once in a while as the date gets closer. They almost never sell out of rooms at any of their hotels downtown and you can often get a $250-$300 suite for $150 if you book at the last minute.

As for where in Washington to stay -- in general NW, or Northern Virginia is the nicer part of the area. If you want something safely suburban but near metro, look in the Pentagon City/Rosslyn area.
posted by empath at 3:43 PM on July 17, 2011

If you're looking to rent someone's apartment you could try any number of craigslist+googlemaps Mashups like PadMapper or MapsKrieg.

Seconding NW, the Metro's red line is what you'd be looking at if you're interested. I'd recommend anywhere from Bethesda to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan (though not Adams Morgan proper).

Being directly next to the Mall is nice logistically, but the area around it is pretty urban, emptier at night, and especially bleechhhhh for kids.

IMO, f you can get a nice rental next to the Friendship Heights metro stop you're golden; it's a really safe area, lively during the day and night, and it has great access to both the Metro and the bus system. It's a great "home base" to come back to after a long day of sightseeing. Bethesda would be a close second for me.

Another thing that's great about NW neighborhoods is they tend to have fun parks that you can take your kids to for some non-monumental recreation.
posted by lemuring at 4:19 PM on July 17, 2011

On the weather part of your question -- things can vary in November. It could be 60s or 50s and sunny; it could be 40s and cold steady rain. I'd pack for that range, unfortunately...
posted by Cocodrillo at 4:58 PM on July 17, 2011

"Being directly next to the Mall is nice logistically, but the area around it is pretty urban, emptier at night, and especially bleechhhhh for kids."

As someone who lives a 15 minute walk from the Mall, I'd beg to differ. Capitol Hill is a pleasant neighborhood directly east of the Capitol (it's in both Northeast and Southeast). I just came in from watering the tree in front of my house (at 10 pm) and someone walked by every couple of minutes. It's generally quite safe (though the farther you get from the Capitol, the more cautious you should be) and crawling with thousands of kids. Eastern Market is the big tourist draw (look in your guidebook), so if you can find a place between the Market and the Capitol, grab it.

This page has a lot of very detailed neighborhood profiles.

Welcome and have fun!
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:48 PM on July 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Agreeing with Mr.Know. Capitol Hill is fantastic. I live here with a 2.5 year old and the whole place is crawling with kids.

Like I said, I'm happy to look for a housesitting gig for you guys, but it is too far in advance right now. However, that being said, the 6 or so times that I've had to look for housing for someone (in 7 months) I've had no problem using my neighborhood listserv.
posted by k8t at 7:55 PM on July 17, 2011

Yep. I love capitol hill too!

However, I believe that the original poster warning about that was cautioning about the Southwest Federal Center, and areas of downtown around Penn Quarter and the Golden Triangle. Those areas have lots of federal office buildings....and not much else. Safe, but very "Blah" at night, even with kids. (So, Metros to avoid there are Farragut North, Farragut West, McPherson Square, L'Enfant, Federal Center SW, Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, and to a lesser extent: Archives, Foggy Bottom, Metro Center, and Judiciary Square).

Oh, and everything on the mall closes after 7ish. Most of it's not even very well lit at night, and there's very little to do in the immediate vicinity. There aren't even many food options near the mall. Your best bet is to head up to Gallery Place or Union Station for lunch. It's a short walk.

Gallery Place/Chinatown is the one area in the southern part of downtown that stays lively 24/7. It can be hectic, but is very safe. The area around the Convention Center (Mt. Vernon Square) can still be a bit seedy, despite bordering some very nice areas.

I'd look at the Eastern Market and Barracks Row area if you can. The neighborhood is very accessible to most destinations, and is cute as a button.

Georgetown's not bad either. Very family friendly; lots to to; safe; sometimes a bit crowded. It's not on the metro, but enjoys very frequent bus service via the Circulator, which is cheap, safe, and runs very frequently, with very easy connections to the Blue/Orange and Red lines on Metro.

The Woodley Park/Zoo/Adams Morgan Metro Station is about a 15-minute walk to Adams Morgan or the Zoo. We don't understand why they named it that way either. Many people going to the zoo prefer the Cleveland Park Metro -- it's a tiny bit further away, but is a pleasant downhill walk instead of a steep uphill one! On your way home, walk further down the hill to the Woodley Park station!

Bring sweaters. It'll be cold, but not freezing.
posted by schmod at 8:30 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

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