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Fairfax stay for DC trip?

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56 posts
2 reviews
Fairfax stay for DC trip?

Fellow traveler experts! need insight, guidence, four-one-one for what will be our first trip to Washington DC.

Target timeframe: 4th of July week, (June 29-July 7th).

5 adults traveling; 2 rooms needed.

We've heard it is best to stay in a hotel outside of DC, especially since our budget is pretty tight. Safe location is priority. We would like to visit all the top museums as time allows, & again because of budget constraints, freebies will be tops!


budget, safe hotels below $80/night?

"must-see sights"?

quaint shopping areas, where we could actually "slow" a couple evenings down?

We are in our 30's & 40's, from California & fit, so we are ready to get the tennies shoes on & explore!

Thank you for your input!


5 replies to this topic
Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington
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37 reviews
1. Re: Fairfax stay for DC trip?

If you haven't done so already I'd suggest re-posting your question in the Washington, DC forum -- it gets much greater readership. I'd also check out the things to do link on that forum, as it will give you a good run-down of the must-see sights.

Your budget could be a challenge. Sometimes you'll get deals in the ~$90 a night range, but under $80 is rare except at the most basic hotels located in areas not easily accessed via Metro.

One thing you will need to weigh is how you are going to get around for the week. While the conventional wisdom is to not rent a car and take Metro everywhere you need to go, with five adults, assuming city traffic doesn't bother you, you may actually want to consider driving into DC each day and paying to park near the sights of interest (about $20 a day) and then walking. It could end up cheaper than the cost of Metro, *IF* it lets you get into a hotel for meaningfully less (so that the cost of rental car is offset by the hotel savings). This would let you consider some more budget hotels that aren't walking distance to Metro stations. BUT DC traffic is worse than LA's, and you'll need to budget the cost of a rental car.

A quick search of hotels.com isn't good for your dates and your budget. If you MUST stay around the $80 a night, the only hotel that comes up which I'd consider is the Days Inn Alexandria South at $76 a night. You'll want a rental car, because there is ZERO within walking distance worth doing. If you get up early enough, you can drive from there to the Huntington Metro station and park (but later in the morning the lot can fill).

The cheapest hotel I see for your weekend that rates at all OK and is within a long walk of Metro is the Holiday Inn Crystal City. That's about $125 a night, but you could get away with not having a car.

Good luck.

Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
8,925 posts
102 reviews
2. Re: Fairfax stay for DC trip?

If you can bump your budget up to $100 per night for a hotel, then another option is the Americana Hotel in the Crystal City area of Arlington. This rate is for a room with 2 double beds if you are a AAA member or if you purchase in advance. The Americana offers free parking AND is within easy walking distance of 2 Metro stations, so you could either rent a car or not. The Crystal City area has a lot of shops and restaurants within walking distance as well (but I wouldn't call the shopping area "quaint".)

If you were planning on renting a car, I like Warthog's idea of driving into the city and parking each day. For a party of 5, this is probably more cost-effective than Metro. But, if you plan to rent a car, you might well consider the Days Inn Alexandria South and save on your room.

Washington DC...
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2,587 posts
52 reviews
3. Re: Fairfax stay for DC trip?

I agree too that if you really need to stay within your hotel budget, think about a place a little further out, and just drive a car in and park. If you stay somewhere with easy access to I-66 (Fairfax/Arlington) or I-395 in Virginia (Crystal City/Shirlington) and head into the city around 9:30, you should be fine for traffic. Union Station is a good place to park. Safe, and the fee to park for the day would be less than what it would cost all of you to ride Metro. It is not an unreasonable walk for one who is fit to the Mall area, or just take the Metro from Union Station a few stops to wherever you need to go.

Plan on staying in town through the D.C. evening rush, find a place for a meal and then head back to the hotel.

NOW, if you are planning on being in D.C. on the Mall on the 4th, that is going to take some extra planning, and I suggest you mosey over to the D.C. forum and do some research there. It is a lot of fun, BUT a lot of people, Metro is very crowded, etc.

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56 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Fairfax stay for DC trip?

Thank you for your replies!! saving, printing, adding to my research folder :)

5. Re: Fairfax stay for DC trip?

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