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Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

San Diego
Level Contributor
23 posts
Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

I am bringing my 9 year old son to DC in December. I am looking for a fairly cheap hotel but still in a good area. People keep telling me to be careful where I stay because there are several areas that are not safe. However, no one has been able to tell me which areas are safe and which are not. Can anyone help me out? Are there certain areas that we should not stay?

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
12,171 posts
140 reviews
1. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

If you find a hotel that's incredibly cheap in DC and has an "NE" address, then you should avoid it. As a rule of thumb, a hotel with an "NW" address is generally in a safe area. Some safe areas to stay in when in DC---Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, McPherson Square, Penn Quarter--to name a few. Also, if you find a hotel in Arlington, VA and it's by a Metro station, you'll be fine.

Avoid staying in Prince Georges County, MD--especially if the hotel is inside the beltway. I know that there are hotels near Metro stations in PG County but, IMO, no matter how much cheaper they are than the ones in DC, it's not worth it to stay there.

Also note---if you find a hotel that is in a good area of DC but is incredibly cheap, it should raise a red flag.

Wherever you decide to stay, please read the reviews posted here on TA. They will help you come to an informed decision. Also, once you decide on a hotel if you have any concerns about the neighborhood it's in, please post back.

One way to find a good rate for a hotel room is to try bidding for one by using one of the discount webpages. If this interests you, take a look at betterbidding.com and biddingfortravel.com

San Diego
Level Contributor
23 posts
2. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

Thankyou, that is very helpful info. I have 3 hotels in mind, Braxton (Rhode Island Ave NW), Howard Johnson Express Inn (New York Ave NE), or Days Inn Pentagon in Arlington (that one is really cheap, $65/night, I ike the price but at the same time it wories me. I think the Howard Johnson is in one of the areas you recomended not going. There were several hotels in Arlington but I think it will be easier if we are closer to everything.

Sterling, VA
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
12,171 posts
140 reviews
3. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

You're welcome! The Braxton does not get good reviews here on TA. And yes, I would definitely avoid the HoJo Express. The Days Inn Pentagon is a 2-diamond property. However, it is in a commercial area and is not near a Metro station. As far as I can see, the hotel doesn't even offer a courtesy shuttle to a Metro station for its guests, either.

You could look into the Courtyard by Marriott Crystal City--rates start at $99/night. Or there is also the Hampton Inn & Suites Reagan National--rates start at $89/night. Both are 3-diamond properties and both offer a free shuttle for their guests. The Hampton Inn is right by a Metro station--the Courtyard would be an easy shuttle ride away, IMO.

Also, there is the Days Inn Crystal City--rates start at $89/night and it is right by a Metro station.

Maryland
Level Contributor
380 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

I agree with SueFee on the areas to stay in in DC and recommend that, if possible, you stay in the city itself so that you save the hassle of commuting. Another area not on her list is SW, near the Mall. The area is much less lively at night--it's mainly office buildings and there are few restaurants--but it's a very short walk to the Mall museums. The Holiday Inn Capitol, for example, is only two short blocks from the Air and Space Museum. However, SW is a large area, and parts of it aren't good--avoid the area where the Best Western Capitol Skyline is located. Keep in mind, too, that weekend prices are generally much lower than weekday rates, so if you time your trip for a weekend, you should be able to get much better deals.

If your budget is really tight, you might also want to check the reviews on this board for the Americana Hotel in the Crystal City area of Virginia. It's an old motel, but several reviewers here and on usenet travel groups give it good marks for convenience and cleanliness. The Hotel Harrington, which is in DC, is another reasonably priced hotel, but people either love or hate, depending on their standards.

The advice that you should "Avoid staying in Prince Georges County, MD--especially if the hotel is inside the beltway" is a bit over the top. While there are many areas of PG County best avoided by tourists--as there are in DC--the only thing a tourist is likely to die of in most parts of the county is boredom. For example, the Marriott's Inn and Conference Center, which is on the University of Maryland College Park campus, is in a perfectly reasonable area, although, as I said, I think the convenience of staying downtown makes that the better option.

Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
61,619 posts
48 reviews
5. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

Seconded on the Prince George's County comments, while overall there are some real nasty areas you can't write off the whole county. Marriott in Greenbelt is good, there is also a Courtyard in Greenbelt, both of which are close to Greenbelt Metro, as well as a string of hotels and motels along Route 1 in College Park that would be good options for budget travel as well as close to Metro stations.

DC
Level Contributor
794 posts
1 review
6. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

To be fair to the poster who knows nothing about DC or PG, it is a reasonable suggestion to avoid the whole of PG. She is unlikely to know the good from the bad, and the bad is much larger than the good.

College Park and Greenbelt aren't all that swift these days either. I catch the bus sometimes from Greenbelt to the Dist. Ct. there, and while during the day I am not bothered, a tourist, especially at night might find herself uncomfortable.

And, never let yourself be talked into the hotel/s in New Carrolton.

I tried Prince Georges Plaza last year for the first time in 20 years and felt somewhat concerned.

Sure, College Park has all that University Charm, and a few good neighborhoods left, but look what it's surrounded by. Riverdale, Hyattsville and even Langley Park is within walking's distance. Sure there are areas of Hyattsville and Riverdale Park that are being Gentrified, but it still has a far bit to go.

Langley Park just down the road is Mara Salvratucha (MS13 Gang)Central.

I have family still living out there, and go to Ledo's occassionally, and know the area well.

To someone who doesn't know the country it is safer just to tell them to avoid the whole place, with no disrespect intended towards those who live there.

Cheers,

Dev

Maryland
Level Contributor
380 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

"To someone who doesn't know the country it is safer just to tell them to avoid the whole place, with no disrespect intended towards those who live there."

One could say the same thing about DC!

Look, Dev, I agree that staying in DC a better option than staying in a suburb for any number of reasons--convenience, better dining options, general city vibe--but for somebody on a budget that isn't always an option. Providing information on good and bad parts of the surrounding areas is more useful, since most of the surrounding counties have problem areas. MS-13, for example, is as active in Fairfax and Montgomery Counties as in Prince George's. I realize I'm about to re-start the Prince George's flame war that raged on this board last year, but I think we need to provide more specific information and not just rule in--or out--whole counties.

Connecticut
Level Contributor
33 posts
1 review
8. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

I'm looking at the Wyndham near Thomas Circle and the Hilton Garden near McPherson metro.

They are both reasonably priced and was wondering if they are in safe areas. I believe they are both in the downtown area.

DC
Level Contributor
794 posts
1 review
9. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

Hiya Westward~

Both of the hotels you mentioned are in good neighborhoods. There is a lot of construction going on on Thomas Circle. What address is the Wydham so can tell you if you will be in the middle of a construction zone.

Cheers,

Dev

DC
Level Contributor
794 posts
1 review
10. Re: Safe areas to stay in Washington DC

Hiya Bink~

True, it is possible for people to wander into unsuitable areas of DC (Increasingly hard, but possible) but DC is a destination unto itself so getting off the beaten track is a possibility.

But why put someone in that position if they have no reason to be in that area except staing in a hotel there. Much easier to put them in a safer place in the first place.

I still have family (G-d help them!) living in Lewisdale, Hyattsville, Riverdale and Bowie.

I could not in good concience recommend PG County to ANYONE as a place to stay for their holiday. Too much a potential for trouble.

Just as I would never recommend anyone stay in Harlem or South Central LA! Even though there may be good areas, why take the chance.

Cheers,

Dev