Q&A: I am looking for a really cool family hotel in the Washington DC area?

December 6th, 2011
Hotel in Washington
by Esthr

Question by TigerMike1975: I am looking for a really cool family hotel in the Washington DC area?
I am looking for a family fun hotel in the Washington DC area that has attractions like water slides, Miniature golf or other fun family/child activities. My child will be 10 years old and wants to visit the White House so I am looking into planning a trip and feel a hotel with some action will be essential to adding fun to this trip in addition to the sightseeing and history that DC has to offer. Any suggestions would be helpful!

Best answer:

Answer by DON W
Unfortunately I can’t think of any hotels in the DC area that fit what you’re looking for. While many of them are family-friendly, that means basic swimming pools, free breakfasts, and not that much more. What you are looking for are resort hotels, and DC isn’t a resort city.

With that said, if you book a hotel in the close-in suburbs, you can use the Metro subway system to get downtown each day to the sights. Most kids enjoy riding on Metro!

You may want to get onto http://www.hotels.com and look for hotels in the Ballston section of Arlington, Virginia, which is connected to downtown via Metro. There’s a large indoor shopping mall at Ballston, on the top floor of which is a massive public ice skating rink (they rent skates). It’s popular because it’s the “practice ice” for the Washington Capitals, and during the hockey season you can (for free) watch them practice, and then go to the second rink (there are two) and skate yourself.

Be aware that in order to obtain passes for the White House tour, you need to reserve them about 4-6 months in advance through your US Congressman’s office. His or her website will provide directions for how to request them. After you put your request in, you have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. Ever since 9/11, it’s not easy to get them.

What do you think? Answer below!

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2 Responses

  1. NiceOne says:

    The previous answer is mostly right. You have to go to the very far suburbs to find the kind of hotel you are talking about. One that I know about is the Comfort Suites, which is near the Spashdown Water Park in Manassas, VA. But if you come into the city during morning rush hour, it is at least an hour’s drive, maybe quite a bit more. http://www.comfortsuitesmanassas.com/lp-splash-down-waterpark.php

    But traveling with a 10 year old is not as bad as traveling with a 4 or 5 year old. Your son may get a charge out of the whole experience. When my son was that age, just riding the Metro was as much fun as anything we actually saw. And many of the tourist spots are perfect for kids. I don’t know any boy of that age who won’t go “Wow!” at the National Air and Space Museum, for example.

    The National Zoo is also on the Metro and that’s another can’t miss stop (and it’s *free*). Who can resist pandas?

    Big tip for going to the Zoo: There is a stop called Woodley Park–Zoo on the Red Line. Do NOT go to that stop on the way to the zoo. Go instead to the Cleveland Park station (one stop north of Woodley Park-Zoo).

    The zoo itself is along Connecticut Ave, almost exactly midway between the two stops. The problem, however, is that Connecticut is a strong uphill walk all the way from Woodley Park, past the Zoo, and on to Cleveland Park. This can be very discouraging to kids, or to parents with strollers. But if you get off at Cleveland Park, you will walk the same distance *downhill.* 🙂 Then, when you are finished for the day, turn left out of the Zoo entrance and continue to walk downhill to the Woodley Park station. Come in from the Cleveland Park station, go home via Woodley Park station, and you will have downhill walks in both directions. Cool!

    If I were you, I would look for deals in the city or nearby, and not worry about entertaining your son at the hotel. Most visitors will feel more comfortable with hotels in the downtown area, basically from the Capitol itself west to Georgetown, or in the Virginia suburbs. I would avoid the hotels you will see along New York Ave northeast. The area is improving rapidly and there are actually some nice hotels there. But you have to know the individual property. Some places along that road are just not very safe. Hotels in downtown DC, the “upper NW” parts of DC, Arlington VA, and Alexandria VA are all fine.

    Have a great visit!

  2. Daisymae says:

    Whatever you do, check this site before leaving home.


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