Some of the most prized national treasures of the United States are the Smithsonian museums of Washington DC. Among many other subjects, they cover art, natural history, anthropology and airspace innovation, so you’d need weeks to explore each exhibition thoroughly. That means a lot of exercise, and for that, you’ll need the perfect hotel at the end of the day. Here are the best, all bookable with Culture Trip.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a next-door neighbor to the Riggs Washington DC, a hotel with a storied history. It was built as the once-presidential Riggs Bank, but after that fell from grace, the premises found fresh purpose. The vault is now a bar, the offices are upscale rooms, and the elegant lobby forms a unique reception area. The rooms all have designs which evoke their banking past, and incorporate whimsical flourishes of contemporary creativity.
Stepping foot in the Henley Park Hotel is a little like stepping back in time, which makes it the ideal stay for history buffs visiting the Smithsonian museums. The aim of the hotel’s proprietors is to replicate the resplendence of a Tudor mansion, and the exterior of the building, which dates to 1918, is thus covered with creative flourishes, including stone gargoyles and stained glass. The rooms offer plenty of space while taking a more contemporary approach when it comes to standards of comfort.
If you’d prefer to stay in a self-contained apartment, rather than a hotel, the National at Penn Quarter has one- and two-bedroom options. It’s just two blocks from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, so you can return to your accommodation after a long day of exploration, cook a meal in the kitchen and eat at the dining table – or opt for a TV dinner in the sitting room.
For a more autonomous Washington DC vacation, camp down at the Residence Inn, where suites are available for stays both long and short. Tall refrigerators in the kitchens are perfect for storing food bought at the on-site grocery store, while the kitchen is fully equipped for cooking your favorite meals. If you’d prefer to let someone else handle the prep, a free breakfast is included in the room price each day, and there are plenty of restaurants nearby.
The Smithsonian museums of Air and Space, and of African Art, are just a few blocks from the Hyatt Place hotel. And while a visit to either will entail plenty of walking, you’ll be able to return to an excellent on-site fitness center, for that little more exercise. In fact, the team at the Hyatt have anticipated plenty of their guests’ needs – enjoy its rooftop bar with cityscape views, and bedrooms that contain a separate living room and work space.
The Country Inn & Suites is a great option for visitors to the US capital who are arriving by car. The hotel lies just off the Capital Beltway and is moments from Branch Avenue metro station, making it easy to leave the car behind and escape the gridlock of the inner city when visiting the Smithsonian museums. Rooms are simple and modern, and pose better value for money than their more central counterparts.
Westin Crystal City is a good outlier hotel, located right next to a metro station for visiting the Smithsonian museums and just one mile (1.6km) from Reagan National Airport. Nature-themed art decorates the spacious, earth-toned rooms, while modern lighting creates a warm ambience. Unusually, the wifi is not free at this hotel, but the network is fast and reliable.
Looking for something different? Put your relaxation first with a stay at one of the city’s best spa hotels or an unforgettable time at one of the most famous historic hotels in Washington DC – they’re all bookable on Culture Trip. These must-see attractions will have you hopping from memorials to architectural landmarks and museums, but if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path, these outdoor activities in and around DC will be a great way to fill your time. Don’t forget to have a little fun – fit in a boozy brunch at one of these top spots.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.