The Best Hotels to Book Near the Smithsonian Museums

The Smithsonian museums offer endless education and entertainment
The Smithsonian museums offer endless education and entertainment | © Leonid Andronov / Alamy Stock Photo
Paul Stafford

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.

1. Riggs Washington DC

Boutique Hotel

294fe833 - Riggs Washington DC
© Riggs Washington DC / Expedia

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.

2. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC

Boutique Hotel, Hotel

48afeaf0 - Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC
© Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC / Expedia
On a corner overlooking both the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Capital One Arena, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC, with its neoclassical colonnaded exterior, cuts a chic figure. Within, there’s a distinct flavor of Ancient Greek creative sensibilities – witness the meander patterns on pillows and headboards and, in some rooms, the bust of a lion overhanging the bed. Amenities go above and beyond expectations, with yoga mats, an electric car charging station and free bike hire.

3. Henley Park Hotel

Independent Hotel

cc704053 - Henley Park Hotel
© Henley Park Hotel / Expedia

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.

4. National at Penn Quarter

Short-term Rental

b2c2277c - National at Penn Quarter
© National at Penn Quarter / Expedia

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.

5. Residence Inn Washington DC/Capitol

Chain Hotel

16a41603 - Residence Inn Washington DC:Capitol
© Residence Inn Washington DC/Capitol / Expedia

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.

6. Hyatt Place Washington DC/National Mall

Chain Hotel

b297e1f2 - Hyatt Place Washington D.C.:National Mall
© Hyatt Place Washington D.C./National Mall / Expedia

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.

7. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Camp Springs (Andrews Air Force Base)

Chain Hotel

2ad3cf98 - Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Camp Springs (Andrews Air Force Base)
© Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Camp Springs (Andrews Air Force Base) / Expedia

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.

8. The Westin Crystal City Reagan National Airport

Airport Hotel

b9d84b33 - The Westin Crystal City Reagan National Airport
© The Westin Crystal City Reagan National Airport / Expedia

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.

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