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Pod DC Hotel
Photograph: Pod DC Hotel

The 16 best cheap hotels in DC

Visiting the capital on a budget? Worry not: You can save some cash by staying at the best cheap hotels in DC.

By Rina Rapuano

Whether in town to visit the best Washington DC attractions, eat at every single one of the best restaurants in DC or get some solo time in while relaxing at the best local parks, one thing is certain: Saving money always feels awesome. Enter the best cheap hotels in DC: Comfortable and beautiful accommodations that won’t break your wallet. Trust us, you’ll want to use that extra cash while shopping around the capital.

Best cheap hotels in DC

Fairfield Inn & Suites Chinatown
Photograph: Fairfield Inn & Suites Chinatown

11. Fairfield Inn & Suites Chinatown

4 out of 5 stars

There are few neighborhoods in DC that are as exciting as Chinatown—with the possible exception of Shaw, which is just northwest of this burgeoning area. A stay at this hotel will place you in the vicinity of restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs, great shopping at CityCenterDC, fun galleries and museums, a movie theater—oh, and the convention center, if you absolutely must work while you’re in town. Guests are treated to a complimentary breakfast buffet and should opt to have lunch and dinner at the on-premises pub called The Irish Channel. Also enjoy access to a fitness room, where you’ll work off all those calories. Planning on catching any concerts or sports games? You’re just steps away from Capital One Arena (formerly known as the Verizon Center).

Time Out tip: If you’re flexible on your travel dates, you can search the site by month and find out what days will cost you less right away.

Pod DC Hotel
Photograph: Pod DC Hotel

12. Pod DC Hotel

3 out of 5 stars

One of DC’s newest hotels proves that the tiny living movement isn’t reserved solely for homes. The venue’s micro-rooms are just 150-square-feet each and do a great job at maximizing the living space with bunk beds and under-bed storage made easier by the use of hardwood floors rather than carpeting. Crimson, the retro diner that operates on the first floor, is owned by local brothers and restaurateurs Ian and Eric Hilton, who also run the whiskey bar, coffee shop and rooftop bar affiliated with the diner.

Time Out tip: The extras offered here go way beyond what hotels normally offer, including free weekend walking tours of the neighborhood, access to nearby fitness centers, classes and co-working space.

Tabard Inn
© Worn Creative,

13. Tabard Inn

3 out of 5 stars
Hotels Dupont Circle

As far as DC hotels go, this one is perhaps the most well-known and beloved by actual Washingtonians. We dig the brunch-time donuts on the patio, cocktails by the fireplace in the lounge and even occasionally book a room for a romantic weekend staycation. It’s got the feel of a European budget hotel, with all the good (charm, quirkiness and excellent food) and bad (no elevators, and rooms get cheaper if you’re willing to share a bathroom) that comes with. Even though you’re surrounded by great Dupont Circle restaurants, you won’t want to sleep on the $15 food and beverage credit that can be used in the hotel’s bar or restaurant.

Time Out tip: Don’t look for any TVs in the rooms—there aren’t any. Worry not, though! Wi-Fi and access to a nearby gym are both available.

Adam's Inn
Photograph: Jose Valcarcel

14. Adam’s Inn

3 out of 5 stars
Hotels Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan is known for its boho vibe, independent shops, globally inspired restaurants and wild nightlife, but this 30-year-old B&B actually sits just a few blocks north of all the hustle and bustle, on a quiet street off the main drag. Guests staying in each of the 13 individually decorated rooms receive a continental breakfast completely gratis, and some of the rooms even allow pets. Make use of the free Wi-Fi, the business center and the certified wildlife habitat garden for when you can finally close the laptop and start to relax. The hotel is close to the National Zoo and several parks, making it an ideal value option for families.

Time Out tip: If driving, you’ll want to take advantage of the $25 on-site parking garage rather than deal with the usually insane parking situation in Adams Morgan. Make sure to reserve a parking space when booking.

Duo Housing
Photograph: Duo Housing

15. Duo Housing

3 out of 5 stars
Hotels Hostels Judiciary Square

While hostels aren’t for everyone, this one turns the traditionally bare-bones accommodation into something warm and inviting. Expect tons of freebies, including complimentary breakfast (get the pancakes), tea and coffee, access to computers, a Nintendo Wii, premium cable and a free locker—if you bring your own lock. Plus, a rooftop deck for hanging out with newly minted friends from all over town. Although the idea here is to socialize and interact, you’ll appreciate the available quiet room when you’re in need of a retreat. Oh, and if you’ve ever hostel-hopped across Europe, you’ll be glad to know that there staff is here present 24 hours a day and there is no lock-out or curfew policy.

Time Out tip: This hostel adheres to a no-shoes-inside policy, which some may love. Others, not so much.

HI Washington DC Hostel
Photograph: HI Washington DC Hostel

16. HI Washington DC Hostel

3 out of 5 stars

HI isn’t just a greeting at this centrally located spot. The acronym stands for Hostelling International, a nonprofit that runs hostels across the globe. The wheelchair-accessible accommodations in DC can be identified by the row of flags above the door, and inside you’ll find clean, bright, modern and colorful digs filled with friendly budget-minded travelers from many nations, a game room and a full self-service kitchen. Some rooms feature bunk beds while others have doubles, but hostels aren’t exactly known for privacy, so this isn’t ideal for most couples. Guests do need to be members of Hostelling International, but a daily $3 temporary membership fee can be tacked onto your rate if you’re not a member.

Time Out tip: Check the activity board for neighborhood tours led by local volunteers, trivia nights at a nearby pub or other free events.


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