We are planning a trip to the Washington D. C. area during the Christmas holidays. We have stayed at numerous properties in the area that we have enjoyed, but we are always open to exploring new properties. We have never been during the winter, so I'm looking for suggestions from Insiders who have visited during the holiday season. Have you stayed at a property that has special Christmas activities? If you have stayed at a full service property was the concierge lounge open or closed during the week? (Christmas/New Year's Day are on Tuesday this year.)
Are there any holiday activities in the city or surrounding area that you would recommend?
Do you have a recommendation for Christmas lunch?
As always, thanks for your help.
My 1st choice is always Key Bridge Marriott as I really like the location, even though its an older property.
Just love the views south down the Potomac of Kennedy Center and Monuments.
I also like being able to walk to Georgetown and all my old haunts.
My favorite restaurant Bistro Français,
Fish soup (Soupe de goisson gratinée) is to die for! They also have escargot, dover sole, and all sorts of wonderful dishes. Bread and pastry is made on site.
Another favorite is Clyde's. The original restaurant in Georgetown was so popular that they have open other restaurants as well.
Then there is Filomena's a long time favorite. Henry Kissinger use to eat here regularly and entertain visiting dignitaries, and for good reason, the food is wonderful.
My 2nd favorite is the Mayflower on CT Ave. Its a grand old hotel with alot of DC history.
Both hotels are walking distance to everything I enjoy doing in town.
To me, Washington DC is best enjoyed on foot. Driving there, and parking can be challenging.
If you are driving to the area:
Those are nice Res Inn properties and Old Town is pretty at Christmas, Carlyle Res. Inn, the less expensive of the two. Anytime someone mentions Old Town, I've got to throw in my favorite, The SpringHill on Eisenhower Ave. in Old Town SW. Free parking, great breakfast, talented staff, terrific rates ($93 for 12/24-1/1) and close to Yellow Line metro into town. If you're driving, this is an excellent site and you'll be close to First Night at the Masonic Temple (which is a nice place to tour by itself, especially if you're a Dan Brown reader).
PS - It's only a Cat. 3, so 60k points gets you five nights/six days. Ok, I'm done; we're even SpringHill - ha ha (just kidding, no, I'm not a limited partner there or anything, they're just good folk).
Erc, we do not plan to rent a car while we are in the area (exception may be for 1 day so we can go to the Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles). The last time we went was several years ago and you could catch a bus in front of the Air and Space Museum on the Mall.
We've enjoyed visiting Old Town in the summer, but have never been there in the winter. I'm glad to know they decorate at Christmas. We've taken the tour of the Masonic Temple. We enjoyed the tour, but I seem to remember that the higher we got in the building, the stranger it felt. Don't know why this memory sticks out.
Another option is the new Gaylord property at National Harbor. I hear they put on quite a show for the holidays. We have stayed at the Residence Inn up the street from the Gaylord, but never in the Gaylord, itself. Checking rates, the Gaylord is about $50 below the Res for the holiday week.
rbf -- Clydes is great! We have eaten at the one near the Verizon Center. Another place that's a little nicer and really great food is Georgia Brown's, near the Marriott Mayflower hotel. Awesome shrimp and grits! And equally amzing fried chicken! There's no shortage of superb places to eat in DC!
You can currently get some excellent rates at the Dupont Circle Renaissance using the lpr (local promo rate) - for example 12/24-12/30 $99.
I usually stay at the Metro Center Marriott because of their walking distance proximity to the National Mall (Smithsonian, Capitol, memorials etc) but they have been very successful booking this holiday so their rates are higher than I want (around $260). The Dupont Circle Renaissance is pleasant enough with usually excellent customer service (I'm staying there after Christmas watching Million Dollar Quartet at Kennedy Ctr). It has some interesting art museums nearby, is near the GW campus, and is an easy cab fare to the mall (with the savings on the room rate) and is a quick hop (walking distance in summer, probably cab in December) to Georgetown - I recommend this as your staging area. The other, downtown Renaissance and the Fairfield near the Verizon center also have good rates, are nice properties and are in good areas for meals, activities, and quick cabs to museums, so consider those as well and chose what interests you most. The Dupont Circle Ren last year closed the CL between Christmas and New Years and gave breakfast vouchers - good meals. We're at the Wardman Park Marriott (The National Zoo) over New Years.
Holiday Events 2012 in Washington, D.C. | Goldstar Plenty going on in DC over the holidays , here are some with deals, but there's many, many other enjoyable events.
Several restaurants serve Christmas meals. Go to opentable - Washington DC and type in time and date and see what might interest you.
That, along with everyone else's ideas should get you started - have a great time. Now back to that crazy SEC Championship!
That was quite a ball game. I really didn't care who won, but I sure feel sorry for Georgia. I wish it was an all SEC National Championship, though.
Thanks for all these suggestions. I checked the lpr rate and the JW was $9999! Could reserve a room for the rewards rate of $127. I am not familiar with Goldstar, but I think you may have mentioned it elsewhere on MI. Most of the activities happen before we get there; however, we are not at a loss for things to do in DC. Is something happening at the Zoo over New Year's? We plan on going to the light display while we are there.
We go to the zoo new year's eve during the day, it's usually pretty quiet. New Year's Day they open the zoo up at night for Zoo Lights, a bunch of animal sculptures made out of lights. I enjoy the Botanical Gardens and the National Building Museum over the holidays , they are nicely decorated in the spirit of the season. The National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse is a pleasant walk at night - closes New Year's Day. Gem's Filomena is supposed to be nice on Christmas Eve (I haven't been - but friends liked it) and then you sightsee the streets of Georgetown, all decorated. I intend to visit the Corcoran (near the Dupont Circle Ren), a nice gallery and also decorated.
If your interested in the zoo, then you might want to stay at the Marriott Wardman.Park since it is walking distance to the Zoo. Its on CT ave, a couple of miles north of the Mayflower and Dupont circle which are still walkable. This hotel has a very interesting history including being the residence of politicans, spies, and being used for military training.. Originally it was an independent hotel, that became 1st a Sheraton and then a Marriott. When I lived and worked in DC, one of the companies I worked for had the annual christmas party there, which was quite an extravaganza. Even though I lived about 3m away, we all use to check into the hotel and enjoy the holiday cheer.
One of our favorite college restaurant's, Mama Ayesahs, is around the corner on Calvert street and is someof the best, authentic middle eastern food.
Another very interesting restaurant, which was one of the 1st Ethiopian restaurants that one of our ethiopian college friends introduced us to
Totally agree on the National Cathedral, and its very close to the Marriott Wardman. I use to walk it, taking the backstreets, and its a beautiful neighborhood to walk through.
The other church to visit for xmas services is St. Matthews Cathedral. It has one of the most spectacular pipe organs. They quite often have the same groups from Kennedy Center at services performing Gregorian Chants. it use to be standing room only for the xmas eve mass
We've been to the National Cathedral several times, but never at night. I had already checked out their Christmas activities and all the passes have already been given out for several of them. The Christmas Day organ recital (late afternoon) is still available so we may try to go then. They are giving a gargoyle walk earlier in the month that I sure would have liked to go to. Thanks for the suggestion.
rbf -- just two other suggestions. first, how about the boat ride from Alexandria to Georgetown, especially if it goes at night.. There's probably lots of pretty decorated homes and buildings along that route that you can get the best view of from the water. And last, I always suggest/encourage visiting some type of veteran's facility. There are many in DC. The Armed Forces Retirement Home on North Capitol N.E. There'll be some older G.I.'s there without family over the holidays.
Here are some links for free xmas activities in WDC this year
Also, I completely forgot about the Natinoal Shrine of the Immaculate Conception which is the largest catholic church in the US.
and the Mormon Temple, as thi is the only time I am aware it is open to the public.