I've never stayed at the FFI on H st., but it 's not in a terribly bad location. You're not too far from Clydes, where you can get what quite possibly has the best Rueben sandwich in DC, and also near Capitol Q, for some decent texas style BBQ. You're close to national archives and the national art gallery, as well as chinatown. Not too far from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. And venture out to the mall and beyond to pay tribute to those who served, and gave all, at WWII, Vietnam, Korea, war memorials and of course visit the arlington national cemetary. You didn't say if this was your first visit to DC, but if so you are about to experience one of the world's greatest cities.
Have not stayed at the FF, but you are in a good area. One place I would recommend would be The top of the Hotel Washington. What a view!
Likewise, the historic Occidental Grill, which is close by, is so special. If you get to Ford's Theatre, take in Chinatown, and have a meal, you will never forget it!
Good luck, everyone will tell you about all of their favorites and you will be in for a great time.
I lived in DC for 20 years and loved going to the National Mall on the 4th for the fireworks. Another great place to watch from is Crystal City, just across the Potomac River. Great views without craning your neck as much.
Another historic place is the Occidental Hotel near the White House--very elegant and totally restored.
If there is an Evening Parade at the US Marine HQ (8th and I streets) and you can get in, it is a great thing to watch.
Anything the Smithsonian offers is worthwhile and almost always free.
Visit the memorials on the open space near the Lincoln Memorial--moving and very much appropriate for the location between there and the Washington monument.
We love Jaleo, a Spanish Tapas restaurant behind the National Theater, near Chinatown.
Having been involved in its inception and design, I am fond of the Spy Museum as well.
Good luck and have a great visit
We try to go to D.C. at least once a year to visit our favorite sites and we always visit someplace new. On our most recent trip in October, we thoroughly enjoyed the Newseum. We spent 2 days there! We also rented a car and went to Annapolis. We did not know about the huge boat show on the day we went, so we'll have to do that trip again on a calm week-end.
We did enjoy the parade on the 4th of July. I think I remember that it started at noon. We also enjoyed going to the dress rehearsal for the Capitol Fourth show. Take something to sit on and a picnic. We also DVR'ed the real show and watched it when we got home. We've viewed the fireworks from the area near the Marine Memorial and also from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. There is also a big festival set up on the Mall during this time, but I don't recall the name of it.
Check the schedules for the military band concerts. There is a band playing someplace just about every evening.
I just returned from a trip to that hotel. It is recently remodeled (March 2011). It used to be a Red Roof Inn. The rooms are nice and the staff at the front desk was pleasant.
BEWARE......... they did block off a lot of credit on my credit card. Not a debit card...... but credit card. They held up as PENDING CHARGES THREE times the amount of my total bill for over six days.