Washington D.C. means free museums, an abundance of culture, and an unbeatable sense of history. There are many places for you and the family to add to your itinerary, including the Corcoran Gallery, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Mall, the Washington Monument. Come in spring and see the blossoming cherry trees around the Tidal Basin and during the Fourth of July you can view a spectacular fireworks show. D.C.’s stellar transit system gets you and the kids around quickly and efficiently. Though it’s a fairly small place, D.C. has a surprising number of neighborhoods with their own character, texture, and history. The Washington D.C. vacation rentals in these neighborhoods are a fair price compared to rent and hotels in the vicinity. Begin your search for the perfect vacation rental by learning about the top 11 locations in the area.

1. Adams Morgan, Washington D.C.

people dancing on the street
Source: Flickr / S Pakhrin

This funky, energetic and diverse part of town is a magnet for folks who like to play all night. It’s full of bars and restaurants and uses any excuse for a festival. The Adams Morgan Day Festival happens every second Sunday in September and is accompanied by music, dancing and elaborate dress-up. You’ll want to stay in a vacation rental right in the center of it all and walk to all the fun activities Adams Morgan has to offer.

2. Chevy Chase, Washington D.C.

child learning to ride a horse

This Chevy Chase isn’t in Maryland, but it is a proper D.C. neighborhood. Both tiny and down to earth, this neighborhood features the American City Diner and has lots of parks with playgrounds and fun activities for the kids. Rock Creek Park is, at 2000 acres, a surprisingly large park to be found in such a small city. Bring the family for a day of hiking, horseback riding, tennis, golf and boating.

3. Brookland, Washington D.C.

a lady on her bicycle
Source: Flickr / DDOT DC

This neighborhood is located in the northeast quadrant and has plenty of places to see, such as Fort Bunker Jill, the Newtown Theater and the former houses of notables including Sterling Brown, Hayford Logan, Ralph Bunche and many more. The area is also known for its diverse sit-down and carry-out restaurants. The Capital Bikeshare helps you get around Brookland with ease.

4. Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.

vegetables in the market
Source: Flickr / Jeff Slinker

Capitol Hill is the largest neighborhood in DC with many historical buildings including the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court Building. Visit the Eastern Market and the flea market, found on 7th Street SE, and buy mementos of your visit as well as fresh fruits, vegetables and meat. The row house vacation rentals are lovely, pastel-colored residences that are just right for a home away from home.

5. Woodley Park, Washington D.C.

panda eating grass

You’ll be able to see the blue sky in Woodley Park, a lovely neighborhood in Northwest. Show your kids the giant pandas at the National Zoo, which is found in the eastern part of the neighborhood. The park also features elephants, lemurs, small mammals and great apes.

6. Columbia Heights, Washington D.C.

a child underwater

This diverse area is known for its restaurants and the fact that it was once the home of Duke Ellington. Its multitasking bar, coffee shop, and restaurant, The Coupe, was famously visited by President Obama. Other eateries include the Meridian Pint and El Chucho. Take the kids to the indoor-and-outdoor Banneker Community Center, which has playing fields, tennis and basketball courts and a lovely pool.

7. Downtown Washington

downtown d.c.

Found east of the White House, downtown Washington is the place to go for museum lovers. The area contains the International Spy Museum, the Newseum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Building Museum. Take the kids to the Old Post Office Pavilion’s observation deck for its amazing city views. Downtown is exploding with restaurants and bars. You’ll be happy to see the bed in your vacation rental at the end of the day.

8. Dupont Circle, Washington D.C.

men sitting beside the statue
Source: Flickr / Ted Eytan

Dupont Circle, one of the famous circles in D.C., is designed like the hub of a wheel with spokes attached. Moving outward, you’ll find embassies, beautiful row houses, unattached homes and even some old mansions that use to belong to the swells. Make sure to visit the Farmers Market, which is held all year on Sunday mornings, or simply relax in the park of Dupont Circle. The chess players in your family may want to challenge some old masters to a game at one of the stone chessboards. If you arrive just before Halloween don’t miss the High Heel Race, which happens on the Tuesday just before October 31.

9. Foggy Bottom, Washington D.C.

head monument
Source: Flickr / Bianca Bueno

As with Capitol Hill, Foggy Bottom isn’t just the name of a government bureaucracy. This is a quite old neighborhood and much of it is taken up by the George Washington University campus, which is a good thing. Attend a performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smith Center, or the Lisner Auditorium, found on campus. Enjoy American-inspired food at Founding Farmers DC, or grab authentic Japanese food at KAZ Sushi Bistro.

10. Georgetown, Washington D.C.

river rafting
Source: Flickr / C Watts

Georgetown is a supremely elegant area, featuring embassies of several countries along its streets. Try and find a vacation rental with a view of the Potomac River. Take the kids to see the Old Stone House, which was built in 1765 and contains 18th century-style rooms. Stroll along the towpath of the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, or attend a summer concert in Volta and Rose Parks. If you dare, you can visit The Exorcist steps on 36th Street NW. The movie was among many filmed in the neighborhood.

11. Mount Vernon Square, Washington D.C.

public building
Source: Flickr / NCinDC

This elegant neighborhood in D.C.’s northwest quadrant is the home of the second biggest building in the city, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Nearby, you’ll find the gleaming Columbia Public Library, which houses D.C.’s Historical Society. Chinatown and the White House itself are surprisingly close by. A vacation rental in Mount Vernon Square puts you and your family fairly close to the action in Washington D.C.