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Amtrak to DC, then sightseeing

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We plan on taking Amtrak from Chicago to DC. We don't feel the need to get a car in DC as I have been reading about the parking issues and high parking fees. Can anyone suggest a hotel to stay at? We want to visit the memorials, the Smithsonian, the usal hot spots. Close to metro and walking distance to some stuff. Can you take the metro to Arlington National Cemetery? How about the zoo?
What is the best way to get from the train station to our hotel?
We will have 2 kids with us, 12 and 9. We are planning for next summer 2014. June or Aug - which would be less hot- is there such a thing?!
Thank you in advance!

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