With rich local history, vibrant neighborhood culture, and an abundance of things to do, DC is a lively city. Whether you’re a politico, an office worker, or a creative type, there’s a little something for everyone to love.
Sure, you could live out in the suburbs, but let’s face it—why would you want to miss out on the many quirky joys of living in Washington DC?
Of course, there’s an art and a science to choosing the best neighborhoods in Washington DC. Here’s a look at some trending neighborhoods in DC and how to choose the best neighborhoods in DC based on what you’re looking for.
If we had to choose one staple neighborhood from all the DC neighborhoods, it would have to be Adams Morgan. This is one of the best areas in DC because it epitomizes so much of what makes DC wonderful—the vibrant nightlife, the diverse neighbors, the walkable neighborhood staples.
Once upon a time, Adams Morgan wasn’t actually part of DC. It was situated just outside the original city limits as planned by Charles Pierre L’Enfant. As the city expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries, the neighborhood gained streetcar lines and became a fashionable middle-class neighborhood.
Ever since the 1970s, Adams Morgan has had a renaissance. Back in 1975, it had a mere eight restaurants. Nowadays it has over 100.
In fact, it’s one of the District’s most popular nightlife and entertainment districts, making it quite popular with college kids and new grads. But it’s also a big hit among young families thanks to the abundance of diverse schools, farmers markets, festivals, and public art. Oh, and the culture of activism is a big plus too!
DC has only recently begun taking full advantage of the Potomac, and if you want to be both on the riverfront and in DC, the Navy Yard neighborhood in Southeast is one of the best places to be.
The neighborhood takes its name from its former primary resident: the industrial Washington Navy Yard, which dominated the neighborhood from the 19th century through the end of World War II. Today, this up-and-coming neighborhood has been reborn as a haven for baseball fans, history buffs, nature lovers, and foodies.
In fact, if you’re looking for one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the District, Navy Yard is the place to be.
It seems like new restaurants pop up every single week, and with an easily accessible Metro line, you can get anywhere in the city. Of course, for many residents, one of the biggest perks is the abundance of parking, a rarity in DC proper.
Just watch the prices—new apartments can get pricey, but you can still snag some row homes for a decent value.
DC is among the most expensive cities in the country, which means the art of living in DC is the art of finding a great deal. The best place to start? Look in fast-growing neighborhoods like NoMa to snatch up a great real estate deal while the getting’s good.
Census data released earlier this year showed a growth of almost 90,000 residents in the last decade, and almost a third of that growth came from rising residency in Ward 6 (Navy Yard and Southeast) along with portions of NoMa and Shaw.
Further narrowing paints an even better picture for NoMa. In fact, according to data mapping by ESRI, the three areas that have seen the greatest growth are NoMa, Navy Yard, and Kent.
NoMa is best known as a transportation hub and the home of Union Market. Currently, the two largest resident populations are employees of the Department of Justice and the General Services Administration, both of which lease offices in Constitution Square.
But for other residents, NoMa offers the convenience of easy access to the Capitol and Union Station, plus an abundance of free events throughout the year and a reasonably affordable cost of living.
The Wharf is known as one of DC’s youngest neighborhoods. It’s also one of the neighborhoods seeing rapid transformation thanks to a $2 billion transformative redevelopment project stretching along 50 acres of water and 24 acres of land along the Potomac.
This makes it an incredibly exciting neighborhood to live in. Despite its current reputation for being new and shiny, the Wharf is actually one of DC’s most historic neighborhoods. For example, did you know that it’s home to the oldest continuously operating open-air fish market in the country?
Even if fish isn’t your speed, residents flock to the Wharf for the abundance of things to do. In warm weather, you can eat outdoors in the Wharf’s many restaurants and enjoy an outdoor workout class. In the winter, you have prime seating for the Parade of Lighted Boats.
You don’t have to be a politico or a West Wing extra to live in Capitol Hill. Yes, the defining feature of the neighborhood is the eponymous Capitol Building, but once you look beyond the Hollywood reputation, Capitol Hill has a lot to offer.
Back in the early days, Capitol Hill was populated by a cross-section of congressmen and navy yard workers. Nowadays, it’s one of the best DC neighborhoods for families. In fact, aside from a few notable landmarks (you know, like the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Folger Shakespeare Library), Capitol Hill is predominantly residential, comprised of blocks of rowhomes, townhomes, and lovely Queen Annes.
If you’re smart about looking, Capitol Hill can be reasonably affordable and relatively quiet. But it still offers access to the city thanks to close proximity to Capitol South and Eastern Market stations, plus the weekly joy of buying fresh food at Eastern Market.
Looking to Settle Your Family in the Best Neighborhoods in Washington DC?
The neighborhoods of Washington DC have so much to offer, the hard part is settling on just one! But when you’re ready to make DC your forever home, our expert real estate agents are here to help.
We have curated a team of the best real estate experts in the DMV to serve as your partner in finding your perfect new home. No matter where you are on your real estate journey, we can help you get there seamlessly. And with a standout selection of homes in DC, you’ll be sure to find your perfect match.
Ready to call the nation’s capital your home? Get in touch today to let us know how we can assist you on your real estate journey.