Planning a move to Washington, DC? Let us help you find the perfect neighborhood to call home. In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of the 12 best neighborhoods to live in Washington, DC, ensuring you spend less time searching and more time enjoying all that DC has to offer.
Washington, DC: More Than Monuments
While known for its iconic monuments and historic buildings, Washington, DC is much more than a government town. It’s a city brimming with career opportunities, attractions, and a vibrant lifestyle that appeals to millennials and young professionals. Is Washington DC a good place to live? Absolutely, and here’s why.
A Range of Neighborhoods
With over 100 neighborhoods to choose from, Washington, DC offers something for everyone. From exceptional restaurant scenes and diverse cultures to artistic attractions and reliable transportation, the city has it all. You’ll also find plenty of green spaces, parks, a rich history, and vibrant communities throughout the best suburbs of Washington, DC.
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What to Know Before Moving to DC
Whether you’re a resident or a foreigner considering a move to DC, there are a few things to keep in mind. While you’ll be surrounded by free museums, rich history, and stunning cherry blossoms, it’s important to be aware of the high cost of living, challenging traffic, and harsh winters. We’ve outlined the pros and cons of living in DC to give you an honest perspective.
12 Best Neighborhoods in Washington, DC
1. Columbia Heights: Vibrant and Diverse
Columbia Heights is one of the best areas to live in Washington, DC, especially if you’re seeking diversity. With a solid Hispanic community, it offers incredible Latino attractions such as the Mexican Cultural Institute and the GALA Hispanic Theater. Food lovers will enjoy the mouthwatering Mexican cuisine available at restaurants like La Casita. The neighborhood is also home to exceptional bakeries, ethnic cuisines, and cozy bars. Plus, it’s conveniently located near George Washington University and Howard University. If you’re seeking a relaxed, ethnically diverse neighborhood with a rich history, Columbia Heights is one of the best places to live near Washington, DC.
2. Adams Morgan: Vibrant Nightlife
Adams Morgan is the go-to neighborhood for young adults in Washington, DC. It boasts some of the city’s best dining scenes and vibrant nightlife. With numerous restaurants, clubs, music venues, and hip bars, there’s never a dull moment. The neighborhood’s colorful row houses and mural-adorned buildings add to its vibrant atmosphere. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the DC Arts Center, while music lovers can enjoy cultural dances and live performances at the Muzette. While nightlife is thriving, transportation options may require owning a car or biking. If you’re looking for a lively and spirited community, Adams Morgan ranks among the best neighborhoods to live in Washington, DC.
3. Logan Circle: Trendy and Convenient
Situated north of downtown DC, Logan Circle is a popular place to live. It offers close proximity to the city while providing a quieter atmosphere. The epicenter of the neighborhood, 14th Street, is lined with trendy eateries, cocktail lounges, and lively gay bars. Art galleries, theaters, antique shops, and unique boutiques add to the area’s charm. You can catch musicals and plays at the Studio Theatre or indulge in a drag show at Trade. Don’t miss out on the wood-fired pizzas at Etto or the happiest happy hours. Logan Circle is perfect for those seeking a vibrant neighborhood with a thriving arts scene and excellent dining options, making it one of the best areas to live in Washington, DC.
4. Brookland: Quaint and Affordable
Brookland, also known as “Little Rome,” is a Catholic-influenced neighborhood in northeast DC. It offers a quaint and affordable place to live with a small-town atmosphere, making it one of the best suburbs of Washington, DC. The Monroe Street Market draws families, post-graduates, and young professionals with its locally-owned restaurants, farmers’ market, and art studios. Brookland is home to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic building in North America. Other attractions include the National Arboretum, the Franciscan Monastery, and Noyes Park. If you’re looking for a peaceful and tight-knit community, Brookland is worth considering.
5. Capitol Hill: Historic and Lively
As the epicenter of Washington, DC, Capitol Hill is known for its historic buildings and monuments. It’s home to iconic landmarks like the Supreme Court, the US Capitol Building, and the Library of Congress. Beyond its historical significance, Capitol Hill offers charming green spaces, spacious parks, and a unique vibe. Visit the Eastern Market for groceries and artisanal goods, or enjoy a peaceful escape at the US Botanic Garden. The neighborhood also boasts a vibrant dining scene and opportunities to catch a Washington Nationals game at Nationals Park. Capitol Hill is ideal for history buffs and those seeking a lively neighborhood with a mix of culture, greenery, and trendy restaurants.
6. NoMa: Up-and-Coming and Connected
NoMa, short for North of Massachusetts Avenue, is an up-and-coming neighborhood in DC. It’s located near exciting restaurants, shops, downtown offices, and a lively nightlife. NoMa is well-connected with transportation options thanks to Union Station, which serves as a hub connecting the city’s metro system with Amtrak, MARC, and VRE. The neighborhood is home to Gallaudet University and offers plenty of green spaces like the Swampoodle Park and the Alethia Tanner Park. With new developments and amenities continuously emerging, NoMa is an excellent choice for those seeking a connected, urban lifestyle.
7. Dupont Circle: Safe and Dynamic
Considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Washington, DC, Dupont Circle is an ideal area for young professionals and singles. Located north of downtown DC, it offers easy access to public transportation via the Red Line. There are plenty of apartment rental options and mid-rise buildings available. Dupont Circle is known for its Michelin-starred dining experiences and vibrant farm-to-table restaurant scene. Coffee shops, eateries, and cultural museums like the Phillips Collection add to the neighborhood’s charm. With its vibrant dining and nightlife options, Dupont Circle is perfect for those seeking a safe neighborhood with a diverse culinary scene.
8. Shaw: Hip and Artistic
Shaw is one of DC’s trendiest neighborhoods, known for its hip and artistic vibe. It offers live rock music, fantastic art, and a unique retail shopping experience. 7th and 9th Streets NW are lined with nightlife hotspots, hotels, theaters, art galleries, restaurants, and wine bars. Adjacent to Shaw is Le Droit Park, which is popular among Howard University students. The neighborhood also features small parks perfect for outdoor activities like running or jogging. Shaw is an ideal choice for individuals seeking a vibrant arts scene, live entertainment, and trendy establishments.
9. Georgetown: Prestigious and Historic
Georgetown, the oldest neighborhood in the region, is synonymous with prestige and history. It’s home to political elites and offers luxurious homes, a buzzing lifestyle, and picturesque streets. The neighborhood is renowned for its high-end shops, luxurious restaurants, and fine art galleries. Don’t miss the spectacular waterfront views at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. You can also enjoy bowling and bocce at Pinstripes or visit Crumbs and Whiskers, a unique coffee shop where you can cuddle kittens. Georgetown is perfect for those seeking a prestigious neighborhood with upscale shopping, dining, and beautiful waterfront views.
10. Petworth: Community-Oriented and Active
Petworth is a community-oriented neighborhood with a strong sense of camaraderie. While President Lincoln’s Cottage is a notable attraction, there’s much more to this area. Petworth hosts a range of activities, including pop-up shops and neighborhood gatherings. Every summer, the community holds Celebrate Petworth, a vibrant event centered around art, music, food, and family. You can also enjoy the Petworth Jazz Project, a free music series held from May to September. Don’t miss the delicious food and cooking demonstrations at the Petworth Community Market. The neighborhood’s restaurant scene is lively, with impressive pizza and creative cocktails at Dos Mamis. Petworth is perfect for those seeking a community-oriented neighborhood with vibrant activities.
11. U-Street Corridor: Diverse and Cultural
U-Street Corridor is a diverse and culturally vibrant neighborhood known for its eclectic nightlife and dining scene. The neighborhood boasts a mixed heritage, cultural diversity, and a welcoming atmosphere. Indulge in a wide range of food options, from soul food to Italian cuisine and Ethiopian eateries. Be sure to try the signature half-smoked sausage at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl and enjoy a scoop of ice cream at Ice Cream Jubilee. U-Street Corridor is filled with numerous restaurants and boutique shops, making it a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The neighborhood is well-served by metro and bus lines, ensuring easy commuting options.
12. Foggy Bottom: Young Professionals and Students
Foggy Bottom, home to The George Washington University campus, is a popular neighborhood for young professionals, recent graduates, and college students. The neighborhood features various attractions, federal departments, and vibrant bars and clubs. What sets Foggy Bottom apart is its lower cost of living compared to other areas of DC, affordable housing options, quick commutes using the metro, and close proximity to the National Mall. You can attend comedy shows, music festivals, and operas at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the Potomac River, and there are plenty of dining options like the Froggy Bottom Pub and the GCDC Grilled Cheese Bar. Foggy Bottom is an ideal neighborhood for young professionals and students looking for a dynamic yet affordable place to live.
Washington, DC offers a wide range of neighborhoods with unique characteristics and attractions. From the vibrant nightlife of Adams Morgan and U-Street Corridor to the peaceful charm of Columbia Heights and Petworth, each neighborhood has something different to offer. Whether you’re a young professional seeking a lively environment, a history enthusiast fascinated by the city’s landmarks, or a student looking for a vibrant campus atmosphere, Washington, DC has it all. Explore the interactive map and find the perfect neighborhood that suits your preferences and lifestyle. Washington, DC is waiting to be discovered!