10 Best Neighborhoods in Washington D.C.

10 Best Neighborhoods in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is one of the best cities to live and a lot of that has to do with its diverse range of cultural neighborhoods. There are so many great little nooks in crannies lined with cafes, clubs, restaurants and even musical hot spots in the city of Washington D.C. that we just had to make up a list of our favorite areas. The following are the 10 best neighborhoods in Washington D.C.:

10. Logan Circle

Jazz great Duke Ellington grew up in the Logan Circle area of D.C., and it’s not hard to imagine how the place might have influenced his music. It’s one of the more laidback neighborhoods in this very Type A town. Picnics and lounging out by the circle-named after Civil War general John Logan-are the locals’ favorite weekend activities. Rows and rows of beautiful Victorian condos surround the circle and the nearby streets, and if you still have an itch to shop, there are some hip establishments to check out on 14th Street or P Street. Logan Circle is low-key, a perfect place for a refuge from the hectic pace of much of the rest of D.C. Perhaps it’s that personality that meshed with Duke Ellington’s predisposition to the freewheeling flow of Jazz.

Logan Circle

9. DuPont Circle

Relative to other neighborhoods in the capitol, with their distinct landmarks and cultural identities, DuPont Circle is fairly unremarkable. But it’s that same quality that makes it an attractive place to spend some time. It’s much quieter, more low-key than the others. The circle itself is a patch of grass with a bust of Samuel DuPont of the famed DuPont family. It’s a nice place for a picnic lunch from one of the nearby eateries, either on Massachusetts or Connecticut Avenue or P Street, all three of which branch off from the circle. Aside from the shops and restaurants that line those streets, DuPont’s best feature is Embassy Row. Tucked away on the quiet side of Mass. Ave, Embassy Row is home to a majority of D.C.’s embassies. It’s fun to walk around and stop into whichever embassies suit your diplomatic tastes, or simply snap some photos of the placards and flags that adorn their front gates.

8. U Street

The streets of Washington D.C. are arranged by letters for streets that run horizontal and by numbers that run vertically. Like Adams Morgan, the U Street neighborhood is in the Northwest of the city. It’s a world away from the National Mall and the capital’s main draws, and like Adams Morgan, it’s long served locals with nighttime entertainment, food haunts and a place where a local art scene can flourish. The U Street area is home to Ben’s Chili Bowl, one of the oldest restaurants in the city and the inventor of the half-smoke (a half beef, half pork sausage). Founded by a Trinidadian immigrant in the late 1950s, Ben’s is indicative of the neighborhood’s African-American roots that extend to today. There is a rich music culture along the U Street corridor, with a number of live jazz venues and theaters. In between monuments and the main tourist draws, a detour up to U Street is more than worth your attention.

7. Adams Morgan

Named after two segregated elementary schools from the 1950s-the all white John Quincy Adams and the all black Thomas P. Morgan-this Northwest neighborhood is now the cultural nucleus of the capital’s Hispanic community. Adams Morgan is an area dense with live music venues, bars, cafes, a collection of ethnic food spots, and houses. For those seeking the best nightlife D.C. offers, Adams Morgan is your best bet. Live music, from jazz to dance, blast from small, chic clubs and bars on the weekend, though weekdays can be spent just as well within the five blocks surrounding 18th street and Columbia. Grab lunch at any number of Thai, Middle Eastern or Ethiopian restaurants and then spend the rest of the day at a nearby park or café. Adams Morgan is D.C.’s most colorful district, most energetic and probably the loudest corner of the city as well. Though the monuments and museums deserve most of your time, a visit through this neighborhood can only result in a good time.

6. Georgetown

The Georgetown neighborhood of D.C. is an exercise in contradiction. It’s main drag, on M Street, is dense with human ingenuity: independently owned boutiques and cafes, as well as brand name stores like Apple and Gap. On the other end of the spectrum, Georgetown is full of nature’s ingenuity: the Potomac River, a variety of gardens and quaint alleys that run along old estuaries of this historical port town. If shopping is your bag, then there are options aplenty in Georgetown. For the exercise minded, Georgetown, with its steeply hilled streets and jogging trails, is equally qualified to satisfy your needs. For all of its draws, Georgetown can quickly become a human zoo, and when it fills up with tourists and students and shoppers, it’s nearly uninhabitable. So bring a deep well a patience during busy hours-which is most of the time-or show up early in the morning to experience the neighborhood with breathing room.

Georgetown, Washington (2)

5. Foggy Bottom

Just south of DuPont Circle, on the west bank of the Potomac River and in the middle of the George Washington University campus, Foggy Bottom is an ideal locale for a day outdoors, perusing the natural gifts of the region or the numerous retail and food attractions. Other notable qualities of Foggy Bottom: the IMF building, the World Bank building, and for a more cultural experience, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which puts on theatre, dance, and live music performances. Foggy Bottom-so named because of the fog that rises from the nearby Potomac River-is one of D.C.’s oldest neighborhoods, but it’s got a youthful feel due to the GW campus.

4. National Cathedral

The Northernmost reaches of Washington D.C. are gorgeous. A world away from the bustle of downtown, this hilly, leafy neighborhood is home to not only the National Cathedral, but also to gardens and outdoor amphitheaters and some of the choicest trails of Rock Creek Park. The National Cathedral itself is an architectural wonder. It’s the second largest of its kind in America, and one of the largest in the world. Surrounding this must see landmark is natural beauty-some of the best that can be found in the D.C. area. The Hillwood Estate, on the edge of Rock Creek Park, is full of Russian and French artifacts, along with a garden of flowers, ponds and the like. Many of the foreign ambassadors to America settled in this area, and hiking up the steep hills to sneak a peek at their rather large estates could make for a great workout and sightseeing adventure.

3. Woodley Park/Cleveland Park

This part of the country truly is a natural beauty, a fact that can be lost among the columns and domes of D.C. historical landmarks. Like a few of the other neighborhoods on this list, Woodley Park and Cleveland Park are located in the Northwest of the city, where Rock Creek Park dominates the scenery and landscape. This is where the National Zoological Park is located, and where a majority of Rock Creek Park’s 1,752 acres are found. The only caveat of the Northwest neighborhoods is the steep hills, so don’t expect to bike much ground up here, it’s best to walk or drive or use public transportation. Of course, though you’ll be immersed in nature up here, don’t expect to starve! Hip restaurants and bars aplenty, and some of the city’s best brunch spots-like Open City-are also located in this natural nook.

2. Downtown

The downtown section of D.C. is what one might call the most “touristy.” In a city as historically rich as D.C., that is hardly a bad thing. The list of things to do and see is endless. There’s Chinatown, one of the country’s best, also where the Verizon Center can be found, home to the NBA Wizards and the NHL Capitals. And then there are the Smithsonian museums, all of which are free to the public, the International Spy Museum, the Newseum and Ford’s Theatre, the scene of President Lincoln’s assassination. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, better known as the White House, is another must-see attraction, along with the National Mall, a nearly two mile lawn that stretches from the Capitol steps to the 19 foot marble bust of Abraham Lincoln. Along the mall are a number of war memorials, a reflection pool and hot food and ice cream stalls. Yes, this is the expected area to visit in D.C., but tourists flock here for a reason. Come see what it’s all about!

1. Capitol Hill

One of the oldest and most dense residential neighborhoods of D.C. the Capitol Hill area is home to the Capitol building, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. The section of Pennsylvania Avenue that runs through Capitol Hill is stocked with restaurants and bars, and a few blocks down is Eastern Market, a public market that runs a fantastic flea market that sells vegetables, fruits, handmade soaps and various artisan goods on weekends. D.C. is a leafy town, and Capitol Hill is far-off from the totally built up downtown area, giving it an open feel with room to breathe. As is expected, there is a lot of history in this neighborhood, so make sure to check out the Navy Yard, which was established in 1799, as well as the Marine Barracks, one of Thomas Jefferson’s building projects when he was in office in the early years of the 19th century.

Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.

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