Moving to a new city is always challenging. And a large part of that challenge is looking for a place to live. There are so many things to consider when weighing your options-it all can be quite overwhelming.
We’ve done the research for you, so you don’t have to. You’ve no doubt seen our Washington, D.C. City Guide, which includes a short section on a few of D.C.’s most popular neighborhoods (and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhops—movers in Washington, D.C. and beyond).
This list and our “Best Suburbs of Washington, D.C.,” “The Best Up and Coming Neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.,” and our “Best Neighborhoods for Families in Washington, D.C.” lists are more in-depth neighborhood guides meant to examine what it’s like living in each of these highlighted areas, with links to popular destinations, as well as available houses for sale and apartments for rent.
Good choice. Few spots in the States have blended rich culture, amazing food, public parks, historical monuments, and renowned museums, as well as D.C. No wonder this city ranks high on the best places to live in the country.
If you’re hoping to find your perfect pocket of the city, this guide is for you. Look below for some helpful details and information on the best neighborhood for you and your family in D.C.
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The charming Georgetown, situated directly west of downtown, claims title to Washington D.C.’s oldest neighborhood. Historic row-houses, abundant green spaces, and high-end retail chains, speckle the area.
Georgetown’s blend of old and historic with new and improved gives it a homey touch, but with all the energy and conveniences of the city. Traveling is easy in Georgetown, thanks to the available public transport. Here are some public transportation routes available to and from downtown.
Georgetown welcomes with open arms and open lanes bikers and walkers alike. 2018 began D.C.’s plans to add even more protected bike lanes to this already-bike-friendly neighborhood. And don’t forget to bring your pup along with you during your outings! Plenty of Georgetown shops, restaurants, and parks open their doors to you and your pets. Check out the Francis Dog Park for fun doggy events.
Located against the Potomac River, this neighborhood offers many luring amenities, like picturesque water-side seafood restaurants, boardwalks and activities along the river, boat clubs, and miles of nature-dense bike trails. For a taste of the area’s past, visit Georgetown’s beautiful gardened home from 1816, Tudor Place. Or, listen to some live jazz at Blues Alley and end the evening sipping local brews and munching Belgian grub at The Sovereign.
Looking for a family outing? Check out Pinstripes, a bowling alley that offers discounted kids’ bowling and rentals every weekday from 11 am to 1 pm. Visit Dumbarton Oaks, for a breath of fresh air and 27-acres to explore. And end the day at Clyde’s of Georgetown for traditional American food with a large kids menu.
Because Georgetown is a desirable area to live, renting and buying can lean toward the expensive side. About half of residents rent and half are homeowners, and house prices range from about $500k to the millions, while rent evens out to around $2k/month. Here are some current renting and buying options for your perusal.
Public schools serving Georgetown include Hyde-Addison Elementary School, Hardy Middle School, and Wilson High School. Georgetown also offers a number of private schools, including Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Holy Trinity School, and Georgetown Day School Lower / Middle School.
Dupont Circle is a bustling urban neighborhood, located near central downtown Washington, D.C. The highly-rated Ross Elementary School draws many young families to the area. Though, older and established adults also call Dupont Circle home. And the neighborhood’s many amenities keep its diverse residents happy.
Dupont Circle is very bike friendly, pedestrian friendly, and dog-friendly. Its central point and social anchor, the Dupont Circle Fountain, collects locals strolling and exercising. Locals find it easy to travel in and out of the neighborhood using the convenient public transit.
This neighborhood offers handfuls of highly-rated restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, retailers, parks, theaters, and nightlife attractions. But to narrow it down, we recommend you visit Little Serow, a tiny Thailand-inspired joint serving $50 seven-course meals that change every week. Want a coffee shop with yummy breakfast and brunch options? Check out Emissary DC. And for some of the best craft brews in the city, pop over to Right Proper Brewing Company.
Dupont Circle is also home to the notable National Geographic Museum and The Phillips Collection of Modern Art. The neighborhood also offers the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, a renowned, free zoo with giant pandas. Less than 3 miles from Dupont Circle, Rock Creek Park offers 1,754 acres of fresh air, and peaceful nature, including over 32 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding lessons, golfing, tennis, biking trails, and boating.
Homes in Dupont Circle range in price (under $200k to several million) and style (Queen Anne homes, classic row houses, metro condos, and palatial mansions). Here are some renting and buying options currently available in Dupont Circle.
Public schools serving Dupont Circle include Ross Elementary School, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens and Cardozo Education Campus among others. Dupont Circle also offers several private schools including Emerson Preparatory School, Sidwell Friends School, and Ross Elementary School as mentioned above.
This trendy, urban set of neighborhoods near central downtown is known for its cultural restaurants, craft breweries, cocktail bars, and Victorian homes. Shaw developed out of the area’s rich African-American history and is home to The Howard Theater, a jazz and blues venue that once hosted Ella Fitzgerald and Marvin Gaye. The outdoor African American Civil War Museum honors the African-American soldiers of our history’s past.
Logan Square brings an indie vibe to the area with hubs like Black Cat. This underground alternative venue that hosts punk bands and dance parties. Though Shaw and Logan Square appeal to a younger crowd, almost half of its residents are families and established, older adults.
Shaw and Logan Circle are pedestrian, bike, and dog-friendly. Public transportation is accessible in these center-city neighborhoods. There are plenty of fellow cyclists and walkers throughout the streets, and local shops and restaurants invite patrons to bring their dogs along. The Shaw Dog Park also offers an excellent space for pups to run.
Of its many eateries, we recommend the delicious and authentic Ethiopian dishes of Habesha Market, wood-fired Italian cuisine at The Red Hen, or farm-to-table dining at The Dabney. Atlantic Plumbing Cinema, an upscale theater, plays blockbusters and serves appetizers and cocktails. DC9, a drink and dance joint, has a heated roof deck and hosts the occasional karaoke night.
For a full day of family events, visit the Kennedy Recreation Center, and play in the splash park, playgrounds, and athletic fields. Pop over to the Marion Street Intergenerational Garden for an educational activity with other neighborhood families. Grab dinner and milkshakes at Ted’s Bulletin. And close out the day with a step-by-step painting class at the Creative Carousel.
Houses in Shaw and Logan Circle range in price ($200k to several million) and style (classic row-homes, urban condos, and elaborate mansions). Check out the current houses for sale and homes for rent in the area.
Schools serving Shaw and Logan Circle include Seaton Elementary School and Cardozo Education Campus among others. Shaw and Logan Square also offer several private schools, including Emerson Preparatory School, Owl School, and Capitol Hill Learning Group.
Just south of downtown, this urban neighborhood is bordered by the Potomac River. With this lovely location comes riverfront strolling, water recreation, and transportation (think water taxis!). The neighborhood’s centerpiece is the country’s oldest fish market, which sells blue crabs, fresh fish, and oysters.
But water and fish isn’t all that this marine has to offer. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the local food, drinks, picnic areas, shopping, and entertainment. Live music, local concerts, and theatrical plays. Picturesque golf courses and parks. Arts and local history. The Southwest Waterfront neighborhood is a top choice for experiencing an array of the city’s best offerings.
The Southwest Waterfront is within walking distance the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden and the U.S. Capitol. But it also offers plenty of its own attractions. The brightly-painted former Baptist church, Blind Whino SW Arts Club now hosts unique neighborhood events. The Anthem and Pearl Street Warehouse music theaters offer live music and draw local crowds.
Settle in at a local favorite and enjoy Del Mar‘s fresh seafood worth a Michelin star. Visit Mi Vida for a satiating Mexican fiesta. Or try out Kaliwa, which serves flavorful Filipino, Thai, and Korean dishes.
Warmer months in Southwest Waterfront bring outdoor movies and yoga on the dock. Colder months bring seasonal events like the Parade of Lighted Boats that illuminate the boardwalk. No matter the season, this waterfront oasis keeps the calendar full.
Public schools serving Southwest Waterfront include Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School Academy, and Eastern High School. Southwest Waterfront also offers its locals several private schools including Waterfront Academy, Capitol Hill Day School, and St. Peters School.
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhops. As we said, we coordinate local and long distance moving services in Washington, D.C., and we would love to help.
Our nation's capital is a massive place, which can make finding the right neighborhood a little difficult. No worries though, we've done the research and found the best neighborhoods Washington D.C. has to offer.
Check out our 2019 guide to the best suburbs in Washington D.C. We hope it helps.