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Moving to a new city is always challenging. 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. But don’t stress. We’ve researched the best neighborhoods for families in Washington D.C. 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 Bellhop —local movers in DC, Alexandria movers, Arlington movers, Fairfax movers, and movers throughout the country).
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This list is more tailored for anyone whose top criteria for a new neighborhood is how family-friendly it is.
So you’re interested in moving to D.C.?
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 family-friendly pocket of the city, this guide is for you. Below, we’ve collected some helpful details and information on the best neighborhoods for families in Washington D.C.
First on our list of the best neighborhoods for families in Washington D.C. is Georgetown. Georgetown is D.C.’s oldest, and some would say most charming, neighborhood. Talk about location, location, location – Georgetown is directly west of downtown, on the north edge of the Potomac River, bordered by Foundry Branch Valley Park to the west, and is just south of the Naval Observatory (where the Vice President lives) Historic rowhouses, abundant green spaces, and high-end retail shops speckle the area. With the exception of the shopping areas along M St. NW and Wisconsin Ave. NW, its tree-lined streets are free from much of the tourist traffic and hustle and bustle found elsewhere in D.C., making it a perfect place to for kids and pets to walk around.
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 its walkability and access to public transportation.
Friendly Factor in Georgetown
Georgetown welcomes with open arms and open lanes bikers and walkers alike. D.C. has added even more protected bike lanes to this already-bike-friendly neighborhood, and many of the sidewalks that were expanded into the street during the pandemic remain that way now, creating more outdoor seating space for coffee shops and restaurants. Georgetown is a puppy paradise, too! Plenty of Georgetown shops, restaurants, and parks open their doors to you and your pets.
Things to Do in Georgetown
Nestled on the Potomac River, Georgetown offers an abundance of active amenities, like picturesque waterside seafood restaurants, boardwalks, boat clubs, kayak rentals, sailing lessons, and miles of nature-dense biking and walking trails. For a taste of the area’s past, visit Georgetown’s beautiful, gardened home from 1816, Tudor Place. See live jazz at Blues Alley in the evening and end the night sipping Belgian beers at The Sovereign or with craft cocktails at L’Annexe.
Looking for a family outing? Check out Pinstripes, a bowling alley that offers discounted kids’ bowling and bocce promotions. Visit Dumbarton Oaks for a history lesson, breath of fresh air, and several acres to explore, or beat the heat by catching a summer blockbuster at the 14-screen AMC Georgetown. End the day at Clyde’s of Georgetown for traditional American food with a large kids menu.
Homes in Georgetown
Living in this highly sought-after neighborhood comes with a higher price tag. The median home price in Georgetown is around $1.6 million, and rental rates are also on the higher side.
Schools in Georgetown
The area also boasts top-rated private schools, including Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Holy Trinity School, Georgetown Day, and excellent public schools like Hardy Middle School, Hyde-Addison Elementary, and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Dupont Circle is a bustling urban neighborhood, located just northwest of downtown Washington, D.C. The highly-rated Ross Elementary School draws many young families to the area. The neighborhood’s many amenities (and close proximity to other desirable parts of the city) keep its diverse residents happy, making it a great addition to our list of the best neighborhoods for families in Washington D.C.
Friendly Factor in Dupont Circle
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 plethora of public transit options.
Things to Do in Dupont Circle
This neighborhood offers handfuls of highly-rated restaurants, hip coffee shops, bookstores, retailers, parks, theaters, and nightlife attractions. To narrow it down, we recommend you visit Anju, a Korean spot that’s a hit with foodies. Mission is great for anyone craving Mexican and Une je ne sais Quoi French Patisserie will satisfy any sweet tooth. Want a coffee shop with yummy breakfast and brunch options? Check out Emissary DC. And for some of the best pizza and beer in the city, pop over to Pizza Paradiso.
Dupont Circle is also home to the notable National Geographic Museum and The Phillips Collection of Modern Art. The neighborhood alsoborders Rock Creek, where easy access to the Rock Creek Trail takes hikers and bikers south to the Potomac River or north to Rock Creek Park, a 1700-acre natural oasis in the middle of the city.. Here, families can take advantage of over 32 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding lessons, golfing, tennis, biking, and boating.
Homes in Dupont Circle
This neighborhood offers a mix of historic row houses and modern apartments. The median home price in Dupont Circle is approximately $455,000, but some of the more stately and family-friendly options quickly get to $1,000,000 or more. The rental market is highly competitive and average rates are a little above $2,500 per month.
Schools in Dupont Circle
Public schools serving Dupont Circle include Ross Elementary School, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens and Fusion Academy, among others. Dupont Circle also offers several private schools including Emerson Preparatory School and Sidwell Friends School.
Shaw and Logan Square
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.
Friendly Factor in Shaw and Logan Square
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.
Things to Do in Shaw and Logan Square
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.
Homes in Shaw and Logan Square
Houses in Shaw and Logan Circle range in price ($200k to several million) and style (classic row-homes, urban condos, and elaborate mansions).
Schools in Shaw and Logan Square
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.
A historic neighborhood located east of landmarks like the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court, Capitol Hill offers a blend of established neighborhood charm and modern city living, with its bars, restaurants, and abundant cultural options.
Friendly Factor in Capitol Hill
Despite being named after the seat of our country’s powerful legislative branch, Capitol Hill is a relatively laid-back and family-friendly neighborhood. The rowhomes have tastefully-landscaped small gardens, children ride bikes on red brick sidewalks, and neighbors smile as they walk by with coffee in hand.
Things to Do in Capitol Hill
Rub elbows with Congressional staffers during happy hour at Hawk ‘n’ Dove, savor the upscale fare at Beuchert’s Saloon, and grab a glass at The Eastern Wine Bar. Saturday mornings, be sure to visit the farmer’s market and art vendors at Eastern Market and pick up a bottle for dinner at DCanter Wine Boutique on Barrack’s Row. After your shopping is done, meet friends for a picnic in Lincoln Park while the kids kick a soccer ball, or simply string up a hammock and read that book you just picked up from the used bookstore at Eastern Market.
Schools in Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is home to Maury and Brent elementary schools, as well as the Library of Congress, so educational opportunities abound.
Homes in Capitol Hill
The area features a variety of architectural styles, including charming old row houses and modern condos. The median home price is around $850,000, while the median rent is around $2,650 per month.
Just south of downtown, the Southwest Waterfront is bordered by the Potomac River. This lovely location offers riverfront strolling, water recreation, and abundant transportation options (including water taxis!). The neighborhood is proudly home to the Municipal Fish Market, the country’s oldest fish market, which sells blue crabs, fresh fish, and oysters.
But water and fish aren’t all that this area has to offer. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the local food, drinks, picnic areas, shopping, and entertainment, including live music, local concerts, and theatrical plays. The Southwest Waterfront neighborhood is a top choice for experiencing an array of the city’s best culinary and cultural amenities.
Things to do in Southwest Waterfront
The Southwest Waterfront is within walking distance of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, and the U.S. Capitol, but it also offers plenty of its own attractions., Blind Whino SW Arts Club hosts unique neighborhood events, the Anthem and Pearl Street Warehouse music venues draw some of the biggest acts in the business, and the Southwest Library anchors the Waterfront’s literary options.
Settle in at a local favorite and enjoy Del Mar‘s fresh seafood, 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.
Homes in Southwest Waterfront
The neighborhood offers an array of architectural styles, from 18th-century Federal to Mid-Century Modern, and adventurous families can even find houseboats to call home. Southwest Waterfront is more affordable than many D.C. neighborhoods, with the median sale price around $450,000.
Schools in Southwest Waterfront
Public schools serving Southwest Waterfront include Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School Academy, and Eastern High School. There are also several private schools in the area, including Waterfront Academy, Capitol Hill Day School, and St. Peter School.
There you have it: the best neighborhoods for families in Washington, D.C.
We hope this was helpful, and if you decide to take the plunge, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends here at Bellhop – your trusted local movers in Washington, DC.
Need to move quickly? We also provide last minute moving services in Washington DC! Lastly, if you’re looking to move to a neighboring city such as Baltimore, or are moving long-distance to Washington DC, feel free to give us call as well!
Other Washington DC Guides
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- Best Neighborhoods in Washington, DC
- Best Neighborhoods for Families in Washington, DC
- Best Suburbs in Washington, DC
- What are the best schools in Washington, DC?
- Best Affordable Suburbs in Washington, DC
- Safest Neighborhoods in Washington DC