The Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods in Washington D.C.

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-house styles, neighborhood safety, quality of schools, the convenience of location-it all can be quite overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve done the research for you, so you don’t have to(oh, and by the way of introduction, we’re Bellhop —local movers in Washington, DC and beyond).

This list is a more in-depth neighborhood guide 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.

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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.

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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 top 4 up and coming neighborhoods in the city.

Dupont Circle

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.  

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 convenient public transit.

Things to Do in Dupont Circle

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 a thriving nightlife thanks to the Eighteenth Street Lounge and Cafe Citron club. 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

Homes in Dupont Circle range in price (under $200k to several million) and in style (Queen Anne homes, classic row houses, metro condos, and palatial mansions).

Schools in Dupont Circle

Schools serving Dupont Circle include Ross Elementary School, School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens and Cardozo Education Campus among others.


Adams Morgan

Located just north of central downtown, this urban neighborhood’s claim to fame is its thriving nightlife, bustling bars, and eclectic dining. But music venues, bookstores, cafes, yoga studios, and boutiques are also common along the mural-spattered 18th street.

You’ll feel like a local walking through the neighborhood, perusing indie shops, and sifting through vintage clothing. But you can’t truly be an Adams Morgian unless you attend the annual Adams Morgan Day festival. This September event features live music, international food samplings, cultural demonstrations, and dancing.

Friendly Factor in Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan is extremely pedestrian, bike, and dog-friendly. Don’t hesitate to bring your furry friend along with you to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Adams Morgan brags dozens of pet-friendly restaurants along its colorful streets.

Things to Do in Adams Morgan

If you’re looking for great local food, Adams Morgan has a plethora of options. Check out Tail Up Goat, a Michelin-starred neighborhood restaurant with homemade pasta and bread. Perry’s Restaurant serves some of the city’s best sushi from their elegant, multi-level eatery. And Tryst‘s large, laidback coffeehouse pairs animal crackers with your morning brew.

Adams Morgan’s bar-scene is destination-worthy, with hot-spots like Roofers Union Restaurant & Bar. This restaurant features a rooftop bar with open views of the colorful homes and shops along 18th street. Or visit Jack Rose Dining Saloon. This old fashioned restaurant/bar glistens with 2,600 bottles of hand-selected scotches, bourbons, and whiskeys that line the dining room.

The LINE DC, housed in a 110-year old church is full of top restaurants and coffee shops. Locals enjoy live music, drinks, and dancing nightly at the blues bar, Madam’s Organ. And the vast 1,754 acres of Rock Creek Park is less than 3 miles away from the neighborhood.

Homes in Adams Morgan

Adam’s Morgan architecture ranges from brick row-houses to contemporary homes. House prices also range, but level out at around $600k. The median home sale price was $544,500 in January, 2023. And renters spend about $1800 monthly.

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Schools in Adams Morgan

Schools serving Adams Morgan include Marie Reed Elementary School, Columbia Heights Education Campus, and Cardozo Education Campus.

Southwest Waterfront

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.

Over the past few years, Southwest Waterfront has become one of the hottest neighborhoods to live in thanks to its recent development of The Wharf. This new waterfront dining and entertainment destination opened dozens of new restaurants and bars. Kith and Kin, a new Wharf hot-spot, features chef Kwame Onwuachi and her West African / Caribbean inspired dishes.

But water, fish, and food isn’t all that this marine has to offer. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the neighborhood’s picnic areas, shopping, and entertainment. Live music, local concerts, and theatrical plays. Picturesque golf courses and parks. Arts and local history. Needless to say, this neighborhood is a top choice for experiencing an array of the city’s best offerings.

Friendly Factor in Southwest Waterfront

With boardwalks, bikeshares, dog parks, and public parks, Southwest Waterfront makes room for pedestrians and pets alike.  

Things to do in Southwest Waterfront

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.

Homes in Southwest Waterfront

The neighborhood offers an array of architectural styles, from 18th-century Federal to Mid-Century Modern. The median home sale price was in 2022 hovered around $450,000.

Schools in Southwest Waterfront

Schools serving Southwest Waterfront include Amidon-Bowen Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School Academy, and Eastern High School.


Navy Yard

This popular residential hub is snug against the Anacostia River and a hop away from center city and two major highways. The area has caught local attention for its great location and accessible public transportation, outdoor activities, waterfront views, and a thriving restaurant scene. But one of Navy Yard’s strongest draws is its low rental prices. For such great perks, Navy Yard is more affordable than its neighboring Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom, and people are jumping on this residential sale.

Friendly Factor in Navy Yard

Navy Yards is walk and bike friendly, and dozens of local restaurants and bars open their doors to their patrons’ furry friends. Dog-lovers are well supported in this neighborhood, as the vast majority of residents own pets.

Things to Do in Navy Yard

Green spaces are treasured and protected in Navy Yard, and residents enjoy their piece of the outdoors in the midst of the city. The Yards Park features a waterfall, performance venue, and riverfront boardwalk. And with Ballpark Boathouse close by, residents and visitors are commonly seen paddling along the Anacostia River.

The recent opening of the Nationals Park sports stadium has made Navy Yard more of a destination. And free, local events like the Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie Series, and the summer concert series, Laser Cat, is gradually building the developing community.

For some of the best Italian food in the city, visit Osteria Morini. Ice Cream Jubilee creates innovative ice cream cones like black pepper and honey, lavender, or Thai iced tea. The neighborhood brewery, Bluejacket, serves a delicious list of IPAs, stouts, and sours alongside satiating grub.

Homes in Navy Yard

With apartment buildings popping up left and right, most residents in Navy Yard rent their homes, and they find spaces that cost about $1500/month. But locals also find and buy homes that range in price and level out at around $582,500, as of January 2023.

Schools in Navy Yard

Schools serving Navy Yard include Van Ness Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School Academy, and Eastern Senior High School among others.

There you have it: the best up and coming neighborhoods 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 friendly local Washington, DC movers here at Bellhop. 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!

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