Before moving to our Nation’s Capital, check out the best neighborhoods in DC
Washington DC isn’t just the home of our government. It’s also full of culture, history, cuisine and diversity, which is why this city is such a popular place to live. You might be ready to pack up and move to this city on the Potomac River, but you’ll want to do your research first.
Many people who work in DC live in nearby cities, which some people call the DC suburbs. Some common examples are Silver Spring and Bethesda in Maryland and Alexandria and Arlington in Northern Virginia. However, other people enjoy living in the heart of it all by selecting a DC neighborhood. Each one offers its own vibe and unique features, so you’ll want to pick the area that’s best for you.
To help you find where you want to live in this thriving city, we’ve created a guide to the best neighborhoods around Washington DC. Read on to learn which neighborhoods are quiet and which ones offer vibrant nightlife and great restaurants for those living in apartments in Washington DC.
1. Columbia Heights offers good eats and diversity
Located in Northwest DC, you’ll find a great neighborhood called Columbia Heights. This area is known for offering a wonderful mixture of homey vibes and diversity. This area has attracted a mix of creatives and professionals from all over the world. Hispanic culture is especially prevalent in this neighborhood, which means some of the most popular attractions include the GALA Hispanic Theatre and the Mexican Cultural Institute.
The architecture in Columbia Heights is as wonderfully diverse as its residents. You can find a mix of historic buildings that range from the humble to the extravagant. Many of the most beautiful ones are home to embassies and international organizations along 16th Street. You’ll also find newer apartments and apartment buildings for people who have more modern tastes.
If you enjoy spending time outside, you’ll love visiting the nearby Meridian Hill Park. This park is especially beautiful because it includes two levels and is modeled after parks in Europe. That means you can find everything from water fountains to statues.
Foodies also enjoy visiting this area because you can find great restaurants and bars along 14th Street and 11th Street. Some local favorites include Thip Khao, which serves authentic cuisine from Laos, and Sticky Fingers Bakery, which serves up vegan cupcakes and cookies that are so good you won’t even miss the dairy.
2. Capitol Hill contains much more than just government buildings
When most people think of Capitol Hill, places like the Supreme Court and the US House and Senate come to mind. However, this powerful and sophisticated area is more than just the seat of our nation’s government. It’s also one of the best neighborhoods if you want to start living in DC.
In terms of housing, the 19th century rowhouses truly shine, but they can be a bit on the expensive side for most people. Thankfully, more attainable housing options are available in this historic neighborhood.
The area surrounding Capitol Hill has many delicious restaurants within walking distance of each other. Art and Soul is a great choice for a romantic date. This Southern spot serves up delicious meals as well as an incredible view of the Capitol Dome. For people looking for cuisine that’s hard to find in the US, Ambar on so-called Barracks Row is a great option. This eatery serves up food from the Balkans in a beautifully cozy dining area.
When you aren’t eating, you’ll have plenty of places to visit to keep you busy. There’s the US Botanic Garden for plant lovers, Eastern Market for people who want to enjoy an urban farmer’s market and history fans can visit the Library of Congress.
3. Chinatown is a small but lively neighborhood in DC
While Chinatown might not be big in terms of area, it’s got a lot of heart, which makes it one of the best DC neighborhoods. The wide variety of cultural attractions draw in both residents and tourists. This historic neighborhood is located east of Downtown DC, and you’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the Friendship Archway at the intersection of H and 7th Streets.
Chinatown is the best place to visit for authentic Chinese food in DC. In fact, the neighborhood is home to about 20 Asian and Chinese restaurants that serve it up right. There’s Daikaya, which always has a line of people out front waiting to grab food from the ramen shop or drinks and snacks from the Izakaya (a Japanese-style drinking establishment). When it comes to Chinese food, Full Kee Restaurant is a great option for everything from hot and sour soup to fried wontons.
There are also plenty of attractions in this downtown Washington DC area, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Capitol One Arena and the National Portrait Gallery. And don’t forget to visit Chinatown DC for the annual Chinese New Year Parade to enjoy the beauty of Chinese culture.
4. Georgetown is one of the more historic neighborhoods in DC
History comes alive when you live in Georgetown. This historic DC neighborhood dates to Colonial times. When you first visit, you’ll be amazed by all the beauty. From the cobblestone sidewalks to the grand homes on tree-lined streets, you won’t be able to look away.
It will likely come as no surprise that Georgetown features some of the city’s best shops and restaurants. You’ll find retailers that range from Anthropologie to Rag & Bone. You can also find fine art galleries if you’re looking to add artwork to your home. When it comes to food, your tastebuds are sure to be happy. You can enjoy brunch and waterfront views at The Berliner and then enjoy fine dining at Fiola Mare. After brunch, if you’re looking for a sweet, gourmet snack, check out Georgetown Cupcake, a destination spot for designer cupcakes!
Speaking of waterfront views, you won’t want to miss visiting the Georgetown Waterfront Park. There, you can see the most beautiful natural sights that the city has to offer while kayaking, jogging, walking or cycling.
Georgetown offers more than just nature and food. You can visit Pinstripes, which is a sprawling space that allows you to play bocce and bowling while sipping on drinks. And once the pandemic is over, you can visit Crumbs & Whiskers, which is DC’s first cat café.
5. Shaw offers a winning combination of culture and entertainment
It’s important to include Shaw when listing the best Washington DC neighborhoods. You can find this hip and trendy neighborhood in Downtown Washington DC. Young professionals and artists love this area because it features gorgeous rowhouses, unique shops, incredible restaurants and plenty of spaces that host live music. The area also celebrates African American history.
Fans of live music and nightlife will find that there are plenty of places to enjoy it. One of the most iconic places is 9:30 Club, which hosts rock and alternative musicians. When you step inside, you’ll notice that the warehouse-like space includes two levels, which makes it all the better for concertgoers.
In terms of culture and history, you can visit the African-American Civil War Memorial or the area known as Black Broadway. The area gets its name because of businesses like the Lincoln Theatre and the Howard Theatre, which still operate today.
Foodies also love the Shaw neighborhood in DC because it offers tons of restaurants that feature dishes from around the world. You can stop into Gogi Yogi, the city’s first Korean BBQ eatery, for grilled meats and veggies or the famous “hangover soup.” If you’re feeling pub fare and brews, you can stop by Right Proper Brewing Company.
Washington DC has other neighborhoods that are honorable mentions
While we couldn’t fit all the city’s beautiful areas on our list of the best neighborhoods in DC, some deserve an honorable mention.
- Anacostia is known as the part of Washington DC that tourists never see. This historic and vibrant area is separated from mainland DC by the Anacostia River.
- Chevy Chase is an affluent suburb in Northwest Washington DC. The area is peaceful and offers a sense of community.
- Friendship Village is also located in Northwest DC. However, this area offers a more urban feel with a mix of residential and commercial properties.
- Mount Pleasant is famous for being former farmland with classic architecture. Today, it offers a small-town vibe and businesses that cater to its Hispanic residents.
- Tenleytown offers an eclectic vibe, as it has a wide variety of different types of housing and residents who call the area home.
Thanks to the amazing public transportation system in DC, you can easily visit many of these areas, no matter where you live in this city. You can also check popular DC attractions that range from Union Market to the Smithsonian. If you’re in the area, check out Union Market restaurants for tasty foods!
You can settle in one of the best neighborhoods in DC
You can rent a fully-furnished private room in an all-inclusive shared suite in the best DC neighborhoods. Explore our apartments in DC to find your perfect home today!