Washington, DC: the nation’s capital. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and an even better city to live in. After living here continuously for almost three years, I’ve had the chance to explore different neighbourhoods throughout the district, so I feel more than qualified to talk about some of my faves.
I based my criteria on several factors, namely crime and safety, aesthetics, parks and recreational activities, accessibility to the highway, public transportation and diversity. I wanted to present a list of neighbourhoods that was good for working professionals, couples and families.
So, that being said, here are the top 10 best neighbourhoods to live in, in Washington, DC.
1. Capitol Hill
Life on the Hill is great.
Capitol Hill is famous because the US Capitol is housed here. It also houses a lot of congressional buildings, art galleries, museums, restaurants and shopping boutiques. It’s not uncommon to see families walking to nearby parks or joggers stopping into their favourite cafes for a cup of coffee.
Then there are the colourful row houses that always seem to inspire impromptu photo sessions.
Capitol Hill also provides easy access to the world famous Eastern Market, which houses butchers, grocers, bakers among many others.
You’ll find apartments nestled among million-dollar homes. The area is also very walkable, and has access to numerous subway stations and buses.
As far as safety, Capitol Hill isn’t the absolute safest area in the district. No place in DC is immune to crime. But, I’ve never felt unsafe walking in the area day or night. There are so many bars, restaurants and shops open late that it’s not uncommon to see people walking at all hours.
Home to Georgetown University and the famous Exorcist Staircase, Georgetown remains a favourite neighbourhood for DC transplants. That’s because it has almost everything you could want.
Beyond the fact that the area is beautiful with its federalist architecture, historic homes and cobblestone-lined streets, it’s one of the safest areas in DC.
The heart of Georgetown, in my opinion, lies at the intersection of M and Wisconsin Avenue. That’s where you’ll find some of the best shopping in the world. Locals and tourists alike congregate in this area often.
Residents living in this area also have no problem finding food at all hours or fun activities to do.
Georgetown is perfect for students, young couples and established families. There’s also a lot to do along Georgetown’s waterfront. It’s not uncommon to see people paddling the Potomac River. You’ll also get a beautiful look at Virginia’s skyline. It’s one of my favourite things to see. It’s also a great area to go kayaking, biking or rollerblading.
3. Foxhall Crescent
If you have serious money, you’ll want to consider living here. Foxhall Crescent is the crème de la crème. A lot of old money lives here. The area has quite a bit of wealthy retirees and most of the residents here own their own home. But, you can find apartments for rent as well.
I love Foxhall Crescent, and if I could afford to live here, I would. Its tranquil, tree-lined streets harken back to days of old where you’d let your kid walk or play outside by themselves. The best part is, here, you can.
The area is very spacious and because of the lush vegetation, temperatures feel cooler here.
Foxhall Crescent is often ranked as one of the best neighbourhoods in DC, and for good reason. It’s safe, has great public schools and overall the area looks very maintained.
If you’re moving to this area, however, please know that you might need a car. It’s not the most walkable area, but you can still get public transportation here.
4. Foggy Bottom
Foggy Bottom has come a long way since the 80s and 90s when it was crime-ridden. Since then, the area has done a 180, attracting businesses, homeowners and renters in the process.
This neighbourhood is just west of the White House and houses the famous George Washington University.
I first discovered this area during a doctor’s visit. You’ll find lots of doctors, dentists and financial institutions in this area.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love it here, as Foggy Bottom offers a slew of options to choose from. Some of favourite spots to visit are Roaming Rooster (try the honey butter chicken sandwich, medium heat) and the Froggy Bottom Pub on K Street.
I believe there are more renters in Foggy Bottom than there are homeowners. So, if you’re renting, you’ll be in good company.
5. Mount Pleasant
If you’ve ever been to the Smithsonian National Zoo, you’ve likely passed through Mount Pleasant. It’s right next to the zoo. It’s one of the most walkable areas and has beautiful outdoor surroundings with some of the best public schools in the area to boot.
Mount Pleasant is located in DC’s northwestern quadrant near the famous Rock Creek Park. Here, you’ll find condominiums, mid-rise apartments and tons of retail outlets.
Like Foxhall, Mount Pleasant continues to be ranked as one of the best places to live in DC. Please be warned that it can be costly.
This area is perfect for families that are looking for serene outdoor spaces in the urban jungle. There are also bus lines in the area, so getting around shouldn’t be a problem.
The majority of residents here are white, followed by blacks, hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
The former mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty, famously lived here.
6. H Street Corridor
If you like a neighbourhood with a lot of cute eateries, designer boutiques, independent shops and an artsy vibe, you’ll love H Street Corridor.
The area, which spans several DC quadrants, is famous for its nightlife and restaurants is just a hop, skip and a jump from the US Capitol.
There is a dichotomy in the area where colourful row houses meet luxury apartment buildings. You’ll also find mom-and-pop shops, a lot of locally-owned spots and great retail.
One of the best things about the area is the streetcar service that starts at Union Station, travels the length of the corridor and goes to Benning Road.
You’ll find lovely city parks all around and the area gives easy access to Union Station, Eastern Market and Capitol Hill.
The area has dealt with some crime issues. As I mentioned earlier, it’s almost impossible to escape crime in DC. But, it is relatively safe for the most part.
Known as “Little Rome” because the iconic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception sits in its backyard, Brookland is a sight to behold.
Brookland is a fantastic area for families, singles and college students.
The best part of this neighbourhood is the small-town vibe it exudes and the wonderful nature trails.
It’s a safe area that features a variety of house styles for those looking to buy a home and tons of apartment options.
It’s also home to the Catholic University of America and Trinity College, but Brookland is far from a college town. It’s also one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in the district.
You’ll find tons of public transportation options and it gives great accessibility to the metro and buses.
8. Adams Morgan
Adams Morgan is one of the most colourful and eclectic scenes in northwest Washington, DC.
Hands down, it’s one of the quirkiest areas I’ve ever visited, it’s also one of the most expensive. An estimated 39 percent of the residents take home $150,000 per year.
One downside to the area is that there isn’t a great amount of diversity in terms of colour. According to Niche, an internet company that helps individuals discover schools, companies and neighbourhoods, 67 percent of residents are white, followed by Hispanics at 12 percent. African Americans round out the group with 11 percent.
There’s a lot of cultural diversity and diversity in sexual preference, which is why many members of the LGBTQIA+ community love Adams Morgan. It truly is a safe haven and businesses go out of their way to let LGBTQIA+ residents and visitors know that they are welcome.
The area has become very exclusive. The area is home to many well-to-do residents and it lost its diversity.
Regardless, the area is still a top pick for many people due to its safety, easy access to public transportation and plethora of things to do. During my recent trek to Adams Morgan, I visited Death Punch, a local pub where I played pool and enjoyed a drink.
For those moving to Adams Morgan, be warned, parking is an absolute nightmare.
Takoma, not to be confused with Takoma Park in Maryland, is another eclectic neighbourhood in DC.
This is another area that has been listed as one of the best places to live in DC. Middle-class families dominate the area. You’ll find a lot of older homes here, and while the price point for homes here aren’t exactly cheap, they’re also not ridiculously expensive and out of reach.
Families enjoy this area due to the many parks in the area.
There are a lot of young working professionals who call Takoma home. It still has an urban feel, but it truly feels like a neighbourhood.
If you don’t have a car, you’ll find it easy to get around the neighbourhood. Parking is easy to find and residents have reported feeling safe walking alone at night due to the well-lit streets and sidewalks.
10. Dupont Circle
Dupont Circle is a hot spot for renters and homeowners who want it all.
The area, known for its famous traffic circle, boasts bistros, busy sidewalks and beautiful boutiques.
There is a lot of excitement in Dupont and you feel it the minute you arrive in the area. There are tons of beautiful homes, apartments and condos to pick from.
Like Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle is also known for its heavy LGBTQIA+ population. A walk along 17th Street, with its many gay-owned businesses, will convince you of that.
The majority of the area residents are in their 20s and 30s. They either work for government or embassies.
Even though the area is busy, it is considered to be very safe. Dupont Circle is considered 26 percent safer than other cities in DC. Click here for that report.
Parking is bad here, so be warned. But, there are tons of public transportation options.
I hope this blog post on the best Washington,DC neighbourhoods helps you in your quest to find your next home.
Remember, every area has its drawbacks, so you have to take your time and search properly.
In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the places on my list, watch my YouTube video down below, and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.
Happy house/apartment hunting!
This Bahamian Gyal