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DC Moving Guide

9 Most Popular Neighborhoods in Washington DC

Washington, DC, is the home to some of the most powerful men and women in the United States. As such, it is host to a variety of neighborhoods, from the pricey to the chic. Here is a sampling of some of the best Washington DC neighborhoods, for every lifestyle.

Bradley Manor-Longwood

Bethesda, Maryland, is just northwest of DC proper, a suburban enclave of Washington's well-to-do. Bradley Manor-Longwood is the cream of that well-off crop, home to elite private academies and large, customized estates. It is listed as one of the richest neighborhoods in the United States. Those looking to perch outside of the city proper in wealth and style will need to look no further.

Georgetown

Georgetown Neighborhood in DC

Image via Flickr by yeahbouyee

No discussion of prestigious Washington, DC neighborhoods could be considered complete without Georgetown, the oldest settlement in the region. It even predates the founding of the capital by 40 years. The neighborhood is host to Georgetown University, one of the best-known Jesuit schools in the world, as well as a cavalcade of historic buildings and landmarks. It's also home to the Washington Harbor mixed-use development area, which includes pricey shops, high-end restaurants, and luxury housing.

Georgetown hosts many of DC's political elite, which has led to perpetual development dollars entering the area. As such, it is one of the safest and more prosperous residential areas in Washington, DC. The smaller sizes of historic dwellings may lead some more established families to need the services of a storage facility to hold excess possessions, but the joys of living in a piece of American history may be well worth it.

Capitol Hill

Above all else, DC is a seat of governance. Perhaps nowhere is that dynamic more visible than on Capitol Hill. The Hill is one of the largest and oldest neighborhoods in DC, perfect for aspiring residents with a sense of history, as well as those who wish to rub shoulders with the city’s elite. The neighborhood is firmly residential, considering it’s the intended home for government officials and the people necessary to maintain the infrastructure supporting that government. However, Pennsylvania Avenue hosts a set of shops and restaurants sure to please residents.

Although the neighborhood has a history as a middle-class enclave, redevelopment efforts in the 80s and 90s have driven prices in the area upward. As such, the Hill is not quite so affordable as it once was. Still, those seeking a compromise between residential amenities and city life would be well-advised to look here, although they would be wise to do so with an eye on their checkbook.

Chinatown

DC's Chinatown, one of the smallest examples of an Asian ethnic enclave in the United States, experienced a long slide into decline in the mid-20th century. However, redevelopment plans in the later part of the century changed that, as an emphasis on high-tech business and tourism gave the neighborhood a boost.

Today, Chinatown is host to a range of businesses, boasting tourist-friendly shops and the headquarters of various computer businesses like the education giant Blackboard. Despite the modernization boom, city law still requires all businesses and streets to be labeled in Chinese as well as English, giving the neighborhood a uniquely international feel.

Although there are some truly upscale options in the area, the housing situation in Chinatown is still very much in transition; potential residents would be advised to pay attention to the reputation of the areas they are considering. At the same time, this transitional economy often means relative bargains on rents and mortgages, so singles and young couples looking for a more urban life and the potential for growth in property value can find some good deals in the region.

Clarendon

Clarendon is located in Arlington, Virginia, one of the largest cities in the DC Metro area, and the most prosperous county in the United States. Arlington has a strong governmental tradition, housing the DOD, the DEA, and the TSA, with an emphasis on military service. As such, those looking to begin or continue a career in government work won't necessarily have to worry about commuting. However, those wishing to travel to the city needn't fret: most Arlington locations are between fifteen minutes to half an hour from the city.

Clarendon itself is a neighborhood of the up-and-coming, with fashionable and eclectic boutique stores and loft apartments. Arlington has a high percentage of singles, and Clarendon has become a center for newly prosperous citizens after a wave of redevelopment. It's a perfect starter DC neighborhood for those establishing themselves in the region. Military families who are moving from larger homes to smaller urban residences might consider taking advantage of CubeSmart’s special military storage discounts to keep their possessions close to hand.

Foxhall Crescent

The Crescent is more properly known as Berkley; its nickname stems from a housing development within its boundaries. Foxhall is a well-to-do suburban neighborhood in the northwestern part of town, adjacent to three parks: Wesley Heights, Battery Kemble, and Glover-Archbold. The parks insulate the neighborhood somewhat from the bustle of big-city life, making it a welcome oasis of calm. The family-friendly neighborhood plays host to George Washington University's Mount Vernon campus, giving it a little collegiate flavor.

Forest Hills

Also sometimes known as Van Ness, the Forest Hills neighborhood is a sleepy yet prosperous suburban neighborhood on the northwest side of town. It houses several embassies, giving the area an interestingly international component, while also driving prices up and ensuring attention is paid to the safety of residents. The region has a reputation for architectural eclecticism, mixing the colonial types that embody DC with modernist and global styles. As such, the neighborhood is ideal for those looking for the low stress of suburban design coupled with an internationalism often only found in more urbanized regions.

A special note for those attached to the diplomatic services of other nations: If circumstances force you to travel in and out of the country often, you may want to look into vehicle storage options for your car while you’re abroad.

Logan Circle

Logan Circle Washington DC Neighborhood

Image via Flickr by rebecca411

This city is known for its place in American history, and Logan Circle is another DC district with long-reaching roots in the past, with two recognized historical districts (the Logan Circle Historic District and the Fourteenth Street Historic District). Although urban decline plagued the region at the end of the last century, redevelopment deals have quickly returned the neighborhood to safety and viability, to the point where it made a recent list of rich neighborhoods in DC. The neighborhood is almost entirely residential, and it’s a great place to consider for those wanting to feel like a part of the capital's long and storied history.

Tenleytown

Although this neighborhood is named after a tavern owner, don't let that fool you into thinking it's a wild part of town. Today, Tenleytown is mostly known as a family neighborhood, if something of an eclectic one. The area's schools are well-regarded, and the streets are safe. The neighborhood has ahistoricalc character, which is common to DC; one site of note is the remnant of Fort Reno, once a fortification used to protect the District during the Civil War, now the centerpiece of a city park.

From history buffs to young families to government employees, Washington DC neighborhoods have something to offer all kinds of people. Although moving can be something of an upheaval, with careful planning and the intelligent use of moving services, moving to DC can be a joyous event.

Vicki Powers

Vicki Powers, formerly of Houston on the Cheap, is a native Texan and freelance journalist. She loves helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks.
Vicki Powers

About the author

Vicki Powers

Vicki Powers, formerly of Houston on the Cheap, is a native Texan and freelance journalist. She loves helping Houstonians learn how to live in a big city without spending big bucks.

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