A Complete Guide To D.C. Neighborhoods
Sean Bryant7-Minute Read
April 22, 2021
If you’re considering a move for your career or just a change of scenery, Washington, D.C., could have the perfect neighborhood for you. The capital city features robust nightlife, food from every corner of the globe, and gorgeous natural parks and monuments. Of course, it’s on your list.
What To Know About Washington, D.C., Neighborhoods
Washington, D.C., is divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant has its own unique features, landscape and people. Luckily for home buyers, there’s also a wide variety of price ranges in each quadrant depending on what your budget might be when buying a house in D.C. We’ll go over some highlights.
Northwest: This quadrant located north of the National Mall and west of North Capitol Street. It is the largest of the four quadrants and where 42% of residents live. It’s also home to the Federal Triangle and the Smithsonian National Zoo. Some of the neighborhoods you can find in the Northwest Quadrant are Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Crestwood.
Northeast: Located north of East Capitol Street and east of North Capitol Street. This quadrant is home to notable landmarks on Capitol Hill like the Supreme Court and Union Station. Woodridge, NoMa and the Fort Totten neighborhoods are located here as well.
Southeast: The Southeast quadrant is divided by the Anacostia River. Many refer to the southeast as Anacostia, but that name only refers to the small area along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. The historic Capitol Hill and Anacostia neighborhoods are tucked into this unique quadrant.
Southwest: Located south of the National Mall and west of South Capitol Street. The smallest of the four quadrants is the home base to Fort McNair and the National War College. Not only will you find wealthy politicians calling the Southeast quadrant home, but you’ll find some of the city’s lowest-income households as well.
The 10 Best Neighborhoods In D.C.
Washington, D.C.’s, Capitol Hill neighborhood is regarded as one of the most prestigious in the country – a haven for political up-and-comers and business elite. Gorgeous row homes line the streets with beautiful architecture and gardens. Spend the day shopping for farm-fresh produce, arts and crafts year-round at Eastern Market. Once dinnertime hits, take your pick of some of the best-prepared food in the country. Restaurants like Charlie Palmer Steak and Rose’s Luxury serve up classic cuisine with modern presentation.
- Population: 31,052
- Median income: $145,518
- Median home price: $879,900
- Median monthly rent: $1,961
- Best for: Those who enjoy architecture and fine design.
Georgetown is a charming area with cobblestone streets and fashion boutiques. In the past, Georgetown was home to President John F. Kennedy and Julia Child; today, it’s a popular tourist destination because of the upscale bars, restaurants and traditional taverns. Georgetown Waterfront Park features a bike path that passes through the promenade and gardens. You’ll need to have a bigger budget to enjoy Georgetown living.
- Population: 13,583
- Median income: $153,773
- Median home price: $2,272,500
- Median monthly rent: $2,439
- Best for: Young professionals looking for a place to live, work and play.
Adams Morgan is one of the most diverse neighborhoods on this list. Vibrantly painted brick row houses line the streets with bookstores, bakeries and fashion boutiques tucked into every corner. The area is less than 5 square miles, but it’s jam-packed with eclectic bars, music venues and food.
Young professionals have begun to flock to the area for D.C.’s hottest nightlife and cultural arts offerings. Be prepared to pay a little more to be in the middle of it all – rents are higher than surrounding areas.
- Population: 14,969
- Median income: $130,864
- Median home price: $833,844
- Median monthly rent: $2,026
- Best for: Young professionals who enjoy art and live music.
Adams Morgan Housing Market Trends
Walking through Dupont Circle, you can eavesdrop on conversations from around the world because it’s home to Embassy Row. Dozens of foreign embassies and residences can be found throughout this neighborhood.
The area is known as the center of gay culture in Washington, D.C. Dupont Circle hosts the annual pride parade and is home to many gay-owned businesses on 17th Street. All are welcome to enjoy Dupont Circle – just be aware it can be pricey.
- Population: 23,098
- Median income: $117,301
- Median home price: $1,048,148
- Median monthly rent: $1,937
- Best for: Anyone looking for a walkable neighborhood and exciting nightlife.
Columbia Heights is located in northwest Washington, D.C. Developed as a suburb of the city after the American Civil War, Columbia Heights has grown significantly over the years with many young professionals turning this area into one of the most desirable up-and-coming neighborhoods. The DC USA Shopping Mall, Howard University and the Mexican Cultural Institute are located in Columbia Heights. This true melting pot is hip and affordable.
- Population: 33,725
- Median income: $103,858
- Median home price: $709,750
- Median monthly rent: $1,520
- Best for: Students and young professionals looking for more affordable housing with a city vibe.
Foggy Bottom stretches from the Potomac River to the edge of Georgetown. Named after the fog that naturally lingers in the area, Foggy Bottom is full of character. Here you will find the Watergate Hotel, the Kennedy Center and George Washington University. The entire neighborhood is listed on the National Registry as a Historic Place. Strolling through the tree-lined street, you can feel why this neighborhood is so special.
If food and fun are what you’re after, you’ll love Founding Farmers Restaurant, serving farm-to-table favorites in a sophisticated setting. Afterward stroll along the trails overlooking the Potomac River.
- Population: 10,113
- Median income: $126,599
- Median home price: $695,000
- Median monthly rent: $2,050
- Best for: Those who appreciate the arts and enjoying nature after a long day in the city.
Penn Quarter is also known to some as “Old Downtown.” This high-energy, centrally located neighborhood is considered the arts and entertainment hub of Washington, D.C. The Capital One Arena is home to the city’s pro basketball and ice hockey teams. When big talent comes to town, this is where they perform.
For a more low-key outing, visit Chinatown and walk through the towering Friendship Arch, and enjoy an authentic bowl of ramen from Daikaya.
- Population: 3,828
- Median income: $141,156
- Median home price: $502,000
- Median monthly rent: $2,341
- Best for: Art lovers
While Arlington is just a short Metro ride away from downtown D.C., it’s technically inside the state of Virginia. Home to Arlington National Cemetery and The Pentagon. The 16-mile tree-covered Arlington Loop traverses the county with a network of walking, running and cycling trails. Spend the day at gravely point watching airplanes take off and land from Reagan National. Housing here can be expensive and limited, so work with a REALTOR® to better your chances of finding the perfect home in Arlington.
- Population: 236,842
- Median income: $119,755
- Median home price: $759,000
- Median monthly rent: $1,993
- Best for: Those who need to be close to the city center.
Logan Circle is a trendy corner of the District of Columbia with well-preserved Victorian homes and gardens. People come from all over to shop and eat in style. Choosing from 14th Street’s variety of luxurious home decor and fashion boutiques to fit all tastes.
If you love theater and the arts, you should plan to visit Studio Theater. Studio Theater presents provocative, thought-provoking contemporary performances and offers acting classes. After a show, it won’t be hard to find a bar or club to end the night in this hot spot.
- Population: 16,519
- Median income: $105,618
- Median home price: $750,000
- Median monthly rent: $1,721
- Best for: Great worldly food
If you’re a sports fan, then the Navy Yard neighborhood is where you want to be. This up-and-coming area lining the Potomac River is home to the Washington Nationals and D.C. United soccer team. Through World War II, this area of the city was home to the industrial Navy Yard. Today, it’s being turned into a sports and foodie hub. So after catching a game or spending the day kayaking down the river, make sure you head to one of the many bars and restaurants located nearby.
- Population: 4,517
- Median: $163,329
- Median home price: $869,900
- Median monthly rent: $2,381
- Best for: Sports fans
A Guide To Buying A Home In A D.C. Neighborhood
If you’re interested in buying a home in Washington D.C., it’s a good idea to learn some ins and outs of this fast-paced market.
Prepare For Sticker Shock
Washington, D.C., is known as one of the most expensive cities in America to buy and pay taxes. That means you may have a hefty monthly mortgage payment, and you may need to save longer for your down payment and closing costs.
Get To Know The Market
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the current real estate market of your desired neighborhood prior to putting an offer on a house. Supply and demand in the housing market can cause home prices to shift quickly. Get fast, up-to-date, accurate housing market reports here from Rocket Mortgage®.
Work With A Seasoned Real Estate Agent
Working with a trusted local real estate agent can help buyers through the home buying process, especially in a crowded market like Washington, D.C.
From writing a winning offer to ensuring all inspections are completed, a real estate professional can be a great help in making D.C. your new home.
We recommend working with a real estate professional familiar with the neighborhood you are interested in investing in. Check here for a Rocket HomesSM Verified Partner Agent.
The Bottom Line: Find The Neighborhood That’s Right For You
There is something for everyone in our nation’s capital. Finding a neighborhood where you feel safe and happy is important. Whether you have a Georgetown budget for a beautiful row house or a more modest budget for a great apartment in Logan Circle, Washington, D.C., is bound to have a home for you.
Use Rocket Homes to search for houses for sale in Washington, D.C.
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