Dear PoP – Is This A Good Spot To Have a Family Vacation?

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“Dear PoP,

My family and I are planning a visit to DC for the Cherry Blossom festival (my elderly parents, husband and 7 yr old daughter and myself). We found a great vacation rental at 619 Kenyon St, but are trying to figure out it is a reasonably safe neighborhood. The idea is to take the Metro in to all the museums and sights, but at the end of the day, have a spacious family hangout to come back to. All of the reading I’ve done so far suggests that it has not been a very safe neighborhood but is in the process of gentrifying. I know that in these cases (having lived in many “transitional” neighborhoods in my life), the specific location can make a big difference as to safety.”

This is a tough question. I do think the neighborhood of Pleasant Plains is safe. However, personally I don’t think it is ideal for a home base for elderly parents. I say that because while it is not impossible, it is not ideal to catch taxi cabs from this location. It is not terribly far from the Columbia Heights Metro Station at 14th and Irving but it is a bit of a walk. That is my only hesitation. But I’d like to throw it out to the others – what do you guys think – is this a good location for a vacation rental with elderly parents?

88 Comment

  • NO! I’ve been living a block away for 6 years. You can do better.

  • Well, there was a shootout on that block the day after Christmas.

  • No. And I am a hard core supporter of city living. Do not do this.

  • absolutely not. block is not safe, ugly, too far from metro for elderly folks and/or small children, and you’d have to catch cabs on Georgia Avenue, a rough, urban street not really made for tourists. no way, no way in hell.

  • PoP,

    Way to play it safe and use the elderly as an excuse on a reason not to stay in that neighborhood.

    Gay, straight, male, female, black, white, hispanic, bodybuilder, cop, violinist… whatever. You don’t want to stay in that neighborhood if you’re coming to DC for a vacation.

  • It’s also not Pleasant Plains, it’s Park View.

  • I live on Lamont st between Sherman and Georgia and grew up in this area it’s not as bad as it used to be. I wouldn’t call it a nice vaction spot for your family, it has it’s rough spots but for the most part it’s not that bad. If you wanna look around use google street view and tool around with it. You can also check out the crime in the area at

  • i used live mid 700 block of kenyon and my father of 84 yrs,at the time visited me. it was all good. easy to catch a cab on georgia ave. question is, cna they go with the flow?

  • Agree that the area is ParkView/Columbia Heights and not Pleasant Plains. It’s closer to walk to the Petworth Metro. But taxis are best — anywhere, even in fancy, cobble-stoned Georgetown — for elderly parents. And since you’re taking taxis, lots drive up and down Georgia Ave so that’s very convenient. As for safety, the neighborhood is fine but not ideal for solo, drunken, ipod wearing strolls at 2 AM. I think it depends on the particular house you’re staying in. Is the house nice? FWIW there’s a lot of respect paid to the elderly in the old-skool parts of town. My 75 yo dad got to know everyone when he *walked* to the Park View post office on Georgia Avenue on a weekly basis.

  • Where are all these cabs on Georgia Ave? They’re never there when I try to find one.

    Agreed with the above posters, this is a block from my house and I would not recommend it for what they’re looking for in a vacation spot.

  • Okay, here’s the deal: if you’re all racist, you might find that street a little bit salty. If you’re from a hoity-toity whitebread suburb where it’s a scandal to let the paint chip off your perfect picket fence, by all means go to Georgetown and pay a fortune for some cramped-ass hotel room. But otherwise, this is a real, genuine livable neighborhood where people of all colors, ages and races live in relative calm. Are there drugs? Eh, not too prominently. Are there black people and Hispanics? Yes. Is there rust and decay and urban blight? Yes. Is it at all unsafe for any of these factors? No.

    Now, I understand that people have different standards for the safety of their precious offspring and their precious elderly parents. And Kenyon street certainly ain’t Club Med. But if you want to open your eyes a bit, see the way that a lot of folks in D.C. really live, and still enjoy the Cherry Blossoms, I’d say suck it up. Yea, it’s a tad far from the Metro, but the 70 bus stops nearby and will bring you right downtown. Yes, it’s hard (but certainly not impossible) to catch a cab along Georgia Ave. Yea, it’s not the perfect, gleaming marble D.C. that the tourists never see beyond when the gush about how “great” the District is. But dangerous it certainly ain’t.

  • Kalorini

    These people aren’t racist–they’re putting the safety of their family above being part of a transitioning community. We’re not racist, we’re realistic! Jeez.

  • @Byron

    Fair enough, but you must admit from the perspective of a vacationer, Kenyon/Georgia offer nothing in terms of amenities, particularly for travelers with elderly parents and kids. What’s the nearest sit down restaurant that’s kid friendly? Where’s the nearest grocery store? Pharmacy? They’re all nearby-ish, but you better know how to get there.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but strictly from the perspective of a traveling family, who know nothing about the city, are prone to getting lost, will need some basics, and are primarily interested in the sights downtown, this neighborhood sucks. Period.

    Finally, no, it isn’t safe. Not in the terms these vacationers are no doubt expecting. Not safe compared to MVS or even Shaw, both of which are closer to the sights and gentrifying.

    Vacationing Family: You can do better. If you’re willing to spend more money, you’ll find better places in Dupont Circle. If you’re willing to forgo easy metro access but don’t want to spend as much money, try Logan Circle. If you want convenience and gentrification, look for a place on 14th street near the columbia heights metro. Finally, I would strongly recommend looking at a house on Capitol hill, which is very safe, family friendly, accessible, and filled with vacant rentals – many houses are owned by lobbyists and interest groups which rent them out when they aren’t being used.

    Most importantly, enjoy your trip!!

  • @Byron

    Fair enough, but you must admit from the perspective of a vacationer, Kenyon/Georgia offer nothing in terms of amenities, particularly for travelers with elderly parents and kids. What’s the nearest sit down restaurant that’s kid friendly? Where’s the nearest grocery store? Pharmacy? They’re all nearby-ish, but you better know how to get there.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but strictly from the perspective of a traveling family, who know nothing about the city, are prone to getting lost, will need some basics, and are primarily interested in the sights downtown, this neighborhood sucks. Period.

    Finally, no, it isn’t safe. Not in the terms these vacationers are no doubt expecting. Not safe compared to MVS or even Shaw, both of which are closer to the sights and gentrifying.

    Vacationing Family: You can do better. If you’re willing to spend more money, you’ll find better places in Dupont Circle. If you’re willing to forgo easy metro access but don’t want to spend as much money, try Logan Circle. If you want convenience and gentrification, look for a place on 14th street near the columbia heights metro. Finally, I would strongly recommend looking at a house on Capitol hill, which is very safe, family friendly, accessible, and filled with vacant rentals – many houses are owned by lobbyists and interest groups which rent them out when they aren’t being used.

    Most importantly, enjoy your trip!!

  • I don’t think anybdoy says that they wouldn’t live there-I actually don’t live far from there – I think that it’s not a great location for a vacation rental. If you have choices about where to stay when you’re not familiar with the city, and where you’re on vacation – why 6th and Kenyon of all places?

  • While this neighborhood may be interesting for a number of reasons, a family vacation getaway it is not.

    1) The neighborhood is sketchy/rough. If you do decide to stay there, plan on taking a cab back every night. You will be a neighborhood outsider & may be a target.

    2) The neighborhood is getting better: Much like CHV, there was not really not another way to go.

    3) You can walk to the metro (prob 1 to 1.5 miles, uphill) but are going through a number of.. interesting areas on the way. This will be true whichever street you take: especially Hobart;).

    4) Personally, my inlaws would go after me if they found out I took my kids & parents to a similar neighborhood. Most people want the “Disney” version of DC, with clean streets, a lovely metro, and no (hahahahah) crime.

    I recommend looking in upper northwest, capitol hill, or at least within 1/2mi from a metro. If you get a sketchier area – take a cab back after dark. I will cost more $$, but will make you feel less exposed & make the vacation more relaxing.

  • absolutely no way

  • Stay in Capitol Hill. If you’re really looking to stay in a gentrifying neighborhood, check out something in Shaw on 10th Street near the Mt Vernon Sq Metro station or 8th & Q Streets near the Shaw/Howard U station. Columbia heights is also OK

    But Georgia Ave and Kenyon? No way. No. No. No. No. No.

    Despite the accusations of racism, you would be well advised, as an out of towner with small children and elderly parents, to avoid this area. You really need to know that neighborhood to appreciate it.

  • If you live in Kansas, then you would be afraid to get out of your car there.

    If you live in another city and are used to inner-city living in a transitional neighborhood, then this is a pretty convenient location.

    If PoP posted this as a “GDoN” you’d probably have half the commenters saying the neighborhood was dicey, and the other half saying it’s great and it’s come a long way.

    Bottom line is, it depends entirely on your expectations. But I suspect that if you’re coming here for a vacation, your expectations are going to be a lot higher than someone who’s lived here, thinking of buying a house, looking for a good deal, and willing to accept some quality-of-life consequences to be in a pretty convenient location. So I would say you should probably avoid it.

  • One person’s definition of “reasonably safe” and a “vacation atmosphere” differs from another person’s — so without knowing the person who posted the question or their elderly parents (just how elderly are they? you might want to avoid taking Metro during rush hour, plus do they have an opinion on this?), it’s hard to offer anything other than my personal opinion, which is to turn down this place and keep looking for something better.

  • a) It’s pretty awesome that out of towners are looking to PoP for vacation suggestions

    b) I’d have to agree with [email protected] – try to stay in Shaw. I live at 12th and Mass and it’s quite a decent neighborhood. Obviously there are going to be the areas that you don’t go to alone, at night, etc., but you can probably asking the people that are renting the unit for tips on that.

    c) We’re not racist Byron. These people are coming into town and asked if the neighborhood was safe. Out of towners don’t usually know how to handle themselves in cities – my mom was always terrified to visit me in Philly, and she still feels a bit off about my current neighborhood. This is because she doesn’t know the streets, neighbors, etc. Once again, someone turns it into a racist argument.

  • Ahh ha ha! I missed this comment before…

    “But if you want to open your eyes a bit, see the way that a lot of folks in D.C.”

    How many people have “wanting to see the way a lot of folks live in [New Orleans | Chicago | Baltimore | Las Vegas | Wherever” as one of their criteria when on vacation?

    Jesus we go on vacation to ESCAPE from the ugliness of the reality of daily life. Yeah sign me up for a lower 9th ward vacation rental in the big easy, I hear they are cheap!

  • I am on the NO side. If for no other reason than it is way too far of a walk for the metro. That is not convenient at all. But also, I echo the safety concerns that many others have raised.

  • I live 7 blocks west on KENYON street, and would not advise it. Look for something else. It is to fat from Metro. And that little pocket has lots of crime.

  • Am i the only one here that finds it odd that someone listed a place in CH/Pleasant Plains/Park View as a vacation rental?

    That is the part that is odd to me. My point being, what vacation guide even lists those neighborhoods as anything more than residential?

  • I’ve had relatives come into town for a week of vacation – 4 adults, 2 pre-teens and one elderly – and they found a rental house in Capitol Hill. They felt cool staying in an area with the word “Capitol” in it, they could go to cafes and such by walking, Eastern Market was right there, the metro was close and cabs were a-plenty. Try Capitol Hill.

  • hmmm. Who wants to go on vacation and stay in a sketchy part of town, with kids no less? It would be like going to disney land in Anaheim and staying in south central. wtf?
    the last thing you want is to be stressed about where you are staying. if you want to do the monuments rosslyn isnt a bad idea and probably cheaper to stay than georgetown or nw dc. anywhere on the metro would do the trick i guess, but come on, petworth isnt ready for tourists yet.

  • I am shocked that there is short-term vacation rental in this neck of the woods.

    That being said, I live 3 blocks north of the CH Metro. What week are you coming and how much would you like to pay? 3bd, 2.5br rowhouse, 2 parking spots and a partridge in a pear tree.

  • Being from the midwest, I get questions like this all the time from family, friends, and friends of my parents! The most interesting inquiry actually came directly from my parents: They were coming to visit me last spring and my dad found the “Courtyard by Marriott: US Capitol” online, and proceeded to book a room for 5 nights for $260/night.

    Now, I had never noticed a Courtyard hotel in the immediate vicinity of the Capitol, so I looked into it and found that it was the newly opened one at the NY Ave. Metro station! “US Capitol”… riiiight.

    I promptly went on a hotel search for them and found a lovely room for them at the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park for $175/night. It turned out to be a great move!

    In any case, I applaud the tourist for looking into options beyond Downtown or VA, though I would also suggest that Capitol Hill would perhaps offer more of the “Type” of DC most tourists are looking for…

  • my bf lives on that block. He’s white as can be, and I’m not exactly street tough myself, since I’m on the small side for a girl. I visit and stay over all the time, and have NEVER had any hint of a problem walking to/from the CH metro at night, often by myself – mind you I don’t amble about in la-la land, I definitely have a hightened sense of awareness and am on the look-out for potential muggers. But I tend to be that way anywhere.

    The neighbors are super friendly, and have welcomed by BF and myself (when I visit) even though we don’t have much in common (they’re mostly black families that have been there for a while, my BF lives in a group house of 20-something guys of various races and ethnicities). Hell, they even mowed his front lawn one day, without him even asking. Yea, it’s kind of dirty, and a bit of a hike from the metro, and GA ave has little to offer in that vicinity short of liquor stores and take-out, which is sad. So, yea, it’s probably not the best vacation spot for old folks. But, geez guys, it’s not any more unsafe than the majority of this city. If you start classifying a block as “unsafe” after a single shoot-out, I fear most of this city would fall under that category.

  • as others have said, hell. no.

    i lived at georgia and lamont for six months and couldn’t get out fast enough. when i went to the police station to get a short-term parking pass, they asked if I was moving in or out. I said out–they said “good” and told me about all the drug activity on the block.

  • It wouldn’t be my first, second, third, etc… choice that is for sure.

  • I hate to do this… but I just have to call out Byron’s “you will like it, unless you are a racist” comment. That is CLASSIC! Love it! I am proud to be living in the same neighborhood as this nimrod.

  • I’ve been renting out a vacation apt. here for 4 years, mostly to families, so have some advice. First, do not stay here. Safety issues aside it is not convenient.

    Touristing anywhere is a lot of work and a whole lot of walking. It is worth it to pay more to be close to transportation, food options and shops. Even 4-5 blocks is not that close when you have walked through museums all day.

    Especially with a varied age group – elderly parents and a 7 year old, you want to be able to split up and get home easily separately.

    Cherry Blossom time is already booked up for most places by now – so if you find a place, book it quickly.

    Check (they started as more of a “spare room” site, but do now offer whole apts. or houses. Craigslist vacation rentals are also good if you use the “search” box to eliminate all the non-DC listings. Type in DC specific words such as Smithsonian or Metro.

    Have fun and good luck

  • +1 on the “no way.” For the visiting family, the question and answer are about safest common denominator. The young parents might be urban-tolerant, but they need to account for both the safety of a touristy family walking in a gaggle, and the tolerance level of the older parents who are, most likely, not as urban-tolerant as they might be.

    IOW, imagine putting up with the dagger eyes and snitty back-handed comments of your mother-in-law the whole week because she’s not happy with the accommodations, and worried sick about the child, etc etc etc.

    Safest common denominator for the group.

    6th & Kenyon, vacation rental, bad idea.

  • Hahaha! Great vacation place, good find. Was it inexpensive? Maybe after staying there you will have enough money saved up for a mini-break in northern yemen, a week in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and a couple of weeks in Lagos?

  • so…i believe the consensus is…NO.
    And Capitol Hill is a great recommendation.

  • Would be curious to know how/where you found this rental in the first place.

  • My friends’ parents use this website to rent homes when they come into town to visit:

    There are a lot of places here on the Hill (although the larger ones are pretty pricey). When my friends got married, the bride’s family used this site to rent a HUGE house right off of U Street (none of the Hill houses available were large enough for what they needed) and it was gorgeous and super convenient.

  • Vacationing family – Red Roof Inn in Chinatown – Cherry blossom Special 75 bucks a night!

  • it didn’t take long for the racist accusations to get thrown around…

    Clicked on the DC crime map referenced above, plugged in the Kenyon street address, and a Georgetown Street address and wasn’t too surprised with the results.
    In the last 30 days there have been 10 violent crimes in that Kenyon vicinity vs 1 violent crime in Georgetown.
    Seems like a no brainer to me.

  • I think it’s pretty fscking ballys to rent a place here as a ‘vacation rental’!

    +1 to the owners

  • I agree with David T that Woodley Park would be a very good choice.

    An alternative to the Omni Shoreham is the Kalorama Guest House Bed and Breakfast in Woodley Park on Cathedral Avenue just a block from the Red Line Woodley Park Metro Station.

    Also, the Nat’l Park Service says April 4 is when Cherry Blossoms peak.

  • I don’t think it’s a bad spot, really, especially if it comes with off street parking. Cherry Blossom festival is not a Metro-based event, as much as other DC events. You can drive down to the blossoms easy enough, and the Kennedy Center and other Cherry Blossom sites like Georgetown waterfront.

    When I traveled with my parents and kids, you’re home by 6 pm anyway, so it’s nice to have an actual house with a kitchen, living room, and separate bedrooms. You can cook, and hang out. 6th and Kenyon is not a terrible crime spot, so I think they’d be fine.

    As for the neighborhood, you can’t ignore the urban reality, but Howard’s a nice campus for a stroll, and the Petworth Metro is very close, a short bus ride. I love the bakery at Georgia Ave and Kenyon! And, you can drive up to the Safeway or Yes Markets for groceries.

    Plus, I’m not sure what their budget is, and multiple hotel rooms add up quick. You want the grandparents and kids and parents to share a couple of double beds for a week?

    • Drive down to the cherry blossoms? That’s even nuttier than taking a vacation on Georgia and Kenyon.

      • Yeah, I’m a die hard driver, but even I think that’s insane. Plus, the people said in their original email that they want to metro.

        I once tried to drive down to pick people up from seeing the cherry blossoms, but made it as far as the Mandarin Oriental (from the Hill) and gave up. I valeted and told them to meet me there at the bar. (Where, they will validate and make parking quite reasonable.)

      • It’s hard to drive down there, because… too many people drive down there, agreed.

        But, it isn’t that close to the Metro station, so if your kids or parents can’t hoof it, a car is your main mode of transport.

        I usually bike down there, but I’ve not had trouble parking at Haines Point when my 80+ father was in town. Metro would have been too far for him.

  • Really depends on how you plan on utilizing this house.. Just as a crash pad? Out all day come home in the evening, cook dinner go to bed. If that’s the case. It shouldnt be a problem.

    On the other hand if you plan on staying here, walking to go do groceries, make a beer run or do a bbq in the front porch etc., you might want to consider another place.

  • I live on this block and have yet to have any problems with safety. The neighbors here are far friendlier than any other place in the city I have lived. I would definitely not classify it as sketchy or dangerous, plus its not 1-1.5 miles to the metro, its about .7 to both CH and Petworth.

    That being said, I can’t say that it’s EASY to get a cab on GA ave. If you are up for taking the bus, there are plenty of easy ways to get downtown and back.

  • @mphs There’s a bakery at Georgia and Kenyon? Really? How did I not know that?

  • I’m having a hard time believing this email is real. Is PoP that well known all over the country? If so, that’s great but…I don’t know. I can’t imagine in planning a visit to say NYC, I’m going to the length of finding a local blogger to ask the safety/convenience of a neighborhood.

  • In response to Byron’s racism accusations: I’m gonna take a wild stab here and guess that everything bad that happens to you somehow has racism at its root.
    That guy who cut you off in traffic? Racist! Wait, he was black? hm….. His frustration with the legacy of racism in our society made him do it! Whitey strikes again!
    Get a grip Byron.

  • Thanks, everyone, for your insightful comments! This was indeed a real letter (from me) and I really appreciate PoP and all of you weighing in. As I was researching neighborhoods, I found the PoP blog and thought it looked like a great community forum. We are veteran travelers to both urban and developing countries and were really looking for a reasonably priced house (rather than hotel rooms) where we could all hang out together in the evenings. Vacation rentals are usually ideal for this. It’s a wonderful way to get to know more about a city then just the touristy sights than we planned to see downtown. We also enjoy being in diverse communities, but one comment hit the nail on the head – the perception of being in an unsafe neighborhood will probably prevent my parents from really enjoying themselves, so we’ll look elsewhere.

  • That area is actually in the Park View neighborhood, but withing the boundaries of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association. Best of both worlds.

  • That area is actually in the Park View neighborhood, but within the boundaries of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association. Best of both worlds.

  • I would recommend Capitol Heights, it is much safer that Kenyon. Capitol Heights is the next Petworth. Addison Road Metro is very safe.

  • Byron is correct; there’s nothing wrong with this neighborhood and they could probably save a bunch of money by staying here if they are used to urban neighborhoods. I know many tourists who have stayed in Park View and had great experiences.

    Too bad these travelers are now going to have to spend much more money because of all the people in Tynan coffee who typed their comments on their macbooks about the area’s “unsafe perception.”


  • Ugh, this is why I avoid Internet message boards at all costs — but this one seems uniquely populated by idiots who are intent on trashing entire neighborhoods as “unsafe” because of a little urban decay instead of actually looking at real objective data or, god-forbid, visiting these places.

    I think very few of you would have advised them against staying in the heart of Tivoli Square, at 14th Street and Park Road, right?

    Well, gee, let’s look at the MPD crime statistics for crimes committed within 1500 feet of that intersection:
    In the last year, 5 homocides, 205 violent crimes.

    How about the 600 block of Kenyon?
    In the last year, 4 homocides, 130 violent crimes.

    Gee, sure sounds like the 600 block of Kenyon is a radically different and dangerous part of the city.

    Sure, Tivoli is more trafficked, but Georgia Avenue is also a major thoroughfare. Columbia Heights is a hotbed for violent crime — it’s just dressed up behind expensive developments and nice Pho places.

    Run the data yourselves instead of acting like a bunch of spoiled, entitled yuppies.

    • I lived at 13th & T from 1989 to 1997 (and loved it – don’t like it too much now). My mother was practically in tears everytime she came to visit. Even though she didn’t need to be, she was scared. That did not make me happy.

    • Fine, but the real issue is the walkability factor. 14th and Tivoli is pretty much on top of the metro, while GA and Kenyon is not. Walking more than a two or three blocks with elderly parents and a small child is a huge hassle, and may ruin a vacation. Not to mention that the farther away you are from a metro, the more likely you are to get lost.

      So, yeah, the spoiled, entitled Yuppies are afraid of black people. OK

    • Byron,

      About half of the people who have commented on your posts live in that area- get a frigging clue. If that house went up for sale, many of us would probably be in line to place an offer on it. Does that make it a great place for a vacation rental- NO. It is simply not convenient as a staging point for a vacation.

      And really, if you are reluctant to post on blogs like this one, do us all a favor and DONT POST. Joining a conversation just to fling accusations of racism and idiocy like monkeyshit isn’t the neighborly thing to do on a neighborhood blog. And theres the deal for you.

    • what you are missing Byron, among other things, is the walk from the metro (either stop) would take them directly through some higher crime areas (not a great night time walking area for out-of-towners).

  • yeah, but Byron, how many people pass throught 14th & park v. the 600 block of Kenyon each day? I bet the average person is less likely to be a crime victim in the first.

    Also, if they rented a block from the CH metro, they could spend a lot less time walking around the neighborhood than if they rented three-quarters of a mile away, which would also cut their risks.

    And, actually, I might have advised them not to stay in Tivoli Square either, because of the crime (though it does have advantages of Metro proximity, shops, restaurants, etc. that might appeal to tourists). 600 block of Kenyon isn’t safe just because another place might be less safe.

  • I think the best place to stay for the cherry blossoms would be the SW waterfront. The metro and circulator are close, there’s a grocery store and bank and CVS right there (hopefully by then the new ones will have opened, but the old ones aren’t bad), and the crime is a LOT lower than CH. You can even walk to the cherry blossoms, depending on how mobile the elderly folks and kids are. The nationals also play only a couple blocks away, though to be honest I would walk to the stadium in daylight and take the metro home at night.

    I only have a 1br + air mattress or else I’d offer to rent my place out!

  • LOL! There is a registered sex offender living right next door:

  • Reality check here please! My vacation rental actually IS half-block from CH metro/Tivoli Square. Renting 4 years now, with aprox 190 guest groups – about 140 of which were families with children – NO incidents.

    I’d say about 80% of my guests have been non-urban “middle America” types, many of whom don’t even know what a row house is when they arrive, (the houses are stuck together!) many of whom have never experienced a tenth of the diversity they are thrust into here. Every single one of them has loved it, found people very friendly and helpful (even at CVS!) and have had only positive experiences.

    Here are some unsolicited comments – Not to drum up business, but to show that people have a very different impression of this area than many of you. (I’m not sourcing them to avoid the appearance of soliciting business, but my listing is easy enough to find. And I’m already booked through most of April anyway.)

    – “The unit’s close proximity to the metro really put the icing on the cake. We didn’t even have to rent a car. We took the metro to all the places we visited – very convenient! The unit is located in a safe neighborhood, filled with many good restaurants & misc. stores.”

    “Great location and a beautiful neighborhood. I felt safe to walk to the store by myself in the evening if I needed to. Always something going on and just a lot of fun.”

    “Traveling from Australia we felt very safe in the area, highly recommend.”

    “This is a great, safe neighborhood and thanks again for a wonderful stay!Our first real vacation to D.C. and we could not have picked a better place to stay. Close to Metro station and close to good places to eat and shop. . . Neighborhood was quite nice and we never had any safety / security concerns. We would very highly recommend you give this place serious consideration if going to D.C.”

    And BEFORE they even book, I send them this in the info packet –


    People often ask this about Washington DC. Our city still does have some troubles. The outright shootings & murders are generally localized neighborhood tragedies. Still, there are unpredictable, episodic crimes everywhere.
    (And bridges collapse, tornadoes wreck, etc.)

    This neighborhood, called Columbia Heights is a lively, dynamic, very popular urban neighborhood with a great variety of people. It has undergone rapid change in the past few years. On my corner, 14th & Irving, there is a
    huge new shopping center, 4 brand new buildings with studio apartments renting for $1,600.00 and condos selling for half-million dollars. There is also a homeless shelter two blocks away.

    Million dollar houses are not uncommon, ($800,000.00 is average) and there is also a subsidized apartment complex on the next block. We have 2 live theaters, a dance institute, a huge new grocery store and many new restaurants 1-2 blocks away, but you may still see drunks passed out by the metro station.

    DC is a busy city, and crime is unfortunately part of city life. The neighborhoods around here, Adams Morgan, Mt. Pleasant, Dupont Circle, U street and Columbia Heights all have higher instances of street crime, but
    we also have much higher population densities. We have all the restaurants, clubs & bars & metro stations, so more people are out walking all the time. You need to follow sensible precautions. Carry your wallet, money & keys on your person, not in a purse. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t walk at night listening to your ipod.

    I have lived here for 22 years and have never had a problem. I feel safe walking around alone at night. My sister visits with her young children and they play in the “projects” playground. None of my guests in three years of doing this have felt uncomfortable or unsafe or experienced any problems.

    • Nice write up, Victoria, and I wish you well.

      I wouldn’t buy a used car from you.

      I’m in my 4th decade of living here.

      • Why exactly wouldn’t you buy a used car from someone who provides you upfront with clear, verifiable statistics and impartial information on all the benefits and detriments of your potential purchase?

        • Victoria,

          I appreciate that you’re a doer and one of the up beat neighbors that’s trying to make our neighborhood better, and I truly do wish you well.

          Neighborhoods need positive folk like yourself actively improving our area with more than mere words, but investing privately like yourself and taking private economic risk; however, the woman writes the words “safe” or “safety” three times in her inquiry above.

          I meant no offense with my used car analogy, but your analogy of a bridge collapse or tornado just doesn’t fly with me because the visiting writer is bringing her own 7 year old daughter, her elderly parents, and is deserving of an honest reply not a sales pitch to potential investors.

          Crime here, from petty vadalism and malicious mischief to vilence by assault and shootings, are at least a weekly occurrence. An adequate response cannot obviate this from her.

          Truth be told, we here aren’t safe relative to other neighborhoods with Metro access to our Cherry Blossom Festival

          which starts in just 11 weeks !

          • Dear misguided anonymous soul – please re-read the bit about my OWN FAMILY with 10 CHILDREN ages 2 on up happily and safely visiting here for the past 20 years and playing in the “projects” playground. Why would I bring my own family here if I didn’t think it was safe?

            My elderly father came often to visit, since 1987, and came to live with me here in 2002 at the age of 85. He loved it here – walked around and talked to people and never had a problem.

            Yes, in 25 years I’ve seen shit here – and everywhere else in the world.

            The bridge/tornado reference is not a red herring. Every month almost as many people die in routine and mostly avoidable highway deaths as died on 9/11.

            So sorry that you don’t feel safe. Sounds like time for you to move.

  • I have to say: I live on Harvard between 13&14th. My inlaws freaked one day waking by sherman & harvard.

    The area is probably safer than mine, but I would not want my parents (or really my inlaws) walking around my place at night…

    (My Mother-in law still talks about the night she saw dudes running with guns here…)

  • I live within one and a half blocks of this “vacation” rental. Over the past few months I’ve witnessed drug dealing, kidnapping, assaults, murder investigations, constant shouting of obscenities, frequent public urination and a lot more crazy shit I never thought I’d see. Vacation here? Are you crazy?

    • Kidnapping. Right. Washington, DC. A beautiful town in the heart of Mexico City.

      • I did witness the attempted kidnapping and it was surreal. Man walked up to woman with baby in her arms, had argument, grabbed baby, woman screaming, walked away with baby down the street. Cop happened to be across the street, approached man, returned baby to woman, allowed man to leave. It was interesting.

  • I sent this to a friend who has lived and still lives on Lamont St NW for 20 years. He also said “absolutely not” because of the elderly parents. Even though he is Black and a 20 year resident I have had to inform him that he too is racist. Byron’s Law says so!

  • sigh. i am still enjoying my grandsons’ reaction to my former apartment across the street from the Petworth metro stop: \Grandma lives in the ‘Hood.\ The place you’ve mentioned is not all that accessible to downtown DC (though it’s closer via Petworth metro stop, not Columbia Heights) and the mall. Your relatives would probably enjoy a vacation rental in \Capitol Hill\ much more because the folks at home would have a glimmer of recognition about where they stayed.

  • It’s perfect if you want to listen to sirens.

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