Friday Question of the Day – How did You Choose Your Neighborhood?

Photo by PoPville flickr user AWard Tour

When I first moved to Washington back in the summer of ’97 I really didn’t know anything about the city. I ended up living in Woodley Park and Cleveland Park and spent a lot of time in Adams Morgan (which I loved) only because I wanted to be on the metro’s red line. In 2003 I moved to Petworth and fell in love it with it rather quickly. I loved my house and yard. I loved the proximity to U St and Columbia Heights, I loved the people, the porches, Grant Circle and more. Over the last 4 or 5 years I’ve really started falling in love with many other parts of the city as well. Capitol Hill for one is an area that I completely ignored when I first moved to the city and I have become absolutely enamored with many of its neighborhoods today. There are also parts of Brookland, Bloomingdale, Shaw, Mt. Vernon Square, Mt. Pleasant, Dupont and yes even Georgetown that I have fallen in love with. All this is a preface to say – if I moved to the city tomorrow and had to pick a place to live – I’d have no idea where to pick. (Obviously buying a home vs renting a place could make a big difference.)

So let’s make this a two part question – if you were to move to the city tomorrow knowing what you know now – what neighborhood would you choose to live in and why? And for the second part, if you were to buy a house or condo tomorrow what neighborhood would be your first choice? And prices should be included into the equation, I’d love to buy a house in Cleveland Park or Logan Circle but there is no way I could afford one so I’m sticking with my Petworth bungalow! I also really like Petworth because it is easy for me to get to other neighborhoods that I like. But if I were looking for a place to rent I’d look for a roomate/group house (I’d also be 22 years old again) and pick either the U St area or near Eastern Market. What about you guys?

106 Comment

  • I like my neighborhood–SW Waterfront–best of all (which is good, since I’m trying to buy a place there now!). I love Eastern Market and Borderstan, but they’re out of my price range and E.Mkt isn’t a great commute for me.

    Reasons: I can afford the rent and feel like I get more for my money here than many other neighborhoods I considered; there’s a metro station and grocery store half a block away; I can walk to the waterfront, Arena stage, or the library in 5 minutes and the ballpark in under 15; there aren’t a lot of stores so I don’t mindlessly spend money (I could never live near Target); it’s ethnically and economically diverse; I feel safe walking home from the metro at night (and crime is objectively pretty low).

    I wish it had better schools, a few more restaurants and bars, and better/more populated pedestrian connections to other neighborhoods, but I feel like those things are coming (some sooner than others!)

    • I used to live in SW Waterfront and loved it for the same reasons. But I finally had to admit the crime was still too high for me. This was 3 years ago, though.

      • I’m curious to know where you moved to. There are definitely places with lower crime (Van Ness and Friendship Heights, among the places I looked when moving to DC) but not as many as I thought.

        I’m not trying to denigrate your experience–as far as I can tell, crime WAS worse in SW (and all of DC) three years ago. And it’s certainly not a crime-free neighborhood now. But the things that make me feel safer there:

        a) a ton of the crime is theft of/from cars or shoplifting. Bad, but not scary to me, especially since I don’t have a car.

        b) the crime stats are artifically high because many crimes (especially street vendor violations and homeless folks leaving belongings on the street) are logged in as occurring at 101 M St SW, because that’s the 1st district police statement.

        c) A big portion of the crime occurs between S. Capitol and 3rd St. SW. I don’t walk there alone at night unless there’s a baseball game or something. Things are safer and more populated west of 3rd street, which is where I walk home from the bus or metro.

        But, you have to live in a place that you feel safe. That’s why I never considered moving to Columbia Heights, and a friend who likes living there looked at moving to SW and hated it. Facts will only get you so far.

        • I moved to Capitol Hill– a bit pricier, but worth it for the peace of mind.

          To be honest I never looked at the crime stats– my opinion is based more on personal experience. Having my house broken into was one of the scariest events of my life. I didn’t have much worth stealing, but the crackheads tore apart everything looking for it. I had window bars and an alarm system and strong locks and they still found a way to break in. I had shady people loitering around my property at all hours, and occasionally one of them would flash me the gun in his waistband to show he meant business. Never had my car broken into.

          Again, I moved out three years ago and I know a lot has changed since then…

        • Ironic–I live between S. Capitol and 3rd St SW, and I agree, that is here more crime occurs, but I still feel safer then I did living up on U Street, only a year ago. I like it, and I would consider investing in property right where I live now–I think it will improve over time.

          I love the SW community.

          • I lived between S. Capitol and 3rd St SW as well. I never realized there was more crime in those particular blocks but I guess it’s true.

  • The one the only . . NoLo-SoCo!!

  • My husband and I were the first people EVER to move into The Ellington, back when U st. was still considered “sketch”. We got two months free because they were still in construction and there was a lot of noise/dust. Alero wasn’t even open back then! We were smart enough to buy a condo 2 blocks away 3 years ago before it became too crazy. I love U st. wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Hopefully, we will be able to live in this place until the mortgage is as much as we can charge for rent and then it’ll pay for itself. With that said, there will not be any kids for a looong time.

  • I moved here because its where I first went out in the citeh while growing up just outside of it. I waited and waited and finally found a place that cost the same amount as my monthly cab fare to the VA. It was a no-brainer and I must say that the rent control is spectacular. I love my little citeh . . . my rat-free neighborhood. Please ont move here, we got enough going on.

  • In unsurprising news: Capitol Hill. The Hill felt like home to me before I even moved here. I would never want to live anywhere else.

  • When I arrived here a decade ago, I chose to rent an apartment in Mt. Pleasant, because it was a friendly, quiet neighborhood well served by buses, not too far from the Metro and the hustle and bustle of Adams Morgan, and I perceived it as the least expensive place I could find this close to entertainment and work where I was least likely to become a victim of crime.

    To me, it was the perfect situation for someone having just arrived in the city. A lot has changed in this city since then, and it’s not quite the bargain it once was, but it’s probably still a good place to look for an apartment if you’re new in town.

  • I found myself priced out of almost every area of the city….until I discovered Brookland. Affordable, quiet, relatively safe, and still close to Downtown, U St, and Col Heights. AND I paid half as much for my condo to boot.

  • I feel lucky that chance and family (i.e. parents’) friends led me to Capitol Hill while it was still affordable. For me, living in an old row house a couple blocks from Eastern Market is as good as it gets.

    If I were to hit town today with no equity, I’d try to find something on the Hill or close to U Street. If nothing either place was within my reach, I’d look at the H Street corridor, especially far enough west to be able to walk to a Metro station but maybe the eastern parts also if the streetcar line looks likely to actually happen, and I’d certainly consider areas within walking distance of Petworth Metro station. I’m pretty confident I could find something reasonable, if maybe small and plain, in those areas. (Well, my two apartments and first house on the Hill were all quite tiny.)

    I love the activity at Dupont Circle but it’s far beyond my income level, and Cleveland Park has many great (if probably unaffordable) houses but not enough diversity for my taste. Many other areas of the city are great places but lack something I really want, such as easy access to Metro.

  • Park View is a great neighborhood and a great value. I like that I can walk to so much. I used to live in Petworth, but I don’t like being in neighborhoods that are too residential and don’t have enough retail/restaurants.

  • If I’d just moved here, I would pick an apartment/condo somewhere along the 14th Street corridor, anywhere from Logan Circle to Columbia Heights. Which is making me laugh because I just perused the old photographs of DC and have been thinking of the 14th Street of the 80s and 90s when it was the haven of prostitutes and druggies. At one point there was a crazy lady who regularly be seen marching butt nekkid up and down the street along the center line. Good times.

    If I were buying tomorrow, it would be in Brookland to get Cleveland Park real estate at Petworth prices. I love our house in Petworth (flipper special, bought six years ago) but I want a yard and some of the streets over there are so lovely and suburban feeling right in the city. I think right now is the time to get in.

  • If money were no object, I would buy a house in Dupont Circle. But since money is an object, I’m happy in Petworth. That is why we settled here a year ago, after having rented in Adams Morgan for eight years. We plan to be in Petworth for 20 years.

    • Agree on Petworth – it’s 10 minutes from everywhere, we have a good-sized townhouse and cheap mortgage. We’ve been here 6 years and will be for the foreseeable future.

  • Bloomingdle! I grew up in the area and remember driving on Rhode Island Ave thinking how ghetto it was. Then 10 years ago I found myself reluctantly looking at houses here because it was the only place I could afford to buy a house and still be 5min from work in Adams Morgan (yes- believe it or not, it was 5min by car back then because there were stop signs at most of the intersections, not lights!). Long story short, the house has tripled in value in under 10 years, but the housing stock is still affordable (if you’re willing to hunt and bid w/o contingencies!).

    Bottom line, with our own Farmers Market, several sit down establishments and actually NICE liquor stores, what more can you ask for??

  • I simply turned to my realtor and said, “show me neighborhoods where people throw urine on me when I’m riding my bike.”

  • Shaw/Bloomindale– most character, still affordable, best investment potential, walk everywhere.

  • It’s Park View for me all the way. Having lived in Washington for over 10 years before purchasing a house, Park View was the only neighborhood that met what I was looking for on some level. Compared to other neighborhoods, it’s affordable. It’s close to two Metro stations. If you don’t mind a short walk, there are restaurants and some basic services close by. If you don’t mind a 15 min. walk you end up at the DC USA Center. Is there room for improvement, sure.

    One thing that needs no improvement, however, is the sense of community. Many of my neighbors have lived in their homes for over 50 years, and are the best neighbors anyone could hope for.

    • ++ on Park View. Sounds like you live in my neighborhood. My area is a big mix of people and ages, all the pupusas you could eat, close to 2 metros and just far enough away from DCUSA so were not at Target all the time!
      My next door neighbor has been living in her home for 50+ years.
      If only people would quit pissing in the alley, it’d all be good.

      • I’ll third, or even fourth, the vote for Park View.

        I had never lived in the city before and bought sort of blind right at the bottom of the market. I love my house, my darling neighbors (octogenarians, all), and my easy walk to the Metro. Good buses to get me where I need to go, good daycare and schooling solutions for little kids, and both a yard and a driveway. A walk to Target and Giant without having to look at that ugly shit all day, a great breath of fresh air coming off of the Soldier’s Home, and geese for my kids to chase with big sticks. A walk to the wonderful facilities at the Children’s Medical Center, some nice little delis, and the Wonderland Ballroom.

        My only complaint? Where are all of these other people voting for Park View too? Let’s go get a beer!

  • I am glad I bought into Columbia Heights. I wanted to be able to live car free, hence near a metro / bus and walkable to plenty to do (five years ago, there wasn’t much to do in C.H., but I knew it was coming). I wanted to be in an area with historic / attractive / interesting architecture, plenty of diversity, with a true neighborhood feel. The only downsides were lack of green space (improving albeit still not a primary selling point) and general safety (ditto). I also looked at Logan and U Street, but CH offered more bang for the buck. I have no regrets at all, especially what I consider what 11th and 14th Streets were like five years ago vs. today, and where Georgia Ave. will likely be in five more years. If I had a family, I would live in 16th Street Heights or Mount Pleasant, but otherwise, Columbia Heights or maybe Logan would be my only choices.

  • came back to the area after six years, looked at sw, capitol hill/eastern market, u street, and columbia heights. i found a great deal on an apartment in ch and that was it. i like my corner of CH. retired guys chatting it up on the stoop, kids going to school and throwing the football in the street, real close to giant (which just always feels like home), easy bike or bus to work downtown, easy metro to my buddy in crystal city, easy metro out to CP for mckeldin.

  • Chose seems so deliberate for me personally.

    when I moved to the area I lived in northern Virginia. My first place in DC proper was on Mass Ave not too far from Union Station. It was a few blocks to/from work so it was ideal. When I was looking for a house I liked Logan Circle and the Hill. All the affordable for me at the time houses were on the Hill and that was my preference since I already lived there.

  • LeDroit Park! When we were house hunting (we rent) we looked primarily in Shaw and LeDroit. I love the neighborhood feel of LDP. It is completely mixed income- there are Howard Students in group houses, old families, new young families, low-income housing, dorms, and condos. I love it! We have a community garden, the reservoire, Howard U, and great people!

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Ah, I can’t believe I forgot LeDroit Park. You have some of the greatest houses in town! LeDroit also has a piece of my heart.

  • There are so many good neighborhoods coming along in DC now. I bought my house in Bloomingdale only about a year and a half ago, and I’m so happy. The neighborhood is chugging along and getting better every day, and my neighbors are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. I feel very fortunate.

    If I were just moving here, I’d do the same… buy a cheap house and renovate the crap out of it!

  • I moved to Shaw about 4 years ago and would still like to find a house close by. It is kind of in the middle of all the great neighborhoods (off of New Jersey) I believe we will probably settle for something on Todd Place NE. That place is looking great lately.

    • I live on Todd Pl NE – there’s one house for sale right now (w/ a single car garage) and another two coming on the market. If I were you, I’d bid the two new one’s down – but the current listing is as close to pretty decent price point.

  • I moved to Brightwood because it was all I could afford and it was near the metro and three grocery stores and I could be anywhere in 15 to 20 minutes. I wanted Columbia Heights but at the time the Newton street drug gangs ran the place so I chickened out. If I had my choice I would go back to my childhood neighborhood of Dupont Circle.

  • My first place in DC was on MacArthur blvd in the Palisades. Lovely neighborhood, and I wouldn’t mind living there again- but it was too pricey for home ownership and there’s no metro. At the time though, it was perfect for a single lady from the ‘burbs who was a bit of a ninny.

    I now have a gorgeous old row home in 16th street heights/ Brightwood and love it. I wish there were more places besides wig shops to walk to, but it’s changing. A bit of a hike to metro, but not undoable – I ride a scooter anyway. We love it here. Great neighbors, close to everything, affordable home with great character I couldn’t get west of RCP.

  • Mt Pleasant:
    1. Wanted to be close to the park both for recreation and as a commuting artery
    2. Close to Connecticut Ave for restaurants/shopping and to get out of the city
    3. Cheaper than Dupont, more expensive than CH, but oh so worth it.
    4. Nice neighbors, a good farmer’s market, easy parking, and tree-lined streets

    • The two things wrong with Mt P. are:

      1. No decent bars, and thanks to the hyperactive neighborhood home owners, that ain’t likely to change. I can count the number of beers on tap in Mt. P on less than two hands.

      2. The (metaphorically but in some cases physically too( burnt out shell that is Mt. Pleasant St.

  • 2 very simple reasons why i chose purchasing my condo in petworth… a) it’s what i could afford; b) it’s 1 block from the metro and i don’t own/want to own a car.

  • I love our house in Petworth but I go totally gaga for those BEAUTIFUL houses in 16th street heights!

  • Petworth/Brightwood Park because it is quite, neighbors are nice and it is cheap. Only wish there was a decent grocery store. I love living up there.

  • When I was moving to DC in 2000, I was just desperate to find anyplace relatively affordable where I could get to GW Law in a reasonable amount of time. I found a great apartment near Logan Circle and took it, without having ANY idea about the area. Actually, nearly a year later, a friend drove me home after work and took L St, instead of Mass Ave like the cabs did. Around 15th St, I turned to him and asked whether there was a club nearby that had just let out, because that’s where my naive mind thought all those very scantily-clad women must’ve come from. I bet he’s still laughing about that one. And after that, I noticed the prostitutes EVERYWHERE. But I still loved living there, even if it was occasionally a shock after growing up in suburban NJ.

    My husband and I moved to CH in 2006 because we wanted a house, not a condo, in a neighborhood where he could still walk to work (Dupont) and where I had a decent commute to Georgetown. We wanted enough space to be able to stay put even with a baby or two. Brookland and Takoma DC felt too far out, without many amenities within walking distance. Same for LeDroit Park and H St, which both felt just plain sketchy to us. Shaw was a little out of our price range, as was anything else west or south. But it wasn’t CH by default. We loved the idea of walking to Target, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, etc.

  • Mt. Pleasant will always be my favorite no matter where I live.

  • I moved from Boston’s Back Bay to DC two years ago, but have been commuting back and forth for 6 years. We bought our home in Bloomingdale just last July, but took over 1.5 years looking all over this city for a place to buy that we really flipped over for. We finally found our home, a 1895 Victorian with all of the original architectural details. This was house #3 in the neighborhood. There are always multiple bids on these homes. You need to be quick and bid appropriately. The differentiators for choosing to live in Bloomingdale were really the overall feel of a neighborhood and people, the ability to walk to Metro (10 minutes), Big Bear, Windows, Timor Bodega, and having a farmer’s market on Sundays. With addition of Rustik Tavern, Boundary Stone, the trolley and more to come, we feel like we made the best choice and investment for where to live and don’t plan on going anywhere soon. 🙂

  • I was confined by economics and my desire for a house (not a condo) to Brightwood and some other lousy neighborhoods. If I was gonna do it all again, though I make more money now and could afford more, I’d do Silver Spring, or areas of Arlington/Alexandria. I feel actually guilty for supporting DC government with my tax money. I often wonder how many people have been killed or died due to the idiocy my tax dollars support. How much blow has Barry done on my dime? Etc etc etc. Yes, I feel the same about my federal taxes.

  • I’ve lived in Dupont, Mt. Pleasant, Adams Morgan and now Petworth. I moved to Petworth because I really wanted to be able to buy a rowhouse, but couldn’t afford one in areas I had lived before. Mt Pleasant would have been first pick – inspired by our neighbors who were friends who bought their house together around 1998 for $180K, can you believe it? By the time I was ready to buy, houses in Mt. Pleasant were well out of reach, but I bought in Petworth because it was a little similar – very green with trees arching over the streets and the houses had bigger yards and great porches. It’s a very friendly and neighborly area and I’ll be happy here for a long time.

  • My real estate agent gave me the address and told me the lady who lived there would let us in to see the place and that he couldn’t make it that day.
    We approached this horrible looking house on 13th St. between Spring Road and Otis Place knocked on the door and happily we were turning to leave when the door opened and old Mrs. M. let us in. She inherited the place (and has always lived there)from her mother who bought it in the 1930s. Really awful condition. Hadn’t been painted in 50 years. 30 AMP electrical service with 15 watt light bulbs. Broken windows. Kitchen never furnished–just some freestanding cupboards. BUT it was fascinating. The rooms were big and they flowed and unfolded as you walked along.
    That was 30 years ago this month. Still there and loving it. (We are the third owners in the 100 year history of the house)
    Didn’t know the name of the area was Columbia Heights until about 15 years ago.

  • Even though I grew up at 5th/Webster and now live in NE, I will always love Cleveland Park and Brookland houses!

  • First Neighborhood: Born there.

    First Purchased House (Should work for rentals too):
    1)Took a compass and a map.
    2)Marked all the existing and proposed Metro stations (solid enough to lock down a location).
    3)Drew a 1/2 mile radius around the Metro stops.
    4)Visited all the neighborhoods by day.
    5)Visited all the ones I felt were OK by day at night.
    6)Bought a house in the place I liked most. (CH in 99: Subway was not open, 14th st had wooden logs as a street surface, but the subway was just about to open: walkable to Adams Morgen, the getting revitilized U st; MtP.)

    House 2: (After kids & worrying that they would be lookouts for the Po.)
    1) Redlined G-Town; Cathedral Heights.
    2) Told Realtor where was redlined & why we were looking for new house.
    3) Didn’t care after that. Got taken to very badly maintained house on nice lot in nice location.

  • I moved into the city in 2006 and rented in Dupont and loved the area and would have loved to stay in Dupont. But, my husband and I started looking to buy last year and decided that we wanted to buy a row house and not a condo, so that put dupont out of our price range. We ended up buying a row house on the Hill near Eastern Market and I must say I am happy and love this area as well.

  • I moved to CH on Jan. 1 2001 from dupont. I grew up in Tenleytown and CH had always been a very sketchy neighborhood so the goal was to give CH a trial-run. I rented for 18 months, started looking to buy, put bids all over town and wound up getting a contract for a place on the same block I was renting. My part of CH was sketchy back then. I heard gun shots monthly at least. The “sketch equity” I put in has paid off and now my little condo is worth a lot more than when I bought it. The neighborhood is a lot more livable and there’s no longer constant construction.

    Had I to do it over again, I think I would have spent more (I bucked the trend and was conservative with my real estate investing) and bought in a more established neighborhood but, at the same time, CH has turned out great.

  • I’ve lived in Georgetown, the U Street area, and Mt. Pleasant since I moved to DC. If I were to do it all over, I would go somewhere new – Eastern Market. From what I hear it’s walkable, has good schools, is diverse and is close to the heart of politics in DC.

    If I were buying, I would look for a rowhouse on Florida Avenue near Shaw/U Street due to its proximity to nightlife and the metro (and its affordability).

    All that said, I’m very happy with my current neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant – tree-lined streets, locally-owned stores, close to the Rock Creek, walkable.

  • We bought in Brightwood/Manor park based on where I work (Bethesda) and where the wife works (downtown). We wanted to be in NW DC but wanted a house, not a condo. Economics pointed to this area. Love it and love all my neighbors. If I had to do it again we probably would have bought in Silver Spring. Yes, I know I’m lame but c’est la vie.

  • In the early 90s I wanted to buy in Dupont but couldn’t afford it. Despite being warned not to move east of 16th St I moved to 13th and T and remain there happily today.

    • wow if you would have purchased in Dupont in the early 90’s you would have some serious equity in that property. If I remember correctly, 1BRs were ~ 60k on Connecticut ave in Woodley Park area.

  • Craigslist and desperation led me to a place I now never want to leave, East Capitol Hill. I was all set to move into a basement apartment in Petworth, then suddenly right before signing the lease, the landlady backed out and gave it to someone she knew. I had ten days to find something or else be out on the street, as my current apartment in Bowie was already promised out to the next tenant almost immediately. So after scouring Craigslist, I found a perfect rental of a bedroom in a two-bedroom rowhouse near the Stadium Armory Metro with a dude around my age.

    I love the neighborhood…close to Stadium Armory and Potomac Avenue metros, two relatively nice grocery stores within walking distance (Safeway and Harris Teeter), nice parks (Lincoln Park especially), access to the Anacostia River Walk trail, I can walk to/from DC United matches, and to/from Eastern Market/Barricks Row…and of course, Trusty’s, the best bar in the city 🙂

  • I started in Georgetown and moved over to Mt. P because I was going to save about $350 a month on rent. It’s a decent life here. I got lots of windows, a sub 10 minute commute and rent is still very, very good.

    If I were to move somewhere else in DC, shoot. Someplace in Columbia Heights with a roof deck would be nice. Truthfully though, for what I pay now, I can’t do any better than what I have.

    • Hey – a fellow Georgetown transplant! Were you a student? I sometimes think Mt. Pleasant is kind of live Glover Park (fair number of renters, big park nearby, lots of dogs)…
      Did you like living in Georgetown?

      • Not a student. Just found a really good deal for the area that happened to be on 35th across the street from Visitation. Then I found a much better deal in Mt. P and could not in any way justify not taking it. Been there ever since. Georgetown has style. I liked it there in that it was clean and quiet, but cheaper rent won me over.

  • I first lived on Capitol Hill/ Eastern Market in housing that came with the internship at the theatre where I was working. I continued to live on the Hill for 5 years, moving ‘East of the river’ in Penn Branch for another 7 years and now I’m back on the hill for almost another year.
    What I love about that area is how it feels like a small town. And it’s got its own quirks- like seeing folks roll a piano down the street festooned in bunting and ribbons. I really can’t imagine living anywhere else. Except maybe Chicago.

  • Lived in the DC metro area (Rosslyn, Hyattsville, & College Park) from 1995-2000 based on where I had to be at 9AM.
    I bought my house in Shaw in 2001 first because it was along the green and yellow line, which would get me to work as quickly as possible. Secondly, it was affordable. When I was buying houses were in the $70,000 to $100K range and fixer-uppers. I rented in Logan Circle and did research on the neighborhood by mapping out my comfort zones (where I saw myself comfortable walking around and living) as the neighborhood seemed more crime ridden then. Third, but related to the 1st point, I could live here without a car. There was a supermarket, laundry and several bus lines.
    Now that I’m planning on getting married, we are doing some pre-planning of possible moving IF our needs change. If I keep working at my current place then we’d have to stay in the city. If we decide that I stay at home or work at another duty location, we’d probably move up Rt 1 to the College Park area, closer to where he works. Once again where we have to be at 9AM plays a role.

  • I always said I’d NEVER live in Fairfax County, but I know someone who owns a house out there and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend next to nothing on rent. I absolutely despise it out here, but I’m saving up a nice downpayment for a house in Capitol Hill– something I never would have been able to do otherwise.

    • My reasons for choosing Capitol Hill are as follows:

      1. Proximity to my current job.
      2. Easy access to several majors highways (I go to school in VA, frequently visit family up north, and if I ever switch jobs the new one would most likely be in the suburbs).
      3. Proximity to the orange and blue lines, and depending on what part of the Hill you’re on it’s not far from green.
      4. Proximity to a couple of good grocery stores as well as Eastern Market (I love to cook).
      5. Lots of street parking and easy to get around by car.
      6. Several nice parks and very dog-friendly.
      7. All the beautiful blocks of historic houses!
      8. Many of the houses have income units which helps offset mortgage payments.
      9. I love Barracks Row and the development on H Street is coming along nicely.
      10. Close to downtown, the museums, and the monuments and memorials.
      11. Quite close to the waterfront.
      12. Crime is pretty low.
      13. It’s quieter than the trendy neighborhoods, and it has more of a neighborhood feel.
      14. Despite all the perks it’s still reasonably priced for the amount of house you can get.

  • I moved to Mt Pleasant from Adams Morgan after our apartment was broken into in the middle of the day, neighbors saw 2 men walking out with electronics, guitar, etc & didn’t think anything might be amiss.

    My roommate and I moved to Mt Pleasant and within the first three days had met our neighbors and our ANC rep. People on the street said hello. It felt like a place I could call home.

    I bought a house here back when it was still affordable – still love the neighborhood although it has changed a lot in the past 15+ years.

    If I were looking now, I’d look in places like Shaw/Bloomingdale/Ledroit Park. Or Takoma/Brookland.

    • just bought a place in Mt. Pleasant a little less than a year ago. Just out of curiosity – how has it changed?

      • While the housing part of the neighborhood has gentrified, the retail strip has gone downhill with quite a few storefronts that have been empty for years. There are definitely good places on Mt Pleasant St but there’s lots of room for improvement.

        Local politics are often unpleasant – maybe I’m looking at the past through rose colored glasses but it seems Mt P has lost some of the community feel. I miss the Mt Pleasant Festival.

        It’s still a great place to live – convenient to transit, Rock Creek Park, stores in CH. I have great neighbors, a plot in a nearby community garden and Wally the UPS guy and my mailperson both know my dog’s name.

        • I think we might be ‘neighbors’ – do you live on Monroe St towards CH? I moved there just recently but so far only know my next door neighbors.

  • I grew up in Rockville but would get off the metro at Dupont to walk to Georgetown when I worked there. I fell in love with the Dupont area- always people around, fairly safe, young area. In March I moved into a teeny studio- and it has been the best decision I’ve made in a while.

    I don’t know if I would buy in Dupont though. Its expensive and I may want something quieter with more yard space when I get older.

  • I was looking for houses that were affordable (to me), and that would involve even a small bit of green space (I’d just acquired a dog). The majority of the houses that came up in my realtor’s searches that met those criteria were in three neighborhoods: Petworth, Brookland, and Brightwood. I looked at several houses in all three neighborhoods, and after losing out on a bunch due to investors and their all-cash offers, I lucked into the house in Brightwood. I’m happy that I did. The house has a really cool musical history that I only found out about after I’d made an offer. I like the neighborhood a lot; there is, of course, room for improvement, but that’s part of what makes it interesting. People dis Brightwood for its perceived lack of transportation options, but it doesn’t really matter much to me, seeing as: 1) I tend to bike a lot, and 2) there’s a n express bus that stops a block from my house that also stops a block from where I work…not a bad deal at all!

  • I lived in Mount Pleasant for a year before moving in with fiance in a sublet condo in Dupont Circle. That had a lot of advantages: in walking distance to a lot of great restaurants and clubs, easy access to Metro. the condo owner decided to sell. The rental prices in Dupont meanwhile had skyrocketed.

    So we found a great 1,200 sf 2-level apt on the bottom two floors of a rowhouse a block from Union Station. We fell in love with the neighborhood and ended up buying a tiny house farther east. No regrets, especially with the comeback of H Street.

    PS we also are lucky enough to have fantastic neighbors.

  • We live in Petworth because my husband works in the neighborhood. We had a short time period to find a place and it just so happened that Petworth fit our budget and the hubby could walk to work.

    We loved it so much we bought in Petworth a year later. I absolutely love my house and am very happy with our neighborhood.

    We have the best of both worlds – being in vibrant city but also somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle…

  • I have lived in Clarendon, Dupont Circle near U Street, the Palisades, Brentwood, Kalorama Triangle, Mount Pleasant, Brentwood, Md. and Petworth. Work was always downtown on or near K Street. There are so many places where we should have bought property before the prices went up! I’ve always liked the leafy areas of upper NW but still can’t afford it. My dream place would be a property bordering Rock Creek Park with a circular driveway.

  • I love this question. DC residents are so passionate about their neighborhoods, and it’s interesting to see what made them choose theirs. As we all know, different people have different priorities and there’s not a perfect neighborhood for everyone.

    • Also, an interesting follow-up question would be: What made you move out of the neighborhood(s) you previously lived in?

  • My wife and I own in 16th Street Heights now and I would definitely choose here again if I was starting over.

    There is nice housing stock, nice neighbors, possible future growth on that commercial strip on 14th, Highlands and some other nice restaurants, very easy access to Rock Creek Park, access to good bus routes, proximity to Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan entertainment without the daily headaches there, and Red Derby is super close.

    I love in particular what I consider my natural “neighborhood” along the strip of 15th St. NW that starts at Varnum and ends at Emerson and is bounded by 14th and 16th. The only thing I might change is moving up north a couple blocks, as some have told me West Elementary could be good and it’s in-boundary down to Buchanan, if I’m correct.

    Not all of my neighborhood is quiet or crime-free, but enough of it is nice enough to raise a family.

    Other Favorites:
    Mt. Pleasant:
    Nice and varied housing stock, ethnic character, restaurants and bars, farmers’ market, decent school options, some proximity to downtown, relatively quiet, great access to Rock Creek Park. The problem is expensive housing, though it isn’t totally impossible.
    There is shockingly nice housing stock and neighborhood (near my own). The major problem is price and availability. Getting a reasonably-priced home there could require waiting with bated breath for decades. Maybe a better option after we’re done with child-rearing as well.
    Petworth seems very similar to 16th Street Heights with a couple exceptions: greater metro access; there are a couple positive elementary school options over there; more restaurant and bar options; but there also seems to be more teen/young adult crime.
    I would be interested in the right house within walking distance of the Brookland metro station near the 12th St. NE strip. There seem to be well-priced options occasionally, and the houses are generally pretty spacious. If I couldn’t get that, I would also consider Michigan Park, North Michigan Park, and Woodridge. They are a little bit harder to get to, but the housing stock is really nice in some places. Someone looking for a deal on a very nice house in a quiet neighborhood could do pretty well here.
    Shepherd Park:
    The best thing is a decent DCPS elementary school east of Rock Creek Park. Very nice housing stock, particularly if you choose well, and occasionally some decent prices. More homes may become available as residents in the area age out. If you get lucky, you could get a place within walking distance of Silver Spring metro. You could live near a big downtown area (Silver Spring), be in D.C., and have decent access to downtown.
    There are some very nice houses near the Takoma metro, especially Victorians, and security is decent.
    Near Northeast:
    There’s a tiny sweet spot where you might find a decent house a block or two north of H St. NE still within walking distance of Union Station as well as party central on H Street, without having to live too close to Trinidad or the commercial or rail areas.
    Places Not On The List:
    West of the Park:
    The positive is the schools – you don’t have to scramble. The negative is the impossible home prices. Search on Redfin for 3-bedroom houses under $700,000, and tell me what you see west of Rock Creek Park.

    You can get an uglier version of my 1920s 16th St Hts rowhouse in Glover Park for 175% of the price. Is that worth it to you?
    Crime. This is the saddest thing of all, because I love the Victorian row-housing in this area, Big Bear is great, Crispus Attucks Park is great (how fun to back onto that!) and U Street access is so nice. There’s even the new pizza bar! But there was no way I could convince my wife to live here given the crime and the shifty-grifty dudes hanging around the place. Just couldn’t do it. When there are no longer corner boys in Eckington and Bloomingdale and the park at Florida and North Capitol isn’t full of Dudes With Nothing To Do, this strip near North Capitol will be another Georgetown.
    Decent parts of Capitol Hill:
    In my opinion all the decent-priced oppportunities within walking distance of anywhere you want to be on the Hill are already been taken.
    I also look forward to the future of Park View and Hillcrest.

    • I know I can’t reasonably argue with an opinion, but… the “shifty-grifty dudes” on the corners in Bloomingdale are often Howard kids getting out of their dorms for a while and/or some of the older gentlemen who “police” the neighborhood as their retirement jobs. If they’re not one of those, they’re just guys talking on the street in their neighborhood. Unfortunately, passers-through see their race and often make assumptions. I am personally happy to have those dudes there to say hello to me and pet my dog, and to watch my white-ass-girl back. Seriously, god forbid this becomes another Georgetown!

      Although opinions are only opinions, I feel sad when I read opinions like yours that are obviously based on the colors you’ve seen when you drive through the neighborhood once in a blue moon. You’re missing the meat, the real community, of this neighborhood. And lots of other neighborhoods, probably.

      • Opinion not based on colors, thanks. I enjoy the neighborhood when coming through. Nobody’s gonna convince me the kids drinking liquor at 1st & U I’ve seen are HU students.

        • Call me crazy, but that “hanging out” also happens in Georgetown and Dupont – what are you going to do, lock ’em up? It’s hardly something to be afraid of. Bloomingdale used to be notorious for it’s open air drug market and gang wars were ever-present. Things started changing about 5 years ago but it’s hard to appreciate how far it’s come if you have nothing to compare it to.

          Can’t wait to see where we go!

  • We bought in lower CH in late 2007 after an exhaustive search. Loved the area, and it only got better when we sold in mid 2010.

    Bought up in 16th street heights when the new baby came and got more space in a rowhouse (3BR, a yard, and a garage) for $100K more than the 1 BR condo we had, and got rid of the condo fees. We aren’t too close to a metro, but we scoot/drive most everywhere now.

    So far I find the new area (13th & Kennedy) to be much quieter (we can sleep with the windows open at night) and the neighbors more friendly. It has more of a residential feel, but I do wish we had more food options nearby. I expect them to start showing up along upper Georgia in the coming months/years though.

  • I always wanted a home with a big lot, in DC not far from downtown, but I couldn’t afford well stablished neighborhoods until I found my almost dream home in 16th street heights close to 13th st. the best part is that the street is quiet, the neighbors are nice people, Many homes being renovated and maintained. more work pending in my home, some issues found in that old home, unfortunately, shootings around Georgia Ave. but I came from Columbia Heights where shootings and crime are more frequent. So far very happy and hopefully, less bad news from the area.

  • Park View – Just bought a house here and love the neighborhood. It’s a bit like Mt. P in the 90’s.

    Mount Pleasant – If I ever win the lottery…

    Mt. Rainer, MD if I had kids.

  • I currently live on Capitol Hill, near H Street. At this point, I probably wouldn’t consider a neighborhood other than the Hill/H Street/Hill East. I love the feeling of community, the bars and restaurants, Eastern Market, the development on H Street, etc. I also love being connected to the other places in the city I want to go via Union Station, Eastern Market metro, and the 90/92/92 and X2 buses.

    In the end there’s no “right neighborhood” for everyone and I think the reasons a lot of people like their individual neighborhoods are intangible or difficult to explain. I like that the majority of the commenters here have said why they like their neighborhoods without disparaging other areas of the city!

  • I grew up in Rockville, spent time in College Park and Hyattsville, and when I moved into the city, my major requirements were that the place be metro accessible, in the northern half of the city to minimize my commute, not too expensive, and with roommates I wanted to spend time with (I get too lonely living by myself, not to mention the price break of roommates). I’m currently renting a room in a great group house in Bloomingdale – I fell in love with the neighborhood pretty quickly (having Timor Bodega, Windows, and the farmer’s market within walking distance is unbeatable) and actually feel really safe. I avoid walking home alone from the metro late at night but I’ve always found that to be a good rule of thumb, and when I have occasionally done it, I felt safer than when I walked to my last place from the PG Plaza metro.

    I’m planning on staying in Bloomingdale for a while (with a secret dream of buying a house that backs up to Crispus Attucks Park), but if I were to move elsewhere in DC (and let’s pretend price and work commute are no object), I’d probably go for Logan Circle or Eastern Market.

    • I also spent some time in College Park and Hyattsville (UMD student), and would walk back to my last place from the PG Plaza metro at 2am with no problem but probably wouldn’t feel as safe doing it here. For some reason I can’t let myself make that walk just yet, even though most evidence points at PG Plaza being the more dangerous location. However, I do kinda love Bloomingdale and wonder if I’m overly cautious when I don’t need to be. It’s better to be safe than sorry but I’d also like to let myself feel comfortable walking around in my own neighborhood.

  • I love living in Fairfax! You people with your tiny condos should come out here and buy a McMansion in a cookie-cutter neighborhood for the same price! My 2.5-hour commute down I-66 is sooo relaxing and I love having all these big-box stores at my fingertips (of course I have to drive to them all, but who walks anywhere anymore?). Now if only all those darn illegal immigrants would get out and restore Fairfax to the splendor it once had.

  • Wow! Amazing to see all the response and people so passionate about where they live. I’ve been in DC almost 13 years. Rented in Georgetown for the first 6 and then spent nearly a year looking for a place before settling on Park View, for the following reasons:
    1) It is a diverse neighborhood where folks are more inclined to respect and appreciate differences than fear them
    2) There is an active, engaged community group where we work together to solve problems
    3 ) The row house architecture is distinctive, with varying rooflines –each row has its own personality
    4) There is a sense of history and connection to the past, with homes and buildings (and people!) that have retained their character and beauty
    5) It is a very short walk to the metro, shops, and restaurants, and an easy commute to downtown (never had to buy a car.
    6) Crime stats are lower than other affordable areas of the city
    7) We have beautiful green space (the “Park” in Park View)

    Are there problems? Absolutely, all the things you would expect in a big city, in an area that has experienced past neglect and economic hardship. And we’d love to see that green space opened back up to the public. But my sense of belonging in this neighborhood is so much greater than it was in Georgetown. My neighbors are fantastic, we keep an eye out for one another, help each other. I’ve never looked back and would buy again here in a heartbeat.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I’m not saying this to be sarcastic but am genuinely interested – is the green space you refer to the Old Soldiers Home land that is not open to the public?

  • my wife and i were most interested in living in the logan/14th/u street areas, but we looked at nearly every neighborhood in the city just to get a sense of what we wanted. we seriously looked at over 100 properties. our realtor was really patient. once we really figured out that we wanted a house, not a condo, and that we both needed space to have studios, and a space to park our car, we settled on focusing in bloomingdale, le droit, and eckington. there was virtually no information available online about bloomingdale then. there was a blog run by the bloomingdale inn lady. and one about gay black men in the neighborhood. it was a real pain in the ass to learn about neighborhoods back then.

    the first time we walked down first street we were just blown away by how gorgeous it was. so we walked around a lot to orient ourselves and get to know the place. we went into all the markets. tina market ,big bear market, windows before it was windows. we talked with everyone that was out on their stoops and that’s how we learned the name of the area.

    we thought we’d stay a few years, fix up the house and try to get something nicer, but after a year we knew we were going to stay. i started the bloomingdale blog as an extension of the work i was trying to do with north capitol main streets and because i was so frustrated when i was trying to research our neighborhood. i wanted others to have quick and easy access to information. it was actually right after i toured the firehouse on north capitol that i started it.

    now, 7 years later, we’re kinda sorta close to being almost about finished with renovations and we have absolutely no plans to move.

  • In the late 1980s all the punks lived in Mt Pleasant so a few years later so did I.

  • My trail to Petworth

    93-96: Foggy Bottom (GW)
    96-99: Logan Circle (rented, pretty sketchy then, those who bought early made a fortune)
    99-05: Cap Hill/Eastern Market, still rented, loved it
    05-08: Arlington (still rented, worked out in Fairfax, loved saving on taxes, parking tickets, car insurance, no crime to speak of, had to get a down payment, all else forgettable)
    08: Finally back in DC and bought in Petworth. Huge row house! Considered Bloomingdale (already too expensive for something renovated, love the architecture) and briefly H St. NE area — but it is too isolated (in my opinion), liked the idea of trying NW again after almost 10 years…

    If money no object Dupont West area or East Capitol Street.

    • Huh, I found that I paid more on parking tickets, taxes, and car insurance when I lived in Arlington. There was also a serial rapist at that time who was attacking women blocks from my apartment. Truly, Arlington has all the downsides of living in the city and none of the perks!

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