“Thoughts on living at the Capitol Waterfront/Navy Yard”

navy yard living
Photo by PoPville flickr user RLB-DC

“I’m getting ready to move back to DC after a 2 year hiatus. There are some interesting places in the Capitol Waterfront/Navy Yard area, but I’m wondering about the neighborhood. I loved living in Logan Circle before, wondering how they compare and what ppl think of this newly developing area. Thanks in advance!!!”

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36 Comment

  • I go to about 25 Nats games a year and every time I do, I thank God I don’t live at Navy Yard. My cousin lives a few block from Nats Park and he says that every home game, he’s stuck behind 20,000 northern Virginians who can’t figure out how to use a Metro card. The rest of the year, he likes it.

  • I don’t live there, but I do spend a lot of time in the area. My impressions, and I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong on anything: I get the impression that the area is almost exclusively inhabited by younger people in their 20s, fresh out of college. Yards Park is beautiful, but aside from that area and baseball games, there’s not a lot to do in terms of recreation. And the selection of restaurants and bars leaves a lot to be desired. During Nats games, good luck getting a seat anywhere. Also, practically everything is brand new, so there are absolutely zero long-time institutions in the neighborhood, in terms of dining, drinking or even architecture. I considered renting there and gave it a pass for the above reasons, but YMMV.

    • “During Nats games, good luck getting a seat anywhere.”

      Ehh, more like “before Nats games…”. Once the game has actually started most places clear out, you can find a spot at Bluejacket pretty easily from the 2nd inning on out.

    • “Yards Park is beautiful, but aside from that area and baseball games, there’s not a lot to do in terms of recreation. And the selection of restaurants and bars leaves a lot to be desired…. everything is brand new, so there are absolutely zero long-time institutions in the neighborhood, in terms of dining, drinking…”

      I’m confused because Osteria Morini, Ice Cream Jubilee, Justin’s Cafe, Anacostia Trail, and the fact that navy yard is also walking distance to Eastern Market; means that dining and drinking are always a 15 min walk away. I for one am happy things are brand new in this area of town, because 15 years ago you couldn’t walk a block without falling over a crack pipe and/or a hooker.

    • Based on all the families I see, and all of those who raised a ruckus about not continuing the Friday Concerts as BYOB, it’s not really the case

  • I’ve lived in this area for almost 7 years and I love it! My commute downtown takes about 30 minutes via bus or metro, but driving in takes about 15. I like being on the water, the sense of community, and the accessibility. The neighborhood is at its best in the summer, but you can get amazing deals at the restaurants in the Winter when things die down.

    • Ditto. I lived in Navy Yard for the last 2.5 years and only moved out because I bought a condo elsewhere in the city. I’m not sure why you’d be using the metro after a Nats game if you live in navy yard. I would say the demographic of the neighborhood/area is more skewed towards people in their late 20’s but mostly 30’s and 40’s, and a mix of races and ethnicities. The bar/nightlife options do leave a bit to be desired, but youre so close to Eastern market/barracks Row and downtown DC that it was never an issue. Plus Blue jacket is was overrated anyway. tl;dr – if you can find an affordable apartment, then move here.

  • it’s one of the last neighborhoods i would choose. nationals stadium metro madness for half the year, only new “luxury” buildings, zero charm/character, not great accessibility to my office or places i like to frequent in general. i also think some of the crime in other neighborhoods is worth the tradeoff, or at least they have more foot traffic… whenever i’ve been in navy yard past dark it’s always seemed pretty deserted.

  • I lived there for a year and loved it. I worked in Virginia so it was very convenient to jump on the highway. It’s true it could be annoying if there was a game, but I usually planned around it/was home before it got crazy. I loved going to Yards Park, easy walk to Eastern Market, and SW too. We walked to the SW fish market a few times and got crabs, which was awesome. I think rent in the area has gotten really expensive. When we moved in we paid 1825 for a 1 bedroom + den and had 2 parking spots + storage at no additional cost (they were running a special). But that seems to be the case across DC.

  • I recently (October) moved to the SW waterfront (a Co-Op near Titanic Memorial Park) from Dupon Circle. I love it. It’s easy to get downtown(Chinatown/U Street), but it’s quiet and peaceful in a way that neighborhoods closer to the center just aren’t. With the new development at the Wharf, including a concert venue by 9:30 club, it will be hot spot with 20 new restaurants.

    Lots of the buildings are “historic” with wonderful water views.

  • navy yard there are children EVERYWHERE.

  • I love it. I live in one of the I St / New Jersey buildings, so I can get to every metro line except the red line within 10 minutes. Also right by an on-ramp to 395 so you can drive anywhere pretty quickly.

    New places are opening up left and right, so there’s always places to grab food or drinks. Agreed that crowds are bad a few hours before/after Nats games but walk an extra 10 minutes to Barracks Row and you’re good to go.

    Actual unit-wise, you’ll have way more space for a similar price than you would in other appealing neighborhoods (like Shaw or Logan Circle or Penn Quarter). I will say, almost every building has apartments as opposed to condos, so the inability to build equity while living in the same places for several years can be frustrating, depending on what you’re looking for from that perspective.

  • It’s going to be very different than Logan Circle. Navy Yard is largely…umm.. large condo/apartment buildings vs. Logan Circle’s smaller rowhouse/small buildings neighborhood feel. With it being those living set-ups, I’m not sure what demand is like and if you’d have to worry about escalating rents as the area continues to develop (or if it’s a concern of yours). The thing with this location is you’re still really close to Capitol Hill/government offices, so you pay sort of a premium for the area and once the “one month free” deal wears off, it may not be worth it to you (+parking). Some of the apartment buildings are more “youngish” than others, so keep that in mind too – I’ve heard one is basically like living in a college apartment building based on the noise, parties, etc.
    .
    For me, it’s about location. I wouldn’t mind living in Navy Yard, but it’s not very logical for my life (i.e. where I work which is not Metro accessible, where I need to park, etc.). I’m in the parking zone I need to be to park at work and also I have easy street parking so having to pay for parking at my home plus having to pay for parking at work when I don’t have zoned parking anymore adds $200+/month to my expenses.
    .
    If it’s convenient for you, I think it’s a great option that’s more urban feeling vs. the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, Logan, etc. There are so many new restaurants/stores that make it easy to live in the area and have most of what you need within walking distance and everything else a short haul away. In addition, having the Waterfront development happening will only liven up that area more.
    .
    The one downside is the traffic. I’d feel somewhat ‘trapped’ during rush hour and for Nats games. But again, not sure if that’s significantly life altering for you.

  • I lived right by the stadium a few years ago – for one year. My impressions were that there was very little green space for dog walking that wasn’t completely destroyed by inconsiderate neighbors with dogs, the apartment buildings were basically frat and sorority houses, and it’s totally a restaurant wasteland during the wintertime. I was really happy to move back up to Cap Hill when my year was up. Maybe things have improved since I was down there, but I found it to be really depressing.

  • It’s a new neighborhood, still only a little over one-third built out. So most of the comments so far might be more true today than they will be next year or the next.
    Here’s the annual report from the BID:
    http://www.capitolriverfront.org/_files/docs/capitol-riverfront-bid-2015-annual-report_web.pdf
    Page 23 shows that of 14.6K residential units planned, half of them are completed or should be in-process this year. So it’s still growing. As such, you still have a small-neighborhood feel where you recognize the faces on the street, but you also have to deal with construction. As more residential comes in, so will the retail, so give it some time. I’ve been here less than 5 years, and I’m not bored with the number of things to do. Far from it.
    In fact, I love that we’re situated within walking and biking distance to different areas, so you can’t label us as a place for 20-somethings, or a place that only appeals to people with kids. No, walk 10 minutes and you’re at the Capitol. 10 minutes in a different direction, and you’re at Barracks Row. Walk down to the river and you have festivals and concerts and restaurants. Commuting-wise, it’s probably the easiest place in the city to get anywhere else quickly – either by car, bike, or metro and even circulator or metrobus.
    I do wish there were more ownership units. I am asked all the time where one can buy. And I wish there were more rowhouses. The few in CQ are now out of reach for most singles and the HOA restrictions won’t ever let a group house happen.

    I suggest to the OP to look at JDLand.com for more info on the neighborhood and what’s in development now. Go back a few years even to get more perspective on the hood. we like it!

  • I’ve lived in an apartment building here for nearly 3 years and overall I like it a lot (previously lived in Friendship Heights and Baltimore for several years so I’m used to city living I guess).
    Things that are great: I walk to work on the Hill, there are lots tasty restaurants/bars within walking distance in Navy Yard but also Barracks Row (only a mile walk), convenience to two metro stations, walking distance to the Mall and museums, lots of fun the events down at Yards Park, lots of green space (Yards Park, Canal Park, Garfield Park), just overall being near the waterfront is wonderful. It’s also convenient to major highways like 295/295 which can be great if you need to run errands in the suburbs (Potomac Yard Target and National Airport are only 10-15 min away with no traffic). My neighbors are mostly friendly.
    Downsides: noise & traffic with Nats games and other events in the neighborhood. I live on New Jersey Ave and there are TONS of drunk loud people after games wandering around. I wish there were more retail besides the Pacers and the CVS. Related- I’ve encountered lots of quality control problems at the Harris Teeter so it will be great when the Whole Foods opens. Lots of construction noise & debris but hopefully with Ore 82 wrapping up that will be less of a problem.

    As for crime/safety: I don’t feel nervous walking my dog alone at night (just use common sense, don’t flash your iphone around), but the crime does exist.

    • There’s also the Unleashed and a GNC. And isn’t there some sort of Men’s clothing store? Maybe it’s a pop up, I don’t really remember, just walked by a few days ago after not being in the area in a while.

    • I live one 1st and K and rarely get any crowd noise from the games. I think it depends on exactly where you are. I do get some drunken noise very rarely, but it moves along quickly because there aren’t many places to stop and loiter over here.

  • I’ve lived in SW/Waterfront for three years now and love the neighborhood. It’s quiet, closer to the Hill/downtown and greener compared to Navy Yard. Prices are rising but still a better deal than NW and most the Hill and Navy Yard. The neighborhood is lacking in cafes/good restaurants/nightlife (Cantina the obvious exception) but that will change with the Wharf development (though I do worry about everyone else in DC discovering SW!). Commuting is easy, except on week nights when you’re battling ballpark fans for space on the Metro.

  • I’ve lived in the Navy Yard/Capital Waterfront since 2013 and highly recommend it. When I was searching for a condo, the Navy Yard was the only location where I could afford a newly constructed home, with outdoor space (balcony), parking, and amenities. Like any other part of the city there are tradeoffs; packed restaurants before games, obnoxious drunk bro’s, etc. but the positives far outweigh the negatives. I love my walk to work, close public transportation (metro & circulator), and easy access to bars, restaurants, and grocery stores. Additionally, the $5 tickets to Nats games make it easy to just hang out at the ballpark after work. I also appreciate that the neighborhood seems to have lower incidences of violent crime when compared other rapidly developing neighborhoods.

    Another thing that I would add is that the neighborhood is rapidly changing. In my three years here we’ve had the opening of a brewery (blue jacket), grocery store (HT and soon Whole Foods), a beer garden (The Brig), and numerous other great restaurants and bars. If the neighborhood doesn’t have what you want, merely wait a couple of months, and I’m sure someone will build it.

    Of course, these are all just my opinions based off on my time living in the neighborhood. Good luck in your home search! Hope to see you at a Nats Game!

  • It’s awful. So many of the people own dogs that they actually know each other when they go for walks. Even if you don’t have a dog, lots of the people actually make eye contact and start a conversation! Ew. The buildings are a little boring, and unfortunately, you do get more space to clean with your relatively affordable rent. If you like walking, you’ll hate it, because you can walk anywhere. Nats games infuse the area with energy and excitement and the ensuing crowds, which were a major annoyance that one time for me, but otherwise are not a big deal. It’s so easy to drive to other places that it doesn’t even feel like you live in a city.
    .
    But seriously. the main drawback is that the restaurants and nightlife can be a little generic, but it’s well-situated to head out to other ‘hoods if that’s a big deal to you. I actually love living there, don’t find the Nats games annoying, and think it skews to people in their 30s. But, must love dogs.

    • Ha, agree with all of this. Must love dogs is very true. I find it to have more of a neighborhood feel than other parts of DC and I like that. I notice a mix of age groups, and really like the vibe of the area. I used to live near Shaw and agree that in the winter you can get a little bored, but Navy Yard is awesome in the summer. Tons of free events, the waterfront, easy access to Eastern Market/Barracks Row and don’g forget about Cantina Marina. I like that the area isn’t incredibly buzzy and always crowded a la Shaw and Logan Circle. I also think the bar/restaurant scene is picking up and will be a whole different ballgame in a year or so. Speaking of ballgames, I never really find them a nuisance. Just don’t be a dick, and accept that the sidewalks might be crowded and it’s not really an issue. During the game you can get a seat anywhere. Plus, if it’s a nice day you can just grab a cheap ticket and go eat at Nats Park and catch a few innings. Pretty great perk. Due South, Whaley’s and Scarlet Oak are my picks for a meal or drink if you’re tired of Bluejacket. Walk over to Las Placitas for delicious Mexican food or the Brig nearby for a beer with the dog (of course, the dog!). Yes there are a ton of apartment and condo buildings and more coming, but that’s not really that different than the rest of DC and if you want a row house, we’ve got those too. I was just thinking yesterday how much I love living here, but I’m cool if people continue to think it’s too boring and don’t overpopulate my ‘hood.

      • I also love that the new apartment building, and much of the development down here generally, is filling in empty lots and not taking away existing character in a neighborhood a la U Street/Logan, etc.

  • I thought really long and hard about moving down there, but I really really really hate the “superblock” streetscape that the area has developed. It seems really cold, impersonal, and desolate to me. It would probably be fine if your lifestyle is centered on your car, but it’s very off-putting from a pedestrian perspective. I’m sure that’s why the neighborhood is enjoyed by those who need to frequently travel to NoVA, EoTR or southern PG county. YOMV.

  • In my opinion, it lacks authenticity, and it lacks human beings after 10pm even on a Saturday night which in my opinion is pretty creepy. Also a bit cut off from the rest of the city (compared to how you can walk between Logan/14th/U/Bdale, etc). The freeway is convenient if you commute to VA (at off-hours), but many other places in the city have similar access points for commuters.
    .
    After having lived in Logan, I think you will be disappointed with Navy Yard.
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    Just opinion, and just because you asked 🙂 Welcome back either way!

  • we’ve lived in navy yard for three years and we love it! our building is like living in a hotel and we’ve become friends with far more of our neighbors than we did living in a glover park condo for 5 years. this comment will pretty much echo what most people have said–convenient to several metro lines, good for dogs, great parks, soon to be several grocery stores in walking distance. we sold our car after we moved here, and I walk to work (my husband bikes) so I can’t comment much on traffic. construction can be a nuisance, and the lack of retail is also an issue for me. but, as someone mentioned above there are HUGE plans for the area, particularly on first street where they’re looking to create more of a retail experience.

  • JDLand does a great job tracking completed and in-the-pipeline Navy Yard developments. The neighborhood kind of has the best of both worlds right now in that it gets really busy and lively during baseball games, concerts, truckeroo, etc. and then it can be very quiet other times (which can be good or bad, personally I like it). These quiet times aren’t going to last long though. 2 apartment buildings just opened and I think 4 others aren’t too far off, with many more in the pipeline in the next few years.

  • As the name suggests, i live on the SW side and I LOVE it! A real sense of community in a big city. Navy Yard tends to be quiet similar to NoMa but im not against quiet. In SW we have tons of green space so it kind of feels like a suburb within a city. Must love dogs is not just a saying. Im not a fan, but I’ve learned to deal. The views are the best in all of the town. #JustDoIt

  • I adore living in Navy Yard, but I moved from a neighborhood where there was NOTHING. No bars, no restaurants, nothing. Navy Yard feels like it has everything compared to where I used to live, but I’m not sure you’d feel the same after living in Logan Circle.
    .
    Two definite improvements over Logan: cheaper rents and easier access to metro and I-395.

  • I was a NWer – from Burleith to Columbia Heights to Dupont – for 7 years before I moved to SW last year – so not quite Navy Yard but similar move. The first months I HATED IT since I am a city person and I felt like I was in the burbs.

    However, within a few months I had gotten my bearings and would now reiterate many of the points listed before me: the greenery, the beauty and tranquility of being by the river, and especially the convenience to the entire DMV metro area while being walking distance to Capitol Hill, Barracks row, the mall, the tidal basin, the fish market, etc. While the Wharf construction may have ruined my daily walks to work, I’m so excited for next year. Traffic can sometimes be an issue with Nats game but personally I haven’t found the crowds to much affect my commute given the game times. A bigger issue has been Safetrack but even today my commute to work was perfect. Driving wise we have clocked our time to DCA as low as 6 minutes door to door under optimal green light conditions 🙂 Also YOU STILL LIVE IN DC. Take a bus or the metro to Logan if you miss it!

    On another note, I live in River Park and I love the diversity of our complex so much – people from many different walks of life. And, I feel that way about the neighbourhood in general, too.

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