Washington D.C. City Guide:
Neighborhoods & Things to Do


Of all places to see Darth Vader’s head, you might not automatically think of the National Cathedral. But the Vader gargoyle was added to the cathedral in the 1980s and is just one of the many quirky facts about our country’s capital. Of course, the city is the most important in the nation, with political decisions here impacting every citizen in the country. Politics aside, though, Washington, D.C. is a lovely city with beautiful historic buildings and an abundance of green spaces to help residents stay active and find some respite from the hustle of Washington politics. If you want to be at the heart of this country, be sure to check out our Washington, D.C. city guide to find your ideal apartment.

Washington, D.C. city highlights

Washington, D.C. has so many places to explore. Here are just a few of the attractions you should check out at least once.

  • Rock Creek Park: Do you love being active in the great outdoors? Then, this will be your new favorite place. The Park extends over 1800 acres and has 32 miles of trails for jogging, biking, horseback riding and skating. There are also historic landmarks in the park as well.
  • Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden: This is a cylindrical building that was built in the mid-1970s to house the art collection of Wall Street millionaire, Joseph Hirshhorn. The collection houses multiple new and rare pieces, too, including Yoko Ono’s A Wish Tree for Washington, D.C. If you like, you can tie your own wish (written on paper) to the tree.
  • National Gallery of Art: Located on the National Mall, this gallery showcases countless notable works of modern art, as well as classics, including van Gogh’s self-portrait and Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de Benci. There are paintings, sculptures, and other works of fine art. Some exhibits are permanent, while others are temporary.
  • Mansion on O Street: This is a luxury boutique hotel with eccentric décor and a mind boggling layout, including over 30 secret doors. Apparently, the mansion was used by J. Edgar Hoover’s G-men in the 1930s as rooming houses. It is now mainly a private club, as well as an event space. And if you see something you like as far as décor goes, there’s a high probability that it’s for sale.
  • Annapolis: It’s pretty much a rite of passage for residents of Washington, D.C. to spend a day sailing in Annapolis. The capital of Maryland is charming, and you can sail the Chesapeake Bay in about two hours with a charter company. While there, make sure you soak in all that Annapolis has to offer, including the U.S. Naval Academy.

Washington, D.C. city guide to the best neighborhoods for renters

Are you ready to start your Washington, D.C. apartment search? Use our Washington, D.C. city guide to narrow your search. You’ll find condos, homes, townhouses and apartments that fit your needs perfectly. Here are just a few of the neighborhoods where you could find your dream apartment.

Northwest Washington

If you want to live in a historic neighborhood that has plentiful landmarks, you should check our Washington, D.C. city guide for apartments to rent in Northwest Washington. Right in your own backyard are the Smithsonian Museums. You’ll be a neighbor to whoever is living in the White House. This neighborhood extends from the National Mall all the way to Maryland. Living here, you’ll also have easy access to the National Zoo and the National Cathedral. And of course, there are plenty of restaurants, bars and cafés to keep you nourished and entertained.

Southeast Washington

Another popular neighborhood with plenty of historic landmarks is the neighborhood of Southeast Washington, which stretches from Capitol Hill south to the Anacostia River. You’ll be able to tour the Library of Congress, as well as the U.S. Navy Museum. Want something to do that’s not related to our political history? Then, how about purchasing season tickets to Nationals Park to watch the Washington Nationals home games. You can also attend other sporting events or concerts at the D.C. Armory arena or visit Fort DuPont Park for their summer concert series.

Bellevue

Bellevue is a residential area that stretches from the far southeast to the far southwest areas of Washington, D.C. Employment, housing, schools and amenities are all rated highly by residents of this area. It could be due to the fact that there are multiple green spaces in the area – plenty of space to play, get away from the stress of the city, enjoy the sunshine and breathe the fresh air. Most of the nearly 10,000 people who live in the neighborhood rent, so you’ll be in good company!

Northeast Washington

Do you want to live in a neighborhood with plenty of green space? Then, Northeast Washington is for you! It’s home to the U.S. National Arboretum – nearly 450 acres of tree-lined paths and gorgeous gardens. If you’re a foodie or love the occasional brew, head over to City Winery for indie concerts, brewpubs and distilleries. Or head over to the H Street Corridor for some of the most eclectic restaurants you’ll ever find.

Connecticut Avenue – K Street

This downtown business district is home to multiple political lobbyists and law firms. The neighborhood adjoins the White House complex. If you work or dream of working in government, this neighborhood may be a perfect fit. And getting your mid-day meal is incredibly easy because food trucks abound in Farragut Square. After a long day at the office, you’ll have plenty of restaurants and lounge bars to choose from to wind down and spend time with friends and co-workers.

Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle is a great neighborhood if you’re looking for something that has a more residential vibe but still has adequate nightlife options. In this neighborhood, you’ll be near coffee shops and bookstores (a great combination for bookworms!), as well as eclectic restaurants, bars and clubs. It’s a great neighborhood for young professionals as well as families as the schools rank well above average.

Capitol Hill

If you want to be in the hub of the U.S. government, Capitol Hill is the best neighborhood for you. Over 10,000 people live in this neighborhood, many of whom are like you – young professionals who want to see the U.S. Capitol, Senate, Supreme Court and the House of Representatives on a daily basis. As you travel to and from work each day, make sure to head over to the Eastern Market to pick up meat and cheese for your weekly meals. Or you can go to Barracks Row for some global restaurants, pizza or delectable bakeries.

Navy Yard

Do you crave living near the water? This neighborhood runs along the Anacostia River, and you’ll have easy access to the Riverwalk Trail for exercise or an outing with friends or your significant other. The Yards Park holds summer concerts and has a great boardwalk to explore. Most of the people (97%) who live here rent but it’s important to note that the cost of rent is more than double that of the national average.

Columbia Heights

The Columbia Heights neighborhood has an eclectic mix of buildings, from grand embassies to humble, historic rowhouses. The neighborhood of nearly 36,000 people is made up of a mix of international professionals, as well as creatives who enjoy the multiple parks with mature trees and lots of greenery, as well as trails for biking and walking. Buildings in the area have beautiful architectural embellishments, like stained glass windows and balconies. A grand mansion that was, at one time, the Embassy of Mexico, is now home to the Mexican Cultural Institute. It’s a fun, diverse neighborhood that you should definitely consider.

Georgetown

Georgetown is a charming neighborhood with cobblestone streets and old-style architecture. Along the streets, you’ll find upscale restaurants and fashion boutiques. The nightlife is one of the things that gives this area its high score. You’ll find college bars, intimate music lounges, taverns and more. When you want to spend some time outdoors, you can take a walk along the Waterfront Park promenade and visit the gorgeous gardens.

NoMa

NoMa is a neighborhood located north of Massachusetts Avenue. It’s recently been undergoing a regeneration period with industrial lots being transformed into modern developments. On the eastern end of the neighborhood is Union Market where you can buy artisan cheeses, home décor, international street food and more. Union Market also hosts a pop-up outdoor theater where you can enjoy a great indie movie with friends and neighbors. The new developments are giving way to edgy restaurants, hip shops and modern apartment complexes, perfect for renters like you!

McLean Gardens

Do you want somewhere to call home that has a residential feel with lots of trees and natural beauty? This neighborhood is 23 acres of wooded gorgeousness. Vintage architecture from the 1940s abounds but the interior of the complexes in this area have been converted into modern flats, duplexes, lofts and condos. The neighborhood is home to an outdoor pool (which is heavenly during the hot, humid summer months), as well as a fancy ballroom for parties and other events.

U Street

The U Street neighborhood has great cultural and historic significance to the African American community as it was a cultural, musical and nightlife hub from the 1920s through the 1940s. For example, Duke Ellington and other jazz legends performed at the U Street Lincoln Theatre. The nightlife in the area is still going strong with DJ lounges and music on rooftop bars. Vibrant murals bring life to the neighborhood. As far as dining options, you’ll be blown away by the options – from the unique flavors of Little Ethiopia to the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl and everything in between.

Brookland

Brookland has a thriving foodie scene. If you love Italian food, you’re in for a treat. You can get wood-fired pizzas and other delectable Italian dishes in Little Rome. If you’re a fan of performing arts, you might want to visit the Dance Place, an establishment that’s been around since the late-1970s and hosts multiple musical acts and dance troupes throughout the year. Brookland is also home to some of the most beautiful historic churches and monasteries in the county.

Woodley Park

Woodley Park is an affluent D.C. neighborhood with nearly 7000 residents. The livability score is higher than the national average and even the D.C. average due in part to the lower crime rate (50% less than the average in Washington), excellent schools and amenities. The Smithsonian National Zoo is nearby, which is in Rock Creek Park, a park that has miles of hiking, walking, jogging and biking trails. There are plenty of delicious global restaurants in the area, too.


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