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Washington D.C. Neighborhood Guide

Washington D.C. isn’t just for politicians and suits anymore. Now, a fresh wave of young professionals and families are reshaping its image. With a vibrant culture and endless entertainment options, Washington D.C. is now a prime spot to settle down or set up shop.


Washington D.C., founded on July 16, 1790, was created specifically to serve as the nation’s capital.

President George Washington commissioned Pierre Charles L’Enfant to design a modern city that mimicked L’Enfant’s native Paris, featuring expansive boulevards and ceremonial spaces.

Today, the city is rich with international cultures and is also one of America’s most gay-friendly cities. In fact, DC recognized same-sex marriage in 2010, before the Supreme Court ruled that it was a right in 2015.


  • Compass Rose (1346 T St NW, Washington) Drawing inspiration from her travels alongside her NPR-reporter husband, restaurateur Rose Previte launched this local gem with a menu inspired by the stamps on her passport.
  • Iron Gate (1734 N St NW, Washington) Originally stables during the Civil War, and now D.C.’s oldest continuously running eatery, Iron Gate is a trendy hotspot serving Italian and Greek small plates. For more on Washington DC’s oldest and most historic restaurants head here.
  • Dukem (1114-1118 U St NW, Washington) A long-standing favorite for Ethiopian and Salvadoran expat communities, in this award-winning Ethiopian joint, meat is prepared in three ways: stir-fried, minced, or broiled.
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U St NW Washington) A historic landmark on U Street, this Black-owned restaurant serves Washington DC’s original half-smoke.


Sure, Washington DC’s got the classics like the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Library of Congress—every tourist’s checklist. Beyond the marble giants and historical tours, DC is a walkable paradise with plenty of attractions and neighborhoods to discover on foot.

  • Georgetown: Georgetown is a charming cobblestone neighborhood and a haven for history buffs. Spend hours admiring the stunning 18th and 19th-century mansions, including the former homes of JFK and Julia Child.
  • Potomac River: A river that runs between Alexandria and Washington D.C. locals flock here in summer for paddle sports like kayaking, boat tours, and paddleboarding.
  • National Portrait Gallery (8th St NW & G St NW, Washington): DC is a museum lover’s dream and the National Portrait Gallery is no exception. Here every US president gets their moment in the spotlight alongside other influential Americans.
  • Willard InterContinental (1401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington): Treat yourself to a staycation or fancy afternoon tea at this legendary DC hotel, just a stone’s throw from the White House. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reportedly put the finishing touches on his “I Have a Dream” speech in the lobby.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington) A museum that focuses on understanding the natural world and our role in it. In late 2023, the museum debuted the first public display of a sample from Bennu, a carbon-rich, near-earth asteroid.


  • Off The Record (800 16th St NW, Washington) Hidden away in the basement of the Hay-Adams Hotel is Washington D.C.’s best “place to be seen and not heard.” Off The Record is an old speakeasy where D.C.’s political elite and celebrities like Brad Pitt rendezvous.
  • Old Ebbitt Grill (675 15th St NW, Washington) Founded in 1856, this iconic Washington saloon is known for its famed oyster bar and Victorian-style ambiance.
  • The Anthem (901 Wharf St SW, Washington): A live music venue that draws acts like the Foo Fighters, Hasan Minhaj, and Bleachers. In May 2024, D.C.’s own Dave Grohl performed a one-night-only private concert here to advocate for a more affordable, and accessible healthcare system.
  • Grazie Mill (1100 15th St NW, Washington) A newly opened cocktail bar that draws a rotating line-up of DJs from Miami to Los Angeles.

Neighborhood Festivals

  • National Cherry Blossom Festival: Each spring, over 1.5 million visitors flock to Washington DC to admire its 3,000-plus cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
  • DC Jazz Festival: A summer highlight for music enthusiasts of all ages, this free festival showcases national and international jazz artists in concerts across the city.
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Since 1967, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival has united artisans, musicians, cooks, and storytellers worldwide to celebrate global cultures. The 2024 edition highlighted Indigenous Voices of the Americas.

People and Vibe

Washington, DC has a population of around 671,000 people, with 93.1% being citizens. The median age in 2022 was 34.8 years. Washington DC ranks highest in one-person households among U.S. cities. The cost of living in DC is over 50% higher than the national average, with a score of 151.9 on the cost of living index.

Fun Facts

  • Washington D.C.’s cherry trees were a gift from Japan to the people of America in 1912.
  • Presidents Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams had pet alligators at the White House.
  • Washington D.C. residents drink more wine per person than any other U.S. state.

Washington DC Neighbourhoods

Best Neighborhood for Families

  • Manor Park: Nestled in D.C.’s upper northeast quadrant, this neighborhood charms families with its abundant greenery and village-like atmosphere.
  • Cleveland Park: One of the prettiest suburbs of Washington, Cleveland Park is known for its vibrant community and quiet, tree-lined streets. An ideal location for families and senior citizens.

Best Neighborhood for Young Professionals

  • Dupont Circle: Dupont Circle is a bustling center for young professionals, offering diverse cultural attractions such as museums, art galleries, and historic landmarks. Since the 1970s, Dupont has been known as a major “gayborhood” of Washington D.C.

Moving Outside of Washington D.C.?

The Capitals (NHL) and Wizards (NBA) are moving out of Washington D.C.… but should you?

Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C. has been home to both teams since 1997, but now both clubs will move to the Potomac Yard area.

According to U.S. Census data, Washingtonians are trading the city for nearby Maryland, Virginia, and New York. During the housing boom, many moved to Loudoun or Culpeper counties in Virginia.

Now, they’re moving even further away.

High costs, crowded streets, muggy summers, and crime are driving people out of D.C., and they’re not looking back.

City living isn’t a must anymore for federal workers, making Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina more appealing for those wanting cheaper homes and a manageable commute into the city a couple of times a week.

Top Washington D.C. Suburbs

If you’re planning to move out of Washington D.C., consider these livable suburbs.

  1. Alexandria, VA: Just 23 minutes from D.C., this historic city draws in young professionals and families thanks to its commitment to walkability, bike-ability, and livability.
  2. Raleigh, NC: Apex, a suburb of Raleigh, was ranked as one of the best places to live in the United States. Why? It’s got Southern charm and small-town hospitality, combined with a city-worthy strong economy and plenty of jobs.
  3. Bethesda, MD: Like Raleigh, Bethesda offers city perks with small-town charm. With no skyscrapers in sight, it’s perfect for families and retirees. Plus, it has one of Maryland’s top school systems.
  4. Charlotte, NC: Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., and for good reason. Residents love the lower cost of living, strong financial sector, mild climate, and an up-and-coming food scene.
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