Washington DC’s Top 3 Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods

by Keri Shull

Washington DC’s Top 3 Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods

The Luxurious Kalorama Triangle | The Culturally Rich Petworth | NoMa's Hidden Gem Eckington


After a prolonged period of being perceived as a dangerous & crime-ridden town up though the 90s, Washington, DC since 2000 has made enormous strides to clean up the city and open itself up as a fun, welcoming and safe space for families, young professionals and even retirees. All throughout you’ll see tasteful street art honouring the city’s rich cultural history, and in between you’ll find pockets of new developments and regeneration giving areas a much needed refreshing.


With the influx of interest back into the District, there’s been no shortage of exciting, up-and-coming neighborhoods within the nation’s capital. DC’s evolution into the crisp, cool city that it is becoming today can largely be divided into three main facets: as the luxurious but private residences of a neighborhood like Kalorama, as the rejuvenated cultural center of Petworth, and as the timelessness and quality of Eckington. Each aspect captures a different element of the District, but together they encapsulate the changing and modernizing character of the city.

Kalorama | 20009 | The Neighborhood of Beautiful Views

Red Line (Woodley Park/Adams Morgan & Dupont Circle)

 
Kalorama taft bridge washington dc

Taft Bridge, photo courtesy of NCinDC via Flickr

 

The luxurious residential neighborhood just a stone’s throw from the buzzing activity of Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, Kalorama is home to some of the most ambitious and high quality developments found in the District.

Despite historically having some of the highest real estate values in the city, there has been ever increasing demand to live in and move to Kalorama. Although this means it can only attract a limited clientele, interest has been especially spurred on lately since the Obamas decided to make it their home. In fact, it has quite a history of housing former presidents and other notorieties - with now 6 Presidents who have there including Woodrow Wilson and FDR, plus now Jared and Ivanka Trump and countless other politicos.

What is it about Kalorama that attracts these high-flying dignitaries? A few factors stand out, including its storied reputation and its prime Northwest DC location.  But it all ultimately comes back to its function as a peaceful refuge away from the busy city life surrounding it. It’s rare to find such a sanctuary in a city, and it’s even harder to maintain it as such. But to have all that peace so near to so much entertainment – it’s a real estate investors dream come true!

What to do in Kalorama

Free Attractions

  • Kalorama Park - a small but well maintained park and community garden; recently renovated in 2016
  • The Smithsonian National Zoo - The pandas at the free Smithsonian National Zoo are just a short walk northwards from the Kalorama Triangle

Culture

  • Morton Fine Art - Fine art gallery opened in 2010 with focus on African American and African art
  • Sitar Arts Center - Public arts center specializing in local community and youth art projects and programs

Schools

  • Woodrow Wilson High School - Named after the former President and Kalorama resident, Woodrow Wilson High School is the largest comprehensive public high school in the District and is routinely the top performing non-magnet high school in DCPS.
  • Oyster-Adams Bilingual School - one of the top rated middle and elementary schools in the District, Oyster-Adams provides a high quality bilingual English/Spanish education

Dining

  • Ababa Ethiopian Restaurant - Widely regarded as among the best Ethiopian food in the district, eating at Ababa is a highly authentic dining experience and will transport you right to a whole other world of spices, music, delicious food and coffee, and more
  • Sushi Ogawa - Headed by a true master in the sushi craft, Sushi Ogawa puts quality and authenticity before all else, providing diners with an omakase experience unparalleled in the district

Petworth | 20011 | Heart of Culture and Affordability

Yellow and Green lines: Georgia Ave-Petworth

 
dc neighborhood

Upshur Street, photo courtesy of Ted Eytan via Flickr

 

Widely regarded as one of the friendliest and most down to earth areas in DC, Petworth is an inviting but easy-going residential neighborhood that boasts an added flair of cultural activity. Traditionally comprised of early 20th century terraced and single family homes but with an increasing amount of affordable condo developments, Petworth in 2018 has become a historical cultural center in the midst of a major revamp.

Smack dab in the middle of DC, Petworth is prized not just for its cultural affinity but also for its pristine location at the heart of everything. With easy access to U Street, H Street, Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights and more, its centrality makes it especially attractive to live here. The green and yellow lines at the George Ave-Petworth stop are a quick entry way to every which way of DC.

Get in to Petworth before it’s too late it will, because the rate of rapid change that it’s going through will not last forever. The community has developed in such an idyllic way that it is attracting all swaths of people, and as such not only is it among the most diverse districts in DC, but it is also one of the fastest growing.

 

 

What to do in Petworth

Free Attractions

  • Celebrate Petworth - Annual neighborhood festival celebrating the community and providing an opportunity for the local business to showcase their goods. Coming up this September 8th on Upshur Street!
  • Petworth Jazz Project - Enjoy the best jazz in DC for free on the last Saturday of each month during the summer season. Located on the lawn at the Petworth Recreation Center.

Culture

  • Upshur Street - as the main drag of Petworth, Upshur Street is a popular street for shopping and dining alike. One of the most notable stops along the way is the quirky independent bookstore Upshur Street Books, next also to the classy literary bar Petworth Citizen & Reading Room.
  • Petworth Community Market - Located at 9th & Upshur, this weekly farmers market runs on Saturday from 9am - 1pm and offers a choice selection of local artisan foods & goods and has been in operation since 2015.

Schools

  • Roosevelt High School - Recently renovated public high school, Roosevelt High School boasts its own alternative education program, S.T.A.Y. which provides a pathway for DC residents to continue their education or participate in job training apprenticeships and programs.
  • Powell Elementary School - Highly ranking bilingual English-Spanish elementary school on Upshur Street.

Dining


Eckington | 20002 | A Community of Timelessness

Red Line – Rhode Island Avenue & NoMA-Gallaudet U New York Avenue

 
eckington dc bloomingdale

Photo courtesy of Ted Eytan via Flickr.

 

If you’re looking for something more traditional, you can’t go wrong with the colorful Victorian and Greek Revival rowhouses of Eckington. Living in these gorgeous, well-built residences has made the long-tenured residents here highly picky when it comes to change: it is almost impossible to develop new properties in Eckington. As a result this has tempered the area's real estate market, making it one of the nicest yet at the same time among the most affordable neighborhoods to live within DC at its quality level.

With its residents traditionally electing to preserve rather than overhaul, Eckington’s old, well-built rowhomes are painted in an inviting array of pastels which carry with them a character distinct in the District.  A safeguard from gentrification, it is commonly said that the neighborhood changes its inhabitants, rather than the increasingly more frequent inverse.

As part of the larger NoMA quarters, Eckington has flown under the radar compared with surrounding spots. Overshadowed to the south by the transportation hub of Union Station and lesser known than its sister Bloomingdale to the west, locals have donned it the nickname of DC’s “quiet little secret.”

 

 

What to do in Eckington

Free Attractions

  • Crispus Attucks Park - A hidden DC gem, the Crispus Attucks Park is exactly the type of park you’d expect in Eckington: a community run and supported park that is tidy but not stuffy, with a rich history memorializing the past and a clear care the environment and harmonious natural living.
  • The Heart Murals at Union Market (Mr Brainwash, 2015) -  One of the most instagram worthy artworks of modern DC, the Heart Murals at Union Market were designed for International Women’s Day in 2015 and have since become among the most iconic works of street art in the city.

Culture

  • NoMA BID - the business development arm of the greater NoMa’s neighborhood, NoMA BID are active promoters and supporters of community events and even host outdoor summer movie screenings, a street art festival, and its trademark 4th of July neighborhood party and cookout.
  • FreshFarm Farmer’s Market - Located at 1150 1st Street N on Sundays from 9am - 1pm, this brand new farmer’s market is the perfect Sunday morning community meeting ground.

    McKinley Tech High

Schools

  • Gallaudet University - Top rated federally chartered private university for the deaf and blind.
  • McKinley Technical High School - a STEM-focused high school, McKinley is donned in characteristically “Eckington” architecture with an impressive brick and collonaded facade.

Dining

  • The Pub & The People - Categorically DC, the Pub & the People is a classic Contemporary American bar and grill with an infusion of DC locality. Voted best neighborhood bar in DC in 2017.
  • Union Market - Sample from dozens of local vendors selling small batch food items, handmade arts & crafts, and delicious prepared meals at one of the top food halls in the country. Protip: after grabbing a bite that the market, catch a film at the Angelika Pop-Up cinema just down the road!

How much can you afford to spend in DC on your budget? 

 

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