Washington D.C. has around 130 distinct neighborhoods within its four quadrants of the city. Featuring world-class museums, monuments and memorials, an eclectic mix of historic and modern architecture and vibrant communities with trendy restaurants and bars, there's a neighborhood for every personality.
To give you a sense of the unending variety, we've created this list of five fun facts about 10 of Washington's most popular neighborhoods.
1. Columbia Heights
Editorial credit: TJ Brown / Shutterstock.com
Columbia Heights was one of several neighborhoods in Washington D.C. that were destroyed in the riots in 1968 following Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. For decades there were many abandoned homes and shops.
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In the 1990s, the neighborhood was revitalized with the opening of the Metro station and DC USA, a 546,000 square-foot retail complex with major retailers, restaurants and an underground parking garage.
The community has long had a strong African American and Latino presence, but today has a mix of residents from all races, ages and socioeconomic classes. Apartment rentals range from modern high-rises to historic row homes.
Five fun facts about Columbia Heights
Columbia Heights was once home to author Sinclair Lewis, Chief Justice Melville Fuller and jazz legend Duke Ellington
The landmark Tivoli Theatre was originally built as a movie theater in 1924 and currently produces live performances as the home of the GALA Hispanic Theatre
J.W. Marriott and his wife opened an A&W root beer franchise on 14th street in 1927, before creating the Marriott hotel chain
Columbia Heights was the original home of Columbian College, which eventually became George Washington University and moved to its current location in Foggy Bottom
During the civil rights movement, the green space bordering Columbia Heights was often a site of activism. The park was renamed Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a symbol of black pride.
2. Dupont Circle
Dupont Circle, one of the most popular neighborhoods in Washington D.C., is located within close proximity to a variety of museums, trendy boutiques, private art galleries and some of the city's best restaurants and bars.
Rentals range from studios in mid-sized apartment buildings to renovated hundred-year-old brick row houses. Many properties feature historic architecture with modern amenities such as rooftop decks, valet garage parking and 24-hour concierge services.
Five fun facts about Dupont Circle
The original 1884 bronze statue of Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont was moved from D.C. to Wilmington, DE in 1920. The du Ponts financed the construction of the present-day fountain designed by Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon, the co-creators of the Lincoln Memorial. The fountain features carvings of three classical figures symbolizing the sea, the stars and the wind.
After the Civil War, Dupont Circle was one of the nation's wealthiest neighborhoods. Following the 1929 stock market crash, many of the mansions were sold to foreign embassies or divided into smaller apartments.
The very first Scientology church is here. L. Ron Hubbard lived at 1812 19th Street NW in the mid-to-late 1950s, during which time he incorporated it as the first official church of Scientology
Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, lived on Connecticut Avenue, just south of the circle
The Dupont Underground is an abandoned streetcar station below the neighborhood's streets that's now used as a public art space
3. Foggy Bottom
Editorial credit: Roman Babakin / Shutterstock.com
Foggy Bottom is most known as home to the Kennedy Center, the Watergate Hotel and the George Washington University. It was once a working-class community of Irish and German immigrants, as well as African Americans who were employed at the nearby breweries, glass plants and the Washington Gas and Light Company.
Today, the neighborhood is a prime location for students and government workers as it's close to the top landmarks of the city. Rentals consist of late-19th-century row houses, high-rise apartments, cooperatives and condominiums and townhouses.
Five fun facts about Foggy Bottom
The area was given the name Foggy Bottom because it was set low near the Potomac River and was often filled with fog from the local industries
Among the earliest houses is a frame house at 25th and I Streets that may have been associated with the Underground Railroad
Foggy Bottom was also the name of a line of beer by the Olde Heurich Brewing Company, a German brewery in Foggy Bottom. The brewery shut down in 1961 and the buildings were demolished to make space for the Kennedy Center.
The Watergate building, site of the 1972 Democratic National Committee break-in that ignited the Nixon scandal, is located here
Foggy Bottom is also home to the original location of the United States Naval Observatory
Located in Northeast Washington, D.C., Fort Totten is named after a Civil War fort built by Joseph Gilbert Totten, a general in the War of 1812. The neighborhood is within very close proximity to Catholic University, Armed Forces Retirement Home, Rock Creek Cemetery, President Lincoln's Cottage and Soldiers Home Cemetery.
While most of the area's rental properties are quite old, plans to build a multi-use development are underway to include apartments, a food hall, grocery store, restaurants and a children's museum.
Five fun facts about Fort Totten
The Art Place Fort Totten development is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2020 and deliver in the third quarter of 2022
Fort Totten was a medium-sized fort, a seven-sided polygon located atop a ridge about three miles from the Capitol
The fort mounted 20 guns and mortars, including eight 32-pounders
A Washington Metro station, Fort Totten station, is named after the fort
Located to the northwest of Fort Totten, Piney Branch is a tributary of Rock Creek, the largest tributary located entirely within the city limits
Georgetown is a historic neighborhood with 18th- and 19th-century brick row houses along tree-lined cobblestone streets. During colonial times, the waterfront served as a major port and commercial center.
Today, Georgetown is a prime shopping and entertainment district and is among the priciest places to live in the District. The neighborhood is home to Georgetown University, the starting point of the 184.5-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Old Stone House, Tudor House and Dumbarton House and numerous other historic landmarks. Most rentals are historic row homes or apartments in historic buildings.
Five fun facts about Georgetown
Georgetown is the oldest part of the city. It was originally a separate city in 1751 before the area became the District of Columbia.
From 1890-1899, the Washington and Georgetown Railroad ran a cable-car network through Georgetown
The Old Stone House, built in 1766 at 3051 M Street, is the oldest house in Washington D.C.
There are approximately 58 houses listed as individual Georgetown landmarks that are of Federal City/Pre-Civil War importance
Along the waterfront, the Potomac Boat Club at 3530 K Street was built in 1870
6. Navy Yard
The Navy Yard is among the fastest-growing neighborhoods in Washington. With its scenic location along the Anacostia River, this urban community has become one of the city's hottest places to live, work and play with dozens of new apartments, restaurants, retail, hotels and office spaces.
Located just five blocks from Capitol Hill, the neighborhood is convenient to everything — shopping, dining, parks and recreation and downtown D.C. Most apartment buildings in this area are brand new and include modern amenities.
Five fun facts about Navy Yard
Nationals Park opened here in 2008 as the first LEED-certified green major professional sports stadium in the U.S.
The U.S. Navy Yard is the nation's largest former naval shipbuilding facility and serves as the headquarters for the Naval Historical Center in Washington D.C.
Along the exterior of the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Walking Museum of Transportation provides interpretive panels and life-size displays that tell the history of transportation in the U.S.
In 1872, the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad built a two-track tunnel below ground between 15th and M streets SE to 2nd Street and Virginia Avenue SE
The entire Navy Yard complex was burned down during the War of 1812
Editorial credit: Taylor McKnight / Shutterstock.com
Named for its location — North of Massachusetts Avenue — NoMa is a revitalized neighborhood bordering Union Station and just north of Capitol Hill. NoMa is a hub for regional transportation with easy access to Amtrak, VRE, MARC and the Washington Metrorail.
There are four grocery stores and a variety of dining venues. The neighborhood has a wide variety of new rental properties, which makes it a great location for apartment living. Rental prices are reasonable here compared to many of the other developing areas of the city.
Five fun facts about NoMa
In the mid-1800s, NoMa was primarily farmland and known as “Swampoodle" for the swampy land created from overflows of the Tiber Creek, a now-buried waterway that runs along North Capitol Street
The construction of Union Station and its massive train tracks in 1907 completely changed the landscape of the area
In 1941, Uline Arena opened its doors as an ice hockey and basketball arena and in 1964, hosted the first Beatles concert in North America
Since the NoMa-Gallaudet U Metro station opened in 2004, NoMa has become the fastest-growing neighborhood in Washington. As of the end of 2018, NoMa has more than 13.2 million square feet of office space and 4,800+ new apartments.
Today, NoMa is home to the headquarters for National Public Radio (NPR) and Gallaudet University, the nation's only college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students
Southeast Washington is a small neighborhood located adjacent to the Anacostia Historic District and south of the Anacostia River. The area retains much of its mid-to-late 19th-century low-scale, working-class character, as is evident in its architecture.
The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative is revitalizing the area creating numerous parks and an environmental education center.
Five fun facts about Southeast
The name "Anacostia" comes from the anglicized name of a Nacochtank settlement along the Anacostia River
Cedar Hill, the home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, sits atop a hill overlooking the Southeast neighborhood
The nearby Barry Farm neighborhood was renowned as a significant post-Civil-War settlement of free Blacks and freed slaves
In 1957, an Anacostia landmark, the "world's largest chair", was installed at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and V Street SE
The 11th Street Bridge connects the Capitol Hill and Anacostia neighborhoods and is going to be transformed into the city's first elevated park, a one-of-a-kind civic space that is being compared to New York City's High Line
Rachel Cooper is a freelance writer and author with more than a decade of online journalism and content creation experience. She has written for About.com, Washingtonian, Federal City Council, Montgomery Parks, Destination Maryland, Conde Nast Traveler, Payscale, Valpak, Grandparents.com, Washington Parent and more. Her books include Quiet Water: Mid-Atlantic, AMC’s Canoe and Kayak Guide to the Best Ponds, Lakes and Easy Rivers; 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C. and Images of Rail: Union Station in Washington, D.C.
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