There's a lot of cultural and economic diversity among Washington's 125 or so historic neighborhoods.
The city is a wonderful place to live, whether you be a D.C. native, an urban upgrader from Maryland or Virginia, a politician or staffer, college student, tech, government or hospitality worker, Beltway commuter, museum-goer, young family or music or sports fan.
Each distinct neighborhood, no matter your quadrant from Northwest to Southeast, has its own charm, amenities and housing benefits.
But of all those neighborhoods, which are the ones just right for your budget?
We surveyed rental prices for an average one-bedroom apartment in every single neighborhood in D.C. with at least 20 available units (on Apartment Guide or Rent.com) with a rolling weighted average of prices from now and a year ago. From this list, we derived the top five Washington, D.C., neighborhoods in three categories: The most expensive, the most affordable and the ones closest to the citywide rent average.
If money is no option, here are the five Washington, D.C. neighborhoods for you.
The western end of Logan Circle-Shaw is a booming residential neighborhood of young professionals and hipsters centered on its namesake traffic circle, while the Shaw portion features the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the upscale retail hub north of it.
The commercial corridor runs along 14th Street, including shops, galleries, theaters and restaurants, many catering to the district's growing LGBT populace. Getting in on this rising neighborhood will run you $3,518 a month for an average one-bedroom.
Situated between Georgetown, DuPont Circle, Downtown and Foggy Bottom, D.C.'s West End is dotted with luxury hotels, high-end restaurants and upscale apartments and condos.
The area's proximity to in-demand neighborhoods and upscale blocks, as well as easy access to the riverfront and Rock Creek Trail, pushes average rent for a one-bedroom apartment to $3,661 a month.
Tucked between Embassy Row and the National Zoo, Woodley Park is a leafy residential neighborhood filled with quiet streets and townhouses, with a stretch of D.C. high-rise apartments along Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street.
Its commercial district lies on the southern end of Connecticut, featuring a number of international cuisine restaurants, with the Marriott Wardman Park, the second-largest condo hotel in D.C., around the corner on Woodley. Easy access to sites like Rock Creek Park keeps rents up, with $3,754 a month for an average one-bedroom.
It's no surprise the real estate conglomeration of Downtown, Penn Quarter and Chinatown, from the White House to the Capitol between the Mall to Massachusetts Avenue, is so pricey.
This district includes some of the nation's most famous landmarks, including Ford's Theatre, Hoover FBI Building, National Portrait Gallery, The Washington Post and Capital One Arena. But to take up residence so close to the seats of power, it costs a lot of dead presidents, with a one-bedroom apartment average rent of $4,326 a month.
Located in Northwest Washington, U Street is the neighborhood built around the historic namesake street that was once the heart of America's black culture, teeming with jazz clubs, soul food and so-called “Black Broadway" theaters.
Today, U Street offers trendy shops, music clubs, including the 9:30 Club and DC9, legendary restaurants like Ben's Chili Bowl and the century-old Lincoln Theatre. To live within D.C.'s coolest — and most expensive — neighborhood, a one-bedroom will run you $4,892 each month on average.
We can't all be career politicians and CEOs. If you're looking for a place to live on a budget, these are the most affordable neighborhoods in the District.
Founded as the estate of Salmon Chase, Abraham Lincoln's treasury secretary, then a Supreme Court chief justice, the Northeast neighborhood of Edgewood is a small district in between Howard and Catholic universities. The latter redeveloped the estate's mansion as an orphanage before it was razed and rebuilt as the Edgewood Commons apartments.
The neighborhood, also featuring Trinity Washington University and historic Glenwood Cemetery, is an affordable locale for students and families with an average one-bedroom apartment renting for $1,847 a month.
The vice president himself might not even know that he lives in one of Washington's most affordable neighborhoods. The official vice-presidential mansion tops the Naval Observatory within the Glover Park neighborhood, also home to several foreign embassies, including the famous Russian Embassy and its underground tunnels.
The remainder of Glover Park is filled with rowhouses and apartment buildings, lined by Glover Archibold and Whitehaven parks, with a commercial corridor along Wisconsin Avenue. Despite all the amenities, a one-bedroom apartment leases for just $1,847 a month on average.
Lodged in between Adams Morgan (one of the top 10 most expensive D.C. neighborhoods) and sprawling Rock Creek Park, Mount Pleasant is, indeed, surprisingly affordable.
Blocks of rowhouses populate the neighborhood's wooded western enclave, once home to Washington luminaries like Senators' pitcher Walter “Big Train" Johnson and actress Helen Hayes. With a number of D.C. high-rise apartment buildings along the 16th and Mount Pleasant Streets wedge, the average rent is $1,751 for a one-bedroom.
Fort Circle Park houses a series of Civil War-era mounts that were built by the Union to defend the capital against Confederate advancement. Several of these battlements dot the Fort Dupont neighborhood, including the large Fort Dupont Park.
Surrounding the parks is a wooded residential neighborhood across the Anacostia River from RFK Stadium, former home of the Redskins. The closure of RFK has helped keep rents down, with an average one-bedroom listing for just $1,239 a month.
The neighborhood with the lowest rent in D.C. might actually be a bit of a surprise. Congress Heights, on the southern bank of the Anacostia, is not only just across the freeway from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling but has also been the target of a bevy of commercial redevelopment.
In the last decade or so, the neighborhood has seen projects around St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the Metro station, plus a much-needed supermarket plaza and the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center. The most affordable neighborhood in Washington is the only one under a grand for a one-bedroom, averaging just $992 a month.
If you're looking for a good neighborhood at a good value, consider these five areas where rent prices are relatively similar to the city-wide average.
Quaint McLean Gardens is a Northeast neighborhood that's nearly all residential. Built during World War II as temporary housing for defense workers, the neighborhood is populated by condominium and apartment towers and complexes, with a large community garden, a smattering of restaurants and cafes along Wisconsin Avenue NW and a retail building at Newark Street anchored by a Giant supermarket.
Many diplomats and political staffers live within historically upscale McLean Gardens, where rents are just $141 less than the citywide average, with monthly rents for a one-bedroom running $2,626.
As the name suggests, Southwest Waterfront sits in the Southwest section of D.C., at the confluence of the Anacostia River and the Washington Channel just north of Fort McNair. Birthplace of both Al Jolson and Marvin Gaye, the neighborhood has experienced two major urban revitalization periods, the most recent over the last two decades. Apartment and condo conversions led an overhaul which included retail development around Waterfront Station and an expansion of the Arena Stage at the Mead Center.
The Wharf is a waterfront destination, which includes residences, offices and hotels, retail shops, seafood restaurants, yacht clubs and the 6,000-capacity Anthem music hall. Despite revitalization, Southwest remains affordable, only about 70 bucks more than the D.C. average for a one-bedroom at $2,839 monthly.
Talk about great value. With an average one-bedroom leasing for $2,706 a month, 60 bucks less than the citywide average, an apartment in Navy Yard offers so much. Nationals Park, home of baseball's World Champions, is the centerpiece of an up-and-coming pre- and post-game entertainment and dining district. Well-maintained infrastructure and federal jobs proliferate at the site of the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters. And the neighborhood is the location of the namesake Washington Navy Yard, featuring the Naval District Washington headquarters and Navy Museum.
Redevelopment is centered on a plan to add 15 million square feet of office space, 800,000 square feet of retail, 9,000 housing and rental units, 1,200 hotel rooms and four new parks, plus the riverfront Yards Park and a section of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
The real estate subdivision of H Street-NoMa is part of the Near Northeast neighborhood. As the name implies, it's a Northeast Washington district north of Massachusetts Avenue and along the H Street corridor. The neighborhood is divided down the middle by Union Station, Amtrak's second-busiest in the nation, and its track spread and sidings.
But the heart of the neighborhood is diverse H Street and the growing Atlas District arts hub that experienced revitalization over the last 15 years. The street between 3rd and 15th, ranked the sixth “Most Hipster Neighborhood" by Forbes, is one of D.C.'s top nightlife and entertainment destinations, featuring unique shopping and retail, trendy dining and drinking spots, jazz and rock clubs and, of course, the legendary Atlas Performing Arts Center.
But in total from NoMa in the west to H in the east, it's a very average-priced neighborhood, at $2,733 a month for a one-bedroom, $34 above the D.C. average.
While nightlife neighborhood Adams Morgan is one of the most expensive in all of Washington, its Lanier Heights subdivision comes in at number one as the most-averaged priced rental region in D.C.
One of the first developed districts outside the planned city, Lanier Heights consists of non-gridded streets of rowhomes and medium-rise apartments, many in a distinct Art Deco style.
The diverse district is home to young professionals and families, city workers and Smithsonian intellectuals, and a mix of cultural and economic classes. It's a place of social change and integration as the most average rental district in the District, just a dollar below the citywide price at $2,766 a month for a one-bedroom.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com's multifamily rental property inventory from March 2019 to March 2020. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets. Neighbors with less than 20 average available units were excluded.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.