Neighborhood guides Washington, DC

Top 10 Best Neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.

Living in the nation’s capital can be both exciting and overwhelming, depending on how one feels about living in the political nexus of the country, and the best neighborhoods in D.C. reflect this lifestyle. However, Washington, D.C. is one of the fastest-changing and fastest-growing cities in the nation, and whoever decides to move here can expect to find nothing less than a host of opportunities – both professionally, as well as in terms of living and housing.

Although the capital has become more expensive and competitive in the last couple of years, there are plenty of options to choose from for those looking for an apartment for rent in Washington, D.C. So, here are the 10 best neighborhoods for renters in the area.

Navy Yard

A riverbank and park in Navy Yard, one of the best neighborhoods in D.C.

    • Number of apartment buildings: 32
    • Number of apartments for rent: 5,930
    • Average rent: $2,503
    • Average apartment size: 770 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 33.9
    • Share of renters: 50%

Navy Yard comes first among the best neighborhoods in D.C. The area is known as the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the U.S. Navy. In fact, it’s the oldest shore establishment of the U.S. Navy in the nation. And, while the Yard continues to serve as a ceremonial and administrative center of the Navy, it has also turned into one of the capital’s hottest neighborhoods.

Located on the southeast side of the capital, Navy Yard overlooks the Anacostia River. In time, and with interest from locals, commercial and residential areas began to rise. Specifically, The Yards, a 42-acre, mixed-use development, led the expansion in the neighborhood. Navy Yard is also home to beautiful parks, walkable streets, businesses, and plenty of social activities to make living here safe, relaxing, and fun.

Read more about Navy Yard here

Mount Vernon Square

A row of red and white townhouses on a sunny day in Mount Vernon Square, D.C.

    • Number of apartment buildings: 51
    • Number of apartments for rent: 8,233
    • Average rent: $2,481
    • Average apartment size: 801 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 31.8
    • Share of renters: 63%

Mount Vernon Square is ideally located in the center of the hustle and bustle of the capital’s downtown scene. It’s also home to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a popular international attraction, as well as a wide assortment of shops and restaurants. The famous Carnegie Library, a historic Beaux-Arts building, is also in the neighborhood.

Furthermore, Mount Vernon Square is filled with recreational areas, hotels, high-end bars and restaurants, convenience stores, shops, and modern apartment buildings – all surrounded by the historical sites of this downtown D.C. location.

Read more about Mount Vernon Square here

Dupont Circle

A red townhouse and a white townhouse with trees in the front in Dupont Circle, D.C.

    • Number of apartment buildings: 215
    • Number of apartments for rent: 26,690
    • Average rent: $2,238
    • Average apartment size: 760 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 31.6
    • Share of renters: 60%

One of the more sophisticated of the best neighborhoods in D.C., Dupont Circle is home to a wide variety of bars, boutiques, and museums, as well as the famous 17th St. stretch of gay-owned businesses. A cosmopolitan neighborhood in nature, this is the social spot for anyone living in the capital. Here, there’s something for everyone, from art to food to coffee. Those living in the neighborhood can also attend the regular Sunday Farmers’ Market, although people from all over the city make their way out to enjoy a day in this neighborhood.

Renters in Dupont Circle can also find modern apartments in historical buildings, making living in this lively neighborhood that much more convenient.

Read more about Dupont Circle here

Columbia Heights

A man-made cascade in a park in Columbia Heights, one of the best neighborhoods in D.C.

    • Number of apartment buildings: 323
    • Number of apartments for rent: 8,989
    • Average rent: $1,614
    • Average apartment size: 809 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 34.6
    • Share of renters: 59%

A diverse, homey neighborhood, Columbia Heights, located in northwest D.C., is a perfect mix of grand and humble historic buildings. It’s also one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the capital with a dominant Hispanic influence. This multicultural vibe contributes to a friendly, warm feeling throughout the neighborhood, allowing those living here to feel safe and welcome.

From large business organizations to small, family-owned restaurants, renters here can find it all. There are plenty of outdoor spaces, as well, which are great for bikers, picnickers, and families, making Columbia Heights a great option for those considering moving to the area.

Read more about Columbia Heights here

Foggy Bottom

A lane between red-brick office buildings in Foggy Bottom, D.C

    • Number of apartment buildings: 25
    • Number of apartments for rent: 4,410
    • Average rent: $2,440
    • Average apartment size: 735 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 22.8
    • Share of renters: 66%

One of the oldest areas among the best neighborhoods in D.C., Foggy Bottom dates back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Deriving its name from the fog that naturally lingers in this neighborhood from the Potomac River, Foggy Bottom is home to some of the most famous cultural and diplomatic edifices in the world. Hotels, restaurants, and bars all make their home in this riverside neighborhood, which also includes the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the IMF, and World Bank. Here, you’ll also find the southernmost end of Rock Creek Park, D.C.’s 2,100-acre greenspace, making it the perfect place to work and live.

Read more about Foggy Bottom here

Logan Circle

Tonwhouses lined up on a sunny street in one of the best neighborhoods in D.C., Logan Circle

    • Number of apartment buildings: 147
    • Number of apartments for rent: 20,564
    • Average rent: $2,297
    • Average apartment size: 726 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 33.2
    • Share of renters: 64%

Residents and tourists alike find Logan Circle to be the perfect neighborhood to embrace hot restaurants, hip decor, Haute fashion, and live performances all within historic architecture. It’s named after the traffic roundabout where turn-of-the-century townhouses face a circular park that’s home to a statue of John Logan, a Civil War general. This neighborhood is the place to be for young adults. Specifically, with plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, and a thriving nightlife, this growing neighborhood allows its residents to enjoy life in a fun, safe, unique, and historical environment.

Read more about Logan Circle here

Woodley Park

    • Number of apartment buildings: 53
    • Number of apartments for rent: 8,746
    • Average rent: $2,120
    • Average apartment size: 773 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 38.5
    • Share of renters: 57%

Woodley Park is the greenest spot in northwest D.C., offering its residents access to the outdoors without giving up the city life, so it comes as no surprise it ranks among the best neighborhood in D.C. Namely, it’s home to the Smithsonian National Zoo, which houses the city’s famed giant pandas, as well as Rock Creek Park, the perfect spot for running, biking, picnicking, and viewing breathtaking waterways.

This neighborhood is also the place to go to escape summer heat while enjoying historic architecture mixed with a modern vibe of restaurants and sidewalk cafes. As such, Woodley Park is a popular neighborhood for families and animal-lovers, as those living here have access to the outdoors right in their backyards.

Read more about Woodley Park here

Adams Morgan

A shot of a red-brick multifamily building in Adams Morgan

    • Number of apartment buildings: 68
    • Number of apartments for rent: 8,113
    • Average rent: $2,188
    • Average apartment size: 679 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 33.6
    • Share of renters: 62%

One of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods, Adams Morgan is known for its lively, spirited, and laid-back atmosphere. With plenty of options for restaurants, stores, gyms, and bars, residents of this neighborhood never have to think too much about what to do in their free time. Plus, the nightlife scene here is the most popular in the D.C. area and, with diners open 24/7, one can literally enjoy a full day out, from one morning to the next.

The historic row houses around 18th St. also provide great and unique housing options for those considering moving to the area. Plenty of recently built residential complexes are also available for those looking for more modern housing accommodations.

Read more about Adams Morgan here

Fort Totten

A train arrives in a station in one of the best neighborhoods in D.C., Fort Trotten

    • Number of apartment buildings: 66
    • Number of apartments for rent: 4,037
    • Average rent: $1,714
    • Average apartment size: 748 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 36.6
    • Share of renters: 43%

A quiet and residential neighborhood, Fort Totten is located on the District’s border with Maryland and features a suburban, middle-class community. Although fairly close to the city center, this neighborhood has been left untouched by the hustle and bustle of the urban downtown. As a result, it’s a comfortable, safe, friendly neighborhood home to both single-family homes, and modern apartment complexes, which make living here a great option.

The neighborhood is also currently under development, with a number of grocery stores, a children’s museum, and even a food hall coming soon. Residents here can easily make their way into the city via the metro station bearing its name, while still living outside of the central business district.

Read more about Fort Totten here

Colonial Village

A sunny park with trees in one of the best neighborhoods in D.C., Colonial Village.

    • Number of apartment buildings: 215
    • Number of apartments for rent: 14,125
    • Average rent: $2,102
    • Average apartment size: 833 sq. ft.
    • Median age: 32.9
    • Share of renters: 66%

Last but not least, Colonial Village comes in 10th among the best neighborhood in D.C. Located in the northwestern part of Washington, D.C., the neighborhood was originally built in 1931 with 80 properties featuring Colonial-style architecture (hence its name). This tranquil, suburban area is filled with rebrick single-family homes, surrounded by tree-lined streets and the Rock Creek Park along its north, south, and western edges.

Colonial Village also enables those living here to be close to the city, without feeling like they’re living in the city. Therefore, this friendly and safe community makes it a great place to settle down and raise a family. Plus, although it’s residential, this neighborhood is ideally located so that stores, restaurants, and entertainment are just a stone’s throw away.

Read more about Colonial Village here

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About the author

Sanziana Bona

Sanziana Bona is a creative writer and researcher for RENTCafé, with a strong passion for the dynamic real estate market, covering topics from lifestyle to market trends. She has a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Michigan State University, a LL.M. in International Business Law, Contracting and International Relations from Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía. You can connect with Sanziana via email.

Sanziana’s work has been featured in CNBC, CBS News, NBC New York, The Press Democrat, Wolf Street and The Registry San Francisco, among others. Prior to joining the RENTCafé team, she wrote extensive analysis papers on world topics such as human rights violations, international laws, and world conflicts, as well as arts literature, in both English and Spanish.

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