Neighborhood guides Washington, DC

D.C.’s Historical Foggy Bottom – in the Heart of it all

Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest historical neighborhoods in Northwest Washington, D.C, located in the heart of the city and dating back to the 1800s.

The neighborhood gets its name from the mist that comes off the Potomac River in the early morning. It’s the home of George Washington University, the State Department and many hotels that host diplomats, as well as the Kennedy Center.

Where is Foggy Bottom?

Foggy Bottom stretches from the National Mall and it hosts many great attractions such as the White House. It’s a great place to enjoy nature, as Rock Creek Park runs through it. It’s located on the outskirts of Adventure Bay and boasts a large picturesque lake.


Foggy Bottom is thought to have received its name due to an atmospheric quirk of its low lying, marshy riverside location, which made it susceptible to concentrations of fog, and later, industrial smoke.

Many of the buildings date back to the early 1800s, but sit side by side, along modern nondescript office and apartment buildings.


What to Do

Since the neighborhood caters to students, as well as diplomats and business people from around the world, it has many things to see and do.

Take a tour of the State Department or walk to the White House. If you prefer nature, go cycling or jogging in Rock Creek Park or rent a canoe or kayak at the Thompson Boat Center. You can rent bicycles there, as well. Parts of the park even offer horse-back riding.

Catch a show of the National Symphony Orchestra or Washington Opera at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts which is near the Watergate and Rock Creek Park on the Potomac River.

Where to Eat and Drink

Just like the diversity of the neighborhood, there is a wide range of food choices. From casual dining at Burger Tap & Shake to salads at Flower Child, to more elegant dining, there’s something for everyone.

There are many great hotels such as the Watergate, Park Hyatt Washington and Ritz-Carlton which have excellent fine dining. The Kennedy Center also offers fine dining if you are hungry before or after a show, check out its Roof Terrace Restaurant for great food and even greater views.


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Donatello Restaurant offers great northern Italian cuisine. Circa at Foggy Bottom offers trendy American cuisines, and Founding Farmers is great for a more rustic experience.

Moving to Foggy Bottom

Real Estate Snapshot

Today, Foggy Bottom offers a mix of architectural styles and reflects many different periods of construction from Victorian and Georgian row houses to modern apartments and office buildings. George Washington University shaped the Foggy Bottom community in which it resides. The campus has tried to keep many of its buildings reflecting the architecture of the historical row houses found there.

Apartments for rent in Foggy Bottom range from $1,400 for a studio to over $6,000 for something larger, with 2 or 3 bedrooms.

The Foggy Bottom neighborhood and the campus area in particular are surrounded to the east and north by Washington’s Central Business District, with mid-rise buildings of about eight to ten story buildings which are functional constructs and are nondescript architecturally.


Foggy Bottom is served by the Metro’s Blue, Silver and Orange Lines, and is accessible to the Foggy Bottom and Farragut West stations near the George Washington University (GWU) campus.

It’s walking distance from many attractions including the White House, the business district and the Mall.

There are many bus lines, places to rent bikes, as well as cabs galore due to its location in the middle of politics and commerce.

Schools & Employment

Foggy Bottom, which is also home to the U.S. Department of State, features an impressive collection of high-end hotels and restaurants that appeal to diplomats from around the world, as well as locals.

It is also home to a number of world class organizations such as the World Bank, The World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the American Red Cross and several embassies.

It’s home to several great high schools such as the School Without Walls and Woodrow Wilson High School. It also hosts the George Washington University and Georgetown University is walking distance – just walk about 20 minutes down Pennsylvania Avenue and you will be in the heart of Georgetown.

Need a new place? Check out all the available apartments in Foggy Bottom on RENTCafé and take your pick.

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About the author

Florentina Sarac

Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 7-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email.

Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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