When I first started writing the Where We Live feature back in April, I didn’t know all that much about DC’s neighborhoods. I’ve had a lot of fun exploring DC’s neighborhoods and learning more about how they evolved into the great places they are today. So to wrap up the year (not this feature, don’t worry– we’ve got several more DC neighborhoods to profile and then we’ll be heading out to the suburbs in 2010!), I thought it’d be fun to share some of the most interesting parts of some of the seventeen DC neighborhoods I’ve checked out. So read on to learn about the most controversial Where We Live, the bloggiest neighborhood, the one thing that every person I’ve interviewed tells me they love about their neighborhood, and more!
Most Read Where We Live: H Street. This was a surprise to me, but I guess it makes sense as H Street is the hot new neighborhood in the District and people from all over want to head over and see what it’s all about. Embarrassing side note: I had only been to H Street once before writing that feature so I felt like a fraud writing it, but since then I’ve gone back several times and discovered even more great parts of the area.
Least Read Where We Live: Petworth. Come on Petworth, where’s the love? I guess not too many people are interested in a neighborhood where the coolest part about it is sitting on your front porch talking to your neighbors. Not that it’s not a great neighborhood…
Neighborhood with the Biggest Online Presence: Capitol Hill. Seriously, in the listserv world alone, there’s Hill Hounds, the Capitol Hill Energy Coop, Out on the Hill, Moms on the Hill, and the general neighborhood list, to name a few. And that’s not to mention the other neighborhood news sources like Voice of the Hill, Hill Rag, Hill-Talk, and Councilmember Tommy Wells’ blog.
Neighborhood with the Bloggiest Residents: River East. There are some fantastic blogs in this neck of the woods, like And Now, Anacostia, Congress Heights on the Rise, and Barry Farm (Re)Mixed. For a community that doesn’t get that much positive attention in the mainstream media, these bloggers are really painting a picture of how pleasant it can be to live in River East. And they’re so tapped in to neighborhood news and events that these blogs surpass the mainstream media in local reporting in many ways.
Neighborhood with the Least Bloggy Residents: Cleveland Park. I couldn’t track down a single neighborhood blogger!
Neighborhood with the Most Engaged/Passionate Residents: Southwest Waterfront. Everyone I talked to had so many amazing things to say about their community. And without fail, every single person I interviewed told me that what they loved most was the sense of community in the Southwest Waterfront area. People really love living there.
Neighborhood That You’d Never Need to Leave: Here’s a tough one– DC has a lot of neighborhoods that have seemingly endless opportunities for food, drink, entertainment, and shopping. Dupont Circle seems like a clear choice, since it has tons of retail, art galleries, a grocery stores, great restaurants, and cool outdoor space. Georgetown is up there too, with so many options for shopping, eating, and entertainment. And Penn Quarter certainly tops the list, with its museums, shops, theaters, and restaurants.
Easiest Neighborhood to Live In Without a Car: Columbia Heights. Need groceries? Head to Giant! Need household items or furniture? Try Target or Bed Bath and Beyond! Want to get downtown? Hop on the Metro, take the Circulator, take a 52/53/54 bus, or bike. No need to own a car when you’ve got everything you need in one place, and everything else you could want within a couple miles.
Neighborhood that Really Feels like a Neighborhood: Here’s another tough one. There are so many neighborhoods where residents really get to know each other, but at the top are Brookland, Mount Pleasant, and Adams Morgan. The thing these neighborhoods have in common? Rowhouses and small commercial strips. Both elements encourage chance encounters that then turn into “Hey, I remember that guy– I should stop and chat” that then turn into the feeling that you know your neighbors.
Number One Thing that Everyone I Have Interviewed Loves About their Neighborhood: Sense of community. Without fail, when I ask bloggers/friends/friends of friends about why they like living where they live, nine times out of ten it’s because it’s because they know their neighbors or because it feels like a strong community. We live in a sometimes faceless and overwhelming major city, so it’s really comforting to have a home in a smaller community where you know the guy next door, the coffee shop owner, and the bartender.
My Favorite Neighborhood: Well, I’m totally biased. I’ve lived in Logan Circle ever since I moved to the District several years ago, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I love that it’s within walking distance to everything, that it’s still a mix of older neighborhood stores and new trendy restaurants and shops, and that the limited-stop Circulator connects the neighborhood to Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan. While I love learning about what other DC neighborhoods have to offer, nothing will replace my neighborhood as my favorite, and I’m guessing the same is true for you too.