Where We Live: Chevy Chase

Photo courtesy of

‘Chevy Chase Trolley Turnaround’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Welcome to another installment of Where We Live.  As we’re wrapping up the District’s neighborhoods (if there’s one I haven’t yet covered that you’d like to see, speak now!) before moving onto Maryland and Virginia, this week’s feature tackles a town that sits in both the District and Maryland: Chevy Chase. This neighborhood has a charming residential character, and beautiful tree-lined streets, and it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

History: About 130 years ago, a senator from Nevada and some friends started acquiring farmland in northwest Washington and Montgomery County to build a streetcar suburb, and in 1890 the Chevy Chase Land Company was founded.  A few years later, the Chevy Chase Line started running and connected the area with downtown, and the area began developing as a middle-class residential neighborhood.  The community grew around the streetcar line, and because it is a bit removed from the rest of the city (Rock Creek Park is to the east of the neighborhood), the small-town character of Chevy Chase has been preserved.  While nearby Friendship Heights and Tenleytown have become homes to national chains of retail stores, Chevy Chase has retained its independent businesses.

Photo courtesy of
‘2008 07 16 – 6039-6041 – Washington DC – Avalon Theatre’
courtesy of ‘thisisbossi’

Neighborhood Character: Chevy Chase doesn’t feel like it’s in the city.  The houses are huge (and the incomes in this area are correspondingly high), and it’s more of a park-like setting with lots of big trees, rolling hills, and smaller streets.  You’ll see lots of families in the area– kids playing in yards and riding bikes, and lots of strollers on the sidewalks.  Almost all of the homes in this area are single family, with just a couple condo buildings on Connecticut Avenue.  Since the heart of Chevy Chase is a bit removed from Connecticut Avenue, it’s a lot quieter than nearby neighborhoods of Friendship Heights and Tenleytown.

Transportation: Chevy Chase is close enough to public transportation, but the more suburban character of development in the residential parts of the neighborhood mean that buses and Metro don’t stop right outside your front door. The Van Ness, Tenleytown, and Friendship Heights Metro stations are within walking distance to some parts of the neighborhood, and several bus lines, like the L1/L2/L4 along Connecticut Avenue and the E2/E3/E4/E6 along Military Road stop in Chevy Chase. There aren’t bike sharing stations in this part of the city yet, but there are a couple Zipcars scattered along Connecticut Avenue. And if you’re interested in biking/hiking/walking/jogging, Rock Creek Park and the Capital Crescent Trail are nearby.

Photo courtesy of
‘American City Diner’
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

What to See: Next time you find yourself in this corner of the District, here are a couple things to check out:

Photo courtesy of
‘Friendship Heights’
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

Neighborhood Links: Not a huge blogging community (unless I’m missing something), but here are some good online resources on the Chevy Chase area.

What’s Nearby: Chevy Chase is north of Cleveland Park and southeast of Bethesda.

Why We Love Chevy Chase: Chevy Chase is one of the District’s most beautiful neighborhoods.  Walking through the hills of the neighborhood, it’s hard to believe you’re still in the city– it’s more like a wooded suburb.  The houses are gorgeous (and huge), Rock Creek Park is right next door, and you’re just a short bike ride from the retail in Friendship Heights or Tenleytown.  If you’ve got a family, a car, and want some space of your own while being close enough to the city, Chevy Chase is just perfect.

Shannon grew up in the greater DC area/Maryland suburbs, went to Virginia for college and grad school (go Hoos!), and settled in DC in 2006. She’s an urban planner who loves transit (why yes, that is her dressed as a Metro pylon for Halloween), cities, and all things DC. Email her at Shannon (at) WeLoveDC.com!

4 thoughts on “Where We Live: Chevy Chase

  1. When you move on into VA, please check out Ashburn area as I have some family that just moved out there that would love to find out about places to visit and events to eat at with their kids.

  2. Hey Shannon, not to be a shameless plug, but what about U street! We’re vibrant, funky, exciting, and have great history (Black Broadway), and U street is definitely becoming a nightlife destination, but there’s so much more. I’d love to talk about it more.

  3. @Janice Thanks for the tip! I’ll put it on the list.

    @u street girl Don’t worry, I’ve still got a couple more DC neighborhoods to profile, and U Street is definitely on the list. I’ll get in touch with you about it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  4. Chevy Chase is where I do a majority of my shopping or visit for a nice weekend stroll/cup of coffee. I love it :)