|Median Rent||Median Sqft|
|1 Bed||$2,411||756 sqft|
|2 Beds||$3,222||1,050 sqft|
The leafy Northwest neighborhood of Woodley Park in Washington DC has a little bit of everything: grand historic homes and apartment buildings, trendy shops and restaurants, and some of the Washington DC’s most popular destinations like the Smithsonian National Zoo and nearby National Cathedral. It’s an urban neighborhood in the heart of the city, yet those lucky enough to live here are spoiled by a wealth of greenspaces, such as Rock Creek Park with its new Klingle Valley Trail, Tregaron Conservancy, and Woodland-Normanstone Terrace Park.
Known as one of the city’s finest residential neighborhoods, this land once belonged to Philip Barton Key, the uncle of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the National Anthem. In 1801, the elder Key built an estate on this 250-acre parcel and named it Woodley House in honor of its forested location. His mansion has been lovingly preserved, and you can still see it along the 3000 block of Cathedral Avenue; today, it functions as an elite institution called The Maret School, one of several top-tier private schools in the area. Woodley Park’s other VIP residencies include the Naval Observatory, where the Vice President lives, and the many beautiful mansions and embassies along Embassy Row.
Civilians looking to put down roots in Woodley Park will do well here too, with housing ranging from single-family homes for rent to the historic Beaux Arts and Modernist apartment buildings on Woodley Road and Connecticut Avenue — some of which boast very modern amenities like rooftop pools. Woodley Park’s central location along the Red Line Metro places it within the heart of the action, easily reachable to destinations around the city. And if you find its lovely, leaf-filled setting too quiet for your tastes, simply walk across one of the neighborhood’s two beautiful bridges, the Taft or Duke Ellington Bridges, and you’ll land in funky Adams Morgan or cosmopolitan Dupont Circle, where there’s always something going on any time, day or night.
Woodley Park’s boundaries include Woodley Road to the north, Rock Creek Park and the Smithsonian National Zoo to the east, Calvert Street and Rock Creek to the south, and Massachusetts Avenue and 34th Street NW to the west.
Woodley Park contains two of the city’s north/south thoroughfares, Massachusetts Avenue and Connecticut Avenue, connecting it to points in suburban Maryland as well as to Downtown DC. With streets laid out in a grid, this neighborhood is easy to navigate, and there are parking options on the street as well as in public garages on Connecticut Avenue. Apartment residents can park in underground garages assuming they can afford steep monthly fees.
In addition to the Red Line Metro at Woodley Park/Adams Morgan Station, mass transportation options in Woodley Park are plentiful and include the numerous Metrobuses which roll through the neighborhood, such as the 30N, 30S, 31, 33, 90, 96, H2, H4, and L2. In addition, the DC Circulator’s Green Route travels from the Woodley Park/Adams Morgan Metro Station to McPherson Square, making stops in Columbia Heights and Logan Circle.
Pedestrians will find wide sidewalks kept in good repair and crosswalks at traffic lights. Basically, the woodsier it gets, the further away from Downtown you’re going. Crossing the Duke Ellington and Taft bridges means you are getting closer to Downtown, and it feels more urban along this stretch of Connecticut Avenue. Bicyclists enjoy a dedicated lane on Calvert Street as well as paved paths within Rock Creek Park.
When it comes to restaurants in Woodley Park, Lebanese Taverna is a neighborhood institution. Owners Tanios and Marie Abi-Najm fled Beirut in the 1970s and opened a small storefront in Arlington, Virginia. Their Mediterranean specialties became so popular that they soon opened another restaurant in Woodley Park, fast becoming a landmark by the Metro Station. While many years have passed, their quality remains unchanged: try the Chef’s Platter, which features a selection of their famous hummus, Baba Ghanoush, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, chicken-filled fried samosas, and a savory stuffing made with ground beef.
Baked by Yael has won accolades for its array of cake pops — some are decorated to resemble the panda bears and other animals at the National Zoo. In addition to sweets on a stick, this nut-free and kosher bakery makes cookies, brownies, pastries, Rugelach, bagel sandwiches, and Challah Breads. Local news radio WTOP even named it among the best in DC.
Located on Calvert Street, just by the bridges, Open City is a great coffee shop whose outdoor patio is the place to see and be seen on the weekends. Espresso drinks are made with housemade syrups; the drink menu also includes smoothies, Masala Chai, and tea lattes. Brunch is served all day here, and diners rave about the French Toast stuffed with citrus cream cheese and blackberry sauce, Hash Brown Bowl topped with a sunny side-up egg. Other favorites include Huevos Rancheros and bagels and Lox.
What District Kitchen lacks in size, it makes up in atmosphere. Step inside the homey restaurant and enjoy the exposed brick walls, open shelving, and strings of Edison lights. The menu is composed of New American favorites like grilled salmon with a lemon caper sauce, lamb and goat cheese empanadas, vanilla-maple roasted brussel sprouts, and steak frites.
Just a few streets to the west, by the US Naval Observatory on Wisconsin Avenue, the Glover Park Grill consistently tops critic’s best dining lists for its inventive take on the classics. Chef Hamilton Johnson serves his Steak Tartare atop a bed of fried Panko, and his jumbo lump crab cake is one of the tastiest in DC. If you’re up for something hearty, you’ll love his braised short ribs — they’re infused with coffee oil.
There are no breweries in Woodley Park, but you can head a few blocks east to Franklin Hall in Columbia Heights for an expansive beer hall housed in a historic building. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser chose this site for her reelection night victory party. You can select from an array of 24 rotating drafts; the draft cocktails are also quite tasty.
Shopping in Woodley Park is an international affair. Catering to the neighborhood’s diverse population, India Art and Craft, on Connecticut Avenue, is a great place to shop for authentic clothing from South Asia, such as saris, pashmina shawls, silk kimonos, and comfortable tunic and trouser sets known as shalwar kameez. They also sell Buddhist and Hindu statues, Tibetan singing bowls, incense, henna hair dyes, and temporary tattoos. The Wishing Well is a global marketplace that sells handmade caftans, tunics, scarves and accessories at affordable prices. It’s always worth a peek inside to see what’s new. Lambros Fine Jewelry takes inspiration from ancient Greek designs and is one of the best places in DC to shop for one-of-a-kind gold and gemstone necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings.
For even more boutiques, head to Dupont Circle, where you’ll find custom jewelry at Bloom and secondhand treasures at Joint Custody. There’s also big-name clothiers like Loft, Betsy Fisher, and Brooks Brothers, to name a few.
For small grocery items, Manhattan Market is just the place. Larger orders will be satisfied at the Streets Market and Yes! Organic Market, which are both found in Cleveland Park. In addition, a Giant Food is located in nearby Columbia Heights.
Embassy Row comprises the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue between Dupont Circle at 20th Street NW and the Naval Observatory at 37th Street NW. While the embassy buildings are not open to the public, you can enjoy a free, self-guided tour of the area’s fascinating history and exterior architecture from DC By Foot. Sights include the Indonesian Embassy, a lovely 60-room mansion with a statue of the goddess of knowledge, Saraswati, the site of the assassination of Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier, the Spanish Steps, President Woodrow Wilson’s House, and more. Visit their website to download the tour guide.
In addition to providing living quarters for the Vice President of the United States, the Naval Observatory is a fascinating complex whose main function is to act as the nation’s timekeeper. Notice the Master Clock out front; the USNO records the official measurements of time through electromagnetic signals. The scientists here are also responsible for recording astronomical measurements used in satellites and GPS systems. The grounds of the USNO contain a large refracting telescope, an observatory, and an astronomical library. On select Monday evenings, their doors open to the public for 90-minute tours; check the website for availability.
Its full name is The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, but most people know it as the National Cathedral, the country’s second-largest church and the seat of the Episcopal Church. Always a fan favorite, free guided tours of its Gothic Architecture, detailing all the flying buttresses, statuary, and gargoyles (including a memorable Darth Vader) are given daily. A small earthquake in 2011 damaged its carved treasures; visitors can also learn how the building has been restored, one block at a time.
The Smithsonian National Zoo is one of DC’s most popular attractions. Its 163 acres are home to nearly 3,000 animals ranging from tiny salamanders to African elephants. You can see alligators, lemurs, cheetahs, monkeys, and snakes residing in natural habitats while learning how animal keepers and veterinarians provide the very best possible care. A family of Giant Pandas, Tian Tian, Mei Xang, and Xiao Qi Ji, are so popular they have their own webcam, which allows armchair tourists to see them anytime.
Rock Creek Park, a 2,600-acre expanse that stretches to the Maryland border, begins in Woodley Park. It has two main hiking trails: Western Ridge Trail and the Valley Trail. The new Klingle Valley Trail is a mile-long mini path that connects Woodley Park to Cleveland Park and Mount Pleasant. You’ll find the park’s main entrance and a nature center at the intersection of Military Road and Glover Road. There are picnic areas, tennis courts, playgrounds, historical statuary, and sites of interest, such as the charming Pierce Mill, a 19th-century grist mill located just north of the National Zoo.
Other parks in and around the neighborhood include Woodland-Normanstone Terrace Park, a heavily wooded area by Embassy Row which connects to Georgetown’s Dumbarton Oaks. Walter Pierce Park has community gardens, ball fields, a playground, and a dog park. The Tregaron Conservancy has 13 acres of wild gardens, forested areas, and a lily pond. It’s also dog-friendly.
There are no colleges in Woodley Park, but two colleges can be found nearby: American University and the University of the District of Columbia, the city’s community college. It’s a quiet neighborhood with close proximity to Adams Morgan’s nightlife and Dupont Circle’s art scenes, and those students who choose to live here will find it to be a beautiful place to work and study.
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