Where should I live in DC?
July 29, 2007 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Where should I live in D.C., given the following specs?

I have about $1500 I can spend on rent and utilities (though I would love to spend less). I must be either near the red, blue, or orange lines, or within walking distance (a mile to a mile & a half, I think) of 12th & Penn. In a perfect world, I'd find a neighborhood with at least 4 or 5 good, inexpensive restaurants for take-out; a couple of good little bars; a good grocery (one you can trust with seafood); and either an arty movie theatre or video rental shop. Oh, and also, I would prefer not to be mugged. Or if I must be mugged, at least not at knife- or gun-point.

Thanks a million for your tips!
posted by walla to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dupont Circle, Penn Quarter, Chinatown, convention center area (this can have sketchy blocks though, be careful), one of those big generic high rise buildings on Massachusetts Avenue between Chinatown and Judiciary Square.. Woodley Park, Cleveland Park.. Foggy Bottom (that one is orange/blue line, the others are red line).. They're all kind of expensive but with that much budget you should be fine.

The only good grocery would be the Whole Foods at 14th & P, so if it's Dupont in between the red line metro & that supermarket, you'd be good. (There's also a Trader Joe's in Foggy Bottom around 25th & L so you could move there too..) The arty movie theater would be around 11th and E (Metro Center), or AFI up in Silver Spring.

There's also Arlington at Court House or Clarendon which would suit the "nice little bar" requirement and has a Whole Foods as well, of course, you'd be living in Virginia and not in the city proper.
posted by citron at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2007

You are talking about Cleveland Park. Also there is a large urban national park steps away.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:58 AM on July 29, 2007

In terms of grocery, you can go to Magruders. Can't vouch for the fish.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:59 AM on July 29, 2007

Eastern Market area? Arlington orange line corridor? (Rosslyn/Courthouse/Clarendon/Ballston)?
posted by sandking at 9:05 AM on July 29, 2007

I live in Eastern Market area myself and there's not really that much good takeout.. I would recommend it if you work on the Hill but not so highly, otherwise (though it's likely to be less expensive), it's not terribly far from some cool bars up on H St NE but you'd have to drive there, H St is still not a safe area. Also Barracks Row on 8th St SE south of Eastern Market has some nice little restaurants and bars. Eastern Market vendors are there but fewer than they used to be, after the fire.. My impression, though, is that the bars on the Hill are mostly a social scene for people who work on the Hill.. and if you have friends all living elsewhere in the city it's not a place where people tend to congregate, Dupont area is more central in that respect.
posted by citron at 9:14 AM on July 29, 2007

Thanks for the tips so far. Does anyone know anything about Brookland?
posted by walla at 9:19 AM on July 29, 2007

i have a few friends who lived in brookland and they really didnt like it. i'd steer clear. its not bad, but for the price youre looking to spend, there are better places.
posted by kneelconqueso at 10:26 AM on July 29, 2007

re: Brookland: I'm a Catholic U student, so I can tell you that Brookland is full of a whole lot of Catholic institutions and a decent middle-class atmosphere. A nice chunk of apartment buildings in the area and some condos / row houses / freestanding homes (with real yards! gasp!) There's a number of local parks and a commercial district on 12th Street. Unfortunately, many of the stores are boarded up and closed, but there's still a few gas stations, a CVS and a few local dives. Some of the residential areas east of 12th are very quiet, treed-in and secluded. I would compare it to Cleveland Park in that regard. The city's undergoing a 15-year renovation plan for the area around the Metro stop, and Catholic U is in the process of turning some of the land south of Michigan Ave into a more college-friendly commercial district. Crime there is fairly similar to the rest of the city. If you have any other Brookland questions, drop me an e-mail and I can try to help.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:07 AM on July 29, 2007

I'd agree with Cleveland Park; I live in Foggy Bottom right next to that Trader Joe's, and although I love it, public transit to anywhere fun is miserable: no good bus or metro lines to Georgetown (yes, the 30-36 goes in but stops at Wisconsin), Dupont, or Adams Morgan/U St.
posted by awesomebrad at 11:49 AM on July 29, 2007

Check out Local Explorer to get an idea of crime in a prospective neighborhood.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:52 PM on July 29, 2007

I lived in Foggy Bottom for a year on 19th & E and it blew. Not such a friendly place as the other neighborhoods mentioned and it's dominated by the dreary financial district and GWU. You might also want to check out Logan Circle, I think it's more affordable than Dupont Circle, Cleveland Park, Adams Morgan, etc.
posted by puffin at 2:21 PM on July 29, 2007

H Street NE, where I live, is right near red line Union Station and has some good take out. there is also a safeway within walking distance and there seems to be a new, foppish hipster music club opening up every two weeks.
posted by parmanparman at 2:44 PM on July 29, 2007

You could live on 16th street in my friend's apartment which she is vacating. 2 blocks to the metro (red I think), a target being built nearby and a giant and whole foods not too far off.

Several nice bars and good restaurants, a $5 cab ride to adam's morgan as well.

Her apartment is a spacious 1 br, 1295 you pay electric. I'm total a realtor right now. LOL! Email if you want more info ;)
posted by heartquake at 9:32 AM on July 30, 2007

You are going to work at 12th and Penn? That is also really close (.4 mile according to google) to the Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Station on the Green and Yellow which also gives you the option to live off those lines. So U street Corridor, Columbia Heights, Pentagon City, Crystal City in VA. etc.

Have you gone to HousingMaps.com?
It puts craigslist ads on an easy to find google map.
posted by hokie409 at 9:52 AM on July 30, 2007

PS- The metro that heartquake is referring to is the Columbia Heights Metro which is Green/yellow not Red.
The Target is being built at 14th and Irving. The Giant has been open for 2 years at 14th and Park and there is not going to be a Whole Foods although there was a lot of interest. There will be a Harris Teeter at 17th and Kalorama, NW though.

Sorry, This is my neighborhood and I love it so I feel compelled to make sure the info is accurate.

And there is no such thing as a 5 dollar cab ride in the district. But an address at 16th and Columbia or so would be very easy to walk to the bars at Adam's Morgan. As well as new places like The Heights, Red Rocks, Rumberos and Wonderland in Columbia Heights.
posted by hokie409 at 10:04 AM on July 30, 2007

I used to live around 11th and L NW and it was great. I was not exactly in the center of things, but could walk to Penn Quarter/Chinatown, 14th ST, Dupont Circle, and downtown very easily. I was also easy walking distance to both Convention Center for yellow/green and Metro Center for red/blue/orange. Can't beat it, really. You'd be able to walk to all you describe (the arty movie theater is E and 11th). 12th and Penn would also be a very easy walk. Lately there have been a lot more businesses moving into the immediate vicinity (cafe and a CVS on 10th and L, great restaurant Brasserie Beck on 11th and K). As for safety, I was never mugged and it seemed fine for DC as long as you used common sense.
posted by jules1651 at 3:02 PM on July 30, 2007

hokie409 - thank you for clearing up my discrepancies. I have taken $5 cabs from my friend's place into the city - but perhaps it's an Ethiopian kindred spirit kind of thing ;)

I agree, great neighborhood.
posted by heartquake at 7:36 AM on July 31, 2007

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