DISTRICTS IN THE DISTRICT
Located in the Northwest quadrant of the District, Columbia Heights is considered one of its dynamic and diverse neighborhoods. A true precedent to the power of change, Columbia Heights has transformed itself from a cluster of abandoned homes and stores to high rise condos and notable restaurants in the past decade. Since its recent renovation, the Tivoli Theater, a former movie theater and historic DC landmark on 14th street, marks the beginning of the Columbia Heights commercial district.
In the mood for an incredible sit down meal? Red Rocks DC on Park Road specializes in delicious Neapolitan-style firebrick pizza. Complete with an outdoor seating option, extensive drink menu and vegan options, Red Rocks hosts one of the best brunches in DC and offers its customers a unique dining experience.
Home to the largest cascading fountain in North America, Meridian Hill Park is a Columbia Heights treasure. Located on the intersection of 16th street & Euclid, this unique urban park was designed in the early 1900’s after Italian Aristocrat, King Victor Emmanuel III’s private residence. Home to a number of presidential statutes, Meridian Hill Park also features a statue of Joan of Arc, the only statue of a woman on horseback in Washington DC. The park offers a number of guided tours and exhibits throughout the year and offers visitors a number of seating areas and walking paths.
Columbia Heights is one of the many epicenters of Washington DC’s history, but the Lionshead Condominium is paving the way for the future. The building features nine luxury condominiums fully equipped with three bedrooms, two baths and terrace. Less than a five block walk from the Georgia Avenue Petworth Metro Station and only a few blocks from acclaimed American-Italian fusion restaurant, Maple, Lionshead is in the perfect location. S2 Development has done a beautiful job creating such an innovative and timeless set of condominiums. The Lionshead Condominium is just one of the many boutique condos available in Columbia Heights.
Although Columbia Heights is still in the midst of its continued transformation, it has evolved so beautifully over the years and continues to offer residents and visitors a safe and dynamic environment. - By Dahlia Amade
In 1791 French engineer Pierre L’Enfant chose the area upon which the Capitol building would be built and created the surrounding community design, just a few years after the US gained independence from Britain. The Capitol building originally housed Congress along with the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, district courts, and other offices. Consequently, the Capitol Hill neighborhood developed as one of the first residential areas in DC, serving as the home to the majority of the country’s federal staff who desired walking access to the Capitol building. With such esteemed residents, the Capitol Hill neighborhood was one of the first in the District to have running water, electricity, and other modern amenities. Today not much has changed, with around a third of all Congress members living in Capitol Hill. The neighborhood is the largest residential area in DC, composed almost completely of historically protected individual town houses with nearly every imaginable architectural style represented. - By Caitlin Moore
The Nation's Only Boutique County - Arlington, VA
When it comes to Arlington County, Virginia—the smallest county in the country (at 26 square miles)—truer words were never spoken. This boutique county’s wealth can be found in its charm, vitality and cultural diversity. As an Arlingtonian myself, I would not live anywhere else!
People from all over the world make Arlington their home because its urban villages provide an unparalleled quality of life. From stately colonial homes in Country Club Hills to chic, new condominiums in Shirlington to elegant townhomes in Rosslyn to luxury rental homes in Crystal City, Arlingtonians come together as a community every day at the county’s many parks and squares and at special events, such as the Rosslyn Jazz Festival and Taste of Arlington.
A very green county, Arlington boasts almost 90 miles of biking and running trails in the midst of nature and the changing seasons. Just over the Potomac River via Key Bridge or via Metro, is Washington, DC, with its classical skyline, which, of course can be viewed best from Arlington.
Called the “Hotbed of Cultural Abandon,” Arlington has 50 listed arts organizations and a firm historical footing. Whether one speaks of the Rosslyn Spectrum, the Washington Shakespeare Company or the Gunston Arts Center, Arlington is where culture lives. Native Arlingtonians Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, Sandra Bullock and Katie Couric all went on to share their prodigious talents on the larger world stage.
Smart is the new sexy, and Arlington County residents are highly educated, with the highest percentage of residents in the country having earned advanced academic degrees. Technology and innovation are welcomed at the many firms which make their home here. Arlingtonians pass their love of learning onto the next generation, with excellent public schools from Kindergarten through University; 92 percent of all graduating high school seniors in Arlington County go on to attend college.
The evolution of Metro’s Orange Line corridor over the last decade or so has brought myriad restaurants and shops with locally grown creative businesses anchored by the Apple Store and Whole Foods. A typical dining day could start with New Orleans coffee and beignets at Bayou Bakery in Clarendon, a lunch break of tapas from master chef José Andrés at Jaleo in Crystal City and a celebration with the after-work crowd with the Korean fried chicken and lively atmosphere at BonChon in Ballston.
Home to some of the nation’s most important memorials, from the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) to Arlington National Cemetery to the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial to the new Air Force Memorial, Arlington is rich in history of its own and of the nation. There is no better place to visit, entertain, work or live. - By John Eric, Vice President, TTR | Sotheby's International Realty
Jazzy New Development for the U Street Corridor
Long known as Washington, DC’s historic Jazz Corridor, the U-Street restaurant and bar scene continues its urban renaissance in jazzy style with some amazing new developments, all the while preserving some of the venues that helped to establish it. Once home to jazz legends like Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie, and the de facto center of African American pride, culture and civil rights movement development, the corridor is now home to a diverse population of District residents of just about every background.
The area is now home to a revitalized Howard Theatre (the largest “colored” theater of its time when it opened in 1910), which re-opened last year with a gorgeous restored façade and inviting streetscape development. The equally important Lincoln Theater, opened in 1922, was renovated in 1993 and has been flourishing ever since. Both theaters claim to have predated and influenced the Harlem Renaissance, and both flourished for years before falling into disrepair in the middle of the last century.
Another landmark as part of the colorful neighborhood is a favorite with celebrities like Bill Cosby and current DC resident Barack Obama: Ben’s Chili Bowl. Founded in 1958 by a Trinadadian immigrant, the no-nonsense diner has been feeding visitors, and the jazz scene itself, both night and day for decades.
New development has come fast and furious through the historic neighborhood in the past decade. Since 2000, the area has become home to countless renovated rowhomes and condominium projects both large and small. Feeding off the new development along 14th Street, the U-Street corridor is home to a beautiful new Y fitness center, some fab foodie finds like Mike Isabella’s Kapnos, and a large selection of Ethiopian restaurants that reflect Washington’s large population from that country (in fact, DC is home to more Ethiopians in one place than any other area outside Ethiopia itself). Favorite restaurants with this unique, flavorful cuisine include Dukem at 12th Street and Etete. 1905 has been serving savory fare with hipster Victorian ambience on ninth street for several years, and Brixton just opened at 9th and U with a roof deck that bustles with life in warmer months.
Big new developments are in the works, too. Atlantic Plumbing will feature two huge new condo developments at 8th and Florida, and the famed 9:30 Club will get a new neighbor with a six-theater Landmark Cinema, already breaking ground in Howard University’s shadow. A funky church, long since empty, will become part of a fantastic condo fusing old and new design at 10th and V Streets, which is a more residential section of the area.
An anchor of the original Jazz scene, and still standing strong, is the Bohemian Caverns restaurant and bar at 11th and U. The basement is decorated to look like an actual cavern, complete with rough “rock” walls and low ceilings. The spirit of the Jazz greats is still felt in this modest concert hall, perpetuating the vibe that at one time defined the neighborhood, and now continues to infuse it with an infectious energy and excitement.- By David Bediz, the Bediz Group, LLC at Keller Williams
Logan Circle, as many would suggest, is one of DC’s hottest neighborhoods. Its close proximity to dining, shopping and entertainment attracts a vibrant and fun community. Nestled between Dupont Circle and Shaw, the fusion of two distinct neighborhoods gives Logan Circle a unique flavor that sets it apart within DC.
Logan Circle itself is the only one hundred percent residential circle in the city and is becoming one of the fastest growing and most densely populated areas in the district. With Victorian-style houses from the late 19th century in fun shades of red, yellow, blue, gray, and green, the architecture is one of the most appealing draws to the neighborhood.
Another huge draw is location. A quick walk from the White House, along with its myriad of food and shopping options, everything one might need is right there: from a local Whole Foods to weekly farmers markets to trendy new restaurants to local boutiques.
Just outside of the residential circle, the 14th Street Corridor is bustling. Within its radius of a few blocks, the corridor is filled with upscale dining options with exquisite taste and exceptional service, along with eclectic music venues, avant-garde design boutiques, chic art galleries and historical architecture. The area represents a deep convergence of old and new that attracts a vibrant crowd of twenty and thirty-something residents that have found the renovated houses and new high-rise apartments, hugely appealing.
Residents find that there are so many choices and a walk in one direction or the other will reveal a treasure trove of culinary, fashion, and entertainment venues.
For those looking for cultural and art opportunities, catch a show at Studio Theatre on 14th Street, or check out what exhibition Transformer, a non-profit art gallery on P street, has in store. Just around the corner, Black Whiskey is a reliable go-to for a night out or stop in to Birch and Barley to sample a few of their 500 beers in house.
For the local foodie, Estadio is known for its delicious Spanish small plates, while Zeniar has an acclaimed sushi bar that fish-lovers wont want to miss. However, nothing compares to Sunday brunch at Le Diplomate, with its incredible French inspired cuisine and its overflowing baskets of fresh, warm pastries.
A lot of these restaurants are furnished locally from Miss Pixie’s or Showroom 1412, two local furniture boutiques that carry such whimsical vintage wares; they could double as art galleries. The modern meets vintage décor mirrors the mixed culture of Logan Circle’s old and new.
Logan Circle’s recent boom is no surprise. With its stunning historical architecture, coupled with countless dining and cultural opportunities, there is no place like it and everyone wants a taste.
By Courtney Ingard
Dupont Circle, a hub of cosmopolitan activity, has both local and global influences that make it a unique DC hotspot. With around the clock energy, Dupont is filled with brunch spots, late night bars, and all the art galleries and impressive museums in between.
At the same time, it is a popular residential neighborhood, especially for young professionals who seek out residence in the high-rise apartment buildings and converted row houses. With beautiful green space available, residents can be found reading outside in Dupont Circle Fountain and Park, walking their dogs, or playing a game of pick up chess on the tables conveniently located in the middle of it all. A weekend farmer’s market set up right by the center circle brings a local and fresh vibe to this already irresistible neighborhood. Thus, Dupont Circle has become a social setting for local residents who embrace the vibrant and fun energy.
What makes Dupont so unique is that the sociable, local neighborhood feel is coupled with international, cultured, and luxe influences. The largest DC concentration of international embassies lies just northwest of the circle, giving the neighborhood a global feel. This is reflected in a variety of high end and local ethnic restaurants along with a focus on culture. Some of DC’s finest museums, art galleries, and bookstores reside in Dupont Circle. People come from all over the city to see The Phillips Collection, Woodrow Wilson House, and National Geographic Explorers Hall. For bookstore lovers, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café is famous for its breakfast, lunch, and dinner while perusing through its impressive collection of books. In a time where a good traditional bookstore is hard to find, people are drawn to its eclectic atmosphere and its famous “dysfunctional family sundae.”
For incredible cuisine, check out Hank’s Oyster Bar’s famous fried clams, Restaurant Nora’s certified organic menu, and Firefly’s unique modern comfort food. Keep the evening going with drinks at The Big Hunt or Buffalo Billiards.
Dupont Circle is a treasure trove of arts, culture, food, and fun for both residents and visitors alike.
By Courtney Ingard
Noteworthy in National Harbor
Located just south of Washington, DC, the National Harbor offers a unique seaside experience right outside of the nation’s capital. The 300 plus acres of waterfront land include shops, restaurants, and housing. With activities and events both day and night, the Harbor constantly provides new and exciting opportunities to explore. Whether you’re looking for a day of shopping or a night on the town, National Harbor is the ideal place to be.
During the day, you can explore shops along the Harbor or at the nearby Tanger Outlets. The harbor itself includes more than 40 different shops with a little something for everyone. From boutique favorites like Alex and Ani and South Moon Under to art exhibits such as Art Whino, the Harbor offers a one-stop shop for all of your summer needs.
The Harbor also hosts an array of organized activities throughout the summer. If you’re looking to get bikini body ready, stop by Waterfront Fitness, a free fitness program provided by Willpower Functional Fitness. On Tuesdays-Thursdays from 7-8 pm, you can try free yoga, kickboxing, and zumba classes while enjoying a picturesque waterfront view.
On Friday nights, stop by the Friday Night Live summer concert series to hear free music by local bands. For the last two weeks of the series, you can vote for your favorite band on Facebook to see them preform. For families, the harbor hosts Movies on the Potomac every Sunday night with themes such as “animated academy awards” and “family knows best.”
For dinner, the Harbor has a variety of restaurants that serve fresh seafood and other local favorites. Bond 45 offers both fresh seafood and prime steak in a New York Italian style setting. The restaurant also rents out tables and rooms for unique corporate and private events. For great deals on small plates and authentic Asian cuisine, stop by Grace’s Mandarin.
By Casey Kerkhof
Mount Vernon Square/Triangle
Since efforts to revitalize Mount Vernon Square began in 2002, the previously underdeveloped neighborhood has come a long way. Previously a less visited area of D.C. consisting of mostly parking lots, Mount Vernon square has become an upbeat and lively neighborhood with many business and activities. A combination of cheap housing, new restaurants, and office buildings had mad Mount Vernon Triangle an up-and-coming place to be for young professionals.
For work events, companies can rent space at the new Walter E. Washington Convention Center or the Carnegie Library right across the street. Both venues offer full service events and have a variety of different conference and break out rooms.
During the week, make sure to stop by Busboys and Poets, a local hotspot that brings members of the community together to discuss and share art and culture. The trendy meeting place has events and readings most nights of the week.
For dinner, Mount Vernon Square has a variety of unique restaurants. If you’re looking for a bar like atmosphere with traditional American favorites, check out the new specials at Silo. If you want to try something trendy, look at Kushi’s menu for modern twists on traditional sushi and cocktails. At Alba Osteria, you can find classic Italian cuisine and Happy Hour Prices during the week from 4-7p.m.
For either brunch or an after work happy hour, we recommend City Tap House. Named one of “DC’s 10 New Must Try Brunches,” by Zagat, the menu offers an extensive array of dishes and bottomless options. During the week, you sample the bar’s large assortment of craft beer for only $5. City Tap House also provides full service events for everything from corporate events to cocktail parties.
This is the second studio I have done for Wade Davis in Washington, D.C. Here’s a man NBC once introduced, to his embarrassment, as “the real Indiana Jones.” Wade was being modest — because it is true, he is one of those gifted writers and explorers whom the muses love to inhabit. As Explorer in Residence for the National Geographic Society, how do you fit all of his immense world view into a small space. He not only travels the world, but travels it with an eye into culture and metaphor and sees the whole world as Joseph Campbell or Plato would. The Movement in this piece is the very subtle tension between heaven and earth. There’s a dark step that drops off, so you don’t even know that that’s a step until you take it. When you’re there you feel a pull between earth and sky. The movement is very subtle, as subtle as the plucking of a magical note, a whispered prayer. It tells you how, even for a very creative, complicated individual, if one explores, one can actually find the stillness, nature and a modernist dynamic, all in a 100-square-foot writing temple.
By: Travis L. Price III, FAIA