Northwest D.C.


Northwest is DC’s largest and most “postcard worthy” area. Extending north of the National Mall and west from North Capitol Street (the street that extends from the Capitol Building), Northwest is home to many of the District’s wealthier neighborhoods.

Each neighborhood has its own unique personality and, if you are willing to make the financial sacrifice, there are limitless opportunities for an incredible “city-life” experience. Northwest is very walkable so ditch one (or both) cars and embrace the public transit system. The restaurants are world-class, the shopping rivals any other metropolitan city, the history is inspiring, and there’s a story on every corner.


The variety of people you’ll find in Northwest DC is almost impossible to describe. Some neighborhoods are swanky, affluent, and home to the nation’s most powerful and influential people. Other neighborhoods are populated with students and young professionals trying to work their way up the DC ladder. Singles and young couples love Adam’s Morgan, Dupont Circle and Penn Quarter for the social scene. Most military families we’ve spoken to have focused on other areas in search of something a bit more affordable and over concerns about the schools in DC, but that’s not to say there aren’t great schools to be found.

Neighborhood Feel

Close to the heart of the District, you’ll find highrise apartments, condo buildings, and row homes. Space is at a premium and you’ll be spending a pretty penny for housing. To find something large enough for a family, you’ll need to set your sights on neighborhoods a bit farther out. Traveling away from Downtown, the square footage increases and the sporadic trees thicken to become wooded spaces. Upper Northwest is less densely populated, yet still very walkable and offers all the shopping and amenities you can imagine.

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Neighborhood Location

Neighborhood Info

Northwest D.C. - Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall - Washington D.C. -

Points of Interest

Friendship Heights shopping

Rock Creek Park

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

National Cathedral

The White House

Smithsonian National Zoo

Rock Creek Park


Big Plus

The restaurants in Northwest are incredible. You can find anything you can dream of, in any price range. Because of the international diversity of DC you can find ethnic food from around the globe in addition to boutique cupcakeries, dive diners, celebrity chef powerhouses, and everything in between.

Visitors flock to Northwest neighborhoods for the shopping and social scene. Looking for boutiques with couture clothing, bespoke suits, luxury designers? All can be found in Northwest along with department stores and chain retailers,. There are also farmer’s markets and flea markets with funky vintage finds.

Parks and green spaces are in high demand because of DC’s active and outdoorsy residents, and are plentiful in Northwest. Rock Creek Park is a local favorite and even offers horseback riding throughout the park.

The public transit is easily accessible from nearly everywhere in Northwest. If there isn’t a Metro station within walking distance, bus lines are plentiful or you can just grab a bike from the bike share rack!

Things to Consider

Northwest is expensive. There are more affordable neighborhoods in other quadrants of DC, but Northwest typically gets all the love and has the reputation of being one of the safest areas in the District

DC schools are not always recommended by the military spouses we’ve spoken with, but we encourage you to do your research. Most military families opt to live in Virginia for the preferable school districts, but that’s not to say you can’t find a great school in DC. There’s also a lottery for DC schools if your neighborhood school doesn’t excite you and DC offers free public preschool!

As with most urban communities, there are pockets of crime. It is recommended that you research crime statistics before renting or buying.

How’s the Market?

The median home value is $915,700 according to the Zillow Home Value Index.

Home Values are forecasted to increase by 1.9% in the coming year.

According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for single-family homes in Northwest DC is $3,600.

School Scoop

Northwest Washington, D.C. contains around 21 schools. Two of the best schools are Hyde-Addison Elementary School and Mann Elementary School, both are rated 9, according to Public Schools fall into in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) or  Washington Latin Public Schools, which has an overall rating of 6.

You have the option of enrolling your children in any school that they aren’t already zoned to in the District of Columbia Public School system through the DCPS one-stop shop lottery system. Lotteries are available for preschool programs (3 and 4 year olds), out-of-boundary schools K-12 (those outside your zone), selective high schools, and charter schools. Spots fill up so make sure you enroll as soon as the lottery opens in their online system. Confused? Not to worry. Here’s a great overview video of how the DC Lottery works.

Military families may apply for the DCPS Lottery before you have orders by working with your School Liaison Officer (SLO). If you have a middle or high schooler, it is highly recommended that you consult with your SLO to discuss options for school choice in the DC area. That recommendation is emphasized even more if you have a child that is gifted, has an IEP, or any other specific needs.

DC Preschools are publicly funded (FREE) and fill quickly. It is recommended that you enroll early to a preschool, or Child Development Center (CDC), near your home because bus transportation is not available at this age.

Beginning in 2016-2017, some DCPS schools will be operating on an Extended Year calendar that allows for a longer school year with more frequent breaks.

Highlighted Areas

Penn Quarter

Foggy Bottom


Dupont Circle


Columbia Heights