Southwest D.C.


Southwest is the smallest of Washington D.C.’s quadrants, but if you’ve visited the Nation’s Capitol you’ve probably been there. The boundaries of Southwest extend from the axis of the Capitol building west for the entire length of the National Mall, and south to include Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling across the river. Today, it is only a small sliver of the District, but it wasn’t always so small. When the lines were drawn for DC, the District formed a square and included Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. However, in the 19th century the District ceded Arlington and Alexandria back to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Though not often mentioned as a residential area, there is a lot of focus on developing the riverfront just north of Fort McNair. This up-and-coming area will be home to multiple high rise condo buildings, luxury hotels, local and national brand shops and restaurants, a marina with hundreds of boat slips, parks, and community spaces — so definitely be on the lookout for a migration of young professionals to the Southwest Waterfront.

Most notably, Southwest is where you’ll find the National Air & Space Museum, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. Fort McNair and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling are also in Southwest D.C.



The areas near the National Mall are tourist-heavy with the abundance of monuments and attractions, but the throngs of visitors thin out dramatically as you travel south. The highrise apartments and condos will most likely attract young professionals, couples and possibly families with a small child or fur-baby who won’t need a ton of space. You’ll find hipsters, thespians, working class people, and retirees in Southwest.

Neighborhood Feel

Southwest is one of the more historic areas in the district with some homes dating back to the 1700s. This history is colliding with the new waterfront development that will likely be one of the hottest new neighborhoods in DC. This represents a broader transition from being an often-overlooked area to an active, thriving, urban community with street level shops and eclectic residents. The Southwest Waterfront also currently boasts the largest population of “liveaboards” on the East Coast — as in, they live aboard their boat!  Most of the homes currently available range in style from 18th Century Federal to Mid-Century Modern, with many high rise buildings that date back to the 1950s scattered about. Stunning views of the Potomac River abound and residents love being within walking distance to the National Mall. The communities are pretty tightly knit and it’s much less crowded than the more notable tourist destination neighborhoods in the District.

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Neighborhood Location

Neighborhood Info

Southwest D.C. - JB Anacostia Bolling & Fort McNair - Washington D.C. -

Points of Interest

Smithsonian National Museums

Washington Monument

National Air and Space Museum

Lincoln Memorial

Washington Memorial

Thomas Law House

Wheat Row

St. Dominic’s Church

East Potomac Golf Course and Driving Range

Potomac Park

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater – Tony Award winning theater

Maine Avenue Fish Market – The oldest continuously operated open air fish market that dates back to 1805!


Big Plus

This is an ideal location for those reporting to Fort McNair, but larger families tend to migrate to Northern Virginia in search of more space and higher performing schools.

Public Transit is incredibly accessible from the Southwest Waterfront. The Waterfront Metro station (Green and Yellow lines), L’Enfant Plaza (Green, Blue, Orange, Yellow and Silver) and Federal Center (Silver, Blue, Orange) are all nearby. It’s only 4.5 miles away from Reagan National Airport and Union Station is easily accessible as well.

Really great location. You’re close to all of the beloved attractions at and near the National Mall, just a bridge away from Old Town Alexandria, and not far from Arlington.

Things to Consider

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

Until the new developments are completed, there’s a limited amount of inventory available.

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!

How’s the Market?

The median home value is $354,200 according to the Zillow Home Value Index.

Home Values are forecasted to increase by 2.8% in the coming year.

According to Zillow’s Rental Index, the median rental rate for single-family homes in Southwest Washington, D.C. is $2,621.

School Scoop

Schools in Southwest Washington D.C. Are a part of the District of Columbia Public Schools system, which has an overall rating of 5, according to

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 publically funded (FREE) and fill quickly. It is recommended that you enroll early to a preschool, or Child Development Center (CDC), near the base 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

National Mall

Federal Center SW

Southwest Waterfront

Buzzard Point