The bustle of city life isn’t for everyone, but luckily D.C. has some amazing neighborhoods and suburbs that offer both urban or small town lifestyles. So whether you’re looking for a quiet country suburb or a trendy, vibrant district, you’ll be able to find it. What follows are some of the best to consider when making a move to the nation’s capital.
Obviously, if you’re planning to work (or are currently working) on Capitol Hill, living there is not a bad idea. It also has plenty of small parks, bars, and restaurants; and has a wonderful and diverse community. But, the walkability and glamour of living in one of the most prestigious areas of the county is going to cost you. The average monthly rent is a little more $2,900, while the median sales price for a home is $536,240. Thankfully, the average household income in the area is $116,539, meaning most can afford to live there, even though the neighborhood is younger (and therefore less established), with the average age of residents being 34. Capitol Hill is also a better place for singles, with 59% of residents being unmarried.
If you’re looking for safety and Metro access, Cleveland Park is one of the best options around, with many residents living within a 10-minute walk of the Cleveland Park Metro station. It also is home to the popular Uptown Theatre, which is essentially a giant movie theater with a balcony and enormous screen.
Cleveland Park residents are a little more established in life, as the average age here sits at 41. Nevertheless, 68% of the population is single, which means they must be doing pretty well (average household income is $111,813) as it’s expensive to both rent or own in this area. The median home price is $1.25 million, while the median rent is $5,450/month. As a result, a majority of residents (56%) own a home in Cleveland Park.
Popular with students or recent grads, Columbia Heights is seen as one of the trendy, up-and-coming neighborhoods of D.C. Translation: It’s the hipster go-to in the D.C. area. Think mom-and-pop shops and eateries, dive bars, and street art. Walkability is also a perk, as it has a Walk Score of 93.
As with other up-and-coming neighborhoods across the country, one of the main benefits of living here is its affordability. The median home price in the area is $550,000, but that doesn’t matter to most, as 69% of residents rent, with the median apartment fetching $3,400/month. This seems a little steep for its average household income of $59,146, but apparently Columbia Heights’ young residents are making it work, as the average age is 30, and most are single (63%).
Georgetown is a great neighborhood to live in—if you have a lot of money. It’s filled with high-end and trendy stores and restaurants, plus elegant hotel options like the Four Seasons and plenty of historical homes. (Think Claire and Frank Underwood’s home in the first season of House of Cards.) One major point: While it is bus accessible, there is no Metro in Georgetown.
So how much are you looking to pay in the area? The median home price is $1,035,000, while the median rent isn’t much better at $5,500/month. This is probably why most who live here are college educated (89%) and have an average household income of $148,291. Still, though, most residents are young (average age is 35) and single (58%), perhaps due to Georgetown’s proximity to, well, Georgetown University.
While you’re probably thinking the actor Chevy Chase grew up here, or for some other reason they name it after him, the reverse is actually true: His was nicknamed after this town. Luckily for them, however, things go much more normally for them than for Chase in the National Lampoon movies. Chevy Chase (the town) is pretty small, with a population of 3,000. It’s also a haven for families. The schools are among the best in the country, plus the high school graduation rate is 97 percent. Moreover, the unemployment rate is only 2.6 percent. But such highlights will likely cost you: The average price of a home comes in at $1 million.
Silver Spring is quite popular, and in fact is the fourth largest D.C. area suburb, with more than 76,000 people living here. Its name comes from a spring that was discovered in the area in 1840, which, being filled with mica looked like silver. But just because this suburb is old enough that Abraham Lincoln actually visited it multiple times does not mean it feels old. In fact, the city is going through a bit of a rebirth at the moment, thanks to the addition of a new outdoor shopping center and the reopening of a historic theater. Plus, it has a great escape in the 50-acre Brookside Gardens, a free public garden featuring plants from all over the world. Lastly, the median home price lands at a reasonable-for-the-area $364,000.
North Laurel is perfectly situated between D.C. and Baltimore, meaning you can commute to D.C. for work and visit Baltimore in your spare time. Since it’s so close to two major cities, it makes sense that its unemployment rate is only 4 percent. Better yet, the high schools, like those in Chevy Chase, are great, with a graduation rate of 93 percent. And there’s a humongous, 12,000-sqaure-foot skate park and multiple basketball courts, tennis courts, and baseball diamonds. But perhaps its best feature? Unlike Chevy Chase, the average cost of a home is much more reasonable at $304,500.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly home that doesn’t totally break the bank, Cumberland Township might be the place for you. Besides having a 93 percent graduation rate and a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, the median home value is $228,700—more than the national average, but much less than the D.C. metropolitan average. It also happens to be the site where a large part of the Battle of Gettysburg took place, meaning it’s filled with many areas of historical importance—great for history buffs!