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DC’s Finest

DC’s Finest

DC is a city we know (and love) well.  Holli has lived here for 5 years and while Maddie has only been here a couple of months, we’ve managed to brunch our way through much of The District already.  The dining scene is just one of many reasons that we love DC: being able to spend an hour getting cultured in a museum, strolling under the Cherry Blossoms or rubbing shoulders with major influencers at happy hour makes our week nights and weekends exceptional.  For those who haven’t been exposed to the awesomeness that is DC, or for those looking to try something new, we give you DC’s finest: a look at a few of our favorite neighborhoods in the DMV.

Capitol Riverfront

If you follow local blogs like Urban Turf and CurbedDC, you know that the Capitol Riverfront is about to explode.  Home to National’s Park, the neighborhood otherwise referred to as the Navy Yard has come a long way in the last few years.  This area enjoys the newly built out waterfront Yards Park community center as well as easy access to the adjacent Capitol Hill area.  A surge in residential units and commercial spaces means right now is the time to make this your home before living costs catch up with the neighborhood amenity offerings!

What to Do

The warmer months are when the activity really starts to heat up in the Capitol Riverfront but there is plenty to keep you busy all year long!  It’s a bit of a rite of passage to come enjoy a Nats game (and a Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke) at Nationals Park.  Once you’ve checked that off of your list, you can proceed to explore the rest of the neighborhood.  You can cool off with the awesome splash parks at both Canal Park and Yards Park on really hot July days, enjoy Thursday night outdoor movie screenings at Canal Park and Friday night outdoor concerts at Yards Park, all for FREE!  If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s even a trapeze school where you can master the art of flying through the air.  In the cooler months, belly up to the bar at Due South for a Bear Bryant Old Fashioned and some Squash Puppies, then head over to Canal Park which transforms into a skating rink in the Winter!

Where to Dine

The restaurant scene in the Capitol Riverfront is quickly gaining attention.  For super fast casual options, check out Sweetgreen, serving up locally sourced ingredients in the form of really flavorful salads, or pop into Takorean next door where they masterfully highlight Korean flavors in the form of tacos (ahem, takos).  For sit-down casual, try 100 Montaditos where they offer bite sized Spanish inspired sandwiches in 100 different varieties!  For a nice evening out, head over to Agua 301.  Floor to ceiling glass gives diners lovely views of the waterfront and sipping specialty tequila and nibbling on carnitas tacos is sure to give you that warm and fuzzy feeling.

DC's-Finest | Takorean slaw bowl | Capitol Riverfront Southeast DC

Where to Stay

If you’re only in town for a visit, stay close to the action with a stay at the Courtyard Marriott overlooking Canal Park.  Lot 38 offers coffee and sandwiches on the ground level and you’re only a block from the Navy Yard Metro station, making it easy to get out and explore other parts of The District.

Stay a Little Longer

If you’re apartment hunting in DC, now is definitely the time to claim a spot in the Capitol Riverfront!  There are a few apartment communities here that offer top of the line amenities and service:

Parc Riverside

After just opening at the end of 2014, this luxury apartment community offers studios up to 2 bedroom units starting at about $1600/month.  They just celebrated the opening of their rooftop with a neighborhood bash to show off the pool, grilling space and picnic area.  The rooftop views of the city are pretty impressive too.  The apartments themselves feature floor to ceiling windows, letting in a ton of light and giving the spaces a sleek, modern look.  Website

Twelve12  

Live a life less ordinary at Twelve12, located in the heart of The Yards.  Life here is all about sophisticated minimalism and big personality!  The units range from studio to 2 bedroom and feel open and airy with lots of white and light wood.  Residents here love having Takorean and Sweetgreen downstairs and a Vida Fitness right next door to keep them feeling healthy and energized.  They are currently offering 1 month free for their one bedroom apartments, but hurry because the deals will disappear as these units start to get snatched up!  Website

Capitol Yards

3 unique residences make up the Capitol Yards apartment community.  These buildings sit a little closer to Capitol Hill but are still walking distance to the Metro, making for an easy commute.  Residents here can enjoy luxury amenities like the rooftop pool with sweeping views of the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building and Nationals Park, a private theatre room with stadium seating and a fitness center.  Units range from studio to 2 bedroom.  Website

Park Chelsea

Now leasing, Park Chelsea is the first of 3 apartment buildings that will make up The Collective.  The first installment features a rooftop complete with a pool, dog park and an outdoor living room.  What really sets Park Chelsea apart from the rest is the indoor pool.  If this past Winter was any indicator of things to come, you’ll be grateful to have a place to swim when the temperature drops!  Even better news- if you get into Park Chelsea now you’ll be able to enjoy the brand new Whole Foods going in on the ground floor next door.  Website

DC's Finest | Rendering of the indoor pool at Park Chelsea Apartments | Apartment Hunting | Capitol Riverfront, Southeast DC

Keep in Mind

The Capitol Riverfront is a very pet-friendly neighborhood!  All of the apartment communities mentioned above accept pets and with a stroll around the neighborhood, you’re sure to run into some pet parents taking their four-legged friends for a walk.  Another thing to know is that while plans are in the works, there is little opportunity for shopping in this neighborhood.  A Harris Teeter market, CVS and Unleashed by Petco cover most basic needs, but you’ll have to hop on the Metro to treat yo self to a shopping spree or pick up a gift.

 

U Street Corridor

Once the center of African American culture, this Northwest DC neighborhood was home to Duke Ellington, social activist Mary McLeod Bethune, and poets Langston Hughes and Georgia Douglas Johnson. Today, the creative spirit is still alive and well, with diverse cuisine and unique boutique shopping by day.  By night, U Street is true to its roots, remaining the center of Washington’s music scene. The U Street Corridor retains its residential status with Victorian era row houses and historic apartment buildings with beautiful architectural detail.  Most retailers on U Street have maintained and adapted the original row homes rather than starting from scratch, adding to the unique charm.

DC's Finest | Bohemian Caverns | Historic live music venue | U Street Corridor, Northwest Washington DC

What to Do

Start your day off right with a masterfully crafted espresso drink from The Wydown on 14th Street.  Once you’re all fueled up, stroll along 14th Street and U Street and pop into a few of the specialty shops including Miss Pixies, Good Wood, and Smucker Farms.  When the sun goes down, head over to one of U Street’s historic music venues.  Some local favorites steeped in musical history include Velvet Lounge, 9:30 Club and Bohemian Caverns.

Where to Dine

If you want a true taste of U Street flavor, Ben’s Chili Bowl is an absolute must.  This was one of the only establishments that remained open and thrived through the 1968 riots and has been delighting customers with their original Chili Half Smoke for over 50 years.  If you’re looking for a fancier night out, grab a table at Lost Society.  This sexy steakhouse is sure to provide an awesome setting for a date night, with rich colors, fabrics and finishes.  Cozy up on a couch or belly up to the bar and share a few of their “social bites” like the Lobster Fried Quinoa, Crispy Pork Belly or the Fried Alligator and Waffles if you’re feeling adventurous!  If neither of these spots tickle your fancy, there are seriously a ton of other options within a half mile radius.

DC's Finest | Ben's Chili Bowl | U Street Corridor, Northwest Washington DC

Where to Stay

For a great value, the Windsor Inn puts you in an ideal location to explore not only U Street but Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and Adams Morgan.  Originally built as a luxury apartment building in 1913, guests can still enjoy charming architectural elements throughout the building.  Like the historic boutique apartment buildings in the area, this hotel does not boast many amenities to speak of, but is a great deal for the area.

Stay a Little Longer

The U Street Area is seeing a real resurgence as more and more renters are priced out of nearby neighborhoods like Dupont and Woodley Park but still want that Northwest feel.  With tons of dining, shopping and night life options and a Metro station, U Street is a great place to make your permanent home.

The Ellington

Right in the heart of the action, the sleek, elegant Ellington is ready to welcome you home.  With shops, restaurants, cafes and music venues all steps from your front door, this is truly urban living at its finest.  Even on your laziest days, there is a coffee shop, wine bar a Bank of Georgetown and a Thai/sushi place right downstairs.  Residents also enjoy having the Metro station almost directly across the street.  True convenience! Website

The Louis

Just a block south of U Street on 14th, Louis enjoys proximity to all of the amazing dining options that continue to pop up.  Life here is all about enjoying casual days and lively nights in a fun and creative upscale environment.  While the apartments themselves are certainly modern, they exude a classic vintage feel.  The rooftop pool and sundeck offer some killer views of the city, perfect for showing off to your friends! Website

Camden Roosevelt

For a more classic feel that still offers the updated feel and convenience, Camden Roosevelt is a great option that puts you close to U Street and Adams Morgan.  This historic residence has been renovated but many of the gorgeous original architectural details remain; stepping into the lobby is like stepping back in time.  The units themselves feature historic details like crown molding as well as modern conveniences like a washer and dryer in the unit.  With Meridian Hill Park across the street, residents can still feel in touch with nature with a picnic or round of soccer in the middle of the city. Website

Keep In Mind

U street is a lively neighborhood.  Being one of the most popular nightlife hubs in the city and having active police and fire stations on the street make this a less than peaceful location at times.  That being said, the solid construction of historic buildings and the thoughtful construction of new buildings with thicker glass means you’ll still get to sleep through the night.  Just maybe not on Saturdays.  Another thing to keep in mind: U Street is really starting to gain some momentum.  Naturally this will be reflected in increasing rental rates.  If you want to stay in the area but need something a little more affordable, head just a little ways up 18th Street to Adams Morgan for some smaller, older apartment buildings that are still offering pretty great deals.

 

Reston

We know, we know: Reston is not a DC neighborhood.  Reston is in fact a town in Fairfax County, Virginia that lies about 20 miles outside of the city.  We wanted to clue you in to a really great option for living outside of the city in a place that still offers much of that city feel.  Ranked in 2012 as the 7th Best Place to Live in America by CNN Money Magazine, Reston is a planned community that feels really authentic.

What to Do

For a fun-filled day, head to the Reston Town Center.  Here you’ll find something for everyone: a movie theater, restaurants, shopping, ice skating rink, live music and more.  As one reviewer put it, it’s a real gathering place, not just a place to run errands.  Enjoy eating lunch al fresco at Clyde’s while people watching, then head over to The Paper Source, a really fun stationary shop where you can do everything from picking up some fruit-shaped paperclips to taking a workshop on making DIY Mother’s Day cards.

Where to Dine

Seafood lovers would be wise to check out the bounty of the sea from the DC coast and beyond at Passion Fish.  Executive chef Chris Clime presents a seasonal menu with favorites like the flavorful Arctic Char and the Captain Crunch Sushi, a delicious and playful combination of tempura shrimp, cucumber and avocado.  For a casual but just as thoughtful meal, check out Cafesano.  They serve up everything from wraps and homemade soups to kebob platters and brick oven pizzas.  This a great option for a picky group of eaters-there’s an option for almost everyone, including a gluten free menu.  While this last one is a chain restaurant, it is truly a great place for an interactive dining experience.  Whether you’re entertaining out-of-town guests or planning a romantic evening, a night of fondue fun at The Melting Pot is sure to impress.  They even offer a Ultimate Romance Package and Prom Package to help you seal the deal.

DC's Finest | The Melting Pot | Fondue restaurant in Reston, Virginia

Where to Stay

For a change of scenery and easy proximity to the highway and Dulles airport, stay at the Westin where you can enjoy a round of golf right outside your front door.  The Westin offers a free shuttle to both the airport and (arguably more importantly) throughout wine country so you can sample the goods and make it home in one piece!  If you’d rather be in the Town Center itself, there is a Hyatt Regency right smack dab in the middle.  Plush beds, free wi-fi and breakfast in the morning will have you feeling well rested and cheerful for the day of exploring ahead.

Stay a Little Longer

The Metropolitan

If this whole Reston Town Center thing sounds like your kind of place, consider renting at The Metropolitan, an elegant apartment community with all of the upscale amenities you can dream up.  A rooftop swimming pool and hot tub, resident lounge with pool tables, first class fitness center complete with saunas and a movie screening room mean you don’t even have to leave your building to be fully entertained.  Website

The Avant

Another great option that puts you really close to the shopping and dining at Reston Town Center is The Avant, a luxury pet-friendly apartment community.  One of the things we really love about The Avant is the abundance of outdoor living space, including the pool, a public terrace out front and a private patio in the courtyard with a grilling station.  The units themselves are impressive with high end finishes including granite counters, stainless steel appliances, marble vanities, and porcelain floor tiles.  Website

Harrison

For a slightly more affordable option that give you access to the same neighborhood amenities, check out the brand new Harrison.  With leasing just beginning this year, now is the time to make yourself the very first resident in one of their bright and polished apartments.  Inviting, open spaces like the luxurious health and wellness center, the multi-purpose media lounge and the culinary center give renters a variety of options when they’re ready for a change of scenery.  At the Harrison, you’ll have to force yourself to explore beyond your apartment building, where you can enjoy cooking demonstrations, play a round of virtual golf and even host your next meeting in the impressive business center.  Website

Keep in Mind

Reston is still very much a developing hub and remains pretty suburban at the moment, but is on the brink of really bringing in some interesting attractions.  If the hustle and bustle of the city is not quite your cup of tea, this area will be a nice break from that, for now.  Residents and visitors here can easily get into DC by hopping on the Metro at the Wiehle-Reston East station.

DC's Finest | Take the Metro into DC from Reston, Virginia

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About The Author

Madeline

As a renter herself with a keen interest in Psychology, Madeline understands the emotional journey of apartment hunting and the joys of apartment living. This combined with her experience in the multifamily industry has given her some unique insights into the mind of both the renter and the property manager and has helped shape the content she creates and shares here everyday. In her spare time, Madeline can be found re-arranging her apartment, cuddling with her kitties, singing and dancing in the kitchen or whipping up a plant-based meal.

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