Most Walkable DC Neighborhoods
Do you like to ditch the car and do everything on foot? Today we’re going to talk about metro DC’s most walkable neighborhoods!
There is a website called “Walk Score” which measures the walkability of a given neighborhood on a scale of 1-99. Obviously the term walkability means different things to different people. Generally speaking, a 99 is a neighborhood where you don’t need a car because every amenity is available within walking distance. A 1 could be in a perfectly awesome neighborhood with lite traffic and sidewalks and cul-de-sacs. So walkability is defined as being able to walk TO places, not a neighborhood where you can walk freely without getting run over by a car.
Let’s start with DC first. DC’s Walk Score overall is 77. But DC is very diverse when it comes to neighborhoods and lifestyles. Because of the way the city developed 150 years ago, the sprawl originates from downtown. Think of it like concentric circles. The neighborhoods closest to downtown were developed first. They are the most population-dense and are the most walkable. The next circle out is a little less walkable but still has all the neighborhood conveniences, until you get to the furthest reaches of DC. People walk in these neighborhoods, but you can’t do all errands on foot.
Coming in at number 1 & 2 of DC’s most walkable neighborhoods is Dupont Circle AND U Street. It’s a tie! But these two neighborhoods are next to each other. They are packed with restaurants and shops. It’s a little light on grocery stores there though until you get over to some of the adjacent neighborhoods to the east and south – (3rd & 4th) Logan, Shaw and Mount Vernon Square. Unless you are really close to Trader Joes on 14th Street, one of the two Whole Foods at 14th and P or Florida and W, or Giant in Shaw, you could find it to be a few too many blocks of a trek on foot. There are weekend Farmer’s Markets in the neighborhoods Dupont and U Street.
Foggy Bottom (5th) is also cited as another highly walkable neighborhood, a pocket in itself, south of K Street and anchored by George Washington University. There are several restaurants and café’s and Whole Foods, as well as Trader Joes just across K Street. Next on the list, ranking in the mid 90’s on the scale are Adam’s Morgan and Columbia Heights. Adams Morgan (6th) has restaurant after restaurant along 18th Street, and Harris Teeter Grocery Store on Kalorama Rd. Columbia Heights (7th) is a very busy neighborhood with Target, Old Navy, Giant Grocery Store and a ton of restaurants.
Rounding out top 10 most walkable neighborhoods is the H Street / NoMa Corridor (8th.) NoMa means North of Massachusetts Avenue. H Street has more grocery stores than anyone could possibly need, and tons of restaurants, with a whole other set of options in Union Station. There’s also the long-awaited trolley to shuttle people back and forth.
Downtown Penn Quarter / Chinatown (9th) area also ranks at 95 on the Walk Score thanks to the high concentration of restaurants, shops and museums within blocks. The last of the top 10 in DC is Mount Pleasant (10th) and pleasant it is. The furthest from downtown on the list, Mount Pleasant is an enclave west of 16th Street, north and east of Adams Morgan. Unlike all the other neighborhoods on the list, Mount Pleasant is not as condo-heavy. The rowhomes offer 3 full levels of living space. Mount Pleasant shares a grocery store with Adams Morgan – the Safeway on Columbia Road.
Walking Warriors, I hope this gave you a good recap of the neighborhoods to check out. If you have any questions please reach out!