I lived in Washington, D.C. for a decade, coming here in 1986 just after college to pursue a career in international trade. I rented a room in a small row house in the Glover Park neighborhood of NW D.C. It was a wonderful place to be introduced to the city. I took the bus down to my job at Farragut Square and some spring and summer days would actually make the 30 min. walk across town from the office to home. After four years in Glover Park (or as some aggressive marketers used to call it, “Upper Georgetown”), I bought my first place: a 1 bed + den condo in a rehabbed rowhouse on U Street, N.W. This was a little before the great U Street Corridor renaissance so I was able to take my small salary and together with a little help from my parents, become a homeowner for the first time. The amount and speed of change to that area – on the border between Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan – was amazing.
After I moved to Virginia in 1997, the amount and speed of change in the District super-accelerated to where we are today: a rapidly gentrifying city where the cost of housing almost everywhere continues to go up as the size of housing is often shrinking. The services the city offers have greatly improved (including some of its public schools as well as now having charter school options), transportation is better with the extension of metro and the addition of bike sharing and scooter sharing ventures, and an explosion of the retail options available. Most of the change has been concentrated west of the Anacostia River, but neighborhoods east of the Anacostia have also seen changes with more housing options for some and displacement for others. It’s a complicated picture, but the city is an exciting place to live. I wouldn’t change my time living there for anything and it may be what you’re looking for, too!
It's important to understand that Washington, D.C. is divided into four geographic quadrants which all meet/converge at the Capitol. When you look at a map you’ll see the Capitol is off-center in the city which is why NW is the largest quadrant and SW is the smallest because of the location of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. NE and SE span neighborhoods on both sides of the Anacostia River.