The city of Washington, D.C. is divided into eight wards, but the D.C. Planning office unofficially considers the city to include 130+ distinct neighborhoods. Any discussion of DC’s best neighborhoods will inevitably start with the downtown area of Washington, D.C. Downtown DC is best known for its upscale hotels, cultural institutions such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts and, more recently, retail and dining centered around CityCenter, a live-work-play complex. While traditionally occupied by political lobbyists and law firms, downtown D.C. is now seeing interest from other industries including nonprofit and technology.
Just northwest of the Downtown DC neighborhood on the red line is Dupont Circle. Much of the neighborhood has historical significance, with the circle itself built in the late 19th century. Dupont Circle is home to the majority of DC’s embassies, think tanks and research institutions. Dupont Circle is also full of dining, nightlife and shopping options located off of the circle and in the neighboring Logan Circle. While highly residential, there are plenty of office and coworking spaces to choose from. Office and coworking space in Dupont Circle are typically large and open, with hardwood floors, vaulted ceilings, exposed bricks and skylights.
Foggy Bottom borders Dupont Circle and the West End and Georgetown neighborhoods. Home to George Washington University, Foggy Bottom is filled with students, though there is no lack of office and coworking spaces for lease here. Foggy Bottom also boasts cultural institutions such as the Kennedy Center and federal offices including the State Department. The neighboring Rock Creek Park offers biking and running trails along the Potomac River.
The booming East End neighborhood is a hotspot for residential and office space. It’s bordered by Penn Quarter, Chinatown, Judiciary Square and Downtown. Getting to the East End is easy thanks to the nearby Metro Center, Federal Triangle and Gallery-Pl-Chinatown stations, which together encompass nearly all of DC’s metro lines. East End boasts plenty of newly constructed shopping, dining and residential options. Office and coworking space are available for lease in many of the newly-constructed buildings along with additional options in refurbished older buildings. Its proximity to federal landmarks such as the White House and the National Mall anchor the area to America’s history.
Capitol Hill is home to the United States Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States, but it also boasts office and coworking spaces that put businesses in the center of the action. Established lobbying groups, non-profits and trade associations are typical renters in Capitol Hill’s historic style buildings, but recently converted row homes and coworking have opened up the area to newcomers. Capitol Hill isn’t all business. It’s actually the largest historic residential neighborhood in DC, with historic row houses along with family-friendly shopping and dining options along Pennsylvania Avenue and at Eastern Market.
Just south of Capitol Hill are two newly developed areas for leasing office and coworking space, Navy Yard and the Southwest Waterfront. Home to the Washington Nationals, Navy Yard historically housed industrial space but new developments offer pristine office space and coworking options for lease. Continued construction will bring more office, coworking, residential and retail options to Navy Yard. Similarly, the neighboring Southwest Waterfront is undergoing a transformation into a highly covetable neighborhood for office and coworking space. Lobbyists and tech companies are some of the types of companies drawn to the area for its below-market pricing.
Just south of the National Mall and easily accessible to Northwest Virginia commuters, Southwest Federal Center consists mostly of government and cultural institutions. The Departments of Agriculture, Transportation and HUD are located here, along with offices of the U.S. House of Representatives. Southwest Federal Center is also home to many of the Smithsonian museums, all of which offer free admission.
NoMa is part of a group of up-and-coming neighborhoods near Union Station, which also include H Street, Gallaudet, Swampoodle and Shaw. NoMa is home to larger tech companies like Google and NPR that occupy the new, premium buildings of the neighborhood. Coworking options continue to open in the NoMa and H Street neighborhoods allowing smaller tech companies in on a piece of the action. Proximity to Union Station makes NoMa a viable option with those who frequently travel for business. There's an abundance of newer housing options available in this neighborhood, and for those looking for the work-live-play experience, plenty of shopping, dining and culture to be had.
The neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia offer covetable office and coworking options without the DC price. North of Downtown DC and a fifteen-twenty minute ride on the Metro red line, Bethesda boasts new buildings and lower-priced established office space alike. Not just a residential neighborhood, Bethesda is a major urban center with its fair share of offerings, from restaurants to boutiques, to art galleries and theatre.
Bethesda is located along the I-270 Life Sciences and Biotech Corridor, a hub for software, biotech and government institutions. The I-270 Corridor also includes Rockville, Germantown and Gaithersburg, all of which offer even lower priced office and coworking space than Bethesda with many of the same conveniences. Closer to Washington, DC but less expensive than Bethesda, Silver Spring has a variety of office and coworking options in more traditional office buildings. It’s also a hub for federal agencies and biotech companies.
Northern Virginia, known as NoVa, is a leasing hotspot thanks to its reduced rental rates and lowest corporate income tax in DC. In Arlington, VA, the corridor that runs from Rosslyn to Ballston is known as the “R-B Corridor,” and is an ideal location for office space. The R-B Corridor is comprised of the Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square and Ballston neighborhoods. The area offers leasing options from coworking spaces to offices in newly constructed luxury buildings, all at a lower price point than Washington, DC. The R-B Corridor also has five Metro stops on the Blue, Silver and Orange Lines should employees need to commute to a DC office or clients.
NoVa is also home to a technology hub known as the Dulles Technology Corridor, which consists of Reston, Herndon, Tysons (known to some as Tysons Corner), Sterling and Ashburn. Reston is a member of the Biophilic Cities Organization, which focuses on preserving and protecting nature, and offers plenty of walking and biking trails and lakefront activities. Amazon, Booz Allen Hamilton, Fannie Mae and Boeing all lease office space in Herndon. Tysons boasts the highest concentration of office space in NoVa and is home to Tysons Corner Center, the largest shopping mall in the Baltimore-Washington Area.