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Washington Monument and its reflecting pool at dusk

Best Neighborhoods in Washington, DC for Families in 2024

Thinking about moving your family to Washington, DC? The District of Columbia is a fantastic place to raise kids! With high-quality schools, low crime rates, excellent housing options, and plenty of family-friendly things to do, these are the five best DC neighborhoods for families!

AU-Tenleytown

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  • Home Price: $973,793 median purchase price; $1,993 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 91% of Washington, DC neighborhoods

Families moving to the nation’s capital will find few better options than AU-Tenleytown! This scenic neighborhood is situated on the edge of the metro, so you can enjoy the big-city perks of living in DC while still enjoying a quieter, more suburban lifestyle. Here, you’ll find housing options like historic rowhomes and Colonial houses. There are also tons of great schools in the area, including Horace Mann Elementary School, Jackson-Reed High School, and even American University.

Things to Do in AU-Tenleytown

Introduce your family to Contemporary art from around the world at American University Museum. Marvel at the stunning architecture and rich history at the nearby Washington National Cathedral. Enroll in a fitness class, let your kids run around on the splash pad, or play a pickup game of basketball at Turtle Park. See history and nature meet at Fort Bayard Park, a neighborhood green space where you can picnic, go for a walk, and view the historic Civil War-era structure Fort Bayard. Grab a Reuben, TBLT, or Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich for lunch at Wagshal’s Delicatessen. Try a Lobb Salad, Cisco Po Boy, or Smith Point Tacos when you reserve a table at Millie’s. Try stellar barbecue dishes like the Shenandoah Smoked Wings, “Broasted” Chicken Drumsticks, or the Carolina Chopped Pork Shoulder Sandwich at Pitmasters Back Alley BBQ. Or satisfy your Italian food cravings with an order of Seafood Risotto or Piccata al Limone with Creamy Polenta on the side at DeCarlo’s.

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Chevy Chase

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  • Home Price: $919,342 median purchase price; $1,586 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 82% of Washington, DC neighborhoods

Experience a slice of American history with a self-guided tour at Fort Reno Park. Let your four-legged family members run free at the dog park or practice your serve on the tennis court at Chevy Chase Recreation Center. Join a book club, attend workshops, or take your little ones to weekly story times at Chevy Chase Library. Try your hand in a ping pong competition or catch live music at Comet Ping Pong. Enjoy delicious lunch-time offerings like Tuna Salad Pita, Chicken Caesar Salad, or Ham Wrap from Olympia Cafe. Share a Brick-Oven Pepperoni, White, or Detroit-style Red Wing pizza with your family on the patio at Little Beast Bistro. Sample a “Pittsburgh Style” Cheesesteak, Rigatoni Bolognese, or the Gourmet Grilled Cheese of the day at Blue 44. Or get an order of Saganaki Flambe as an appetizer before you dig into delicious Greek entrees like Dolmades and Moussakas at Parthenon Restaurant.

Things to Do in Chevy Chase

Experience a slice of American history with a self-guided tour at Fort Reno Park. Let your four-legged family members run free at the dog park or practice your serve on the tennis court at Chevy Chase Recreation Center. Join a book club, attend workshops, or take your little ones to weekly story times at Chevy Chase Library. Try your hand in a ping-pong competition or catch live music at Comet Ping Pong. Enjoy delicious lunch-time offerings like Tuna Salad Pita, Chicken Caesar Salad, or Ham Wrap from Olympia Cafe. Share a Brick-Oven Pepperoni, White, or Detroit-style Red Wing pizza with your family on the patio at Little Beast Bistro. Sample a “Pittsburgh Style” Cheesesteak, Rigatoni Bolognese, or the Gourmet Grilled Cheese of the day at Blue 44. Or get an order of Saganaki Flambe as an appetizer before you dig into delicious Greek entrees like Dolmades and Moussakas at Parthenon Restaurant.

Cleveland Park

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  • Home Price: $759,100 median purchase price; $1,908 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 88% of Washington, DC neighborhoods

Active and friendly, Cleveland Park is one of the best DC neighborhoods for families! People moving to DC who prefer a more urban vibe will love this area, which is home to a number of restaurants, arts and entertainment venues, and shops. In terms of housing, the neighborhood’s residential areas are comprised mostly of Art Deco, Queen Anne, and traditional Victorian-style homes. And, of course, anyone looking for family-friendly DC neighborhoods will appreciate Cleveland Park’s highly-rated schools, which include Washington International School, John Eaton Elementary School, and National Cathedral School.

Things to Do in Cleveland Park

Get up close and personal with wildlife from around the world at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. Go for a walk between the mature trees and babbling brook on Klingle Valley Trail. Connect with your community and teach your children how to grow and harvest their own food by renting a plot at Cleveland Park Community Garden. Reserve tickets to see a live performance featuring The Washington Ballet. Sample pan-Asian cuisine like Pad Thai, Mongolian Stir-Fry, and Korean BBQ Ribs at Spices Asian Restaurant. Get your fill of Burnt Ends, Texas Style Chili, Philly Cheese Steak Egg Rolls, and other unique rib-sticking meals at Fat Pete’s Barbecue. Savor Italian classics like Margherita Pizza, Rapini, or Caponata at 2Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria. Or make reservations for date night to enjoy mouthwatering Indian fare like Saag Paneer, Chicken Seekh Kebabs, or Lamb Vindaloo at Indique.

Georgetown

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  • Home Price: $1,056,531 median purchase price; $2,041 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 47% of Washington, DC neighborhoods

Family-friendly Georgetown is well-known for its historic charm, thanks to its beautiful cobblestone streets, Federal-style homes, and quaint shops and restaurants all bordered by the Potomac River. High-quality schools are one of the major draws of this neighborhood, as it’s close to Hyde-Addison Elementary School, Hardy Middle School, and the top high school in the district, The School Without Walls High School. Of course, Georgetown is also home to the famous Georgetown University, which offers more than 40 undergraduate majors, over 50 areas of graduate study, and job opportunities in higher education.

Things to Do in Georgetown

Bike, jog, or stroll down the scenic C&O Canal Towpath. Lace up your ice skates and take laps around the Washington Harbour Ice Rink in the wintertime. Rent a kayak from Key Bridge Boathouse and go paddling down the Potomac with your family. Relax in the lush garden and see fascinating archaeological and historical exhibits at the museum at Dumbarton Oaks. Taste amazing traditional French plates like Coq au Vin, Cassoulet, and Country Pate at Brasserie Liberte. Order Tortelloni Di Michele, Rigatoni con Salsicce, Sausage and Canneloni, and other homemade pasta dishes from Filomena Ristorante. Try Greek offerings like Tabouleh, a Beef Shawarma Wrap, or a Lamb Gyro Plate at George’s. Savor delectable New American entrees like 1/2 Maine Lobster, Chicken and Dumplings, or Nigella-Spiced Swordfish when you go out for a date night at Bourbon Steak. Or satisfy your sweet tooth by picking up treats like Chocolate Ganache, Red Velvet, or Milk Chocolate Birthday cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake.

The Palisades

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  • Home Price: $1,188,500 median purchase price; $1,818 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 85% of Washington, DC neighborhoods

Situated between the Potomac River and the DC/Maryland border is another great neighborhood for families, The Palisades. This DC neighborhood offers abundant green space, a strong sense of community, and great nearby schools, including the award-winning Francis Scott Key Elementary School and Georgetown Day School. Furthermore, homes in The Palisades are some of the most beautiful in all of Washington, DC. Common housing styles in the area include Colonial, Federal, and ranches, which means there’s plenty of room for families to spread out and grow!

Things to Do in The Palisades

Let your kids’ imaginations run wild at Palisades Recreation Center & Playgrounds. Visit the historic site and gorgeous green space at Battery Kemble Park. Rent a bicycle and go for a ride on the local trails or take a guided canoe tour of the Potomac from Fletcher’s Boathouse. Take the family out for a moderate hike around the 2.7-mile-long Palisades Trolley Trail. Spice things up with a dinner of Veg Pakora, Chat Papari, or Samosa Chat at Salt & Pepper Grill. Grab authentic Afghan dishes like Sabzi Turnovers, Spicy Beef Dumplings, or a Kids Chicken Breast Kabob for the little ones at Bistro Aracosia. Sip on French Onion Soup, snack on a Cheese Board, or dine on Baked Mussels and Escargots at Et Voila! Or share a plate of sushi rolls like the White Tuna, Big Bambu, or Macarthur Roll at Bambu Asian Cuisine.

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.