Why Massachusetts Avenue?
There’s a lot of information about Washington DC’s famous neighborhoods, but what about the streets that make them up?
All the character that these neighborhoods enjoy was built road by road. We want to dive deeper and talk about how each street contributed to defining these iconic areas.
We are going to kick off a series that highlights DC’s most famous streets, talk about their connection to the city, and paint a picture of the lifestyles their inhabitants enjoy. Today we are featuring Massachusetts Ave.
Mass Ave – A Rich History
Massachusetts Avenue is a massive road passing through three of DC’s quadrants. It intersects every major North-South street, passing by many national monuments. The roadway itself is even considered a monument!
The road is as old as the city of DC itself! After the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, it was decided that the nation’s new capital would be on the Potomac River. Mass Ave appeared in the original plans for the Capital. It was named along with Pennsylvania Avenue for its prominent role in the war.
The section between Scott Circle and Sheridan Circle, filled with gorgeous Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, and Chateaux style homes, earned the nickname “Millionaires’ Row.”
After the Great Depression and World War II, many of these homes were demolished or repurposed into the diplomatic offices on today’s Embassy Row which flourishes with Embassy Events all year long. Some were converted to business offices and apartment buildings. It’s this rich history that shaped the unique character of the street we see today.
Alright, enough history lessons. What is Mass Ave like today?
The road runs through some of DC’s most desirable Northwest Quadrant neighborhoods including Thomas Circle, Dupont Circle, and Cathedral Heights. While each of these neighborhoods has an individual character, each is no doubt influenced by Mass Ave.
Living on Massachusetts Avenue Today
The Northwest Quadrant
Massachusetts Ave is most well-known in the Northwest Quadrant of DC. This section of the road runs through beautiful neighborhoods featuring shady tree-lined streets, gorgeous historic architecture, and many of the Nation’s most famous attractions.
A lot of the historic buildings now exist as apartments for DC’s urban residents. With many of them featuring remodeled interiors and luxurious modern amenities, people love the cross section of style and comfort that these buildings provide.
Thomas Circle Apartments on Mass Ave
The portion of the street that runs through Thomas Circle is a hub of social activity, business, and culture that is critical to the neighborhood’s identity.
Those who live in a Mass Ave apartment in this neighborhood are right in the center of all the action the area has to offer. As a hub for fine dining, some of the city’s best shopping, and access to three nearby metro stations, it’s one of the most exciting and convenient places to be in DC.
Dupont Circle Apartments on Mass Ave
Dupont Circle is widely known as DC’s trendiest neighborhood. The area is a hub of social and cultural activity, nightlife, dining, and shopping. Its residents are made up of a youthful and active community.
Mass Ave intersects the circle, providing residents access to the area’s many attractions. Because it crosses all the major North-South streets, it’s an accessway to virtually every attraction, business, and amenity that this thriving neighborhood has to offer.
Cathedral Heights Apartments on Mass Ave
Apartment dwellers in the Cathedral Heights portion of this historic roadway enjoy a lifestyle that has a more suburban character. While it is still centrally located and convenient, it’s not quite the bustling social hub that Thomas and Dupont Circle are known as.
The National Cathedral is a focal point for the neighborhood. It’s grand and elegant architecture provides the community with a beautiful and proud aesthetic. Apartment residents often say they enjoy the scenery, seamless access to other neighborhoods by foot or metro, and the unmatched style. Embassy Row.
It’s impossible to talk about Mass Avenue’s presence in DC without talking about Embassy Row.
Today the area houses diplomatic offices for many nations. The areas present character goes all the way back to the early 20th century. Over the decades, the presence of Embassy Row has shaped the culture of the entire Northwest Quadrant.
While few live on Embassy Row, it’s proximity to many of the quadrant’s neighborhoods has dramatically influenced their identities even beyond the pavement of Massachusetts Ave.
Massachusetts Ave carves its path through the majority of DC. Those who own a vehicle have an accessway to just about every neighborhood in the city, making apartments on or near it perfect for drivers who value their urban mobility.
Public transportation is never an issue for Massachusetts Avenue and its surrounding streets. Six Metrobus routes travel along the road. There are also six Metrorail stops, and D.C. Circulator service.
Many DC apartment renters rely on the city’s robust public transportation infrastructure, and Mass Ave serves them expertly. Mass ave apartments allow residents easy access to the many transit options without straying far from home.
The Last Word
Though it doesn’t have a strict identity itself, Massachusetts Avenue is a towering presence in DC that has dramatically influenced the development of the city’s most cherished neighborhoods.
Today, each has its own identity and community, but none of them exist separately from the development of this iconic roadway.
From the time it’s concept was put to paper back in the 1790’s, it’s been a dominant force in shaping the many neighborhoods of the Nation’s Capital. Today it is home to a wealth of apartments, businesses, and political offices.
Those who live in a Massachusetts Avenue apartment enjoy lifestyles that put them in the center of these active and thriving communities. They enjoy convenience and excitement that only this city could offer.
We are looking forward to writing more about the various streets that have shaped Washington DC over their long history, and taking a closer look at how the most beloved neighborhoods are influenced by the roads they are built on.
Next, we will be writing about Connecticut Avenue, so keep an eye out for the next iteration in this series!