Washington DC Neighborhood Guide: Upper 16th Street
Welcome to Upper 16th NW
Beautiful upper 16th Street in northwest Washington, D.C., is home to tree-lined streets, comfortable residential areas and small restaurants and stores. The corridor lacks the hustle and bustle of 14th Street to its east and isn’t quite as green as the immense Rock Creek Park to the west, but it has managed to carve out a niche for itself as a zone that contains D.C.’s most desirable neighborhoods.
Neighborhood boundaries are fluid in Washington, D.C., and can evolve as local residents change their definitions and businesses move in and out. Established neighborhoods in the Upper 16th include Crestwood, 16th Street Heights, Brightwood, Shepherd Park, Colonial Village, and North Portal Estates. This gives you multiple areas to explore!
Featured Apartments in the Upper 16th NW Area
Two apartment living options stand out just to the south of the Upper 16th and give you the best of both worlds: A lovely residential location with close access to downtown D.C.
The Vintage on 16th
The Crestwood Apartments
Located at the south tip of the Crestwood neighborhood, the Crestwood Apartments are richly appointed, nicely shaded with large trees, and feature tranquil 1- and 2-bedroom floor plans. Oversized balconies let you keep an eye on everything going on around you, while amenities like flexible leases, included utilities, and 24-hour on-site maintenance make life easier. Crestwood mixes historic elegance with modern features.
An Overview of Living in Upper 16th NW
Running north-south through the heart of the District, 16th Street NW has long been an important street in the nation’s capital. When French engineer Pierre L’Enfant designed the grid that we know today, he designated 16th as one of the most important numbered streets — and it is still that way!
- 16th begins at Lafayette Park just in front of the White House and moves all the way up to the border with Maryland.
- It crosses through the Scott Circle and into the Historic District, passing embassies and other landmarks.
- As it runs north, 16th goes through the Columbia Heights area and past Piney Branch Park and its popular trails.
- It’s not until Arkansas Avenue NW branches off and 16th weaves toward Rock Creek Park that you reach the Upper 16th Corridor.
This section of 16th was the 80-acre Maple Grove Farm in the mid-1850s, and today it retains some of the subdivision feel that the farmland was converted to during that time. The Upper 16th area is a new hot spot in D.C., with home sales jumping and apartments in high demand.
Get Lost in Local Architecture
With its long history dating back roughly 150 years, developed 16th Street NW has an impressive array of different architectural styles. You’ll find:
- Huge Colonials
- Tudor-style mansions
- Row houses
- Apartments designed with art deco features.
Most of the existing structures date to the 1920s and 1950s, though you’ll also find some newer construction — especially as you move away from 16th and toward Maryland.
One of the area’s most noted real estate developers, Henry Wardman, borrowed from numerous architectural styles as he worked to reflect the melting pot of cultures and ideas in D.C. He is well-known for his brick row houses, which dot the streets in the 16th Street Heights and Brightwood areas.
He also created many detached and semi-detached residential houses throughout northwest D.C., including in the Upper 16th.
Plenty to Do and See Outdoors
As the western border of many Upper 16th neighborhoods, Rock Creek Park figures prominently into many residents’ lifestyles. A few facts to keep in mind:
- More than 1,700 acres were set aside in 1890 for preservation in the heart of the city, and the site became the nation’s third national park.
- People living and working in northwest D.C. only have to take a short drive to access more than 32 miles of hiking trails.
- Paved paths closed to vehicle traffic are available for those who enjoy biking.
- There are also 13 miles of trails for horseback riding.
- Don’t own a horse? Take a lesson or go on a trail ride with the Rock Creek Horse Center, accessible by turning from 16th on to Military Road.
- Other recreational options include golf, tennis and boating.
The Rock Creek Park Golf Course is a public, 18-hole course you can get to by turning from 16th on to Rittenhouse. The Rock Creek Tennis Center is located at 16th and Kennedy with hourly court rentals, and there are at least two public courts that can be played on for free.
If you’d prefer to kayak or canoe, you can rent the boat you need at the Thompson Boat Center.
The Carter Barron Amphitheatre, just off of 16th, hosts concerts each summer that attract popular jazz, hip-hop, blues, and reggae musicians as headliners. There’s also a planetarium that hosts regular programs on astronomy and other ranger-led educational activities.
Whether it’s for a walk, a bike ride, a concert or some other form of recreation, Rock Creek Park is a gem that Washington residents, especially those right next door in the Upper 16th neighborhoods, can enjoy much of the year.
A Thriving Food Scene
Washington, DC is one of the best places to live on the East Coast, but why? Well, a lot of it has to do with the food! No matter which neighborhood you live in or what type of cuisine you prefer, there’s something for everyone.
We’ve done the hard work for you and uncovered the best bars, coffee shops, and restaurants on and around 16th.
Hispanic and South American Food
Taqueria Los Compadres
If you’re looking for authentic South American food, this sweet little spot serves Mexican food and has a serious crowd of regulars that rave about it. As long as you visit between the hours of 10 am and 10 pm, you’ll find the doors open and ready to serve delicious food.
Don Juan is more of a fun-times, slightly rowdy spot that sometimes has DJs. It serves big plates of Hispanic food, has great service, and is a casual hangout spot.
Dos Gringos opened in December 1999, and it didn’t take long for it to become a neighborhood favorite. Locals love the weekend breakfast feasts, regular meals, and snack options for lighter fare. The restaurant also hosts “Intercambios” every Saturday, where international students and native English speakers can get together and practice their language skills.
Asian Food in Mount Pleasant
If you love Asian cuisine, Purple Patch has delicious Filipino options for you! The restaurant was started by a woman named Patrice who moved from the Philippines to the United States. She began to cook traditional food as a way of expressing herself, then decided to share her love for cooking with those around her. She opened Purple Patch in 2015 and was quickly named as one of the top 9 Filipino restaurants in America.
This little restaurant has locations in both the Shaw and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods of D.C., making it close by, and its founder, Aschara Vigsittaboot, grew up cooking with her mom in Thailand. Today, she not only helps run the restaurant and cook delicious meals, but is also passionate about the community. The restaurant has donated and sponsored countless businesses and events in the neighborhood.
The Raven Grill is home to affordable beer, a jukebox, and comfortable booths and bar stools, plus a great kitchen. It’s one of the oldest bars in the city, and offers board games if you’re looking for something to do.
Another fun bar to head to for a quick bite or happy hour, Tonic has been around since 1891 when it operated as a pharmacy serving local students. In 1974 the pharmacy was converted into the bar we know and love today and offers drinks, food, and events like trivia nights.
Lauriol Plaza offers multiple patios for outdoor dining, making it a can’t-miss for Tex-Mex flavors. There are plenty of diverse options to choose from, from tacos to quesadillas to fajitas to fish.
Mount Desert Island Ice Cream
Since 2005, this nationally acclaimed creamery has been crafting artisanal, small-batch ice cream using only local and naturally sourced ingredients.. In addition to their delicious ice cream, Mount Desert Island features up-and-coming artists’ work in their shops for patrons to enjoy and even purchase.
The Wonderland Ballroom
This cozy little bar and grill is located in Columbia Heights and has something for everyone — including a fun dance floor on the second floor and an energetic bar on the first. The back patio features a spacious dining area with breathtaking views.
More Information on the Upper 16th Neighborhood
Whether you’re planning a weekend visit or hoping to make the Upper 16th neighborhood your permanent home, here’s your quick guide to the local schools, area culture, public transportation, and so much more.
The area is home to plenty of great schools for all learning levels and styles, including (but definitely not limited to):
- Sacred Heart Elementary
- Bancroft Elementary
- Mysa School
- Sheridan School
- Washington Metropolitan High School
- Center City Public Charter Schools
- Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
- McKinley Technology High School
- Georgetown College
- College of America
- Howard University of Engineering
The Upper 16th is a melting pot of personalities and cultures, too, making every day a fun and engaging learning experience for all who call it home.
Area Culture & Community
If art and culture are your thing, the Upper 16th neighborhood is just a short ride away from some of the best art galleries in the world. The National Gallery of Art is located in downtown Washington, D.C., while the Lost Origins Gallery is right in the heart of Greater Mount Pleasant. Looking for other art and culture opportunities? Take a quick ride to Georgetown University Art Galleries to check out the rotating exhibits on display.
Hop on Local Transportation
DARO Apartments is proud to have apartment communities close to public transportation for easy commuting in and around the Washington, D.C. area.
- The Vintage is conveniently located near several bus stops — including at 16th St. and Lamont St., 16th St. and Harvard St. and 14th St. and Shepherd St. — making your travel needs a breeze.
- The Columbia Heights Metro stop at 16th St. NW and Irving St. NW is just a short walk away, too, meaning you can be downtown or to myriad other locations in no time at all!
Safeway – 1747 Columbia Rd. NW
Giant Food – 1345 Park Rd. NW
Columbia Heights Food Market – gourmet grocery store at 3500 14th St. NW
El West – clothing store at 3167 Mt. Pleasant St. NW
Urban Dwell – gift shop at 1837 Columbia Rd. NW
Sequels Consignment Shop – consignment store at 4111 Wisconsin Ave NW
Arts & Education
Michal Hunter Gallery – 1601 Buchanan St. NW
Lost Origins Gallery – 3110 Mt. Pleasant St. NW
Georgetown Gallery of Art – 1442 Rhode Island Ave NW
Zeba Bar – craft beers and upscale pup fare at 3423 14th St. NW
Club Timerhi – nightclub at 2439 18th St. NW
Red Lounge Bar & Grill – American eats and martinis at 2013 14th St. NW
Health & Fitness
FIT360 D.C. – 3058 Mt Pleasant St. NW
Higher Ground Fitness – 3058 Mt. Pleasant St. NW
Urban Athletic Club – 1770 Euclid St. NW
Sports & Outdoors
Smithsonian National Zoological Park – 3001 Connecticut Ave NW
Rock Creek Park – National urban oasis with hiking tails, wildlife programs, and more
Meridian Hill Park – 12-acre urban park at 16th St. NW and W St. NW
Beau Thai – Thai cuisine and happy hour cocktails.
Purple Patch – Restaurant specializing in Filipino and American cuisine.
Lauriol Plaza – Restaurant specializing in Tex-Mex flavors and American eats.
Gas & Convenience
7-Eleven – 3012 14th St. NW
Uptown Mart – 2701 14th St. NW
Bp – 2600 14th St. NW
Shell – 1800 18th St. NW