Washington DC Neighborhood Guide: Van Ness

visit the neighborhood of van ness

Welcome to the Neighborhood of Van Ness

Van Ness is a Washington DC neighborhood that is full of elaborate foodie, bookworm, and museum guests. Head there for some of the best taste tester tours, author talks at the local used book store, museums, and serene parks to explore.

There is a Capital bike share station right outside the Van Ness Metro so feel free to ride in style or walk around this wonderful part of your Nation’s capital with a smile.
Enjoy plenty of shops, restaurants, and cafes, where you can get all kinds of eats and treats. You can even hop on board one of Mangia’s food tours to get the inside scoop on the best places to eat in the area.

If you’re more of an art and culture lover, this is the right place for you! Van Ness abounds with museums and galleries that you can stop by to learn more about our nation’s capital and what makes living in DC unique.

Are you ready to move in? We know we are! Join us and learn more about the wonderful neighborhood of Van Ness.

An Overview of
Living in Van Ness

Van Ness is a cozy nook of DC where you can stay part of the action in an urban setting, but also get a taste of the outdoors in one of the many nearby parks. So, what does living in Van Ness really look like?

On the outside, Van Ness is full of historic buildings and modern twists on classic Greek architecture. Take in fountains, classic stone statues, and the many trees in the surrounding parks and trails.

Whether you are an active foodie ready to chow down on Washington DC’s restaurant scene or a bookworm looking for a community scene Van Ness is a great neighborhood to explore.

Head to the Hillwood Estates Museums and Gardens for historical tours, and down forget to go off the beaten path explore the backwoods and go in search of  hobbit hole goods!

Van Ness Neighborhood Guide 2
take a food tour of van ness

Take A Foodie Tour

If you love food you have got to hook up with
Mangia DC Food Tours
. Mangia food tours have received a Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor,  and a Diners Choice Award on OpenTable for their exceptional service. They will take you and a group tour around the city to experience some of the best bites that the nation’s capital has to offer.

You can choose to explore your taste buds on a unique private tour, a group tour of Georgetown foods, or an Italian extravaganza across Van Ness. With great rates, and awesome reviews you can’t go wrong- go ahead and take a taste!  

Their mission for everyone to grab a bite of Washington DC has led Mangia DC Food Tours to contribute to the community, support small businesses and help the local economy flourish! They donate a portion of every ticket sold to S.O.M.E (Some Others Might Eat). So head there, meet and greet with other local citizens and enjoy delicious food! Check out their calendar online for weekly events Wednesday- Sunday.

Swing By A Used Book Store

The Politics and Prose bookstore is located just under a mile away from Van Ness-UDC. They have an intriguing collection of books and events that draw in people from all over the city to express their ideas and creativity.

Politics and Pros offer classes throughout the week on historical topics and rhetoric art. You can join a book club based on updated reads from week to week, and even head out on a travel expedition to countries afar through this amazing community book-worm haven.

They hold author talks and special events every Wednesday-Saturday afternoon which you can learn more about on their website, we highly recommend that you head there soon! And if you find that your head is in a book all the time, become a member, plan your own event, and join this book spent community.

visit a used bookstore
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Daro's main logo
check out the hillwood estate

Take A Stroll Through The Hillwood Estate

The Hillwood Estates Museum and Garden is located a hop and skips away from Van Ness in NW Washington DC. This incredible archive and both historical artifacts and gardens is a place you will love to explore with friends and family they are open TUE-SUN from 10 am to 5 pm.

The estate and garden rest upon 25 acres of nature which overlooks Rock Creek Park is located within a mile of the Van Ness neighborhood. Its garden takes people of all ages through a majestic woodland path lined with violet flowers and earthworms. They hold events which explore nature for preschools throughout the week, and encourage groups of all ages to come to tour the Manor!

Inside the museum, guests will find a huge repertoire of Imperial Russian art and 18th-century French decorations. Explore the plethora of Russian orthodox ecclesiastic icons and a special showcase of a gold chalicethat was commissioned in 1791 by Catherine the Great. Explore a French Drawing Room that is fit for a queen, or take a peek into the mansions post bedroom suite.

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Daro's main logo

Stop To Smell The Roses At Soap Stone Valley Park

Down the street From Van Ness Metro Station lies Soap Stone Valley Park. Listen to the songs of the birds and trees as you hike about the woods, past rocks, and creeks in your Nations capital Washington DC!

This trail is great to travel on with your dogs, family and friends and leaks into the back end of Rock Creek Park. You can take a picnic basket with you for lunch any many even a mimosa at brunch. Watch the sunset or sunrise at this hidden DC trail for many great nature surprises.   

Hike deep into serene valleys to explore the unique flora fauna and rocks among the paths. Bring your boots, and be careful on a rainy day because the paths can tend to have a slippery sway! This hidden back trail is a sweet retreat for city hikers looking for adventure across Washington DC.

take in the flowers at soap valley park
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visit hobbitan

Be A Hobbit For A Day

According to the Thrillist there is a lovely hobbit hole hidden in Van Ness/ Forest Hill area. So head out and adventure to the land of Bilbo Baggins seek the hidden hobbit hole that is covered in a grassy knoll with a silver chimney at its peak. Daydream about the hobbit that lives in this grassy hole and hop on over to the Forest Hill neighborhood in search of hobbits to find this mystic.

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Step Back In Time At The Pierce Mill

Hang out at the historic Pierce Mill, where you can step back in time and see what it might be like to live and work in DC in the 19th century!

Back in its hay day, the mill could grind up to 70 bushels of wheat in a day! After the mill was no longer used as a grain production space, it became a public teahouse until it was closed in the 1930s.

The mill was restored in the late 1990s, and today is a great place for visitors to stop by to learn about early industrial DC. If you stop by on the second Saturday of the month, you can even watch a live demonstration of the mill an action.

check out the old pierce mill in rock creek park

More Information on the Van Ness Neighborhood:

DC Area Culture & Community

Van Ness has a thriving community, full of young urbanites enjoying their time in the city. Locals love hanging out at the many, diverse coffee shops and restaurants.

Like many of the other DC neighborhoods, Van Ness has its own weekly farmers market. Check it out on Saturday mornings for all the freshest produce!

Be sure to look at the community calendar of events as well, where you’ll find everything from ethnic cooking classes to jazz tours of the neighborhood.

Local Transportation in Van Ness

Getting around Van Ness is a breeze with the local metro situated right in the heart of everything. Simply get on at Van Ness station and ride your way through the city.

Van Ness also has great walkability, so it’s easy to get wherever you need to go in the area. Most residents of the neighborhood don’t drive – they’d rather use their own two feet!

If you really need a set of wheels, Capital Bike Share has stations located throughout the neighborhood. Pick up a bike wherever you need to and head on out.

Groceries

Giant Food – Supermarket located on Connecticut Ave that stocks your everyday needs

Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits – A friendly family-owned shop on Connecticut Ave that stocks all kinds of flavorful wines, cheeses, and meats

Yes! Organic Market – A family-owned grocery chain specializing in organic and natural foods

Retail Shopping in Van Ness

Chevy Chase Pavilion – A modern and polished retail space on Wisconsin Ave that hosts many big-name retailers

Target – A multi-purpose global retailer located on Connecticut Ave. that offers competitive prices on all products.

Urban Dwell – A retailer specializing in home decor and accessories for both men and women

TJ Maxx – A department store chain off Wisconsin Ave that offers competitive prices on clothing and accessories

Arts and Education

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens – A decorative arts museum on Linnean Ave that showcases beautiful estates and landscapes.

Tiber Creek Tours of DC – A touring service that tours the city of DC with friendly staff that are trained and knowledgable on the city of DC.

The Phillips Collection – An art museum off 21st St that was founded by Duncan and Marjorie Acker Phillips, both art collectors who were partly credited to bringing modern art into the D.C. area

Veritas Tours – A tour agency located on Macomb St. that offers a vast knowledge of the great city of DC

Nightlife in Van Ness

Atomic Billiards – An entertainment basement space located on Connecticut Ave that offers activities such as pool tables, darts, shuffleboards, and board games.

Barcelona Wine Bar – A restaurant located on Wisconsin Ave with beautiful interior and exterior decor to match the beautiful and delicious meals and wines. They specialize in small “tapas” or plates so you can get ready to sample multiple dishes and treat your taste palate!

Nanny O’Brien’s Irish Pub – A local favorite! This pub offers just about what any other pub specializes in: great bar food, appetizers, and meals along with a great friendly atmosphere.

The Bier Baron Tavern and Comedy Loft – A tavern that provides a great atmosphere for lots of laughs and great drinks. Grab a drink and enjoy the show.

Health and Fitness

Urban Boxing DC – As the name implies, this gym specializes in boxing! Are you looking to switch up your workout routine? Boxing is a fantastic way to incorporate all types of workouts while learning some self-defense tactics as well.

Balance Gym Glover Park – A specialized gym that incorporates balance as their specialty. Learn to build a solid core and improve your balance and fitness.

Crunch Fitness – A reputable fitness gym located on Wisconsin Ave.

CVS Pharmacy – A reliable pharmacy that can provide you with nearly all pharmaceutical needs.

Sports & Outdoors

Turtle Park – A recreational park located at 45th and Van Ness St. that has playgrounds, baseball fields, tennis courts as well as basketball courts

UDC Tennis Courts – Local tennis courts on Connecticut Ave

Dining

Acacia Bistro – A local restaurant that specialized in Mediterranean small and large plates, focused around seafood.

Laliguras Indian & Nepali Bistro – A local Indian restaurant on Connecticut Ave. that serves up delicious and aromatic dishes.

Sfoglina – An Italian restaurant located in Van Ness featuring traditional handmade pasta and more!

Sushi Para – A sushi restaurant located on Connecticut Ave that serves sashimis, sushi rolls plus all-you-can-eat buffet.

Tesoro – A casual restaurant located on Connecticut Ave that serves plates of pasta, pizzas, and Italian cuisines.

Bread Furst – A bakery that specializes in gourmet bread, cakes, and pastries. Located right on Connecticut Ave.

Gas & Convenience

Exxon – Gas station off Wisconsin Ave.

BP – Gas station located on Connecticut Ave.

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