A row of townhomes in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

What Are the Safest Neighborhoods in D.C.?

Washington DC

by Matt Lyons Posted on January 31, 2024

It’s not hard to fall in love with Washington, D.C. Among the many reasons to admire the nation’s capital is the variety of one-of-a-kind neighborhoods that offer everything — from rich history and access to a variety of outdoor activities to lots of job opportunities and excellent food scenes. And it’s evident that D.C. isn’t just drawing in visitors. In fact, from July of 2022 to July of 2023 alone, the city grew by more than 8,000 residents — one of the largest percentages of population growth in the entire country.

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But one thing’s for certain: Living in D.C. means living in a city with a high crime rate. According to NeighborhoodScout, Washington, D.C., is only safer than 4 percent of neighborhoods across the country. And to make matters worse, when looking at other major U.S. cities, such as New York and Chicago, the crime rates in D.C. are still a bit higher. 

So what do you do if your heart’s set on moving to the nation’s capital? You look into the safest neighborhoods in the D.C. area. Here are the ones that top our list. 

Safest Neighborhoods in D.C. – FAQs

Q: Where is the safest place to live in D.C.?
The top three D.C. safest neighborhoods, according to Neighborhood Scout, are Georgetown University, The Catholic University of America, and Spring Valley. 

Q: What is the safest quadrant in D.C.?
The Northwest quadrant has many of D.C.’s safest neighborhoods. 

Q: What is the best area to stay in Washington, D.C.?
For perks like a great nightlife scene and close proximity to Georgetown, Wesley Heights is one of the best — and safest — places to stay in D.C.

Safest Neighborhoods in D.C.

While the overall crime rate in the city is unappealing, there are several D.C. neighborhoods and suburbs that offer much safer environments with great schools, good walkability scores, and, of course, plenty to do! Check out our picks for the top D.C. safest neighborhoods. 

The entryway to the American University Washington College of Law

1. Spring Valley 

Ranked as the third safest neighborhood in the D.C. area, according to Neighborhood Scout, Spring Valley has low crime rates, top-ranked schools, spacious homes, and a peaceful environment that’s ideal for young professionals, families, and retirees alike. 

The neighborhood has actually made quite the reputation for itself, as several diplomats and politicians, like George H.W. Bush, Richard M. Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson, have called this neighborhood home over the years. And although the area is mostly residential, shopping is a popular pastime among many local residents — especially at Foxhall Square. (Make sure to stop at Wagshal’s deli and market!)

2. Barnaby Woods

Because of its low violent and property crime rates and top public schools, Barnaby Woods is one of the best neighborhoods in D.C. for families. In fact, it’s ranked as the #1 best neighborhood to raise a family in the D.C. area, according to Niche.

And those who purchase a home in Barnaby Woods will not be disappointed by the local surroundings, as the environment is very peaceful and picturesque, thanks to Rock Creek Park bordering the neighborhood to the east. This neighborhood also attracts a variety of horse lovers, as the Rock Creek Park Horse Center is within walking distance.

3. McLean Gardens

Historic McLean Gardens is situated in a park-like environment, and you can safely walk around the area (or catch a ride with the Metrobus or Metrorail) to just about anywhere you need to go. Young professionals, in particular, find the draws of this neighborhood most appealing.

As far as housing goes, the McLean Gardens community has a wide variety of condominiums to choose from, which include duplexes, flats, and lots. Residents living in McLean Gardens have access to some great amenities, including a pool, areas to barbecue, and even an elegant ballroom for hosting fun events. And they can also take advantage of various nearby parks, such as the McLean Gardens and Newark Park

4. Colonial Village 

Ranked in the top 10 D.C. safest neighborhoods, according to Neighborhood Scout, Colonial Village is one of the best neighborhoods in D.C. to settle down for those who love the outdoors but also want to be close to all the entertainment nearby. 

The local Rock Creek Park spreads out over 1,700 acres and is the perfect place to take a walk on the trails while admiring the stunning natural beauty among the trees and other historical landmarks. 

Residents can also take the Red Line to reach any part of the city. There are a variety of free museums, monuments, and galleries in the area, and the Smithsonian National Zoo, in particular, makes for a great day trip!

And with multiple schools serving the Colonial Village community receiving A+ rankings on Niche, you can expect your kids to learn in a productive and safe environment.

A colorful bear statue in the Woodland-Normanstone D.C. neighborhood

5. Woodland-Normanstone

Woodland-Normanstone is one of the most luxurious neighborhoods you can find. It’s situated in the District's center, so there are plenty of options when it comes to entertainment and dining. And Woodley Park offers the perfect outdoor retreat, where you can explore beautiful scenery and get a break from the city-like atmosphere.
Foodies moving to Woodland-Normanstone will enjoy getting to explore the neighborhood's most popular restaurants, such as Sushi Ogawa — serving the most delectable sushi — and New Heights Restaurant — serving a variety of American dishes in a charming setting.
And with top-ranked schools nearby and crime rates much lower than the national average, Woodland-Normanstone is especially appealing for families.

6. Hawthorne 

Bordered by Oregon Ave NW and Beach Dr NW, the scenic Hawthorne neighborhood can be found between the communities of Silver Spring and Chevy Chase. With mature trees and lots of green space surrounding the entire area, the homes you can find for sale in Hawthorne are a bit different from the other neighborhoods in the Downtown Washington area. Rather than the typical row home style you may see elsewhere, in Hawthorne, you can choose from Colonials, Cape Cods, and large split-level homes. 

And since Hawthorne is situated so close to Connecticut Avenue, residents are conveniently located close to Dupont Circle, one of the best places to shop and eat. Check out Secondi Consignment Clothing if you’re looking for high-end designer clothes, and stop at Dupont Circle’s FRESHFARM Markets for fruits, vegetables, cheeses, pasta, flowers, and even soaps/herbal products.

With very low property crime rates and even lower violent crime rates, Hawthorne isn’t just one of the safest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.; it’s also ranked as the second best neighborhood in D.C. to raise a family

7. Wesley Heights 

Just a few miles northwest of downtown D.C., the Wesley Heights neighborhood was one of the country’s first planned communities, developed between the 1920s and 1950s. It’s since transformed into a vibrant area with its own distinct local identity that’s best suited for both young families and young professionals.

For a relaxing stroll or a hike, residents living in Wesley Heights have easy access to the Glover Archbold Park, which is located on the east side of the neighborhood and covers close to 200 acres of gorgeous forests and streams. And Georgetown is located just two miles south of the neighborhood, which provides access to live music and an exciting nightlife scene. 

A man sits in front a PODS container in his driveway as he places a call on his cell phone

Move to One of the Best Neighborhoods in D.C. With PODS

Once you’ve found your safe haven in the D.C. area, look no further than the services of PODS to help make your move an easy and efficient one! In fact, PODS even offers a city service that’s designed specifically for moves around the D.C. area. Navigating the narrow and crowded streets? Dealing with parking regulations? Let PODS City Service handle that. 

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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