If you’re looking for friendly neighbors, in-town location, and charm to spare, you can’t do better than Petworth. Located in Northwest DC and bounded by Rock Creek Church Yard and Arkansas Avenue, Petworth is, like many in-town neighborhoods, experiencing something of a renaissance. But it hasn’t forgotten its roots and its artistic sensibilities.
Originally the name of a 200-plus acre country estate, Petworth’s life as a neighborhood began in 1889 when it was registered by developers with the District surveyor. The streetcar brought growth and expansion to the neighborhood, then the 1920s and 30s brought additional development and the building of its iconic Wardman brick rowhouses.
Petworth has become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in DC, even being named the most flippable neighborhood in the US in 2015. While gentrification on that scale can put pressure on both long time residents and housing prices, Petworth has worked hard to develop the area while still retaining the charm, livability, and friendliness that residents love.
Petworth’s artistic sensibility is on display in the many murals found throughout the neighborhood. From Kansas Avenue’s “Senhora dos Tempos” to the doors of Rock Creek Market to the Upshur Street Petworth sign, street art abounds and is celebrated in the community.
A haven for porch-sitters, strollers, and neighborly folks of all ages, Petworth encourages community through events like Petworth Community Market, Petworth Jazz Festival, and other neighborhood events. Petworth Park hosts Petworth Dance and The Petworth Jazz Project, bringing free outdoor performances to the area.
PetworthPalooza, a free music festival, debuts this week, with a variety of local bands and five hours of music. The show will be the culmination of the annual Celebrate Petworth: A festival of community celebration.
Petworth has become something of a mecca for foodies who enjoy the eclectic offerings informed by the relaxed warmth of the area. For breakfast or lunch, Slim’s Diner is a local favorite with a menu that is sure to please and enough retro charm to keep you entertained. Local roastery Qualia Coffee is not only known for the excellence of their daily roast, but also for their educational endeavors. The 2nd and 4th Sundays in the month they hold a tasting so coffee aficionados can learn more about what makes a perfect cup.
Old Town and Dupont mainstay Hank’s has a presence in Petworth, Hank’s Cocktail Bar. They feature both a dinner menu and brunch on the weekends, plus Happy Hours each day, including all day Sunday. Their special events are yet another chance to have some stellar food, creative cocktails, and get to know your Petworth neighbors.
There’s no denying that Petworthers (Petworthians?) love a good fixer-upper, and many of the more affordable homes in the neighborhood are looking for a little TLC. Home improvement is such a hobby in the area that the local blog, Petworth News, even has a column where local contractor Glen Sperling gives advice to homeowners looking to change up their spaces. If you have a little DIY know-how, or are willing to learn, there are still bargains to be had here.
For good prices on already finished spaces, check out the many condo conversions in the neighborhood. You can own a spacious, updated condo in one of the area’s historic homes for a cost somewhere in the low $300s, while one of the classic Wardman Rowhouses will put you north of $650K.
If you’re looking for in-town living that is anything but stuffy, you can’t go wrong in Petworth. With gorgeous architecture, art, and unmatched small town charm, it’s no wonder this is one of the most beloved communities in DC.
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