Sitting adjacent to American University Park, and centering on Tenley Circle, the Tenleytown neighborhood is a quiet, peaceful oasis in the hustle and bustle of District life. With great schools, natural beauty, and an emphasis on local businesses over big-box development, this is a charming area that is full of amenities, yet retains its small-town character.
Named for tavern owner John Tennally who owned a pub in the area in the late 1700s, Tennally’s Town eventually evolved (along with its spelling) into the Northwest DC neighborhood Tenleytown. The area is the home of the city’s highest geographic point, which also makes it the site of almost all of the city’s radio and television towers.
Tenleytown’s Heritage Trail celebrates some of the interesting history of the neighborhood, including its role as a lookout spot at Fort Reno during the Civil War. Television history has played a large part in the area’s history, including the site of one of the Kennedy-Nixon Debates and the television studio where Jim Henson debuted Kermit the Frog. The three mile trail is dotted with 19 points of interest, marked by illustrated signs including historic images.
Fort Reno is a favorite local park, the site of the only Civil War battle fought in the District, and the home of a popular summer concert series that has run each year since 1968. The family-friendly shows are volunteer run and very popular, with a variety of local acts on the bill each week throughout the summer.
For many years, Tenleytown resisted the development that is so much a part of many areas of the District due to a variety of civic organizations dedicated to preserving the quality of life in the area by limiting growth. Over the past few years, locals have been more open to gradual and “smart” growth, opening the door for a variety of new businesses and development.
Popular restaurants in the area represent a range of styles including Guapo’s for Mexican food, Masala Art for Indian food, Crisp & Juicy Peruvian, and Le Chat Noir for French-inspired cuisine. Bryan Voltaggio’s Range offers upscale American while Yosaku is a long-time favorite sushi spot.
Most shopping in the area is comprised of local businesses, with a few carefully selected large retailers mixed in, like Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters, and The Container Store.
Education in the area is part of the reason it is so sought after. Public schools include the highly regarded Woodrow Wilson High School. Noted private schools include Georgetown Day and Sidwell Friends School, the storied alma mater of First Children including Archibald Roosevelt, Julie and Tricia Nixon, Chelsea Clinton, and the Sasha and Malia Obama.
American University’s Tenley Campus is an 8 ½ acre development which houses the University’s Washington College of Law. The project includes state of the art facilities, including five courtrooms and the University’s Law Library.
Real estate in the area tends to be pricey, with small condos priced north of $400K and single family homes in the million-dollar plus range. Tenleytown is home to a number of homes of historic significance as well, including Dumblane, a spectacular early 20th century Craftsman style home, and The Rest, a Victorian that evolved gradually from an original 1700 log cabin which was gradually enlarged until it became the mansion it is today.
The Grant Road Historic District includes a number of residential and commercial landmarks which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of these date from the late 1800s and include O’Day’s General Store and Post Office, The Ada Poore House, The Admiral’s House, and many other examples of 19th century architecture.
If you’re looking for a mix of old and new, in-town convenience and small-town charm, you’ll love Tenleytown. Sign in at our website and let an Eng Garcia Grant Realtor help you find your own little corner of DC, whether it’s a convenient condo, a spacious single family home, or your own piece of DC history. We love the District, and we love helping you make your home here.