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Van Ness is bordered by Broad Branch Road NW on the north, Connecticut Avenue NW on the west, Rock Creek Park on the east, and Tilden Street NW on the south.
Charming single-family homes wrap around the lushness of Soapstone Valley Park and intermingle with academic institutions (including Howard University’s School of Law and the University of the District of Columbia) as well as several embassies including those of the Netherlands, Austria, and Israel.
Many of the detached homes in Van Ness feature warm front yards, welcoming front porches—everything you’d expect from suburbia right in DC. It’s a feeling that’s enhanced by the trees surrounding the neighborhood streets, adding an extra sense of quiet and privacy.
The neighborhood’s western edge along Connecticut Avenue NW is where you’ll find both classic and more modern luxury apartment and condominium buildings, including Park Van Ness, Van Ness East A-Condominium, and 3003 Van Ness Apartments.
FROM INDOOR MALL TO COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR
Perhaps one of the more unexpected claims to fame the Van Ness neighborhood can boast is that it was home to Washington DC’s first indoor mall.
Van Ness Centre Mall opened in 1967 and lasted until 1983, when it was transformed into a series of office spaces. The complex remains to this day (and is home to the neighborhood’s Giant Food and CVS Pharmacy on the ground floor), which you can still see right as you get off the Van Ness-UDC Metro station.
The convenience of an indoor shopping mall has, in recent years, been replaced by more eclectic retail options along Connecticut Avenue NW. Stroll up and down the major thoroughfare and take your pick of sit-down and fast-casual restaurants, as well as city institutions like the bakery Bread Furst and Calvert Woodley Fine Spirits & Wines.
SOLID CULTURAL VIBES
There’s a pervasive sense of cultural and intellectual appreciation in Van Ness, and a big part of it can be credited to its neighbors.
Perhaps the most reputable is the main campus of the University of the District of Columbia, located at Van Ness Street NW and Connecticut Avenue NW. The campus, which first opened in the late 1960s, expanded through the subsequent decades and has since become intricately linked with the spirit of the Van Ness neighborhood.
International embassies also lend a unique vibe to the area. Van Ness is home to embassies from Bahrain, Jordan, Nigeria, Austria, and other countries.
There are also plenty of community activities and groups new residents can join. Among these are neighborhood blog Forest Hills Connection and community organization Van Ness Main Street, devoted to strengthening the neighborhood’s commercial corridor.
Walk to the Van Ness-UDC Metro station (serving the Red Line) or grab a Metrobus to travel downtown along Connecticut Avenue NW. Hop on nearby walking and running trails that take you into the heart of Rock Creek Park.
Pick up gourmet pastries and breads at popular bakery Bread Furst. Indulge in homemade pasta and other Italian dishes at Sfoglina and Mediterranean small plates at Acacia Food & Wine. Go wild with all-you-can-eat sushi at Sushi Para.
Take in the pleasures of the great outdoors (and peaceful trails) at nearby Soapstone Valley Park. Admire the architecture of the embassies lining International Drive NW. Get a workout at Gold’s Gym or the UDC Tennis Courts.
Pick up a nice bottle of wine or spirits at local institution Calvert Woodley Fine Wines & Spirits. Browse the UDC Van Ness Farmers Market along Connecticut Avenue NW. Pick up everyday essentials at Giant Food and CVS Pharmacy.
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Listing information last updated on May 13th, 2021 at 5:05pm CDT.