The area surrounding the NIH boasts some of the finest neighborhoods and best addresses in the country. As the Nation's capital, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area is a unique and vibrant city with locations to please anyone. The following is merely an introduction to six of the area's neighborhoods. Whether you are looking for a suburban home where you can walk your kids to premier schools or an urban apartment in the heart of the city, the D.C. metro area has it all. Note: data for the charts depicted below last pulled in December 2020.
District of Columbia
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Friendship Heights:
The Friendship Heights area is always a popular option for those looking to live in Washington D.C. Straddling the border of northwest Washington, D.C. and southern Montgomery County, MD, Friendship Heights is a good choice for those looking to live within city limits but in a less-urban setting.
In addition to fine residences, upscale shopping is easy to find in Friendship Heights. The area is well-known for its two popular shopping plazas, Chevy Chase Pavilion and Mazza Gallerie , which together offer more than 440,000 square feet of retail and dining space. The Collection at Chevy Chase , which opened in 2006, houses a collection of upscale restaurants and stores, including two spas. Two additional large-scale retail destinations – the Chevy Chase Center and Wisconsin Place – are still in the midst development. Three major grocery stores – all within close proximity – serve the neighborhood’s residents. The area is also served by the Friendship Heights Metro stop on the red line, which makes it easy to get downtown or to the NIH quickly and easily.
Homes in the area are generally single-family houses, although there are some condos and apartments located in and around the main shopping areas. Family homes are generally medium in size (3-4 bedrooms), but there is some variation in home size in the area. Most houses in Friendship Heights were built prior to 1939, in keeping with the historic character of the neighborhood.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Georgetown:
Georgetown is one of D.C.’s finest and most sought-after neighborhoods. Set in an urban area, Georgetown is largely populated by executives and professionals from a number of different fields, as well as a significant number of government employees and salespeople. Average income and education levels in the area are very high, and rank among the top 15% in the nation. Situated along the Potomac River with some of the best views in the area, Georgetown is a popular, stylish Washington neighborhood that originated as a tobacco port in the 17th century. In addition to its prominent university, Georgetown University , Georgetown has a number of national historic landmarks, many of which are now public museums. The embassies of France , Mongolia , Sweden , Thailand , and the Ukraine are all located in the neighborhood.
Georgetown offers unique real estate options with its many historic homes and gardens. Homes in the area were mostly built prior to 1939, with some constructed in more recent years. Neighborhood residences consist mostly of high-rises, complexes, row houses, and some single-family dwellings and the neighborhood has a good mix of renters and owners. A number of well-known national figures and prominent Washingtonians live in the neighborhood. In addition to its fine homes, people flock to Georgetown to enjoy the chic shopping and dining establishments located along Wisconsin Avenue and M Street. Designers Betsey Johnson , Hugo Boss , Kate Spade , and Ralph Lauren , among others, all have outlets here. You will also find restaurants to satisfy every palate serving everything from classic American to modern Vietnamese cuisine. Residents and visitors can peruse the gardens and Pre-Columbian artifacts collection at Dumbarton Oaks , or stroll along the picturesque C&O Canal . Georgetown lends itself to walking, with notable attractions, shops, and restaurants located relatively close to each other and easily accessible.
Observation Circle / Rock Creek Park
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Observation Circle / Rock Creek Park:
The Observatory Circle/Rock Creek Park area is a small, triangular-shaped neighborhood located in northwest Washington D.C. Its boundaries are Massachusetts Avenue to the northeast, Calvert Street and Observatory Circle's northwest arc to the south, and Wisconsin Avenue to the west. The circle itself is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and 34th Street, although it is not, in fact, a complete loop.
The region is anchored by the 72-acre U.S. Naval Observatory , perhaps best known as the site of the Vice President’s residence , One Observatory Circle. A number of embassies also call Observatory Circle home, including those of Iraq and New Zealand . Observatory Circle’s natural, wooded beauty is protected in perpetuity because of an 1894 Congressional decree banning the construction of highways within 1,000 feet of the Observatory.
The Observatory Circle neighborhood is largely occupied by executives and professionals from a number of different fields, as well as a significant number of government employees and salespeople. Average income and education levels in the area are very high, and rank among the top 15% in the nation. The location makes it relatively easy to get around without a car, due to the proximity to a number of D.C. attractions, but the neighborhood is not served by a Metro station.
Homes in the area were largely built prior to 1939, with some constructed in more recent years. Most of the residences in the area are single-family homes, and are typically large in size (4-5 bedrooms). There are some smaller houses, and a few apartment complexes or condominiums available.
Montgomery County, MD
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Bethesda:
Located in Montgomery County , Maryland and one of Washington D.C.’s most affluent suburbs, Bethesda is well known as a dining destination, but it also features the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and hosts events such as the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival . Outside the downtown area, which features luxury condos, Bethesda real estate is characterized by older homes that are known to retain their value.
Several major employers call Bethesda home: the National Institutes of Health , the National Naval Medical Center , and the corporate headquarters of Marriott International and Lockheed Martin. Getting to and from Bethesda is easy as the city is served by both the Bethesda and Medical Center stations on Metro’s red line.
Like many of the more affluent residential areas of D.C., Bethesda is home to a mix of professional and government workers. Income and education levels are also very high, ranking among the highest in the nation. A number of excellent public schools are located in Bethesda, making it ideal for families with school-age children. Additionally, because of its strong schools and quiet streets, Bethesda is a popular location for families and professionals seeking a more relaxed atmosphere.
Homes in the area are generally single-family dwellings, although there are some condos and apartments located in the city center. Family homes are generally medium in size (3-4 bedrooms), but there is some variation in home size in the area. There are a few homes in the region built after 1969, but the majority of houses were constructed before then.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Cabin John:
Cabin John and Glen Echo lie along the Potomac River to the southwest of the NIH campus. The two closely connected neighborhoods resemble their larger neighbors of Potomac and Bethesda in many ways, but what sets Cabin John and Glen Echo apart are their secluded, old-world, wooded beauty. The founders of Glen Echo described it in an 1888 advertisement as, "Glen Echo on the Potomac: The Washington Rhine." Closely following the Potomac River, the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historic Park passes through both neighborhoods. Glen Echo is notable for its national historic sites: Glen Echo Park (a historic amusement park), and the Clara Barton National Historic Site. Originally a Chautauqua retreat, Glen Echo Park is frequently a venue for arts and cultural classes, such as pottery and dance.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Chevy Chase:
Chevy Chase, Maryland lies within walking distance of Northwest Washington D.C. This community of nearly 120,000 residents offers a quieter, more serene alternative to D.C. without sacrificing most of the amenities of its big-city neighbor. Chevy Chase provides some of the best shopping and dining options in the greater D.C. region, as well as numerous hotels and cultural offerings to accommodate overflow from the nation's capital.
A quiet suburb, Chevy Chase is largely occupied by executives and professionals from a number of different fields, as well as a significant number of government employees and salespeople. Average income and education levels in the area are very high, and rank among the top 15% in the nation. Because the area is served by three Metro stations and numerous bus stops, getting into the city for business or pleasure can be accomplished with relative ease.
Homes in the area were largely built prior to 1939, with some constructed in more recent years. Most of the residences in the area are single family homes, and are typically of medium size (3-4 bedrooms). There are some houses of other sizes, and a few smaller apartment complexes or condominiums are available as well. Chevy Chase has a good mix of renters and owners, and home prices are more reasonable than in many other parts of the area.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Gaithersburg:
Gaithersburg is a sizable incorporated city north of Rockville and to the west of Upper Rock Creek Park. Southern Gaithersburg contains the Shady Grove Metro Station, the northern-most stop on the Metro's Red Line which also stops at the NIH main campus on its way into downtown Washington.
Defying the suburban stereotype of uniformity, Gaithersburg has a variety of housing, ranging from high-rise apartments to single-family homes. Gaithersburg hosts Kentlands, an early example of "smart growth," a walkable, mixed-use development of homes, retail locations, a movie theater, grocery store, schools, churches, and restaurants.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Germantown:
Despite recent growth, Germantown maintains its historic, rural character. The town is completely surrounded by parkland, including North Germantown Special Park, Black Hill Regional Park, Little Seneca Lake, Hoyles Mill Conservation Park, South Germantown Recreational Park, Seneca Creek State Park, and Clopper Lake. A swath of woodland separates Germantown from Gaithersburg to the south.
Germantown is accessible by I-270 which runs south to the Capital Beltway, as well as by the MARC commuter train which connects with the closest Metro station, the Shady Grove Station in Gaithersburg.
North Potomac / Darnestown
North Potomac and Darnestown are in many ways rural extensions of Potomac, yet the amenities of Gaithersburg and Rockville to the east are within a reasonable distance by car. The area features increased access to parks such as Aberdeen, Muddy Branch, Blockhouse Point, Seneca Creek State Park, and Lake Needwood. Homes in the area are large and situated on generous lots of cleared farmland while about 50% of the area remains forested.
Olney / Sandy Spring / Brookeville
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Olney / Sandy Spring / Brookeville:
Olney, Sandy Spring, and Brookeville are centered in the agricultural area of upper Montgomery County, northeast of Rockville. These areas have great access to the Triadelphia Reservoir and the beautiful Patuxent River State Park. They also lie to the east of Upper Rock Creek Park and Lake Needwood.
Primarily residential, about half of all Olney households have children under 18 living with them. In 2007, Money Magazine ranked Olney 17th out of 100 for "America's Best Places to Live," making it the highest-ranked town in Maryland.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Potomac:
Potomac is located about 15 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. and is named for the river it borders. Potomac real estate is not just for water-lovers, however. Because of the area’s rolling hills and large lots, many Potomac real estate owners are also horse owners. A variety of recreational activities can be enjoyed at the popular and scenic Great Falls National Park , part of which is located in the Potomac area.
Potomac is home to some of the state’s – and the nation’s – wealthiest neighborhoods, such as Falconhurst, Bradley Farms, Palatine, and the golf community of Avenel . The most affluent homes are tucked in and around Potomac Village, a local shopping district featuring upscale shops and restaurants. But essentially all Potomac real estate is desirable, and large, single-family, million-dollar homes dominate the area. Many Potomac real estate owners are retirees who appreciate the proximity to the city but prefer the natural beauty of this picturesque suburb. Commuters are also drawn to Potomac; several professional athletes, CEOs, and members of the media reside in the area. If you are looking to live in an area with ample opportunities for outdoor activities, Potomac might be the right place for you.
Homes in the area are mostly single-family houses, and there are few condos or apartments located in Potomac. Family homes are generally large in size (4+ bedrooms), but there are some medium-sized homes (3-4 bedrooms) in the area. Additionally, most homes in the area were built in the last 40 years, making them a bit newer than many of the houses found in areas closer to downtown D.C.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Rockville:
With its city center just eight miles north of NIH's main campus, Rockville is an ideal location for those who value a short commute by either car or Metro (the Washington area's subway). Rockville is a medium-sized community that affords both the amenities of a cosmopolitan city while still being family-friendly. Rockville's excellent public schools make it a perfect environment to raise children. Scientists and white collar workers make up nearly ninety percent of Rockville's workforce.
Frederick County, Maryland
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Frederick:
Frederick County is known as one of the least urban areas of the Washington, D.C. Metro area, located to the northwest of Germantown. The city of Frederick boasts a 50-block historic district as well as many modern housing developments. Its more rural location places Frederick in the middle of the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Catoctin Mountain Park, Cunningham Falls State Park(location of the presidential retreat, Camp David), Frederick Municipal Forest, South Mountain State Park, and Sugarloaf Mountain Natural Area are all just outside of Frederick. The fertile agricultural lands around Frederick supply the town's nine farmers' markets. Frederick is also a great place for history enthusiasts, with the Monocacy National Battlefield and the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historic Park in the immediate area and the Antietam National Battlefield a very short drive to the west.
Ann Arundel County, Maryland
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Annapolis:
As Maryland's state capital and home of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis is a town steeped in history. Annapolis' location on the Chesapeake Bay makes it a popular destination for sailing, seafood, and sightseeing. Annapolis is also adjacent to Sandy Point State Park and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge – the access point to Maryland's Eastern Shore beaches. Many homes in the area are historic, including colonial wooden row houses, brick Georgian mansions, and waterfront homes with boat slips.
Arlington County, Virginia
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Arlington:
Arlington, the most populous community in Virginia, is located just across the Potomac River from Washington's monuments and historic Georgetown neighborhood. It is home to a dynamic mix of government employees, private contractors, families, and artists. Those areas of Arlington immediately adjacent to Metro stops tend to be very dense and urban in feel while other areas display a more typical suburban pattern of development.
Arlington is a cultural hub in northern Virginia, playing host to opera, live theatre, museums, symphonies, and ballet. Numerous clusters of immigrant communities also add to the richness of Arlington's cultural fabric. Home to Arlington National Cemetery and numerous Civil War era forts, Arlington's history is never far away. Residents of Arlington also benefit from the fact that the heart of Washington is just a short walk, car ride, bike, bus, or Metro ride away.
Falls Church City, Virginia
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Falls Church:
Virginia's smallest city, Falls Church is sandwiched between Arlington and Fairfax counties. Falls Church is has easy Metro access to Washington via the Orange Line and is also close to the capital beltway interstate which extends north into Maryland and past the NIH.
Falls Church is known for its rich diversity. The city is home to the first ever chapter of the NAACP and today features several large immigrant communities. The Eden Center in Falls Church is home to one of the largest Vietnamese specialty markets on the entire East Coast.
The Falls Church community holds annual celebrations such as the Memorial Day Parade and the Tinner Hill Blues Festival. In all, Falls Church is an ideal location for families looking for a quieter more secluded atmosphere.
Alexandria City, Virginia
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Alexandria:
Located south of Washington and along the Potomac River, Alexandria is rich with both historic and modern attractions. Through the Yellow and Blue Lines, Alexandria has excellent Metro access to downtown Washington and from there to the NIH main campus.
Founded in 1749, Alexandria was the region's main port of entry throughout the late 1700s and early 1800s. Alexandria's unique architecture has been preserved in its historic Old Town, a popular destination rich with restaurants and nightlife. Alexandria has a variety of museums, including the Black History Museum, the Archives and Records Center, Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and many others.
Fairfax County, Virginia
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in Great Falls:
Great Falls, VA is named after nearby Great Falls National Park, located on the rocky, rugged upper Potomac River across from Potomac, MD. Great Falls is known for its plentiful outdoor activities, including Olympic-level kayaking in the river and cliffs perfect for rock climbing.
Largely residential, the vast majority of Great Falls' residences are elite single-family homes on generous lots.
The below graph shows a snapshot of housing pricing in McLean:
Located just across the Potomac River from Cabin John, Mclean is one of the areas in Virginia closest to the NIH. Mclean has a diverse and highly prosperous population. The headquarters of companies such as Capital One, Booz Allen Hamilton, Hilton Hotels, SAIC, and USA Today among many others call Mclean home. These high-caliber jobs and excellent schools mean that Mclean is home to diplomats, Congressmen, and many other government officials.
Mclean also has a vast array of shopping opportunities, including the Tysons Corner Center (the Washington area's largest mall) and the upscale Tysons Galleria mall. Though currently without immediate Metro access, Mclean will soon be connected with downtown Washington by the new Silver Line now under construction. Phase 1 of the line is set to open in 2013 while the entire line (including a stop at nearby Dulles International Airport) is on schedule for completion by 2016.