The first July 4th I spent in Washington, D.C., I started out on the roof of a Pentagon and ended up in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. How that progression happened is still a mystery to me, but suffice it to say that Independence Day in our nation's capital is fun. Don't just take it from me—according to Wallethub, Washington, D.C. is the fourth best city in which to celebrate July 4th, behind San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York at number one. The city pulls out all the stops for the holiday, putting on an insane fireworks show on the National Mall, along with free concerts and other special events.
America's birthday notwithstanding, D.C. is a great little city. All the Smithsonian museums are free, for one thing, so you can spend as much time and as little money as you want hopping from the Museum of Natural History to the Air and Space Museum to the National Portrait Gallery. There are some great restaurants (Founding Farmers, Laos in Town, Sfoglina Pasta House, to name a few); fun bars and beer gardens (Dacha, Right Proper Brewing Company, and Left Door); and better ramen and pho than you'll find in New York.
The D.C. Metro closes at midnight, however, it is efficient, clean, and covers a large swath of the city, plus there's a solid bus system, and it's a very walkable place. There are beautiful parks, like the Tidal Basin, the National Arboretum, and Rock Creek Park. There is also, for now, a baby panda at the National Zoo.
And though certain parts of D.C. are quite pricey, it's still a more affordable city than New York, with many of its same benefits—the median sales price here is $555,700, as compared with Manhattan's $999,000, and much of the housing stock is more spacious. If any of that sounds appealing to you, here's a taste of what's out there.
2728 O St. NW, Georgetown
Georgetown is D.C.'s oldest neighborhoods, and one of its loveliest, drawing locals and tourists alike to its popular restaurants, charming residential streets, and bustling main drag along M Street NW. This three-bedroom, two-bath townhouse is much like what you'd find in the neighborhood; built in 1900, it retains vintage touches like high ceilings, crown molding, built-in cabinetry, hardwood floors, and a wood-burning fireplace in the living room. Other highlights include a renovated eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances, recessed lighting, and a back patio for outdoor lounging. The house is priced at $1,199,000.
2153 California St. NW #203, Kalorama
If you'd like to live near the Obamas (or Jeff Bezos), this three-bedroom, two-bath condo in D.C.'s swanky Kalorama neighborhood has light-filled rooms, a spacious master bedroom, and walk-in closets. Other highlights include an eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances and an elegant dining room. It's also about a 10-minute walk from the Dupont Circle Metro station (not to mention Kramerbooks, D.C.'s best independent bookstore). The unit is priced at $885,000.
3026 Porter St. NW #301, Cleveland Park
Cleveland Park is a little more removed from D.C.'s main action (accessible via the Red Line) though Wisconsin and Connecticut avenues are full of lively restaurants and bars, and the National Cathedral is nearby. This one-bedroom, one-bath co-op has hardwood floors, big windows, and an open layout, plus it's only a five-minute walk from both the Metro station and the neighborhood's stellar St. Arnold's Mussel Bar. The unit is priced at $324,990.
3039 16th St. NW #202, Columbia Heights
This two-bedroom, two-bath loft in D.C.'s hip Columbia Heights neighborhood has floor-to-ceiling windows, industrial-looking stairways, oak wood flooring, and a fireplace. The master bedroom's got a walk-in closet, and there's a second lofted bedroom for guests, plus there's a roof deck with panoramic views of the city. The unit is priced at $699,500.
411 5th St. SE, Capitol Hill
If you want to live a little closer to the action, the Capitol Hill Historic District sits close to Congress and the Supreme Court, and it's filled with historic houses, shops, and inviting streets. This three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse was built in 1961, and has a spacious, light-filled living room; a spiral staircase, and a vintage-looking kitchen with stainless steel appliances. There's also an outdoor deck and a charming brick patio. The house is priced at $799,000.
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