Most of the time I spent in DC prior to moving here was in the Dupont Circle area of DC because that's where my friends live. I think I visited the zoo once, but didn't really remember it that well, and certainly didn't remember the neighborhoods that surround it.
When I decided to move here, I wanted something that still had vestiges of the suburbs that I had lived in my whole life: I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, went to college in the LA suburbs, went to grad school in Delaware (one big suburb, really), and lived and worked for the past ten years in the Philly suburbs.
When I visited the area around the zoo, I knew I liked it, and I lucked out in finding a place that I liked too. This place happened to be basically right between Woodley Park and Cleveland Park, the two "parks" that surround the zoo.
Both neighborhoods are pretty similar, in that they have a small retail and restaurant core and Metro stations. They are also filled with tree cover, which is great on the hot DC days we tend to have. This is the view from the Duke Ellington bridge, which connects Woodley Park to Adams Morgan:
OK, that's technically Rock Creek Park and technically another park that surrounds the zoo, but you get the point: there are trees! And there are trees all along the main drag of Woodley and Cleveland Parks, Connecticut Avenue:
Woodley Park's advantage over Cleveland Park is its proximity to both Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle: both great areas are enjoyable walks away. However, Cleveland Park has this:
The Uptown Theater, a class movie house that shows first-run movies. It's very nice to have a movie theater in walking distance, and one that has such a cool marquee.
Both neighborhoods though have good restaurants and bars, most of which have outdoor seating. Some of my favorites include:
- Lebanese Taverna: great hummus and a really nice atmosphere.
- Open City: dependable upscale diner food.
- Nanny O'Brien's: slightly dive-y Irish pub.
- Cleveland Park Bar & Grill: sports bar with a rooftop deck.
- Paragon Thai: my go-to place for pad thai
However, I haven't explored everything, so if you have suggestions for these areas, let me know!