Welcome to Anacostia
An incredible historic neighborhood where connection and community are at the heart of everything.
Steeped in history, the neighborhood of Anacostia rests to the southeast of downtown Washington D.C., just over the waters of the Anacostia River. Anacostia’s hilly terrain offers remarkable views of D.C. and is replete with gorgeous historic homes. Though it’s often mischaracterized as the entire area east of the Anacostia River, Anacostia is its own distinct dynamic and energetic neighborhood.
With a history of European exploration that dates back to the 17th century and of much earlier Native settlement, Anacostia has long been a thriving riverside community. The neighborhood was connected to the greater D.C. area and downtown by developing the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge in 1890, where the present-day John Phillip Sousa Bridge is. Since then, Anacostia has established several other bridges and transportation access points, including Navy Yard Bridge, 11th Street Bridge, and the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Anacostia is also known as the home of the famed Frederick Douglass in the later years of his life. His estate at Cedar Hill has been transformed into the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.
Due to its deep history, much of the housing in Anacostia is composed of lovely historic homes. Here, you’ll encounter Queen Anne homes, cottages, Victorian townhomes, and even examples of Italianate architecture. However, Anacostia also has plenty of newer-build residences, including condominiums and upscale apartments.
What to Love
- Right across from Navy Yard and less than 30 minutes from downtown
- Strong community atmosphere, sense of history
- Residential vibe with eclectic shops and restaurants
People & Lifestyle
Anacostia is ideal for young professionals and families, partially due to its easy access to downtown. The neighborhood is chock-full of great housing opportunities—whether you want to renovate your own historic home or prefer a sleek new build—and has plenty of museums, art centers, and ample opportunities to explore the culture.
Dining, Shopping, & Entertainment
Anacostia has, in addition to being in close proximity to D.C.’s many arts and entertainment areas, its own exciting mix of stores and dining choices that reflect the neighborhood’s distinctive style and tight-knit feel. From the Animal Clinic of Anacostia to the local shops, every commercial business is devoted to fostering community.
Grab a book and a decadent coffee at the neighborhood favorite, Busboys and Poets. Part restaurant, part bookstore, and part coffee shop, Busboys and Poets is a beloved community gathering place.
Shoppers will love the unique finds at stores like CheckIt Enterprises, where the clothing comes in specialty prints, and the venue space is rentable for events like fashion shows and business meetings. Learn about the vibrant depths of African-American culture by browsing the books at Mahogany Books, a local, independent bookstore dedicated to making reading accessible to the community and the world.
Things to Do
You’ll never run out of things to do in Anacostia, and this small neighborhood is replete with ways to make new connections and celebrate the diverse history of the area. Anacostia hosts D.C.’s Annual State Fair, a free event for the city that showcases local cuisine, tons of vendors, competitions, and fun for the whole family. The Anacostia River Festival is another popular event that serves as the closing of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Every year, this special celebration includes river activities and canoeing, games on the lawn, vendors, and a chance to dive into Anacostia’s culture.
Along with the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Anacostia also has the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, which focuses on highlighting the intersections of history, culture, and social issues that are pertinent to urban communities in the D.C. area. Artists can check out the Anacostia Arts Center and its gorgeous gallery or view a show in the black box theater. Suppose one theater’s not enough to satiate your thespian enthusiasm. In that case, you can visit The Anacostia Playhouse, the revamped version of the original H Street Playhouse, to embrace the robust arts and entertainment community.
Prefer to spend your time outdoors? Anacostia houses a scenic bike and walking route along the river, which connects neighborhoods and provides stunning views. Anacostia is also the future home of the 11th Street Bridge Park, Washington D.C.’s first elevated public park.