The Adams Morgan Neighborhood of Washington, D.C. is Outgrowing Its Wild Reputation

Mandy Mills, Executive Vice President of the Mandy & David Team, describes how the once-boho area is currently going through an “artful renaissance.”

When it comes to real estate, Washington, D.C. can be described as “a really big small town.” In fact, that’s exactly how Mandy Mills, Executive Vice President of the Mandy & David Team described it to ESTATENVY. “D.C. has lots of micro-markets, with all these little pockets of neighborhoods,” she explained.

While some would probably say that the hottest neighborhood in D.C. is Shaw or Logan Circle, Mills has her eye on the ever-changing—and perhaps underestimated—area of Adams Morgan.

“The neighborhood had its heyday in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. It was sort of bohemian, with cool bars and coffee shops, and it was where everybody went,” said Mills.

As the word got out about how hip and happening Adams Morgan was, naturally, it became much less cool. “It took a turn and got cheesy, like, bridge and tunnel,” said Mills. Soon, local residents completely stopped going there to avoid the “bananas” bar and nightlife scene. Ruined by its own good reputation, Adams Morgan became a sort of inside joke to residents.

“In the evenings, past a certain time on the weekend—which is still true—people stop thinking of it as a place you’d want to go to have a nice meal,” said Mills.

But, Mills said, Adams Morgan may be getting its big comeback.

“The area is now having this artful renaissance,” she said. “There are lots of interesting things coming in, and with this influx of new, refreshing places, it’s back into people’s purview.”

In late 2017, the Line Hotel moved into a 110-year-old church, elevating the neighborhood and kicking off a revitalizing phase of excitement. The Line is home to award-winning restaurants and offers a hip gathering space for locals and visitors alike. “It has gorgeous stained glass windows and cathedral ceilings,” said Mills. “The lobby is always filled with your vision of ‘the best’ of D.C.—diverse, artistic people sitting around being creative, having coffee, cocktailing—it brought the area together in a way that’s really fun to watch.”

Mills says Adams Morgan has come a long way since having one standalone good restaurant, Perry’s, as sushi joint with a gorgeous rooftop. “They opened a sister restaurant around eight years ago called Mintwood,” she said. “It’s started to get some cool restaurants coming back in. Roofer’s Union opened on the main drag, and that was helmed by Marjorie Meek-Bradley who came in third on ‘Top Chef.’ That lent even more street cred.” Mills also said the neighborhood recently gained Tail Up Goat, a Michelin star recipient.

Because Washington, D.C. is a geographically compact city, Adams Morgan is surrounded by other great areas, too: Dupont Circle to the south, Kalorama to the southwest, Woodley Park to the northeast, Mount Pleasant to the north, and Columbia Heights to the east. Those keeping score can note that the Obamas and Ivanka Trump live in Kalorama. If you’d like to stop by and say hello, consider public transportation.

“There’s a metro that’s walkable to Columbia Heights and Woodley Park,” said Mills, “and the bus system here is amazing. You can go anywhere really easily on the bus.”

Adams Morgan is populated by luxury condos, older condos and residential homes throughout. “There are row houses on the blocks off of 18th that are big and grand—‘Royal Tennenbaum’-esque, if you will,” Mills said, adding that these homes are “a little quirky, but in just the right way.” She said that condos in Adams Morgan range from around $400,000 up to the multi-millions, while single-family homes start just over the $1 million mark.

As Adams Morgan reinvents itself, it will continue to attract people during the day and work to shirk its reputation as just another wild and crazy bar scene at night. “You can really see a huge change in the excitement of the neighborhood,” said Mills. “I think that’s going to continue on. People are going to look to live and hang out there more.”