Neighborhoods Around DC: Columbia Heights

In this week’s blog, Special Programs Assistant Kristen Wright gives us some tips on things to do and places to go in one of DC’s most exciting neighborhoods: Columbia Heights.

Columbia Heights is an exciting neighborhood rich in culture and history, and it sits just a mile north of the White House on the green and yellow metro lines. Due to its metro accessibility, availability of bus lines, and beautiful row houses and apartment homes, Columbia Heights is an ideal neighborhood for many young professionals, students and families. Formerly the home of Columbian College (now George Washington University), Columbia Heights has transformed from a farmland estate, to a highly diverse residential and business district.


Just a few short steps from the Columbia Heights Metro Station, the DC USA Shopping Center is “the new kid on the block” to the Columbia Heights community. Completed in early 2008, this shopping center has become an essential component of the neighborhood. Known most commonly for having the District’s only Target, this shopping center also has a Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond, Marshalls and Staples, making it the perfect one stop shop for anyone new to the city trying to get settled!


“The Heights” – If you’re interested in a delicious brunch, then be sure to check out “The Heights.”  Around the corner from the Columbia Heights metro station (at 14th and Kenyon St., NW), The Heights is a favorite spot for weekend brunch, watching the game, or during the warmer months, simply enjoying the outdoor patio seating.

“El Rinconcito II” – El Rinconcito is a seemingly hole-in-the-wall establishment serving El Salvadorian and Mexican food.  Located in the basement of a row house across the street from the Giant supermarket, this restaurant is a preferred place for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Make sure you try the restaurant’s most popular dish, the Pupusas (tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese, and beans…mmmm).

“Sticky Fingers Bakery” – This Vegan bakery is filled with delicious pastries, cakes, coffee and tea and has consistently been on the “Best of DC” list.  Stop by between 5-8pm on the first Wednesday of the month for “Cupcake Happy Hour” and purchase your favorite flavor for only $2 (I highly recommend the Cookies ‘N Cake).  Not in the mood for sweets?  Their menu now serves Vegan nachos, grilled cheese, chili and quesadillas!

RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria – Located at 1036 Park Rd., NW (about a 10 minute walk from the metro station), RedRocks is a popular pizzeria in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. With plenty of outdoor seating, this Italian style brick-oven pizzeria is sure to impress even the pickiest of eaters.

Things to Do:

Columbia Heights Heritage Trail – This two hour self-guided walking tour makes its way through Columbia Heights beginning at 14th and Irving St., NW, and ending at 14th and Columbia St., NW.  Highlights of the tour are the Tivoli Theatre, “College Hill” (Meridian Hill Park), and beautiful views of downtown Washington, DC from Cardoza High School.  Each of the 19 poster-sized signs along the way will illustrate the areas significance in history through pictures and stories.

Whether you live, work or play in Columbia Heights, there are a lot of great things to see and do. From busy shopping areas to small family run businesses, Columbia Heights is a vibrant and busy community with much to offer!

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