Benning: Close-In Affordability in Washington DC
The Benning neighborhood in Washington D.C.’s Seventh Ward is home to just over thirty-five hundred residents who truly understand the value of living in close proximity to central Washington without paying a premium for housing.
Homes in the neighborhood are very reasonably priced, and there are many affordable apartments here, as well. There is some great opportunity for shopping and nightlife options in the area, as well as public and private schools, and a library and community center. Overall, the Benning neighborhood offers D.C. residents an affordable place to live with easy access to some of the best that central Washington D.C. has to offer.
Home Ownership vs. Renting in DC’s Benning Neighborhood
Benning has a tremendous concentration of rental properties, although single-family homes are a bit of a rarity in the immediate area. As a result, 75 percent of neighborhood residents rent. Median rent is above the national rate at $1,043, but reasonable for the overall D.C. area. The median home price in Benning is $200,399, which is a little higher than the national average, but affordable, again, for the area. If you’re searching for a home in Benning, federal homes are the most popular architectural style.
The median household income in Benning is $44,199, which is considerably lower than the national average of $55,322, but higher than it is in similar areas of Washington.
Transportation, Parking, and Commuting in Benning
Benning is centrally-located in the Northeast section of the city, just across the Anacostia River from central Washington. It has a relatively small population for a D.C. neighborhood at just over thirty-five hundred residents, most of whom live in the neighborhood’s affordably priced apartments and commute into the center of the city or elsewhere for work.
The typical commute to the center of D.C. by car from the Benning neighborhood is just over twenty minutes. Commuting from Benning to Georgetown University takes neighborhood residents only a few minutes more, despite the fact that the university is on the other side of the city. Commute times to Howard University are roughly the same, and a trip to Galladet University takes considerably less time.
Parking in the Benning neighborhood is easier to find than in many of the other areas of central D.C., and Benning is easy to commute from by public transportation. Benning residents enjoy excellent access to transit with a transit score of 70. The Benning Road Station of the D.C. metro serves the neighborhood, which is also well served by bus transit, including multiple lines that serve the neighborhood along East Capitol Street, Minnesota Avenue, and Benning Road.
Perhaps more importantly to some, one can always walk – after all, the neighborhood is very walkable and has achieved a walk score of 71. Unfortunately, Benning is only rated “somewhat bikeable,” with a bike score of just 51.
Outdoor Activities in the Benning Area
Benning residents don’t have any parks located inside the boundaries of their neighborhood, save for a small green space at Robinson Square. But, there are two fantastic parks just across the street from the neighborhood: one to the north, across Benning Road; and the other to the south, across East Capitol Street.
Fort Chaplin National Park, a Civil War site, lies just south of the neighborhood and provides residents with ample green space to enjoy with family, friends, or to go on a walk with the dog. Just to the north of the neighborhood across Benning Road is Fort Mahan National Park, another Civil War defensive site for the nation’s capital, and a great place for outdoor recreation where residents can enjoy themselves and the outdoors without venturing too far from home.
Benning also has a fantastic farmer’s market that’s located within easy reach. The RFK Stadium Open Air Farmer’s Market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from early in the morning until mid-afternoon (also during the warmer months), at the RFK campus just across the bridge from Benning on Benning Road.
Family is a key facet of life and very important to residents of the Benning neighborhood. The neighborhood has a community center and a Boy’s and Girl’s Club, as well as several schools and many neighborhood houses of worship.
For residents in the area looking for family-friendly outdoor activities, the Benning Park Community Center provides indoor and outdoor classes and activities for all ages, including a dragon-themed playground for the kids. The neighborhood is also home to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Washington, and the Dorothy I. Height Public Library.
The neighborhood is served by the DC Prep elementary school and middle school, as well as local D.C. public schools Smothers Elementary School, Kelly Miller Middle School, and Woodson High School, none of which are within the neighborhood’s boundaries but all of which are within an easy commuting distance.
The Benning neighborhood isn’t exactly known for its restaurants and bars, but there is enough going on here to keep locals happy. Further, with inner D.C. so close by, pretty much any kind of nightlife you may be looking for can be had nearby.
Yum’s Carry Out offers residents a great place to get Chinese food on the go, and they are open late for those looking for some good food on the way home from a night out or a late shift at work. Minnesota Seafood is another great neighborhood restaurant, offering residents their choice between fresh seafood, soul food, and Chinese food.
Just north of the neighborhood on Minnesota Avenue, good Thai food can be found at Sala Thai Restaurant, and there are several fast food, diner-style, and counter-service restaurants in the area, as well.
The neighborhood only has one bar located within its boundaries, the DC Eagle, but it is more of a destination for those looking for a “gay bar with an industrial vibe” than it is a neighborhood watering hole. For nightlife purposes, plenty of clubs and bars can be found just over the river along Benning Road.
Life for the Dogs (and Other Pets) in Benning
For those hoping to relocate to Benning with a dog, or to adopt or buy a dog once they’ve put down roots in the neighborhood, there is good news. The neighborhood may not have much to speak of in terms of green spaces, but with three large parks just outside its boundaries, there is plenty of opportunity to take the dog for a walk in a National Park, or in the riverside green space along the East Bank of the Anacostia River.
Keep in mind though that the standard pet laws of the district apply in Benning as they do everywhere else. You must pick up after your pet and keep your dog leashed whenever you are in public. The fines for getting caught disobeying the pet laws in D.C. can very be costly.
Arts and Culture in the Benning Neighborhood
Most community life in the Benning Neighborhood revolves around the local community center, Boy’s and Girl’s Club, and houses of worship, and there are arts and culture opportunities to be had at each. Additionally, Benning is located a very short Metro or bus ride from some of the best museums and performing arts venues in the entire world, situated in Central D.C.
Additionally, the area surrounding Benning, Ward 8, is home to several smaller museums, galleries, and performance spaces that play host to art shows, theater productions, concerts, and performances of all types. The cultural diversity of this part of the city and the Benning neighborhood are on display at many of the artistic showcases put on throughout the year across the larger area.
Senior Living in Benning
If you’re considering retiring to the Benning neighborhood, you’ll have plenty of company, as 13 percent of the residents in this neighborhood are above the age of 65. Retirees are the third-largest age group in the area, and the neighborhood has many amenities that appeal to seniors, including easy access to the shopping, the public library, restaurants, and the community center.
Shopping in the Benning Neighborhood
Shopping in Benning is better than it is in many of the other areas of Ward 8. A Safeway supermarket anchors the largest shopping area in the neighborhood, East River Park. The commercial district includes the neighborhood library, a post office, a couple of pharmacies, discount retailers, several banks, multiple restaurants, and much more. Additionally, commercial districts just outside the area have more to offer residents.
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