Good Living in the Heart of Ward 8
The Congress Heights neighborhood, in the heart of Ward 8 in the Southeast Quadrant of Washington D.C., is a terrific place to live in our nation’s capital. Its borders include the campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, 4th Street, Lebaum Street, and Newcomb Street in the North; South Capitol Street and Shepard Parkway in the West; 1st Street and Atlantic street in the South; and Oxon Run Parkway, Alabama Avenue, and Wheeler Street in the East.
Malcolm X Avenue and Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue are the neighborhood’s two commercial streets. The area was largely-undeveloped until the last couple of decades of the 19th century, and was farmland and forest prior to the founding of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital at the northern edge of Congress Heights. Today, the neighborhood has a good mix of original construction and more contemporary development.
Home Ownership & Home Preference in Congress Heights
The Congress Heights neighborhood is made up of many more rentals than owner-occupied residences. Roughly 75 percent of neighborhood residents rent their homes. The median rental price here’s just slightly higher than the national average at $990 a month. Median home prices are around $230,000, about $50,000 more than the national median. The Victorian, federal, and bungalow-style homes are offered in Congress Heights.
The majority of neighborhood residents have at least a high school education, with 45 percent having attended at least some college or holding a degree of some sort. The median household income in Congress Heights is a bit lower than the national average at just under $34,000 – compared to $55,000 nationally.
Commute Information: Getting to and From Work and School
Residents of Congress Heights enjoy quick commutes to most parts of the District. It takes less than 20 minutes for residents to make it to the heart of the city by car, and only 40-to-45 minutes to get there by mass transit. Commute times to American University, Howard University, and Georgetown are a bit longer, but very reasonable for a city of this size and population density.
There is ample parking in the neighborhood, as it’s primarily residential in nature, but many residents prefer to use mass transit to commute into the city for work or school. There are no major employers in the this neighborhood, but many residents work near home or in the larger Ward 8 area.
Outdoor Activities in Congress Heights
Residents of Congress Heights enjoy great access to green spaces bordering the neighborhood. The Oxon Run National Parkway and Shepherd Parkway are just outside the neighborhood to the West and East, respectively. Both have some trails and wildlife, and are great places to get outside for some exercise or relaxation on nice days. The neighborhood has no parks directly within its boundaries, but there are public green spaces at both Somerset Prep DC and Congress Heights Recreation.
This neighborhood has no workout facilities or gyms within its borders, but there are three facilities just outside the neighborhood. Fitness Centers 1 and 2 at Joint Base Acostia, for those with access, to the West, and Planet Fitness at the Eastover Shopping Center to the South of Congress Heights on the other side of the Bellevue neighborhood.
Family-Friendly Congress Heights
Family is very important to the residents of Congress Heights. In fact, 22 percent of the households in the neighborhood have children living at home. Thankfully the neighborhood enjoys both a good walk score and a good transit score. It’s easy for residents to get around and for kids to get to and from school in the neighborhood. The neighborhood doesn’t earn high marks for bikeability, however, due to a lack of bike lanes.
Schools in the area are reasonably highly-rated and include several public charter schools, as well as Congress Heights School, Hart Middle School, Ballou STAY High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Simon Elementary, Mary Church Terrel Elementary, Hendley Elementary School, and Draper Elementary School.
The Social Scene in Congress Heights
The neighborhood has no bars or clubs, save for one. The Player’s Lounge, a soul food restaurant and bar in Congress Heights, has been described as Ward 8’s living room. It has some of the city’s best food and plays host to The Fat Boys, a social club and service fraternity that is active throughout Southeast D.C.
For neighborhood residents looking for other options for a night out, the Slip Inn Bar and Grill on the East Bank of the Potomac River is nearby, and the Forest Heights area a couple of miles south of the neighborhood has a fantastic concentration of bars and clubs of all types.
Pet Lovers and Congress Heights
There are few pet-oriented businesses in this neighborhood and no dog park or off-leash areas. But area residents do have access to the several green spaces mentioned above, so there’s ample room to walk or run your dog if you relocate to Congress Heights with a dog, or get one once you’ve moved in.
But, don’t think you can afford to ignore the District’s pet laws, as failure pick up after your pet or letting your dog off-leash in public can carry a steep penalty. The closest pet services to the area are the Perfectpaws Doggie Spa and PetSmart down at Dakota Crossing in Forest Heights. The closest dog parks with off-leash areas are across the Anacostia River in Central D.C.
Senior Living in Congress Heights
Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center is one of only two senior-oriented institutions in the neighborhood. That said, it’s a terrific facility, a government-run combination of a health club, senior activity center and social hub, and light medical care facility. Seniors can access health programs, classes, creative arts programming, inter-generational activities, and a wide variety of other resources directly in the neighborhood. Nearby, Wayne’s Place Apartments is an independent living facility just for seniors.
Culture & Arts in the Neighborhood
Congress Heights, just over the bridge from Central D.C., is located within easy reach or many of the best museums in the world. Additionally Ward 8 as a whole is home to several smaller museums, galleries, and performance spaces that host everything from dance to theater to music and other performing arts.
The cultural diversity of Ward 8 and the Congress Heights neighborhood are on display at several artistic showcases put on throughout the year across this and many other neighborhoods of Southeast Washington. The Congress Heights area is also home to the Anacostia Community Museum, a community museum that’s part of the Smithsonian Institute and aims to examine, document, and interpret the impact of social issues (both historical and contemporary) on urban communities.
Congress Heights Foodie Rating
Restaurants aren’t exactly abundant in this neighborhood, but there are some good options and they are very affordable. In the South of the neighborhood Secrets of Nature Health Food Centers serves up healthy cuisine; while in the North and Northeast of the neighborhood, Azitouna Pizza, an Italian-Greek-American eatery, Hong Kong Delite, and IHOP are popular with locals. Also, there are clusters of restaurants along S. Capitol Street SE in the Bellevue and Forest Heights neighborhoods to the south of Congress Heights.
Data is compiled by Homes.com based on weekly listing data from an aggregated feed of industry partners. The information contained herein is for general information purposes only and is subject to change and to reporting inaccuracies. Calculations are based on historical listing data [which is accurate] but may not be an accurate indicator of future trends; and circumstances after the time of publication may affect the accuracy of the calculated data.