The Family Life in Forest Hills
Forest Hills is one of the best neighborhoods in all of the District of Columbia. It’s loaded with good schools and gets high marks for its safety and lack of crime. It has plenty of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife to keep both young and older people happy. It enjoys relatively short commutes, good home values, decent rents, a good degree of economic and cultural diversity, and is within easy reach of the outdoors and everything Washington has to offer.
The neighborhood feels urban, without many of the challenges that may come along with living in the city. It lies smack dab in the middle of the Northwest quadrant of the city. There, it’s bordered by Rock Creek Park to the east, Chevy Chase to the north, and is just a few minutes north from the popular Georgetown area. The neighborhood is often referred to by locals as Van Ness, because it’s close to the Van Ness campus of the University of District Columbia and is served by a Metro Station bearing that name.
Home Ownership & Home Preference in Forest Hill
The Forest Hills neighborhood is a bit of an anomaly in the D.C. area when it comes to home preference. Though property values are high (the median home value is more than four times the national average, at $866,935), a two-thirds majority of neighborhood residents are renters. This speaks to the abundance of apartment buildings in Forest Hills, as well as the relatively low rental prices. This popular neighborhood has Italianate, contemporary, Tudor, beaux arts, and colonial-styled homes.
Rentals in the area are priced at just double the national median, making this a great neighborhood for young people looking for a fantastic location loaded with amenities, when they aren’t quite ready to buy yet, or for older folks looking to downsize to apartment living for the last few chapters of their lives.
Commute Information: Getting to and From Work and School
Commute times to downtown Washington, the National Mall, and most of the District’s large employers are generally in the 20 minutes or less range by car. As mentioned above, Forest Hills is served by a D.C. Metro station as well as several bus lines. Commuters who utilize public transportation can expect commute times in the 20-to-30 minute range to most area employers.
While the neighborhood is within easy reach of most of the District’s major employment centers, many residents of Forest Hills find they have everything they need right in the neighborhood and need not leave for much of anything. Forest Hills earns high marks for its walkability, with a walk score of 75. The neighborhood also gets good marks for transportation, with a transit score of 61, but is less bikeable than many comparable inner-city neighborhoods with a bike score of only 48, thanks mainly to a lack of protected bike lanes.
Outdoor Activities Forest Hill
Residents of this neighborhood are in a great position to get in a little outdoor exercise and activity. As mentioned above, the entire Eastern border of the neighborhood is made up of one of the area’s largest green spaces, Rock Creek Park, which is also home to the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center and the Brightwood Recreation Center. Forest Hills is also bisected by two other parks, Melvin C. Hazen Park and Soapstone Valley Park.
For those looking for physical activity of a more indoor nature, this neighborhood is also a terrific place to reside. Forest Hills is home to a Gold’s Gym and is within easy walking distance of Zengo Cycle and Solidcore Cathedral Commons, Tidal Elite Performance Center, Orangetheory Fitness, Northwest Sport and Health, and several other workout and fitness facilities.
Family-Friendly Forest Hill
Forest Hills is one of the city’s best neighborhoods for raising a family. It’s ranked as the 15th safest neighborhood in the District, and a full 10 percent of households have school-aged children at home. The population is well-educated with more than 50 percent of neighborhood residents possessing a master’s degree or greater, and enjoys property values in excess of twice the national mean.
Neighborhood schools are highly-rated and include some of the city’s best public and private institutions, including one of the city’s best public universities, two of the city’s law schools, and one of the city’s divinity schools. Area schools for children include Murch Elementary School, Auguste Montessori School, Sheridan School, Woodrow Wilson High School, Fusion Academy of Washington D.C., and Washington International School.
The Social Scene in Forest Hill
There are several good reasons why so many of the city’s young professionals choose to live in Forest Hills. This area is one of the best in Washington, if you’re looking for a combination of nightlife options in the area, without many of the problems that living in a nightlife district comes with. The neighborhood has a couple of neighborhood hangouts — Tesoro and Acacia Food & Wine — while being within walking distance of several other great options.
St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar, the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill and Nanny O’Briens in Cleveland Park and Kitty O’Shea’s D.C. and the Tenley Bar & Grill in Tenleytown are among the neighborhood’s quick and easy options for nightlife and social interaction.
Pet Lovers and Forest Hill
Pet-lovers and dog owners could hardly pick a better neighborhood than Forest Hills in the entire greater Washington area. Easy access to all of the great natural areas listed above, with their running trails, is one perk of living in the neighborhood as a dog owner. Additionally, Forest Hills is right next door to two of the city’s few dog parks, complete with off-leash areas.
Pet oriented businesses in Forest Hills and the surrounding area include Fetch! Pet Care of Bethesda, PetMAC, Bark In Style, Kriser’s Natural Pet, and Pet-Cetera. But, just because this neighborhood is a veritable pet wonderland doesn’t mean that residents don’t have to obey the District’s pet laws, as failure pick up after your pet or letting your dog off-leash in public can result large fines.
Senior Living in Forest Hill
Forest Hills is also one of Washington’s best neighborhoods for seniors and retirees, with multiple senior oriented businesses and institutions either within the neighborhood or right nearby. Seabury at Friendship Terrace, Sunrise on Connecticut Avenue, and Chevy Chase House – Meridian Senior Living are the area’s senior living facilities and combine independent living for retirees with assisted living facilities for those seniors who need it.
Iona Senior Services and the D.C. Senior Fellowship Program are two facilities that offer senior programming in the neighborhood, while the larger area surrounding Forest Hills includes the Zion Baptist Senior Center and the Eofula Espanish Senior Center, among others. Additionally, this neighborhood enjoys easy access to multiple health care facilities, including Coastal Healthcare Services, Georgetown University Hospital, and Sibley Memorial Hospital.
Culture & Arts in the Neighborhood
Forest Hills is also a great place to live for patrons and practitioners of the arts. There are several galleries, theater performance spaces, and arts centers within the neighborhood and in nearby areas. The neighborhood’s art scene is heavily influenced by the presence of the University of the District of Columbia and its multiple arts institutions and performance spaces.
Other neighborhood arts institutions include Kaller Fine Arts, a gallery and art consulting service, and and the Uptown Art House. But lovers of the arts will find the greatest local concentration of culturally uplifting resources in nearby areas that play home to larger arts institutions and communities-areas like the ones surrounding American University, and in Georgetown.
Forest Hill Foodie Rating
Forest Hills, while not a hot spot for foodie culture in the D.C. area, is well-situated for those looking to reside near good restaurant districts, without living in them. That said, the neighborhood isn’t without good eating. Neighborhood hot spots include Thai Pad for Thai comfort food specialties, and Sfoglina for fancy Italian.
Forest Hills residents willing to travel just one neighborhood over are rewarded with two of the city’s better restaurant districts in McLean Gardens and Cleveland Park, where restaurants like Coppi’s Organic Restaurant, Siam House, Byblos Deli, and Paragon Thai Restaurant turn out great food at reasonable prices.
While good shopping areas are within easy reach of Forest Hills, the neighborhood isn’t exactly teeming with retail opportunities for the shopaholic. Thankfully the nearby Chevy Chase Metro Center and The Shops at Wisconsin Place are only a five-to-10 minute walk from the neighborhood. Tenleytown’s 4500 Wisconsin Avenue Shopping Center is another nearby option for those looking to do a little spending without going too far from home. But, the city’s best shopping districts in Georgetown, Downtown, and U Street and Fourteenth are only a short trip away.
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