There are many safe areas in Washington DC. Whether you are looking for a safe area to settle down in or for a safe area to stay while you are visiting as a tourist, this list will give you the best area’s to stay in the nation’s capital. This list goes through the top safe neighborhoods in this major city. 

1. American University-Tenleytown

  • Crime rate: Significantly lower than the national average, and is by far one of the safest neighborhoods in the DC area.
  • Key features: This area is home to American University, and it is predominantly residential. The area has well-lit streets, active community involvement, and borders the more suburban areas of Maryland.
  • Notable statistics: Lowest incidences of violent crimes in DC.
  • There are limited hotel options for tourists but is a very safe place to live.

2. Chevy Chase

  • Crime rate: Ranked among the lowest in DC.
  • Key features: Family-friendly, borders Rock Creek Park, known for its quiet and peaceful environment.
  • Notable statistics: Property crime rates are particularly low.
  • Chevy Chase, in Northwest DC borders the town of Chevy Chase, Maryland (part of Montgomery County). While it may not be walking distance to monuments, Chevy Chase is a great place to live. If you are visiting from out of town, there is an Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Chevy Chase Pavilion which is located right across from the red line metro station on Wisconsin Avenue. Staying in a hotel that is next to a metro station in the DC area can be very helpful for sightseeing. The low violent crime rate in this area and access to many cute restaurants and shops make it a very popular area for people to live as well as tourists with families.

3. Palisades

  • Crime rate: This is a mainly suburban area with extremely low crime rates, especially in terms of violent crime.
  • Key features: The Palisades is a popular (and expensive) place to live because of its close-knit community, annual events promoting community safety, and scenic views along the Potomac.
  • Notable statistics: One of the lowest rates of burglaries in the city. It’s a great place to live but has very little options in terms of hotels for tourists.

4. Glover Park

  • Crime rate: Consistently low crime rates, with minimal reports of violent crimes.
  • Key features: Proximity to embassies, well-maintained public spaces, active neighborhood watch.
  • Notable statistics: High police presence and community engagement programs. It is very close to Georgetown restaurants and coffee shops, and there are also a number of restaurants in Glover Park as well.

5. Cleveland Park

  • Crime rate: This area has lower crime rates than 75% of DC neighborhoods.
  • Key features: Historic district, vibrant commercial corridors, well-regarded schools.
  • Notable statistics: Low rate of assaults and robberies.
  • Limited hotel options, this is a largely residential community and area of DC. 

6. Foxhall Village

  • Crime rate: This area is among the top safest areas in Washington DC.
  • Key features: This is a very exclusive and expensive residential area. It has historic architecture, a strong sense of community, and close proximity to Sibley Hospital. 
  • Notable statistics: Almost negligible violent crime rates and great public schools.
  • This is a great place to live in Washington DC but it has no hotels and very limited access for tourists who want to see other parts of the city.

7. Berkley

  • Crime rate: Very low, particularly in terms of property crime.
  • Key features: Affluent neighborhood, large homes, and embassies, secluded feel.
  • Notable statistics: Property crimes are significantly lower than the national average.

8. Woodley Park

  • Crime rate: Lower crime rate compared to other DC areas.
  • Key features: Mix of urban and suburban feel, proximity to the National Zoo, active community organizations.
  • Notable statistics: Robberies and burglaries are notably less frequent.

9. Wesley Heights

  • Crime rate: Noted for its exceptionally low crime rates.
  • Key features: Luxurious homes, landscaped streets, home to American University’s law school campus.
  • Notable statistics: Violent crimes are virtually unheard of.

10. Cathedral Heights

  • Crime rate: One of the safest in terms of personal crime.
  • Key features: Quiet, residential, near the National Cathedral, strong community involvement in safety.
  • Notable statistics: Personal crimes are much lower than the DC average.

11 Georgetown

  • Crime Rate: Typically has a moderate to low crime rate compared to other urban areas in DC.
  • Known for its affluence, strong community engagement, and active neighborhood associations, which contribute to its safety.
  • It is a very desirable place for tourists as well because it has many coffee shops, restaurants, cocktail bars, and luxury hotels.

12. West End / Foggy Bottom

  • Crime Rate: Often considered one of the safer areas among these neighborhoods.
  • Characterized by a mix of residential and commercial properties, with lower rates of violent crime.
  • These two neighborhoods provide easy access to sightseeing, but are not as close to the sites when compared to Downtown DC. Buildings for GW University are scattered through this area. These neighborhoods are also quite close to the Adams Morgan area which is a popular place for college students and graduate students to go out. 

13. Navy Yard

  • Crime Rate: The Navy Yard area of DC is one of the newest developments. It has been experiencing a transformation with new developments in recent years. Crime rates have been decreasing but may still be higher compared to more residential areas like Georgetown and West End. 
  • The good news is that the redevelopment of the Navy Yard area has brought in more amenities and a stronger community presence, which has positively impacted safety.
  • There are limited hotel options here for tourists, but the Thompson Hotel is a popular choice here. In terms of living, this neighborhood is a popular place for young professionals. there are many rental buildings as well as condos here. There is also a metro station here give you good access to public transportation. 

14. Dupont Circle

  • Crime Rate: Dupont Circle is vibrant and relatively safe. As with any busy part of a major city, there are higher activity levels which can naturally lead to increased petty crimes, especially at night when people are out and about and may be intoxicated.
  • It is a popular place to live for young professionals who don’t have children as well as a popular place to stay when visiting DC. There are tons of restaurants and cultural attractions that are walking distance. There is also great metro access if you want to get to other parts of DC. 

15. Shaw

  • An up-and-coming neighborhood known for its cultural diversity and vibrant nightlife.
  • Crime rates might be higher compared to Georgetown and West End, particularly in terms of petty crimes and thefts related to its nightlife.
  • Shaw has a diverse array of restaurants and coffee shops and it is in close proximity to the DC Convention Center. Due to this there are also many hotels in this area. Because it tends to be one of the busier areas of DC, the overall crime rate is higher than the more suburban areas like Chevy Chase, but its proximity to tourist attractions makes it very popular. 

16. 14th Street Washington DC

  • This famous street in Washington DC is well known for its vibrant community, fun nightlife and varied cultural scene. The area experiences higher crime rates, particularly petty crimes and incidents related to nightlife.
  • As long as you are mindful and vigilant at night, this a great place to both live and stay while you are visiting DC. It is very close to Logan Circle and walking distance to many popular sites like the Smithsonian Museums. 
  • Finding the best hotel on 14th street depends on your unique travel needs as well as the price point that you want to stay within. 
  • There are also many metro stations along 14th street. 14th street also intersects with the U street corridor which also has its own scene in terms of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. 

17. Downtown Washington DC

  • Being the commercial and political heart of the city, it experiences a mix of crime types, including petty thefts and occasional violent crimes.
  • The high traffic of people and dense urban environment can contribute to higher crime rates.
  • As long as you are cautious at night, this area is close to the National Mall, as well as the Washington Monument. It is one of the best places to stay in Washington D.C. if sightseeing is a priority.

18. Penn Quarter

  • Similar to Downtown DC, Penn Quarter is a busy area with a mix of tourists, residents, and businesses.
  • Crime Rates: Due to the high level of activity in this area, crime rates can be higher. There is a high level of urban density, many world class restaurants, and the presence of several entertainment venues.
  • This not a very popular place to live but there are many options for hotels in this area of DC. It is walking distance to many tourist attractions and also has many options for public transportation

19. Chinatown

  • This part of Washington DC is known for its cultural significance and bustling atmosphere. There are a number of hotels here as well as good access to the public transportation system. The Capital One Area is located here so the area can get very busy at times. 
  • Crime Rates: Chinatown DC does tend to have higher crime rates compared to the others, especially related to nightlife and the large crowds it attracts.

20. Union Station Area

  • Convenient for transportation but has higher crime rates when compared to other areas of DC mentioned above. 
  • During the day crime is low and there are many options when it comes to hotels and restaurants near Union Station.
  • This area is slowly evolving and is an urban area of DC that is in transition. If you are staying here, be sure to be vigilant in the evening hours and if traveling alone. 

Top 15 Safest Areas In Washington DC: General Advice

When it comes to dangerous areas of Washington DC, it’s important to use common sense. Any of the above neighborhoods could be considered dangerous if you are not using good judgement. If you are traveling alone in the metro area, stay in well lit and high traffic tourist areas. If you want to go off the beaten path, then try to go with a group of friends. 

DC has a great metro system and is also highly walkable. Use public transit during the day but at night stick to areas that are close to your hotel or where you can easily take a taxi home. Its important for both female travelers and male travelers to be vigilant at night to avoid common crimes like theft from happening. Overall there are many safe places to live and stay as a tourist in Washington DC. 

Top 15 Safest Areas In Washington DC: Summary

Washington DC is both the capital city of the United States and also one of the biggest cities in the country. Each DC neighborhood is unique and generally the more dangerous neighborhoods are not very close to the main areas of sightseeing. As with any part of any city, it’s important to remain vigilant at night and during hours when crime is more likely to occur. There are hotels in nearly all of the neighborhoods mentioned above. 

Georgetown is one of the best neighborhoods in DC for tourists, while Chevy Chase is one of the best areas to live in. Neither of these are walking distance to the sites like the Lincoln Memorial. On the other hand, Penn Quarter and Downtown DC are much closer but their crime rates are slightly higher.

This is expected as there is some crime in the downtown area of all major cities. You will not find any single-family homes in these parts of town. Plan most of your travel during peak hours and avoid late night excursions. If you are out and about late be sure to take a taxi or a ride share home.

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