UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Capitol Hill Historic District or Old Town, Alexandria?

by Mark Wellborn

Capitol Hill Row Houses by stevenm_60

In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader who is looking for her dream row house in a dog-friendly neighborhood wonders if the Capitol Hill historic district or Old Town, Alexandria offers better housing stock.

I am a dog-lover with a hankering for a Federal row house in a historic neighborhood; Georgetown is a bit above and beyond my price point, but the Capitol Hill historic district and Old Town, Alexandria have similar housing stock, charm and both seem to be extremely dog-friendly. What do you think about the comparability of houses at the lower end of the historic district market in both places - i.e. more on the antique-but-tiny end than the huge-and-splendid end?

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_capitol_hill_historic_district_or_old_town_alexandria/1177


  1. CapHill said at 1:47 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2009:

    I was in a similar situation four years ago, and settled on Capitol Hill and am very happy I did. I own a smaller row house near Lincoln Park, and there are some nice spaces that my dog can get out and run around.

  1. rj said at 2:57 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2009:

    Go with Capitol Hill. Your return on investment is better. Alexandria’s prices will not rise at the same rate those in the city will.


  1. MikeU said at 3:49 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2009:

    The above link doesn’t say that Capitol Hill is a better value than Old Town. The analysis includes Alexandria in the central city definition.  It seems to me that at the price range in question you might get the better buy in Alexandria.  Not sure if true in terms of size but in terms of safety perhaps.

  1. Liz said at 6:05 pm on Tuesday July 28, 2009:

    My #1 rule—live close to work.  Life is too short to spend time commuting, even on the Metro.  My #2 rule—live close to Metro.  Life in DC will probably be shorter if behind the wheel of a car!

  1. Frock said at 10:44 am on Wednesday July 29, 2009:

    As a previous DC resident for 8 years and now living in Arlington, I’d say get out of the city. It does you wonders! Seriously, the Hill is very charming but spend some time in Old Town along the Potomac and all the water front parks. You won’t regret it.

  1. Pam said at 11:45 am on Wednesday July 29, 2009:

    I have to disagree that getting out of the city “does wonders.” The Hill offers the ultimate in convenience with easy accress to Rock Creek Pkwy and 395. Since the Potomac Rover runs between Washington and VA you can enjoy it just as easily from the DC side. Take your dog to Haines Point, Rock Creek Park, or any number of Capitol Hills parks (Stanton, Lincoln, etc.).

  1. Finn_McCool said at 11:49 am on Wednesday July 29, 2009:

    All things being equal, Capitol Hill by a mile.

  1. Will Smith said at 12:30 pm on Wednesday July 29, 2009:

    Capitol Hill is a wonderful neighborhood, especially given that it is in the city proper. And as a result of that fact it is definitely more “city” than Old Town, which can be good or bad depending on your preference. To me, Old Town has a cozier vibe than Capitol Hill in that the properties and streets feel a little tighter, and the pace of the neighborhood a little slower.

    You can also get more bang for your buck in Old Town than in Capitol Hill. According to Redfin, properties in Old Town are listed for $412/sqft while in Capitol Hill they’re at $437.

    Old Town: http://www.redfin.com/neighborhood/2021/VA/Alexandria/Old-Town-Alexandria-VA

    Capitol Hill: http://www.redfin.com/neighborhood/18449/DC/Washington-DC/Capitol-Hill

    Part of the reason Old Town feels slower is probably because it is harder to access. Sure, the neighborhood technically has its own Metro station (King Street), but the station is at the far western edge of the neighborhood; the heart of Old Town’s commercial district is about a mile away, and many of the charming old houses that the poster is interested in would be farther still. 395 is also a pain to get to from Old Town. On the flip side, Old Town has great access to the Beltway and GW Parkway, which provides a pretty straight shot into Downtown. Still, none of this compares to already being in the city, as Capitol Hill is.

    Having been born and raised in Alexandria, I can assure you that being on that side of the Potomac means you may not get into the city as much as you’d think, given how close it is.

    Anyway, if you want more “city”, go Capitol Hill. If you want more “quaint”, go Old Town.

    And I would agree with the poster that both neighborhoods are very dog-friendly, so it would be hard to say one beats the other in that category.

  1. bes said at 5:12 pm on Wednesday July 29, 2009:

    I can weigh in on dogs in Old Town.  Not only do we have a number of parks within walking distance but also via car if you absolutely get bored with those close by(don’t know why you would!)  There are also a number of dog walkers both with services and with individual clientele so getting home at a certain time might not be as necessary upon occasion going on vacation should be able to be easily facilitated.  And, depending on whether you are into dog trainers, there are some outstanding ones in and servicing Old Town or all of Alexandria, for that matter.  As a dog lover, I obviously make my choices with consideration to my dog!  Does any establishment on Capitol Hill offer happy hour for your dog and you?

  1. Tess said at 8:11 pm on Wednesday July 29, 2009:

    Capitol Hill is an amazing neighborhood and owning property in the District will likely be a much better investment.

  1. Jeb said at 9:04 am on Thursday July 30, 2009:

    Lots and lots of doggies on CH.  Also two great pet stores on Barracks Row and a vet clinic.

  1. JB said at 4:46 pm on Tuesday August 4, 2009:

    There is a doggy happy hour at Union Pub on Saturdays.  And quite a few people bring their dogs to brunch on the weekends at the restaurant patios around Eastern Market.

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