UrbanTurf Reader Asks: Petworth or LeDroit Park?

by Mark Wellborn

LeDroit Park by mkuhnert

This week, an UrbanTurf reader and prospective home buyer asks a question that we imagine will elicit varying opinions:

“I have been thinking about buying a fixer-upper in either Petworth or LeDroit Park for about three months. I have done my fair share of research (read the blogs, gone to open houses, hung out in the neighborhoods), but I am still struggling with the decision.

I want to buy a place that I can get for a good price and then put some work into, but I also want it to be in a neighborhood that I will enjoy hanging out and walking around in. Which neighborhood do you think has the best to offer?”

We have done our fair share of writing on these two neighborhoods (see our Petworth and LeDroit Park profiles), so now we ask you to offer your take. Post your thoughts in the comments section.

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks, dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_petworth_or_ledroit_park/874


  1. LeDroit said at 12:00 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    I prefer the architecture of LeDroit Park, and even though there are probably more services in walking distance in Petworth, I like the LeDroit Park area better.

  1. benji said at 12:36 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    No contest. Petworth. Better bars and restaurants, more investment potential, and the number of young people living in the area grows by the day.

  1. SG said at 12:48 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    Ledroit is prettier and has more long-term potential due to its proximity to downtown and U Street.  However, there are no real amenities there yet except a coffee shop, farmers market, a couple small corner markets, and a yoga place.  Petworth is considered a friendlier neighborhood and you can get larger houses there.  I think it’s just a matter of personal preference.

  1. DC said at 1:13 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    Wasn’t someone stabbed in Petworth the other day?  Are either of these neighborhoods safe?

  1. Z said at 2:05 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    I’m rather surprised there’s even a contest.  Ledroit has easy access to 3 metro lines.  The rapidly expanding NOMA to the east, access to U Street to the northwest, “Little Ethiopia” two blocks away on 9th St., the revitalization of the Howard Theatre, etc. all provide a wide range of potential development that will lead to a very quick return on any investment in this neighborhood.  The neighborhood is very walkable.  Crispus Attucks park and Ana Cooper Circle are true gems for relaxation.  Being able to walk down 7th st. to Chinatown, down Florida Ave. to the Florida Ave. market, or down Rhode Island to Logan Circle are particularly enjoyable benefits.  Once NOMA is completely developed, the 20-25 minute walk to the Capitol/Union Station will be particularly enjoyable.  The architecture with the turrets are outstanding representations.  Ledroit (and Bloomingdale) have been lauded as the friendliest neighborhoods in the city.  The regular weekly neighborhood walks in Ledroit and the neighborhood jogs from Rhode Island provide other means for neighbors to meet.

  1. PW said at 2:28 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    In Petworth you get more square footage for your money, while LeDroit Park has some amazing architecture. If your budget is limited I would say go with Petworth as your money will go farther there. South Petworth close to the metro also has great investment potential as tons of new development is on its way. Donatelli Developement built most of the new condos in Columbia Heights and is building Park Place at the Petworth metro; they also have several other large lots just north of the metro. South Petworth is also a lot more metro-accessible and closer to businesses than LeDroit (such as Columbia Heights and new businesses opening on Georgia Ave and Upshur St NW). However, if one of those corner houses with the turrets were in my price range, LeDroit would have likely been my choice. In the end I went with an affordable house close to metro and stores.

    In terms of safety, I have lived in Petworth 4 years and also lived in Adams Morgan (4 years), Mt. Pleasant (3 years) and Dupont Circle (5 years). Petworth is the only area I’ve lived where my car has never been broken into (this happened 6 times in Dupont, twice in Adams Morgan and once in Mt. Pleasant). As the Washington Post said, “Petworth has the same level of violent crime as Dupont Circle and 1/4 the property crime.” Also Petworth is a huge area - yes, someone was stabbed on Crittenden St NW, a mile away from where I live. Nothing like that has happened in recent memory in the area closer to the metro. Random violent muggings of innocent bystanders are quite rare; these types of crimes are actually a lot more common in areas of DC considered more established neighborhoods, like Columbia Heights, U Street, Logan Circle or Adams Morgan. So, if you’ve lived in any of these neighborhoods in the city before, the crime level shouldn’t be a deterrent from buying in Petworth.

  1. John said at 2:51 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    I prefer Ledroit Park. Being closer in which lets me walk to work is a big plus along with development in all directions as was stated by a previous post.

    But considering the cost Pentworth may be a good option.

  1. New Ledroit Resident said at 3:35 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    I purchased a fixer upper in Ledroit just under a year ago and am very very happy with my decision.  The neighbors on my block have been incredibly welcoming ad the neighborhood has been improving as far as I can tell even in the short time I’ve lived here.  With the new Gage-Eckington park (open green space, dog park, community garden, plaza, playground)being built over the next year on Elm between 2nd and 3rd, the Howard Theatre Restoration in the works and the gorgeous mansion at 3rd and T on Anna Cooper circle slated for renovation things will continue to improve.  I love dropping over to big bear cafe on the weekends and purusing the farmers market.  Timor Bodega can’t be beat for great wines, fresh local produce and meats.  I’m sure you’ll be happy with whatever you decide, but I definitely wanted to give a big thumbs up to my impressions of Ledroit thus far.

  1. Tom A. said at 4:59 pm on Tuesday May 5, 2009:

    I’m with Z!  It’s almost like asking whether DuPont or Deanwood would be more desirable.

  1. tom veil said at 10:58 am on Wednesday May 6, 2009:

    It’s hard to have a coherent debate, because there are two Petworths.  There’s Petworth The Metro Station Neighborhood, which is just as much in Park View as “Petworth”.  And then there’s Petworth The Old Neighborhood, which stretches all the way to areas that are more than 1.5 miles northeast of Petworth Metro.  If you’re living at 2nd & Hamilton, your neighborhood is completely different than if you’re living at 8th & Randolph.

  1. LP resident said at 12:21 pm on Wednesday May 6, 2009:

    LP or Petworth? We faced a similar dilemma.

    Petworth has more zoning flexibility for developing into a bustling residential/business environment.

    We chose Ledroit Park because it is absolutely beautiful. LP has several cool spots mentioned by other commentators, but if the modern-day hippie joints do not match your lifestyle, you have to leave the LP/Bloomingdale boundaries, which you can easily do in your leather sandals or on a bicycle. White people usually roam the sidewalks with their adopted dogs and joggers run in-place at stop lights during the daylight hours. The nights are tranquil.

    If you can overcome the psychological barrier of strolling at night, diverse nightlife scenes are nearby. In 2029, LP will look not much different from 1989.

  1. ScottahB said at 9:41 pm on Wednesday May 6, 2009:

    I’ve been having the same question, though with renting.  I agree with the arguments that have been put forth here, but ask another question.  What about Bloomingdale?  If people are really talking about an eventual brown line or red line extension with a RI/North Capitol stop, wouldn’t that be a place where property values could appreciate greatly in the coming years?

  1. LP resident said at 4:04 pm on Thursday May 7, 2009:

    As far as the metro extension plans, pertinent officials discuss it for what it seems like eons. For ex., the purple line is eventually in the works of connecting New Carrollton to Silver Spring to Bethesda. The same discussion for Dulles airport access, etc. NOMA appears more realistic of any development because any location close to N. Capital St. and eastwards at night resembles a ghost town. You can notice the developments and construction activities near the New York Ave metro stop. If NOMA is successful, the LP/Bloomingdale property values could flourish.

  1. eric said at 10:25 am on Friday May 8, 2009:

    did someone literally write “However, there are no real amenities there yet except a coffee shop, farmers market, a couple small corner markets, and a yoga place” about ledroit park?  um, how many yoga places and farmers markets are there in petworth?

  1. Lizzy said at 11:24 am on Friday May 8, 2009:

    I too had this dilemma about 7 months ago when my husband and I decided to buy.  After looking in Park View and Petworth for a couple of weeks, we took a jaunt down to Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park and found “home”—it’s quiet and friendly…though I still haven’t met all of my neighbors on the 300 block of Elm—I’ve been a bit of a hermit with our renovation, so if you live near there and want to meet a new(ish) neighbor, Yay! On the flip side, our house is still close to stuff.  We walk MUCH more and explore more often than we did when we lived in Columbia Heights and I feel just as “safe” as I did there.  I personally want a neighborhood with amenities, but that’s still residential and doesn’t attract people that just want a nightlife.  LeDroit is such a quiet, little sanctuary in the city, but doesn’t feel isolated from it like Petworth and Brookland felt for us during our hunt.  And it seems like it’s only going to get better… We love it.

  1. zuviel said at 4:38 pm on Saturday May 9, 2009:

    We purchased our place in LeDroit Park about 2 years ago now and we’ve really enjoyed it here. The neighborhood is still going through some growing pains, but that’s to be expected in Petworth as well.

    The cons are that If you have a car, vehicle traffic can backup along Florida and U Street on weekends, but usually dissipates by Sunday… Also, as with many neighborhoods in the city (Petworth included), you want to be alert and aware of your surroundings walking late/alone at night. Just common sense.

    The pros of in living in LeDroit is that we have a 3-5 minute walk to the Shaw metro which then affords us super easy access to work in Chinatown and beyond. Still, the bulk of our time out is a quick 10 min walk (and an even shorter bus ride) to all that the heart of what U Street/14th Street has to offer… LeDroit allows easy access to the nightlife without having to live directly in the heart of it. Aside from Big Bear and other places already mentioned, we regularly walk to bars and restaurants including the Gibson, the Saloon, Nellies Sports Bar, Coppi’s pizza, Busboys & Poets, Love Cafe, jazz clubs incl. HR-57 and Bohemian Caverns, Saint Ex, little Ethiopia, Ben’s Chili Bowl, etc. If you like music and shows Lincoln Theater, Black Cat, and 9:30 Club are also just a short stumble (or bus ride) home.  Home furnishing places along U Street like Good Wood, Millennium, Hunted House, Rckndy are also easy to get to.

    The Howard Restoration project will only bring better things to the area. Well, it may make parking more problematic, but culturally and investment-wise, it can’t hurt.

    As for practical stuff like grocery shopping, we circulate among the Bloomingdale, U Street, and Dupont Farmers Markets,  as well as Simon’s LeDroit Park Market, Timor, P St. Wholefoods or the new Safeway in NoMA. For convenience stores we hit Rite Aid and CVS on U Street.

    We also have the “legendary” Thai Crossing, just got a new (good) pizza delivery place called Italy Pizza and from what I understand there’s a new burger place (Fatburger) currently under construction on the corner of Georgia and Florida.

    So, if you want to live in a diverse area with easy access to a lot of great things to do, interesting architecture, and friendly residents who care about their neighborhood, LeDroit’s a good choice.

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