Peter Brusoe searched throughout the District for a perfect neighborhood.

From Chinatown to Columbia Heights, nothing felt right — some communities seemed too commercialized, others too treeless and urban.

“Woodley Park was perfect,” said Brusoe, 33, a campaign finance lobbying analyst who is president of the Woodley Park Community Association. “There are trees and greenery, but there’s still a vibrant downtown feel. It’s close to Metro and easy to get anywhere I need to go.”

The suburban feel, proximity to downtown D.C. and overall convenience of the Northwest Washington neighborhood have kept Brusoe there since he first moved in 2005.

Residents said the fact that the community is nearly surrounded by Rock Creek Park and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park creates a leafy, suburban atmosphere.

“To me, it almost does feel like being in the suburbs, and that’s in large part because of the greenery we have here,” said Sheila Mooney, an agent at Compass Real Estate.

Brusoe said the zoo itself is a key amenity for the neighborhood.

“There’s a bakery right nearby called Baked By Yael, and it’s a lot of fun to buy a cake pop there and then walk through the zoo,” Brusoe said. “There’s a lot of really beautiful parkland to explore.”


History preserved: A large swath of the neighborhood is part of the Woodley Park Historic District, a National Register Historic District. Philip Barton Key built the Woodley mansion in 1801, but the majority of the neighborhood didn’t develop until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, according to the D.C. Historic Preservation Office. The Woodley mansion is now home to the Maret School, and many of the community’s early rowhouses still stand.

Mooney said that many of the rowhouses — referred to as “Wardmans” for real estate mogul Harry Wardman — look uniform from the outside but have varied interiors.

“The people who have stayed and lived here throughout the years have done a lot of renovations and updates inside their homes,” Mooney said. “And most people really try to preserve the architectural details in their homes when they renovate.”

The neighborhood also offers condos, co-ops, apartments and detached houses, Mooney said.

The neighborhood’s commercial strip on Connecticut Avenue offers several restaurants, a hardware store, banks, dry cleaners and the Manhattan Market, a small specialty grocery store.

Residents also can take a Circulator bus to Target, Safeway and other stores in Columbia Heights.

“I have a license, but I haven’t owned a car for 12 years,” Brusoe said.

Traveling outside of the neighborhood is also easy thanks to its proximity to major roads such as Massachusetts and Connecticut avenues NW.

“You can be at National Airport in about 10 minutes, which is super-convenient,” Mooney said.

Zoo and hotels are neighbors: Woodley Park is home to two major hotels: the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel and the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Anne-Marie Bairstow, who moved to Woodley Park in 2001, said living near the Marriott comes with many benefits.

“The grounds are really beautiful — my boys still go there to play soccer,” said Bairstow, 47, vice president of marketing and communications for WC Smith. You can join the Marriott pool, and I was a member of the gym there for years.”

The hotels also bring traffic and parking woes, Bairstow said.

“Parking can get pretty blocked in when there are events at the Marriott,” Bairstow said. “But I feel like there are so many upsides to living near the Marriott, I really don’t think the downsides are significant.”

Busy days at the zoo bring their own parking and traffic challenges, Bairstow said.

“In the summer or a really nice Saturday in the spring, there’s so much zoo traffic, you can’t park,” Bairstow said. “But the zoo days are pretty easy to predict based on the weather.”

The Woodley Park Community Association organizes several events each year, including a picnic at the playground at Cortland Place each June and a holiday party at the Marriott.

Residents also plan their own block parties and get-togethers.

“I lived on Woodley Place for years, and we used to block off our street for Halloween,” Mooney said. “My kids never had to leave the block, and they’d be out trick-or-treating for hours.”


Residents said the fact that the community is nearly surrounded by Rock Creek Park and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park creates a leafy, suburban atmosphere. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)

Living there: Woodley Park is bounded by Rock Creek Park and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to the east; Calvert Street NW, Cleveland Avenue NW and Garfield Street NW to the south; 34th Street NW to the west; and Woodley Road NW and Klingle Road NW to the north.

In the past 12 months, 20 houses have sold in Woodley Park, from $885,000 for a three-bedroom rowhouse to $1.65 million for a six-bedroom semi-detached rowhouse, Mooney said. Thirty-six condos/co-ops sold, from $160,000 for a 400-square-foot studio to $1.2 million for a 1,300-square-foot, three-bedroom condo.

Seven houses are under contract, from $1.165 million for a two-bedroom rowhouse to $2 million for a six-bedroom detached house. Six condos/co-ops are under contract, from $300,000 for a 712-square-foot condo to $950,000 for a 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom penthouse.

Four houses are on the market, from $1.689 million for a four-bedroom semi-detached house to $2.595 million for a four-bedroom detached house. Five condos/co-ops are listing, from $218,000 for a 463-square-foot studio to $4 million for a three-bedroom unit at the new Wardman Towers.

Some residents said the high price of real estate in the neighborhood is one of the only downsides of living there.

“I make decent money but can’t afford to buy in my neighborhood,” Brusoe said. “I can afford to rent, and I appreciate that.”

Schools: Most children in the neighborhood are zoned to attend Oyster-Adams Bilingual and Wilson High. Some children in the northernmost part of the neighborhood may attend Eaton Elementary and Hardy Middle.

Transit: Woodley Park-Zoo Metro (Red Line), multiple bus lines, including 96 and X3.

Crime: During the past 12 months, there were no homicides or assaults, three robberies and six burglaries in Woodley Park, according to D.C. police.


Patrons make use of the patio while dining at restaurants along Clavert Street in Woodley Park. (Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)

To see more photos of Woodley Park, go to washingtonpost.com/realestate.