Laura Kunkel lived in Adams Morgan for six years before she and her husband decided to move to Woodridge in 2016. They enjoyed the hustle and bustle of downtown but wanted to find a more suitable long-term home as they expanded their family.
“We visited 21 houses in two days, and this was the very last one we saw. It was one of the few neighborhoods in D.C. that you get a detached home and the feel of the suburbs,” Kunkel says.
“Living here, it’s the best of both worlds. It’s a bit calmer, so it’s good for raising kids, but it’s also so close that we can have all the cultural experiences that the city has to offer,” she adds.
Malvina Gasco and her boyfriend also moved to Woodridge after living in Adams Morgan. They had been renters but weren’t able to afford to buy in that area. Gasco says she had never heard of Woodridge. But when she saw a picture of a five-bedroom house with a spacious backyard in their price range, she took the plunge.
For self-described “city people,” Gasco says, the quieter neighborhood has been an adjustment, but she’s learning the playgrounds and parks are attractive not only to families with children.
Barnard Hill Park lies in the northwest corner of the neighborhood, providing 22 acres of open green space for walking or picnics. Also near the neighborhood, the Dwight A. Mosley Playground and Taft Recreation Center has a large playground, several sports fields, a tennis court, and a basketball court.
“This has been an incredible house during the pandemic because of the outdoor space. I don’t know how we would have managed to retain our sanity in Adams Morgan. We’re a unique couple in this neighborhood because we don’t have kids, but looking towards the future, I am hoping one day Rhode Island Avenue is fully developed so we can take advantage of that within walking distance, too.”
Rhode Island Avenue, which bisects Woodridge to the south, has been slowly developing in recent years. Some portions of the busy thoroughfare consist of older strip malls with businesses such as nail salons and liquor and convenience stores. Other portions are being revitalized to include new restaurants and condos. Within Woodridge, there are few commercial options beyond Zeke’s Coffee, which opened in 2013. Kyle Todd is the executive director of Rhode Island Main Street, which supports business initiatives along the avenue. He concedes that solidly residential Woodridge isn’t a retail or dining destination for most people.
“The reality is that we need that additional residential infill further down Rhode Island Avenue if we’re going to support restaurants there, because the residential density in Woodridge proper is pretty low,” Todd says.
“It’s got those big individual lots with single-family homes. Any restaurant doing a market analysis for just the Woodridge area is going to run far away.”
Todd says that rather than focus on Woodridge specifically, Rhode Island Main Street will depend on the surrounding neighborhoods to attract more businesses to that portion of Rhode Island Avenue.
“When we incorporate all the [neighborhoods] that are along Rhode Island — Brookland, Langdon, Brentwood, Edgewood, Eckington — all those places are super easy to access from Woodridge. We’re counting on the residential density to increase in those areas so that we can say, ‘Hey, Woodridge residents, we hear you and we’re finding a way to bring more restaurants close by, thanks to all of our new neighbors moving in between Woodridge and the Rhode Island Avenue Metro,’ ” Todd says.
For now, Main Street is delivering on that promise. In the coming months, His and Hers will open at 2214 Rhode Island Ave. NE in place of Momo Yakitori, a Japanese restaurant that closed last year. It’s not yet clear what type of restaurant His and Hers will be.
Living there: Woodridge is bounded by Michigan Avenue to the north, 18th Street NE to the west, New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road to the south and Eastern Avenue to the east, says Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Jeremiah Montague Jr., who has written a book about the neighborhood. According to Long and Foster real estate agent John Coplen, 36 houses have sold in Woodridge in the past six months. They ranged from a three-bedroom, one-bathroom single-family house for $370,000 to a three-bedroom, four-bathroom, fully renovated single-family house that sold for $977,000. There are seven homes for sale, ranging from a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home listed at $650,000 to a six-bedroom, six-bathroom home listed at almost $1.2 million.
Schools: Burroughs, Langdon and Bunker Hill elementary schools, Brookland Middle School and Dunbar High School.
Transportation: The Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Metro Station on the Red Line is the closest Metrorail station to Woodridge, between 1½ and two miles away. Although several bus lines serve the neighborhood, most residents own cars. Woodridge residents have easy access to other parts of the city or Maryland via Rhode Island Avenue and South Dakota Avenue.