Traditionally a largely Latino neighborhood, Mount Pleasant has emerged as one of the most diverse and vibrant neighborhoods in the District of Columbia while maintaining a village-like vibe where everyone knows one another. Surrounded by the city’s largest park and the National Zoo, it’s a place with a farmers market on Saturdays, pupusa shops, cafes and plazas. There’s something for everyone.
Meet your local
Austin has lived in Washington since 2007. He grew up as an American in Russia, attended boarding school in Germany, has lived in Kazakhstan and China and has traveled to more than 60 countries.
Where I live: Fairlawn, considered the first suburb of the city now formally part of it. It’s a neighborhood where most people were born and raised in the same house they live in now and where porch culture is strong.
Best way to get around the city: Capital Bikeshare, one of the first bike-sharing programs in the United States.
Don’t leave without having: A conversation with a native Washingtonian to hear stories of a city in transition.
But the local favorite is really: Baked & Wired. Don’t get distracted by the TV glam of Georgetown Cupcake.
If I moved, I’d most miss: Congressional Cemetery. It represents all facets of D.C., encompassing history and politics, yoga and wine.
When Heller’s Bakery, a Mount Pleasant staple of 80 years, closed, Elle moved in and just removed a few letters from its predecessor’s sign. The space is now a cafe by day and a full-service restaurant and bar by night. Pastries are baked, and locally roasted coffee is brewed every morning with gluten-free options.
Elle, 3221 Mt. Pleasant St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20010
This Salvadoran-owned restaurant serves some of the best pupusas and fajitas around and offers live music almost every night. When nearby restaurants require reservations, Haydee’s will always make room for one more guest. (Although they may make you wear a sombrero.)
Haydee’s, 3102 Mt. Pleasant St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20010
This dimly lit cafe with pictures of Karl Marx on the walls serves Mediterranean and Italian cuisine with live music. The saganaki, or a square piece of Greek cheese, comes to your table on fire, creating an experience to remember.
Marx Cafe, 3203 Mt. Pleasant St. NW. Washington, D.C.
While on vacation in 2010, President Barack Obama visited a small but beloved ice cream parlor in Maine. Several years later, Mount Desert Island Ice Cream came to Washington, making small-batch ice cream with bold flavors like mango habanero, butterscotch miso and honey-baked apple. Don’t worry. It has the classics, too, like vanilla and chocolate. It also whips up milkshakes and floats.
Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, 3110 Mt. Pleasant St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20010
Melina is a Washington Post photographer based in the District and spends her free time climbing, skiing, traveling and exploring. Her work is inspired by memories of her father, a CBS cameraman, and her passionate and loving Italian mother.