NFT Washington DC Woodley Park / Cleveland Park

Woodley Park / Cleveland Park

Woodley Park and Cleveland Park have long stood proud as safe, residential neighborhoods with good retail. Sandwiched between the imposing National Cathedral and bamboo-crunching Pandas at the National Zoo, the gorgeous single-family homes cost a pretty penny.

This stretch of Connecticut Avenue has commercial clusters surrounding Metro stations that can provide you with basic necessities. As for nightlife, the strip boasts a number of top-notch restaurants that cater to a variety of palates, a few hopping bars, and the Art Deco Uptown Theater, a single-screen DC institution. Arrive early to get a front-and-center balcony seat at the latest high-grossing blockbuster.See more.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Presidential Accessories

By Emily Groves
Are you ready for some change you can dress yourself in? Here in Warshinton, straight-shootin' wearables and variegated hope-filled trappings can be yours for the promulgating. From Swarovski crystal presidential pins to the head of Sarah Palin, wear your political accessories with pride! Or don't call yourself an American.

Artsy Bar Crawl

By Graham Fortier
Cheap, normal bars in DC. That's what Graham Fortier is talking about.

Make-out Spots In DC

By Magda Nakassis
Hankering for some good-old smooching? Magda Nakassis (aka Ladyface) shares her favorite DC places for mouth on mouth action. Open wide...

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Kara Deniz
Photo:  Kara Deniz

Sorriso, an Italian bar, pizzeria, and ristorante at the foot of the Cleveland Park metro is a unique dining experience for DC. The restaurant is one of the rare local establishments that is cozy and has character. Two levels of intimate seating are built around the wood-burning brick oven, bar, and kitchen area on the first floor. A great place for a date or gathering with friends, Sorriso features a variety of Italian staples, including classic and hearty past dishes. The Rigatoni Bolognese was delicious and the light and crusty bread was perfect for completely cleaning off the plate. Our waiter informed us that the best item on the menu is the pizza since the chef received the equivalent of a Masters degree in pizza making in Italy. Many Italian restaurants in DC seem to either be quick and drunken pizza pick up joints (picture Adams Morgan) or over-the-top fine dining. Sorriso brings Roman cuisine back to reality.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Petits Plats
French restaurants have a reputation for being pricey, dimly lit, and formal. But Petits Plats offers a pleasant alternative to stuffy coq au vin. Situated in a Woodley Park rowhouse, the space is cozy, charming, and full of natural light. Instead of a heavy menu with curly scripts, Petits Plats' aesthetic is bright and modern. And yet the croque monsieur is just as tasty, the moules mariniere are equally aromatic, and the chocolate mousse is more than sufficiently decadent. Everything's just a bit friendlier, younger, and more casual--meaning that French food doesn't have to be for special occasions only. Good thing, cause sometimes we need Boeuf Bourguignon on a Tuesday.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

All Fired Up
Does your IKEA-furnished home lack something of the handmade or individualized? Have you ever wanted to take up pottery, but don’t feel like finding a studio and getting your hands dry and dirty? Do you want to reach out to your inner child, or do you have/know a child? Are you a dork? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may consider an afternoon at All Fired Up, the paint-your-own pottery studio. I recently painted a polka-dotted mug there, in the fine company of a 5-year-old who painted a mermaid. And we had a lead-free, non-toxic blast! And my coffee totally tastes better out of MY mug. Also it's not just mugs, plates, and bowls that you can paint. If you can imagine an object made from clay, chances are they carry it--everything from menorahs to soap dishes. There's plenty of specials (happy hour, lunch break, ladies' night, pet party, etc.) when you can save money, and "adult beverages" are welcome at all times. Or whatever, never mind, you could just watch TV at home.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Cleveland Park Bar & Grill
It's back to school time again, and even though I'm not in school (nor have been for years), I still get apprehensive about the end of summer. Sundown comes earlier and earlier, and how did the dog days slip away without 147,012 trips to the pool, beach, ball park, farmers market, and Splash Down Waterpark? I feel I've got to soak up the sunshine...furiously. In these last days of August, the rooftop of the Cleveland Park Bar & Grill calls to me. Normally I am not too crazy about sports bars, and prefer watering holes that don't have televisions at all. But the top floor of this sports bar is al fresco, and you can easily sit with your back to the TVs, facing a lovely view of Connecticut Avenue and the Art Deco Uptown movie theater. There are even flower boxes lining the deck, with hardy pink and red geraniums. Table service means good wings, wood-fired pizza, and a lot of standard American beers on draft--including their own CP Amber--without having to get the bartender's attention. And if beer goggles aren't enough to make you to fancy your date, the flattering light of twilight (aka the magic hour) surely will.

Posted By:  Rachel Tepper
Photo:  Rachel Tepper

Petits Plats
If you're looking for moderately priced Fresh fare, look no further than Petit Plats. While I wouldn't necessarily choose it for a dinner affair, their selection of Parisian sandwiches makes it the perfect lunch spot. Also, give their split pea soup a try. Though it may look radioactive, it makes up for what it lacks in looks with taste. I think something about peas being fresh makes the resulting soup vibrantly green, unlike that made from split peas. It just unfortunately looks like the slime from classic Nickelodeon children's television show You Can't Do That On Television. Check out this image for visual proof.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

For the longest time it seemed that 2 Amys and Pizzeria Paradiso were competing for the title of Best Pizza in DC. But then my attention was turned to Vace, an Italian deli with two locations in the area--Cleveland Park and Bethesda. There's no dining area, there's no delivery, but there are large (16") pizzas for only $10.50. Bethesda and Cleveland Park residents are in luck because they can take a steaming pie home, but for the rest of us I'd recommend just a slice (before it gets cold and soggy) or buying their homemade dough and sauce and baking pies at home. The Calcagno family have wonderful recipes that produce a yeasty crust and tasty sauce, tried and true over the past 31 years. Mangia!

Posted By:  Elisabeth Grant
Photo:  Elisabeth Grant

Open City
I have three words for you: Breakfast. All. Day. That's right, at Open City you can experience the most elusive, celebrated, and cherished of all meals: brinner. There's something about breakfast for dinner that's so wrong it's right. And since Open City is just a fifteen minute walk from Adams Morgan, it's a good place to start off an evening (bacon warms the palate for beer). Of course Open City's delicious dishes, baked goods, and enormous cups of coffee from skilled baristas are great on weekend mornings as well--though brunch-goers are abundant, and wait times can be upwards of 40 minutes. Add a conference at one of the two nearby hotels, the Marriott Wardman Park and the Omni Shoreham Hotel, and you could find yourself fighting for a table with the badge-wearing hordes along with locals. But the effort is well worth it; besides breakfast, Open City offers great food (of course breakfast, but also brick oven pizza, burgers, and more), abundant outdoor seating for the warmer months, and is in a cool neighborhood walking distance from the National Zoo. But while there are many reasons to check out this coffeeshop/diner/bar, isn't brinner enough?

Posted By:  S F
Photo:  S F

Smithsonian National Zoological Park
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is a tourist's dream. Free, fun, and often entertaining in the manner of LOL cats, visitors to D.C. often have the Zoo on their agenda. For a resident without children, the National Zoo is often overlooked. The Zoo's neighbors include tons of bars and restaurants, but few people realize that these same social and culinary thrills can be found within the Zoo at its many Young Professional events, with the added fun of having exotic animals close by. Coming up on August 21st the Zoo will prove you can drink and still feel good in the morning. At the annual Brew at the Zoo event, over 25 microbreweries and 15 restaurants, including NFT favorites, will descend on the zoo, taking over Lion/Tiger hill in the name of conservation. Drink beer to save wildlife? The only question I have left about the event: Why not?!

Posted By:  Elisabeth Grant
Photo:  Elisabeth Grant

Yes! Organic Market
I like stores that offer their wares with enthusiasm. So I knew right away that I'd like Yes! Organic Market in Cleveland Park (also located in Adams Morgan, Brookland, and Capitol Hill). The market/grocer has all kinds of organic goodness, frozen foods, vitamins, and other products that might make you say Yes! I feel good. I like their prepared foods section, which is a great place to grab a quick, cheap, healthy lunch. Choose from assorted pre-made pasta choices, lentil salads, and veggie sandwiches. Also pre-made are nicely proportioned mini meals, like one made up of hummus, pita, and stuffed grape leaves. Truth be told though, sometimes the pre-made options get a little soggy (especially late in the day), so grabbing an organic option from the frozen foods section is occasionally the way to go. You can't beat Amy's Organic Mac & Cheese. Four quick minutes and voila! cheesy organic goodness. Yes! I'm a fan of this organic market.

Posted By:  Graham Fortier
Photo:  Graham Fortier

Remember that crazy loophole in the DC smoking ban stating that if you lose enough profit, it doesn’t apply to your establishment? Welcome to Aroma, a swanky, neon lit cocktail lounge where clouds of tar and nicotine still cling to the air, a refreshing reminder of what DC bars used to look and smell like. As I smoker, I couldn’t be happier to sit with a glass of bourbon and a cigarette, although you health nuts may want to head to….any other bar in the city? With the exception of food service, Aroma has everything else you’d need from a lounge; a small dance floor up front where DJs spin hip-hop and 80s jams, a long bar with two-seater tables adjacent, as well as “more lounge,” a back room complete with mod-style sofas and tables. Although seemingly upscale, Aroma somehow manages to possess a neighborhood bar vibe, and even on off nights it’s easy to strike up a good conversation with your smoking buddies. When it gets too cold to leave the bar for a cigarette, Aroma’s got the loophole to keep your yellow-stained fingers warm.

Posted By:  Sara Klieger
Photo:  Sara Klieger

Ireland's Four Fields
Sure, you can go to any bar for trivia night. But where else will the answers be read to you in a delightful Irish accent? A night at the 4P’s (as people who’ve lived here long enough refer to by its former name) will make you yearn for the charming pubs of Ireland. Hell, after a few pints of Guinness, you might actually think you’re in Ireland. So gather your smartest friends and spend an hour and a half showing off your knowledge of obscure facts. Finally, a use for that second major in 18th-century Russian literature!

Posted By:  Miellyn Fitzwater
Photo:  Miellyn Fitzwater

At Carbon, you have a small, privately owned shop with an owner on a mission: To bring (in his words) eclectic, comfortable, well-priced city-functional shoes to the District. Kevin Powers, who owns Carbon with his wife Julie, has achieved his objective. The resulting shop is at once modern and inviting and it’s stocked with stuff you won’t find anywhere else in the city. There’s a definite thematic look to the shoes he stocks, but if you share his taste, you’ll be in heaven. The women’s shoes (some of which he co-designs with the labels) are required to be stylishand comfortable and he pays special attention to heel-height for metro-friendly work appropriate kicks. There are plenty of great men’s styles as well. The shop’s carefully stocked at different price points, too. If you just can’t swing a $300 price tag, you’re likely to find a similar $90 style. Don’t miss the Vatican medallion belt-buckles (pricey, but hot) or the array of super-cute $15 sunglasses. They have clothes and furniture, too, if you’re looking to make over more than just your feet, but here shoes are the passion and the real draw. If you’re as fond of your feet as you are of fashion, stop in as soon as you can.

Posted By:  Miellyn Fitzwater
Photo:  Miellyn Fitzwater

Sake Club
Sake Club is definitely worth a look-see not just for the gorgeous decorations (from the gorgeous wooden hand-carved door to really original, colorful china) but also for the yummy food. You know when you go to a Japanese restaurant and there are lots of Japanese people there, they’re doing something right. Definitely try the Toro Aburi (melts in your mouth) and save room for the green tea ice cream. This joint is a bit pricey but would be a nice, intimate place to take an after-work third date. You’ll show you have taste and don’t mind dropping some bucks on someone you’re digging. They boast fifty-one kinds of Sake, a late night menu on Friday and Saturday nights from 11pm-1am, great music, and perfect mood lighting. If you can’t close the deal after this place, it’s never gonna happen. Special note: Their New Years Eve special looks like a great deal–it’s $69 per person which includes unlimited sushi, sake and champagne. Just don’t forget to bring your big purse.

Posted By:  Sean Keefer
Photo:  Sean Keefer

The National Zoo is a great place. One of the best overall zoos in the world, admission is always free, and even better, they have loads of cute baby animals. The Zoo has received much attention in the last year as a result of the birth of one of DC’s newest celebrities, Tai Shan, the baby Panda. Huge crowds flock to watch him sleep in his favorite tree. However, as amazing as the Pandas are, they are just the tip of the zoo’s iceberg. Pick an animal and chances are they have it. Recently a baby sloth bear was born and allowed to go out into his habitat. He’s a lot more active than Tai Shan, and you can see him up close. In September, the new baby tigers make their exciting (and of course ultra-cute) debut. Set aside a whole day to roam about. You’ll like what you discover.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Courtesy of National Zoo

Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Tai Shan isn't the new kid on the block anymore. There's a new family moved in down the street—on Olmsted Walk, that is—with three baby Sumatran tigers. Born 3½ months ago, Guntur ("thunder"), Melati ("jasmine"), and Maharani ("queen"), made their debut to the public in early September. As they adjust to their outdoor living space, these sweet cubs are taking some of the attention away from the giant panda’s only child. Born blind and two pounds a piece, these siblings have grown exponentially—but they still have plenty of wild boar to wolf down before they become full-grown 250-pound great cats on the prowl. Come and see these predators while they're still playful kitties.

Posted By:  RP Wolosiuk
Photo:  RP Wolosiuk

Smithsonian National Zoological Park
The DC Zoo, officially known as the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, is widely regarded as one of the preeminent zoos in the United States. More importantly, however, it is entirely free of charge. While not for everybody, the Zoo is a particularly good place to take a date on a nice day, with its winding pathways and lush foliage. Be prepared, however, to navigate a gauntlet of tourists, many traveling in packs and armed with strollers. You will certainly have to battle for a view at the panda compound, where DC’s most illustrious resident, Tai Shan, is held. Tai Shan is one of the few Giant Pandas in the world to be born in captivity. If you need another reason to visit, know that it is one of the only places in DC where you can still get Dippin’ Dots.

Posted By:  Kelley Coyner
Photo:  Kelley Coyner

I am accustomed to stumbling from line to line for a cup of coffee and then heading to the stand-up counter to gulp it down. When offered a table and a menu at Open City I was caught a bit off guard. Seated I opened the menu to arrange of light to full breakfasts along with the usual espresso cacophony of complicated coffees. As I scanned the price column I encountered a second minor miracle—breakfast for under ten dollars in the land of power breakfasts. Still working on my New Year’s resolutions of exercising early and eating (a real) breakfast, I ordered the oatmeal. Surely now I would find the flaw in the arrangement. The oatmeal was yumlicious with its rightsized portions of raisins and brown sugar. A hat trick no less on a Monday morning.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Is it me or is Cleveland Park blessed with an incredible number of great local bars? Atomic Billiards may just be my fave though, because it recognizes that sometimes, conversation isn't enough. They've got pool, they've got darts, they've got TVs whose channels you're welcome to change. But better yet, they've got board games. When was the last time you played Battleship? Or Connect Four? Or Risk? (Really? Wow, you must be a real dork.) Atomic has a menu dedicated to its house games, along with couches and Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head on tap. It's the rumpus room I've always wanted.

Posted By:  Magda Nakassis
Photo:  Magda Nakassis

Firehook Bakery & Coffee House
It’s Cleveland Park’s own little secret garden… minus the grass. Firehook is a local fave, a chain of non-Starbucks coffeehouses with buttery baked goods and fresh sandwiches. But the Cleveland Park location has a lil’ treasure all its own hidden out back… The narrow café leads out into a wonderful outdoor stone patio, walled-in and secluded from the noise and traffic of Connecticut Avenue. There’s trellises with vines growing over top. There’s park benches and little tables and chairs. There’s sunny spots and shady spots. There’s even a fountain in the center surrounded by potted flowering plants—but it’s the kind of home-made fountain without the pomp and circumstance of a DC monument. It’s pretty, not humongous or made of white marble. The water even flows slowly. The tables are populated by young mothers chatting as their toddlers toddle, as well as solitary, grumpy old men quietly sipping their coffee. For the laptop crowd there’s wireless, but whether you go to read your Sunday paper or type away on your iBook, just make sure you look up often enough to enjoy how freakin’ lovely your surroundings are.

Posted By:  Halley Bondy
Photo:  Doug Sanford

Open City is number three in the restaurant trinity owned by Constantine Stavropoulis, who made a name for himself through the Tryst coffeehouse and The Diner in Adams Morgan. Open City is unique from the two not because of its slightly removed location in Woodley Park but for its straight up restaurantness; wood chairs, lots of tables, pastry displays, and mussels with three sauces (delicious ones). The menu is particularly proud of the thin crust pizzas, but more compelling are the creative bar concoctions like cucumber mojito and jalapeno margarita. Anyone who has endured Tryst's notoriously slow service will find saving grace at Open City, where the Stravropoulis staff at leasts acknowledges your existence.

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Restaurants (19)
Nightlife (7)
Shopping (8)
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