Mount Vernon Square is both a city square and a neighborhood found in Northwest Washington, D.C. It’s located where Massachusetts Avenue NW, New York Avenue NW, K Street NW, and 8th Street NW intersect.
It’s a historical district, dating back to the mid-1800s, with a great blend of the past and present, with architecture spanning two centuries, including the famous Victorian row houses found alongside the many high-rise buildings in the neighborhood.
Mount Vernon Square is home to both the old and new Washington Convention Centers.
Mount Vernon Square borders Chinatown and is close to U Street and downtown. The White House is within walking distance if you care for a 20-minute stroll dotted with beautiful landscape and architecture.
Carnegie Library of Washington D.C was a gift to the city from Andrew Carnegie. At one time, the white marble building was the main central library for the city, until the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library was completed in 1972. In 2011 it was taken over by The Washington Convention and Sports Authority and rented out for events, until 2018, when it underwent major renovations to host an exhibit space for the
Washington Historical Society and house an Apple Store.
Mount Vernon Square is known for the icon sculpture “The Hand” created by Jim Fauntleroy in the 1960s for the home of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s leader Vincent DeForest. It was moved to Mt. Vernon Square in 2008 and has been enjoyed by locals and visitors ever since.
There are two historic buildings northwest of the square: the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church and the American Federation of Labor Building. The Mount Vernon Place church was built in 1917, by the Methodist Episcopal Church, while the Labor building was built in 1916, as the headquarters for the American Federation of Labor.
The area had once been a popular shopping district before the second World War. It was in decline until the late 1970s and 1980s, when much of the construction, such as the first Convention Center and the Green Line of the Metro, was completed. Construction began in 1998 on the current Walter E. Washington Convention Center, which opened in 2003.
What to do
The Historical Society of Washington can be found on the second floor of the Carnegie Library. You can check out the Apple store in the same building on your way out.
If you’d like to get fit or just a bit more flexible, try a class at Bhakti Yoga. They are one of the best yoga studios in the city and offer both group and individual classes.
At the Modern Nail Bar, you can hang out and sip wine while enjoying a manicure or pedicure with complimentary wine.
In the evenings, Sixth and I Synagogue features comedy shows, concerts, and talks on a wide variety of topics. Or check out the Shakespeare Theatre Company, which is just a few blocks away.
Where to eat
Be sure to enjoy breakfast at A Baked Joint owned by the Velazquez family, who also own several successful bakeries, including one in Georgetown.
There are plenty of upscale European and American restaurants, which cater to the business professionals visiting the Convention Center. Busboys and Poets has something for everyone, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
Capitol Burger is a great choice for a gourmet sandwich. But Prather’s On the Alley is a great new farm-to-table restaurant, which serves food prepared with only the freshest ingredients produced by local farmers.
Real Estate Snapshot
Apartments for rent in Mount Vernon Square range from just under $2,000 for a studio, to about $2,500 for a one-bedroom apartment, and about $3,500 for a two-bedroom unit. The area is quiet but less charming than some neighborhoods due to so many high-rise buildings. It has a population of 16,000 people, most of whom are renters and young professionals with liberal views.
You can access 1-95 and Interstate 395 in minutes by car.
The Metro Station Gallery Place/Chinatown can be reached by the Green, Red, and Yellow lines, while Judiciary Square and Union Station are on the Red line. You can access Amtrak and the MARC Commuter train at Union Station.
Both Metrobus and D.C. Circulator buses serve the area, in addition to the Capital Bikeshare if you are in the mood for a relaxing cycling tour of the city.
Schools and Employment
Mt Vernon Square boasts the best public high school in the city called the School Without Walls. There is also a well-known charter school – KIPP DC Spring Academy and McKinley Technology High school.
Several major law firms, including Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, and Arnold & Porter, are based in the neighborhood. In addition to many hotels, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Dental Education Association is headquartered in Mount Vernon Square.
There are plenty of government and not-for-profit jobs to be found in the city, as well.