Washington, D.C./Brookland-Petworth-Takoma

Brookland, Petworth, and Takoma are three relatively quiet neighborhoods east of Rock Creek Park. Following the "White Flight" after desegregation and the 1968 riots, these neighborhoods were left underpopulated, overwhelmingly African-American, and much less wealthy than the Upper Northwest, just across Rock Creek Park. While these neighborhoods are currently experiencing a resurgence and new bars and restaurants are opening every month, they are rarely visited by travelers, except to see the National Shrine. However, there is a good reason to come here beyond the National Shrine — to better know the city as its residents do.

Brookland is the old established neighborhood around Catholic University, sometimes known as the "Little Vatican" for all its major Catholic institutions, as well as the National Shrine. Spend some time talking to Catholic University students, and you'll get an earful about the lack of restaurants, shops, etc. in the area, and they tend to hop on the Metro to spend their weekends in trendier neighborhoods. Petworth sits just northeast of Columbia Heights, and seems set to follow its neighbor under the forces of gentrification. It's also home to the massive Armed Forces' Retirement Home, where you'll find President Abraham Lincoln's Cottage, and beautiful Rock Creek Cemetery across the street. Takoma, dubbed the "Berkeley of the East," has good claim to be the most liberal neighborhood in the decidedly liberal D.C. Area, and has a good collection of quirky shops and ethnic restaurants.

Get in

By metro

The Red line makes useful stops at Takoma for Takoma Park, Brookland-CUA for Catholic University and Brookland's commercial strip, and Fort Totten, while the Green/Yellow lines stops at Georgia Ave/Petworth for the Petworth neighborhood and at Fort Totten where you can transfer to the Red Line.

By bus

Takoma Park, Catholic University, and Petworth are all pretty easy to reach by Metrorail—there's no real need to bother with complicated bus routes. For the other destinations, however, you'll need a good bus plan if you don't have a car:

Both President Lincoln's Cottage and Rock Creek Cemetery can be reached via the H2, which runs along Rock Creek Church Rd between the Brookland-CUA and Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro stations (and further west on to the Columbia Heights station).

#70 and #71 run pretty much 24 hours daily, with the only significant gap Su 1:30AM-4AM. They run the entire length of Georgia Ave from Silver Spring, Maryland, down to 7th St right on to the Mall.

By car

This section of town is less densely populated, less frequently visited, and expansive—a car is not necessary to visit these areas, but it is the most convenient option, provided you trust yourself to navigate all the tortuous, complex diagonals and other surprise deviations from the grid! There are numerous main roads, but Georgia Ave is one you should keep in mind—it's one of the city's main thoroughfares. Heading east out of the city towards the Beltway, routes US-1/Rhode Island Ave and US-50/New York Ave are the quickest options, albeit absolutely miserable (and unavoidable) in rush hour traffic.

Planning to catch taxis here would be a terrible idea. You'll often find them sitting at Metro stations, but otherwise you should call one in advance.


The National Shrine

Little Vatican

The courtyard at Mount St Sepulchre

Other attractions


Statuary in Rock Creek Cemetery







President Lincoln's cottage








In addition to the cafes above, the following all also provide free internet (and the libraries also offer public terminals):

Go next

Aside from the obvious southward trip downtown, you could take a little trip across the D.C. border into Maryland, especially to visit adjacent Silver Spring to the north, which is on the Metro's Red Line, and has the American Film Institute Theater, Discovery Channel Headquarters, and a lot of restaurants and bars.

Routes through Brookland-Petworth-Takoma

East End Near Northeast  S  N  Silver Spring Wheaton
Greenbelt Hyattsville  N  S  Columbia Heights East End
END  N  S  Columbia Heights East End

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