Navy Yard DC Neighborhood Guide


We are grateful for the sponsor of this guide: Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate. Kelly Kelley is an expert in this area. Please be sure to check out thorough details about her practice below. We are thankful for her sponsorship, which allows us to continue to bring DC Area Moms resources like this.

What is your favorite thing about raising kids in the Navy Yard?

The strong sense of community among residents. It’s like a tiny village where we all work together to tackle the task of raising kids in the city. We are in close proximity to many amenities, and everything seems to be at our fingertips! Plus, it has a cool history.

This neighborhood has several names: the Navy Yard, the Yards, near Southeast, and Capitol Riverfront. Most residents call it the Navy Yard. The neighborhood gets its name from the presence of the Washington Navy Yard, which was established there in 1799. This historic facility was once the industrial center of DC and the largest shipbuilder in the U.S. It remains an important administrative center for the U.S. Navy and houses the National Museum for the U.S. Navy. In the late 1990s, the neighborhood began transitioning from its industrial past. Developers and the city worked together to develop housing, park space, and retail space, which has evolved into the vibrant, active residential neighborhood it is today.

The Yards Park

What makes the Navy Yard family-friendly and unique?

We have access to many kid-friendly businesses and activities, both in our neighborhood and in neighboring Capitol Hill. It is a highly walkable neighborhood with lots of green spaces for outdoor play.

What community events or local attractions are there?

One of the most appealing things about living in the Navy Yard neighborhood (and DC in general) is the never-ending list of fun, family-friendly events available for every season and every interest. Topping the list of highlights for families is the expansive wading pool, which is a hit with local families. The Capitol Riverfront BID hosts multiple free events throughout the summer, including its free Friday night outdoor concert series. Canal Park offers free outdoor moving screenings and a public splash park in the summer, and it converts into an ice-skating rink in the winter.

Also, the Washington Nationals ballpark is a central part of the neighborhood. It offers tickets at affordable price points, kids play zone, and kids can even run the bases after Sunday afternoon games. Plus, DC United’s Audi Field is in Navy Yard as well. The National Museum of the U.S. Navy is a hidden gem among the many museums that DC has to offer. We can’t forget the local library, which hosts frequent story times and other programming for kids. Plus, the Capitol City Circus School has trapeze classes right in our neighborhood!

Why would you recommend the Navy Yard to families?

The Navy Yard is conveniently located. It is close to downtown DC, the U.S. Capitol, and the National Mall. It has a metro stop, easy access to two highways, multiple bike share stations, and Circulator and bus stops. The Navy Yard is sandwiched between the picture-perfect views of the Anacostia River (which offers lots of outdoor fun) and the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood (which also has many family-friendly restaurants, activities, and green spaces). Being so close to the National Mall gives families easy access to a huge urban greenspace, a carousel, educational national monuments, the U.S. Botanical Gardens, and numerous Smithsonian museums (they’re free!) that offer programming for kids throughout the year.

What nearby schools or childcare places do kids go to?

The Navy Yard is home to and in close proximity to several in-demand elementary schools, including Van Ness, Brent, Maury, and Taylor (which offers a Spanish immersion program). Busy Bees is a music and arts playgroup for toddlers and preschoolers. It offers drop-in care, DCPS day-off care, and a summer camp. Polite Piggies offers DCPS day-off camps and summer camps. There are nanny shares galore for families with young kids.

Where are your favorite places to shop in the Navy Yard?

Retail operations continue to move into the neighborhood. Willow is a clothing and gift store that is a great spot for moms looking to treat themselves. Steadfast Supply is another unique shop in the area. Operating out of a warehouse, it sells products from independent designers and brands from across the country. There is a Whole Foods, and in nearby Capitol Hill, one has access to Trader Joe’s, Sephora, Frager’s Hardware (a local institution), Labyrinth (a game store that offers games clubs for kids and parent’s night out events), East City Books (hosts story time for little kids and book clubs for middle readers, tweens, and teens), and historic Eastern market.

What are some of your favorite places to eat in the Navy Yard?

There are too many family-friendly restaurant options in the Navy Yard to list here. Check out the Capitol Riverfront BID site for a comprehensive list of neighborhood restaurants. I have selected a few favorites that always please my little ones. Due South offers southern cuisine and a good kid’s menu. When the weather is nice, your family can enjoy the restaurant’s outside patio that overlooks the wading pool. One of DC’s best ice cream shops, Ice Cream Jubilee, is here. Nando’s Peri-Peri is very family-friendly, and each kid’s meal comes with the famous Dole Whip! Your family can enjoy a picnic beside the river, the wading pool, or in the other green spaces with takeout options from Wiseguy Pizza, Potbelly, Sweetgreen, Takorean, Bonchon Chicken, Shake Shack, and more.

What places make the Navy Yard feel kid-friendly?

Overall, many families have made the Navy Yard their home. They are out and about enjoying the wading pool, the Anacostia Riverwalk, and Canal Park. They frequent the numerous area restaurants. They are using the Arthur Capper Community Center, run by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation. It has a playground, a soft play space for toddlers, and a children’s pool, and it hosts family-friendly programming in its gymnasium and multi-purpose rooms. The nearby Randall Recreation Center has an outdoor pool for people of all ages, a fun playground, basketball and tennis courts, and large outdoor fields. Community events are frequently held in the neighborhood that is geared toward people of all ages. For example, the Anacostia Riverkeepers is hosting free “Friday Night Fishing” events every Friday this summer, wherein people of all ages are provided with fishing rods, bait, tackle, and instruction.

What advice would you give to families new to the Navy Yard?

Get on the MOTH (Moms on the Hill) listserve! This is a tremendous resource for parents and parents-to-be. Members can buy/sell items from each other, pose questions to the community regarding everything from pediatrician recommendations to children’s behavioral issues, seek babysitter, nanny share, and childcare recommendations, connect with playgroups and new mommy support groups, and much more. It will help you settle in and get to know your new community. It can take some time for your request to join the group to be approved, but be patient…it is worth it.

Kelly Kelley is an expert, experienced Realtor for H Street:

Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate

Kelly Kelley works closely with her clients throughout the DC/MD/VA area and has a well-earned stellar reputation for her extensive knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills, and smooth transaction processes. Kelly‘s clients enjoy exceptional service and a client-focused, educational approach to buying their next home or investment property. Kelly has lived and worked in Washington, DC, and Virginia for over 16 years.  She and her young family live in the Logan/U St. neighborhood.  She’s an expert in navigating the complexity of the school systems in and around DC and the surrounding suburbs, including but not limited to the DCPS lottery and area private school systems. Contact Kelly at [email protected] or at 540-529-4804. Look at her website at, and be sure to follow her group on Facebook and Instagram.

Previous article“Your son looks exactly like your husband!”
Next article7 Children’s Books for Exploring Emotions and Feelings
Julie Hart
Julie is a proud born and bred Texan, but has called DC home since 2001. She studied at the University of Texas and then moved to DC to get her MPA at the George Washington University. Julie worked for ten years for a Member of Congress, where she loved working to impact public policy. In 2013, her world turned inside out when she gave birth to twins and decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Currently Julie lives in the H Street Corridor with her husband, two kids, and their increasingly grouchy senior dog, Presley. Yes, please: movie dates with her husband, trying new restaurants, exploring DC with her kids, last minute road trips, being outdoors, festivals (of any kind), girls’ night out, and a rainy day with “Pride and Prejudice.” No, thank you: hot and humid summers, mistreating animals, Legos (ouch!), public speaking, laundry, raw fish