Explore Columbia Heights: A Washington, DC Neighborhood

Columbia Heights
••• Columbia Heights. Photo © Martha Heinemann Bixby

Columbia Heights is a neighborhood in transition in Washington, DC. Over the past few years a revitalization plan has dramatically changed the area. For decades this neighborhood had many abandoned homes and shops. In 2008, DC USA, a 890,000 square-foot retail complex, opened with major retailers such as Target, Best Buy, Bed Bath and Beyond and Washington Sports Club. There are several restaurants and an underground parking garage.

Columbia Heights is probably one of Washington's most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods, with a mixture of high-priced condominiums and townhouses and public and middle-income housing.


Columbia Heights is located about two miles northwest of the National Mall in Washington, DC. It is just north of Adams Morgan and east of the National Zoo. The boundaries of the neighborhood are 16th Street to the West, Sherman Avenue to the East, Spring Road to the North, and Florida Avenue to the South. The Columbia Heights Metro Station is located at 14th and Irving Sts. NW. Washington DC.

Nearby Neighborhoods

Shaw, Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, Petworth, Park View, Pleasant Plains, and Le Droit Park


2010 census estimates: 43.5 percent African-American, 28.1 percent Hispanic,  22.9 percent White,  3.2 percent Asian and 2 percent Other population. Average family income: $63,000.


Points of Interest in Columbia Heights

  • DC USA - The largest retail development in the District of Columbia, the building is the cornerstone of the neighborhood's revitalization efforts. The two-level underground parking garage can accommodated 1,000 vehicles. Anchor stores include Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Staples and Marshalls.
  • GALA Hispanic Theatre - Founded in 1976, the theater presents classical and contemporary plays in Spanish and English, plus an accompanying program of dance, music, poetry, spoken word, art and, more recently, film.
  • Dance Institute of Washington - The performing arts center offers artistic development programs for youth, adults and professional dancers.
  • Greater Washington Urban League - The interracial, nonpartisan, nonprofit social services and civil rights organization works to increase the economic and political empowerment of blacks and other minorities. The League manages and administers Education, Employment and Training, and Housing and Community Development programs.
  • Latin American Youth Center - The organization provides multi-lingual programs to empower a diverse population of youth addressing their social, academic, and career needs.
  • Ecuadoran Embassy - The building serves the diplomatic needs of the Republic of Ecuador.
  • Mexican Cultural Institute - The organization provide programs to enrich the relationship between Mexico and the United States by sharing Mexico's vibrant cultural past and present with the local community. The Institute has developed cultural programming in partnership with many institutions in the nation's capital including the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, and more.
  • Banneker Community Center - The facility is run by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and contains playing fields, basketball and tennis courts, a swimming pool (Banneker pool), a computer lab and other recreation facilities.

Annual Events

Columbia Heights History

The Columbia Heights neighborhood was one of several in Washington DC that were destroyed in the riots that followed Martin Luther King Jr.‘s assassination in 1968. In 1999, the Columbia Heights Metro station opened, bringing the area back to life. The DC government facilitated redevelopment in the area with the construction of several large residential buildings, a renovated Giant supermarket, the re-establishment of the historic Tivoli Theatre, DC USA featuring the city’s only Target store and many other new retail spaces.

Washington DC has a wide diversity of neighborhoods and communities. To learn more, see Get to Know the Neighborhoods of the Washington DC Capital Region.