Exploring the NoMa Neighborhood in Washington, DC

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••• Photo © NoMa BID

NoMa is a rapidly developing neighborhood in Washington, DC located just north of the U.S. Capitol and Union Station and named for its location – North of Massachusetts Avenue. The opening of the New York Avenue Metro station in 2004 sparked the improvement of this section of the city. In 2007-2008, private developers invested over $1 billion to begin the development of office, residential, hotel, and retail space in a 35-block area over a 10 year period.



As of 2015, NoMa is home to approximately  44,000 daytime workers and 18,000 residents. NoMa has unparalleled transportation access on Amtrak, VRE, MARC, two Red Line Metro stops, and extensive biking facilities, with the East Coast’s only Bikestation, a protected cycletrack, a bike FIXIT Station, the 8-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail, and eight Capital Bikeshare stations. NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) organizes annual events to bring culture, music, artists, local farmers and more to the neighborhood, while building community and enlivening the public realm. NoMa Summer Screen, a free outdoor film festival, has attracted visitors from around the region. Free summer concerts give employees a break during their lunch hour to relax and enjoy music ranging from Blues to Jazz to Reggae.

NoMa Boundaries

Massachusetts Avenue to the south, New Jersey and North Capitol Street to the west, and Q and R Streets to the north.

The neighborhood also extends eastward just beyond the CSX/Metrorail tracks. 

Landmarks in NoMa

NoMa Parks and Proposed Greenspace

The DC government has dedicated $50 million for the development of parks, playgrounds, and greenspace to enhance this rapidly growing DC neighborhood.

The parks will be designed to make the area more appealing for pedestrians and bicylists and to provide seating and picnic spaces, outdoor fitness facilities, gathering space for events, playgrounds, community dog parks and art installations. Proposed parks include the following:

L Street Plaza - envisioned as a gathering area for festivals, exhibits and outdoor dining and set up as a pedestrian street can be closed to traffic to support larger events.

The Tracks Park – the 1.7 acre site will be established as a unique setting for recreation adjacent to the railroad with overlooks for observing the trains.

The Breezeway – the space will incorporate art, play elements, vending kiosks and bicycle storage.

N Street Park – The corridor between 3rd Street and Florida Avenue may be developed as a greenspace to improves pedestrian conditions along Florida Avenue and integrate with development south of N Street.

The Gateway - The intersection of First Street and New York Avenue will act as a gateway to both to NoMA and greater Downtown area.

To learn more, visit www.nomaparks.org

Notable Historic Facts About NoMa

1850: Working-class Irish immigrants called this agrarian area “Swampoodle” because of the overflowing banks of Tiber Creek, which now runs beneath North Capitol Street.



1862: The Government Printing Office printed 15,000 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation for the War Department, which were distributed to troops and diplomats worldwide.

1864: President Lincoln signed the charter of Gallaudet University, the only university in the world where all classes, programs and services are designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.

1907: Grand opening of Union Station. Hundreds of rowhouses were razed to make way for construction. Chicago architect Daniel Burnham modeled the front archway after the classical Arch of Constantine in Rome.

1964: The Washington Coliseum (later known as the Uline Arena) hosted the first Beatles concert in North America; greats such as Bob Dylan and Chuck Brown later performed there.

1998: DC officials recognized the untapped potential four blocks from the Capitol and coin the moniker ‘NoMa,’ for the area ‘North of Massachusetts Avenue.’

2004: NoMa-Gallaudet University (formerly NY-FL Ave) Red Line Metro Station opened.

The station was funded through a ground-breaking public/private partnership that raised $120 million.

2007: Redevelopment plans began to take shape for the area.


Neighborhood Website: www.nomabid.org