One of the best things about D.C. is its personality-filled neighborhoods. At a glance they may look run-of-the-mill, but upon further investigation you’ll uncover a slew of hidden, kid-friendly gems. Today’s stop…Columbia Heights! Specifically, 11th Street Northwest between Kenyon and Monroe Streets. This neighborhood has seen a boom over the past couple of years, thanks to places like:

bloombar

Where to Get Creative: Bloombars
“You have a baby. In a bar.” Remember that scene from Sweet Home Alabama? If you like the friendliness of a bar-scene but prefer to keep your kids away from the hard stuff, check this place out. It’s a community center where you and your family can enjoy the arts. From Nous Bloomons en Français (a weekly French language concert for kids) to dance classes for all ages and art shows—there is something for everyone. You can enjoy non-alcoholic only drinks and there’s no age restrictions on anything.

3222 11th St., NW
Online: bloombars.com

the-coupe-waffle

Where to Eat (Breakfast or Dessert): The Coupe
This is the spot for locally sourced, organic food that you can feel good about. And unlike a lot of D.C. restaurants, this one is huge (7,000 square feet) and lined with booths so you won’t feel like you’re bumping into everyone around you. There are two reasons you must go here: breakfast all day and dessert. Try the hash brown bowl and the bourbon pecan pie. Also, your coffee comes with animal crackers that you can share with your kids if you want, or keep them for yourself (they’re delicious!).

3415 11th St., NW
202-290-3342
Online: thecoupedc.com

Where to Eat (Grilled Cheese Sandwiches): Room 11
Have a picky eater? Nothing but bread and cheese? This is the must-visit stop for you. The grilled cheese at Room 11 is where it’s at. You’ll definitely order it for your little one, but insiders recommend getting one for yourself, too—with oak Shade cheddar, mozzarella, and local caciocavallo. You don’t have to know your cheeses to know this is a winner.

3234 11th St., NW
202-332-3234
Online: room11dc.com

flowers-boy-smelling

Where to Get Growing: Bruce Monroe Community Park
This family hangout is just a short walk (3 blocks) from all the restaurants. Besides a playground where kids can burn off some energy, there’s also a community garden. Walk through the raised plots and see the locals growing their own fruits and veggies. Don’t forget to stop by the Little Free Library where you can leave one of your kids’ old favorites and pick up a new book for the ride home.

Columbia Rd. and Georgia Ave., NW
Online: brucemonroegarden.org

Do you have any favorite spots in Columbia Heights? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

—Besa Pinchotti

Photos courtesy of Bloombars via Facebook, The Coupe via Facebook, Room 11 DC via Facebook, Brooke Fossey via Flickr