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Community Engagement & Service

FSE Neighborhood Breakdown

Washington, D.C. is comprised of four major quadrants: the Northwest, the Northeast, the Southwest, and the Southeast. Within each of those quadrants, they are further divided into 8 wards and then further into Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. However as a means of allowing incoming students to learn about areas other than Tenleytown and surrounding areas, the Freshman Service Experience breaks the district into 5 areas which are: Southeast, Northeast, U Street/Shaw, Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant/Adams Morgan, and Downtown/Eastern Market.

The city is your classroom, so enjoy the sites and share your experiences with your friends and family. But most of all have fun while enjoying all of the different areas of D.C. Being only a bus or metro ride away, D.C. is at your fingertips, so take advantage and visit the area.

Southeast, D.C.

Big Chair

The Big Chair on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, DC.

Southeast, D.C. is where you can enjoy watching a DC United soccer game at RFK stadium, or support the baseball team the Nationals at Nationals Park. Aside from sports, Southeast, D.C. is also a place filled with both historic sites and a rich culture. Some historic sites include the Frederick Douglas Historic Site and the Anacostia Smithsonian Community Museum. But if you love seeing monuments, it is also the place to go to see the Big Chair, a 19 ½ foot chair that was built in 1959 on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Ave and V Street. Feeling hungry? Visit and eat at the Big Chair Café across the street, which is a great landmark for people to dine in while in the area.

Non-profit organizations that the Freshman Service Experience has worked with in the Southeast D.C. include Anacostia Watershed Society, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, FAN.

Northeast, D.C.


"A Survivor's Journey" Mural painted on the side of the Brookland Cafe building on 11th St NE.

Northeast, D.C. is composed mostly of ward 5, the majority of wards 6 and 7, and some of ward 4. Northeast, D.C. also houses Catholic University, the all girls school Trinity University, and the nation’s and world’s first college for the hearing impaired, Gallaudet University. Other landmarks in the area include the National Arboretum, the Langston Golf Course, and Union Station. On your ride along the red line towards Sliver Spring see the Washington Coliseum where the Beetles had their first performance in the United States with tickets averaging only $2.00! The quadrant also houses what has recently become known at the arts district on H-Street which is filled with many trendy jazz and performance sports, and where soon to possess a trolley. Before leaving, be sure to check out Horace and Dickie’s Fish Carryout a neighborhood fish restaurant that was featured on the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food!

Non-profit organizations that the Freshman Service Experience has worked with in Northeast, D.C. include Damien Ministries, Seabury, and UPO (United Planning Organization).

U St./Shaw

Ben's Chili Bowl

Ben's Chili Bowl on U St.

The U Street/ Shaw area is located in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. Howard University, a historically black university, is one of the most well-known landmarks in the neighborhood that is known for its traditions like homecoming and famous alumni such as Thurgood Marshall. U Street is a historically rich neighborhood that was developed in the late 1800s and possessed the largest African American community. It was eventually nicknamed “Black Broadway” due to it being the home to many famous black performers and artists such as Duke Ellington. The area took a downward turn in 1968 as a result of riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., but today, is one of D.C.’s top destinations for food, shopping, and especially music. Some landmarks include Ben’s Chili Bowl, the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, the Lincoln Theatre, and the 9:30 Club.

Non-profit organizations that the Freshman Service Experience has worked with in the U Street/Shaw Neighborhood include Martha’s Table, the DC Center for the LGBT Community, and the Emergence Community Arts Collective.

Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant/Adams Morgan

Gala Theater

The Gala Theater in Columbia Heights, DC

Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan are three culturally rich and thriving neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.’s Northwest quadrant. They have a few common themes, such as their diversity, strong Latino community, and their art as expression of identity, but are more known for their bilingual way of life. Mount Pleasant was the catalyst to this shift after the 1991 Latino Riots that resulted after years of racial tension in the area. Today, they are currently facing alarming rates of gentrification, especially in the Columbia Heights neighborhood where you can visit the Target. Adams Morgan, the “Multicultural Center of Entertainment,” has an indie feel and great night life. These three neighborhoods are also the places to go if you are looking for authentic Latin American food! 

Non-profit organizations that the Freshman Service Experience has worked with in the Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant, and Adams Morgan neighborhoods include Empoderate, CentroNia, and the GALA Theater.

Downtown/ Tenleytown/ Eastern Market

Eastern Markey

Eastern Market, DC on the corner of C Street SE and 8th St SE.

Tenleytown and Downtown are in Northwest, D.C., while Eastern Market is in Southeast, D.C. Tenleytown has had a rich history, with World War I military trainings occurring on American University’s campus and Fort Reno, the highest elevation in D.C., used during the Civil War. Downtown is the home of the landmarks and monuments that are familiarly associated with the city. Interestingly enough, prior to 1882, practically none of the National Mall west of the Washington Monument existed but was covered by the Potomac River. Similarly the area of Eastern Market is noticeably different from how it once was. In 1805 Eastern Market was located blocks away from the Anacostia River, but in 1872 was relocated to its current location, however always being the place to get things from paintings to fresh produce.

Non-profit organizations that the Freshman Service Experience has worked with in the Tenleytown, Downtown, and Eastern Market neighborhoods include Street Sense, Higher Achievement, and the National Park Services.