Best place to retire: Penn Quarter
Pros: Two Metro stops served by three lines; steps from the National Mall
Cons: A large grocery store is a long walk or Metro ride
Real estate: One-bedrooms start at $350,000. A one-bedroom rental will cost $1,900 to $2,800 a month.You don't need to be a policy wonk or a power broker to love living inside the Beltway. Washington, D.C. is a great place to retire - a rich mix of culture, walkability and charm. Not to mention air-conditioned and elevator-equipped subway stations.
Consider the Penn Quarter, a reclaimed and newly named neighborhood just south of Chinatown within walking distance of the Smithsonian museums. You'll find new condo and rental buildings, along with restaurants, art galleries, the recently renovated National Portrait Gallery, at least seven theaters, the International Spy Museum and the soon-to-open Newseum.
"I like to be in the heart of things and have quick access to the museums," says Barbara Walker, who bought a condo in the area with her husband four years ago when many of the newer buildings were still going up.
Walker, 66, does volunteer work at the nearby Smithsonians and occasionally ushers at the Shakespeare. "Everything I want to do," she says, "I just go out my door and walk or take the Metro. I got rid of my car." Crime, a fact of life in D.C., is low in the area.
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