Second Place: The Museum District
Third Place: Church Hill
Is there any neighborhood lovelier than the Fan District in the spring? Dogwood petals fall on sidewalks, tiny gardens erupt into bloom and friends sip wine on cozy porches. The overwhelming Victorian charm makes you forget about the downsides of living in the Fan: the beer bottles tossed in your yard, the seven-year-long renovation projects and the fish-belly-pale shirtless dudes jogging on Monument Avenue. The Fan has seen its fortunes rise and fall through the years, but its 85 blocks of historic buildings — most dating from 1890 to 1930 — have been preserved by proud owners and guarded by the powerful Fan District Association. Corner restaurants, tiny parks and thriving shops make the Fan a flat-out fun place to live. Also, Shaka Smart lives there. The Fan's sister neighborhood, just west of the Boulevard, is the Museum District. It offers the same historic charm, with the added bonuses of Carytown and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Also, the rents are slightly cheaper. While Church Hill suffers from generational poverty, it also boasts rich history, some of the city's oldest houses, stunning views from Libby Hill Park and a slew of great bakeries, pubs and restaurants.