Columbia Heights is a large neighborhood in northwest Washington, DC, named in honor of a college that formerly lay in the heart of Columbia Heights. The once Columbian College is today called George Washington University and was relocated to its current Foggy Bottom location.
In 1999, the District announced a revitalization initiative for the neighborhood focused around the Columbia Heights Metro station (Green and Yellow lines) that opened in the same year. Since, Tivoli Square, a restoration of the historic, ornate Tivoli Theatre movie house into a commercial and entertainment complex, and DC USA, a 546,000 square-foot retail complex anchored by major retailers, have contributed to wide-scale revitalization.
Columbia Heights residents enjoy a wide range of restaurants, arts, entertainment and nightlife. Latin restaurants are interspersed with traditional and contemporary American food, seafood, deli fare, pizza and bars. The Tivoli Theatre is currently the home GALA Hispanic Theatre, a theater company dedicated to performing Spanish-language plays. The Dance Institute of Washington is a 12,000 square foot dance school and performing arts center, where the Washington Reflections Dance Company resides.
The community celebrates Columbia Heights Day every year, usually in August at Harriet Tubman Elementary School and on Kenyon Street. This outdoor festival features live music, restaurant booths, arts and business kiosks, classes, a pet show, and children’s games, crafts and music lessons.
Columbia Heights is served by a significant recreation point – Meridian Hill Park, unofficially known as Malcolm X Park. Meridian Hill Park, a National Historic Landmark, is a 12 acre park in the Neoclassicist design, bordered by 16th, Euclid, 15th, and W Streets. The park’s name is derived from its location on the exact longitude of the original District of Columbia milestone marker, set in 1791.
The park is cherished for its tiered, formal gardens, cascading fountains and water basins and marble statues. Two long, grassy terraces at Meridian Park’s top attract pick-up soccer, bocce ball, Frisbee games, joggers, dog walkers and area children. On warm Sunday afternoons since the 1950s, the Malcolm X Drummers gather to dance, participate in a drum circle and provide food for the homeless.