Neighborhood Breakdown Of The Nation’s Capital

Washington D.C. is full of unique and wonderful neighborhoods.

Each one offers a diverse viewpoint of the nation’s capital. Below is a breakdown of the most famous districts in D.C. and some of their best attractions. If you have the chance to visit, be sure to explore all of these neighborhoods and try everything!

Dupont Circle

Metro Stop: Dupont Circle, Red Line

Dupont Row Houses
Dupont Row Houses. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

 

Graffiti Mural in Dupont
Graffiti Mural in Dupont. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

A lot is happening in Dupont Circle. Every June, it is the Pride hub with numerous parties, parades and events. During the rest of the year, Dupont is a high powered, bustling neighborhood during lunch breaks and  weekends. In this neighborhood, you can easily walk to various embassies and admire the beautiful classic D.C. row houses. Right by the metro station is the iconic Kramer and Afterwords bookstore as well as a fun comedy club, Underground Comedy, which has free stand up shows nearly every night. My personal favorite Dupont Circle activity is to people-watch while soaking up the sun by the park’s fountain.

Brookland

Metro Stop: Brookland – CUA, Red Line

Brookland Row Houses
Brookland Row Houses. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

Brookland is one of my favorite and underrated neighborhoods in Northeast D.C.. My ideal Brookland night would be to eat authentic Neopolitan pizza at Menomale, then attend a jazz show at JACS (Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society.) JACS has live concerts featuring incredible jazz musicians from all over the country every Wednesday and Sunday from 6 – 9 p.m. It is an incredible place to immerse yourself in the community while supporting local businesses and musicians! Brookland is also home to Catholic University and the National Basilica. I would highly recommend visiting this gorgeous establishment where Pope Francis also stayed during his visit in 2015.

Georgetown

Metro Stop: Foggy Bottom – GWU, Orange/Blue/Silver Line

Exorcist Stairs
Exorcist Stairs. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

Georgetown is one of D.C.’s most iconic neighborhoods. With its ancient petite houses and high end shops, it is a D.C. must-see. There are two cupcake shops that are both Georgetown classics, Baked and Wired and Georgetown Cupcake. If you want bigger cupcakes with bolder flavors, I would recommend Baked and Wired. Georgetown Cupcake is more famous, however, because of its TLC show, DC Cupcakes. If you aren’t a fan of cupcakes do not worry, Georgetown is also home to Crumbs and Whiskers, D.C.’s first cat cafe! Another Georgetown attraction specifically for horror movie fanatics is the Exorcist stairs. After you make the terrifying climb up, you can tour around Georgetown University and then make your way back down to visit the Potomac River waterfront.

Capitol Hill

Metro Stop: Eastern Market, Orange/Blue/Silver Line

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

Iconic D.C. monuments, including: the Supreme Court, Capitol, and Library of Congress reside in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Visitors can tour the U.S. Capitol for free and learn about the government’s history with a guided walking tour. After your in-person history lesson, grab some lunch at Eastern Market. Eastern Market has been a D.C. eatery since 1873 and is located in a gorgeous classic D.C. brick building. On the weekends you can also shop at Eastern Market for antiques and crafts. Surrounding the market are even more fine examples of D.C. architecture with cute and quaint row houses.

U Street

Metro Stop: U St, Yellow/Green Line

Ben's Chili Bowl
Ben’s Chili Bowl. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

 

Bens Chili Bowl Mural
Bens Chili Bowl Mural. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

Duke Ellington is from D.C., specifically U Street, making this neighborhood the hub of D.C.’s music scene. The Black Cat is one of the most famous venues that is also known for its collection of pinball machines. Down the street from there are two classic D.C. eateries, Oohhs and Aahhs and Ben’s Chili Bowl. Oohhs and Aahhs is home to D.C. soul food and Ben’s Chili Bowl serves the best half-smoke in the country where celebrities, including: Anthony Bourdain, Barack Obama and MLK Jr have also given it a try. Don’t miss out on the beautiful mural right next to the establishment which features local D.C. celebrities such as Chuck Brown Wale, and the Obamas. There is so much to see on U St yet so little time.

Adams Morgan

Metro Stop: Woodley Park, Red Line

Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe
FACEBOOK Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe

18th street in Adams Morgan is one of the best places to go for D.C. nightlife. Songbyrd Cafe and Bossa usually have live music every night from Brazilian musicians to local D.C. rappers. If you want to explore the area during the day, be sure to first grab a coffee at Philz! They have incredible flavors and a really kind staff. Another must-see in Adams Morgan is the National Zoo. This zoo is free for everyone and is home to the famous D.C. pandas. Fun fact: The National Zoo was the first zoo in the country to house giant pandas that were gifted by the Chinese government to President Richard Nixon after his trip to China in 1972. 

Chinatown

Metro Stop: Gallery Place, Red Line

National Portrait Gallery Courtyard
National Portrait Gallery Courtyard. Photo by: Vivian Bauer

Sadly, D.C.’s Chinatown has changed drastically in recent years. It’s harder to find authentic Chinese restaurants that are now replaced with fast food chains. Amid these chains are also top rated restaurants, including: Rosa Mexicano, NewBigWong, Jaleo, and China Chilcano. The famous chef José Andrés runs both Jaleo and China Chilcano. If you prefer to do takeout, the best local spot to eat lunch is in the National Portrait Gallery’s courtyard. There is a beautiful garden courtyard in the middle of the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery and American Art museum that visitors can relax in for free. You can also roam around the museum in your spare time to visit the Obama portraits or world famous art by artists such as: Nam June Paik and Georgia O’Keefe.

Vivian Bauer

Editor

Vivian is passionate about everything related to music, art, and language. When traveling, she loves to walk for miles, try all kinds of food, and visit every museum. She has lived in Singapore, Belgium, and Brazil while hoping to one day travel to Mongolia and East Timor.

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