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Exploring Washington, DC’s Neighborhoods
Go beyond the National Mall
DC is about much more than monuments and museums. While these sites are absolutely must-see attractions, make it your mission to take in the excitement of DC’s neighborhoods as well. Below, find some of our favorite areas to walk around, relax, eat, drink and shop.
One of DC’s hippest neighborhoods, Adams Morgan is diverse, lively, and jam-packed with things to do.
Visit the legendary Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant, a long-running eatery on 18th Street. You’ll love the lamb dishes and woven-basket tables. After dinner, take in live jazz at Madam’s Organ and enjoy its rooftop deck during warm weather. Reach the uppermost perch at Roofers Union, a three-level restaurant, and gaze out at the Adams Morgan faithful below.
During the day, take a short walk to Meridian Hill Park, a beautiful park with unique architecture, acres of greenery, a cascading fountain and drum circles on weekends.
Visit the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, the only national park devoted to cultivated water-loving plants. Explore the park -- the perfect place for nature lovers, hikers, photographers and birdwatchers.
After you walk through the marsh, head to the Anacostia Community Museum, where exhibitions focus on issues currently facing urban communities. Then it’s time for Cedar Hill, the former home of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Learn about his fascinating past and take in one of the most beautiful views in the city.
Capitol Hill is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, filled with history and can’t-miss sites.
Shakespeare fans won’t want to miss the Folger Shakespeare Library, which features the world's largest Shakespeare collection. The venue also hosts a variety of events, performances and exhibitions throughout the year. Check the calendar to see what’s going on during your trip.
Did you know Supreme Court oral arguments are open to the public? Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-seated basis. Before a session begins, two lines form on the plaza in front of the building. One line is for visitors who want to attend an entire argument, and the second line is for those who wish to observe the Court in session only briefly.
Hungry after playing justice for the day? Walk to Eastern Market, a bustling marketplace that sells a variety of produce, prepared foods and handmade crafts. The neighborhood is also filled with popular restaurants, including Art & Soul, Charlie Palmer Steak and Rose’s Luxury.
Located between Capitol Hill and the Anacostia River, Capitol Riverfront is home to Nationals Park, where you can cheer for the Washington Nationals during baseball season. After the game, head to Ice Cream Jubilee for a tasty treat.
Other outdoor activities include Trapeze School of Washington, DC, where you can sign up for a beginner class and work your acrobatics. Make sure to check out the gorgeous Yards Park, too, a great spot for a picnic.
During the winter, put on your ice skates and spin around the rink at Canal Park. Take a free tour of Bluejacket, the neighborhood brewery that offers brew-tasting tours as well as distinctive takes on classic bar food at its in-house restaurant, The Arsenal.
The bustling neighborhood’s most well-known landmark is the Friendship Arch, located close to the intersection of H and 7th Streets NW. The colorful work of art includes seven roofs up to 60 feet high, 7,000 tiles, and 272 painted dragons. You'll notice all storefronts have their names spelled out in Chinese characters -- it’s actually a requirement to do business in the neighborhood.
We love the Verizon Center, DC’s sports and entertainment facility. Depending on when you come, you can see anything from a Washington Capitals hockey game, to a Taylor Swift concert, to the Washington International Horse Show.
Penn Quarter/Chinatown is also home to great dining options, including China Chilcano, Del Campo and RFD. The International Spy Museum is a must-see, and CityCenterDC is the perfect place for shopping.
Plan a visit to Ford's Theatre and tour the museum or catch a play that reflects our country’s rich cultural heritage. The historic theatre has been used for various stage performances since the 1860s, and is also the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
This neighborhood is centered around the traffic circle right at the intersection of five of the city’s avenues and streets. Dupont is one of DC’s most popular neighborhoods thanks to multiple options for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Read a book and drink some coffee at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café & Grill, stroll to Dupont’s park featuring a double-tiered white marble fountain for some people watching, get your Italian eats on with Mangia DC Food Tours, or hit the nightclub, Cobalt. Don’t miss out on the impressive art at the Phillips Collection as well.
H Street NE
The vibrant H Street corridor, a one-and-a-half mile stretch in Northeast DC, is known for its nightlife, restaurants and pop-ups, festivals, and community feel.
Visitors will want to pop by the H Street FreshFarm Market, open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. mid-April to mid-December, or The Atlas Performing Arts Center, which hosts a variety of performances and events with a range of artistic traditions.
Walk up or down H Street and find dozens different restaurants you can try, including H Street Country Club and Ethiopic. The DC Streetcar, which runs from Union Station to Oklahoma Avenue every 15 minutes, will make visiting this neighborhood easier.
This residential neighborhood around Georgia Avenue NW keeps growing, but has not lost its community feel. To keep up with the latest happenings in Petworth, we recommend following Petworth News, a neighborhood blog covering the latest news, events and information.
Pay a visit EatsPlace, an incubator/pop-up concept featuring a rotating lineup of local chefs cooking in an industrial space. We’re also partial to Chez Billy, a delightful bistro serving upscale French dishes.
Sandwiched between Cleveland Park, Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan, this neighborhood is home to four of DC’s biggest celebrities: Tian Tian, Mei Xiang, Bao Bao, and Bei Bei. Doesn’t ring a bell yet? These four pandas live in the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and are a must-see for visitors of all ages. Follow them on your computer by taking a look at the Giant Panda Cam, which runs 24/7. Warning: it’s addictive.
On your way to the zoo, stop by the iconic Marilyn Monroe mural, located at 2604 Connecticut Avenue NW. It’s a DC landmark and right by the metro.
Happy exploring! Make sure to dig deeper into our neighborhoods as you begin to plan your trip to DC.