Vibrant historic district at the heart of D.C.’s “Old City”.
Dupont Circle is a neighborhood within Washington, D.C.’s “Old City,” with beautiful 19th century homes lining streets laid out according to the master plan of architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant. Many of Dupont Circle’s properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also a vibrant modern neighborhood, home to hip bars and bistros, fashion boutiques, and the city’s unofficial 17th Street gay district.
Some of D.C.’s most attractive historic mansions are on Massachusetts Avenue. Constructed in the 1870s and 1880s, these lavish properties exude Old World grandeur and elegance. Townhomes and rowhouses from the same period, exhibiting exquisite Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne architectural styles, as well as newer apartments and condominiums, are interspersed throughout Dupont Circle. Somerset House was constructed in 1917 and converted into modern apartments and condominiums in 2014. Northumberland was similarly constructed in the early 20th century and today is both a National Register of Historic Places listed landmark and a luxurious contemporary apartment building.
Dupont Circle is located in the heart of D.C., and its residents enjoy all that life in the capital has to offer. Locals enjoy relaxing in the green space surrounding the fountain at the neighborhood’s namesake central traffic circle. This walkable neighborhood is within easy reach of any central D.C. location and offers a convenient commute for the many young urban professionals who reside here. The local Red Line metro station is Dupont Circle.
The broad avenues that intersect at Dupont Circle are full of great retail and dining options. Connecticut Avenue is lined with upscale boutiques and recognizable brands. Kramerbooks, and its connected Afterwords Cafe, is a must-visit for the literary minded, offering regular readings from well-known authors. Restaurants in the area serve exceptional cuisine from around the world. Highlights are the Michelin-starred Sushi Taro, where diners can sample master chef Nobu Yamazaki’s delectable “kaiseki” tasting course, and The Pembroke, which prepares farm-to-table fare with classic French style. For classic Italian dishes prepared with authentic flair, head to intimate Floriana or the bustling bistro at La Tomate. is There’s also no shortage of lively nightspots, including the bars and clubs of the 17th Street LGBTQ district and the eclectic Eighteenth Street Lounge. DC Improv, D.C.’s premier comedy club, is another popular place to hang out after dark. For groceries, there is a Safeway on Corcoran Street NW, and locally-grown produce is available at Glen’s Garden Market.
Dupont Circle’s deeply rooted history and political significance can be felt everywhere in the neighborhood. Massachusetts Avenue’s two-mile-long Embassy Row is a fascinating place to take a stroll. The stretch of Massachusetts Ave NW between Dupont Circle and Thomas Circle is known as Think Tank Row for its influential collection of research groups. The Brookings Institution is one of the most storied, with its members engaging in in-depth analysis of national and international policies for over a century.
Dupont Circle is also home to the Cosmos Club, which since 1878 has brought together distinguished individuals from fields such as the arts, science, literature, and public service. There are just over 3,000 members at present, with current members and alumni including three Presidents, two Vice Presidents, 12 Supreme Court Justices, 36 winners of Nobel Prizes, 61 winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and 55 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.
Tours of President Woodrow Wilson’s House, the Revolutionary War exhibits at the Anderson House, and the beautifully preserved interiors of 19th century brewmaster Christian Heurich at the Christian Heurich’s House all provide intriguing insights into the nation’s past. The Phillips Museum is another major cultural attraction. America’s first modern art museum, the Phillips Collection includes artwork from Rothko and Renoir, and concerts are held here on Sunday afternoons. Sunday is also the day that Dupont Circle hosts one of D.C.’s most popular farmers’ markets. A hidden gem within Dupont Circle is the National Geographic Museum, which displays photographs taken around the world. Local gyms include Barry’s Bootcamp, Washington Sports Clubs, and Humble Beast CrossFit.
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