Washington DC Neighborhoods

Below are a few of my favorite neighborhoods to spend time in, along with a few stops I used to enjoy. Clicking on the images will open the walking routes in Google Maps.

Logan Circle / U Street

Many bars & restaurants along 14th Street, and also U St (perpendicular) with many great meal options and places to stop for a drink. Also great for a stroll, and walkable right from your hotel. Here are some of my favorite stops (listed from South to North), but MANY more to choose from:

  • Logan Circle – Park – relaxing places to picnic or relax; always though it was interesting that half of the houses on the circle are decorated/ornate, and the other half are plain. Thought possibly a result of riots about MLK assassination (lots of destruction in DC; many neighborhoods just now being fixed-up/gentrified in the last 15 years).
  • ChurchKey – Bar – good beer selection, bar food
  • Le Diplomate – Restaurant – French food with cool interior
  • Pearl Dive Oyster Bar – Oyster Bar – indoor/outdoor bar, great for happy hour (but can get busy)
  • Garden District – Bar – outdoor, feels like German Beer Garden, serves BBQ
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl – Casual Restaurant – chili & half-smoked sausage is a local favorite (but nowhere near a healthy meal)!

Walking Route: best done clock-wise. I am less familiar with the eastern portion of the route below (along 7th Street and Rhode Island) that area of the city is newer to me.

Adams Morgan / Woodley Park / Dupont Circle

The neighborhoods straddle Rock Creek Park, with some beautiful bridges connecting the two (I used to love the Calvert Street Bridge).

From your hotel, take the Red-line Metro from “Metro Center” or “Gallery Place/Chinatown” Stations up to “Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan” (the station has the tallest escalator in the city!).

View in Google Maps, Metro may run less frequently depending on time of day

Woodley Park (on the West side of Rock Creek Park)

There are some nice bars & restaurants in Woodley Park, and the neighborhoods to the North and West of the Metro station are beautiful to walk around (many old row houses and large hotels).

  • National Zoo is free and a few blocks north of the Metra – looks like reservations are required – people love the pandas, but I don’t think it is anywhere near as good as the Oakland zoo!)
  • Open City – Restaurant – local favorite for coffee & a pastry, or a sit-down brunch
  • Lebanese Taverna – Restaurant – solid Mediterranean option

Adams Morgan (on the East side of Rock Creek Park)

Sash’s neighborhood! Colorful buildings with many more bars & restaurants.

  • Madam’s Organ – Bar- neighborhood staple where Sash has played many open mics
  • Amsterdam Falafel – Fast Food – wonderful falafel and fries

Dupont Circle (runs along Connecticut Ave, towards the southern park of the walking route below)

DC’s traditionally gay neighborhood mostly along Connecticut Ave, but 18th Street has a nice strip of bars/restaurants as well. Very pretty neighborhoods / row houses off of Connecticut. Here are a some places I liked (listed from North to South)

  • Russia House – Restaurant – great Russian food & drinks; rumored that many of the Russian Capitals (hockey team) players hang out here; also suspiciously close to the hotel across the street where the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and other official events happen 🙂
  • Kramer’s Books – Cafe – popular book shop with a cafe in the back

Walking Route: start in Woodley Park and cross the Calvert Street bridge through the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Continue down Columbia Road to Connecticut Ave and the DuPont Circle Area.

View in Google Maps – route shown is 1.8 miles

This walk can certainly be extended – Connecticut Ave runs all the way down to the White House, and passes through beautiful Farragut Square on the way.

The Dupont Circle Metro can take you back to Chinatown Gallery Place. Uber is also an option, as well as the Bike Share (is a flat ride back to your hotel).


Historic neighborhood with a waterfront area along the Potomac river. Great to eat, shop, or enjoy the scenery down by the water. M Street and Wisconsin Ave have the bars, restaurants, and shops (lots of French style restaurants along Wisconsin).

Somewhat hard to get to (possibly by design). Uber may be the best bet – biking is possible but M Street is busy & narrow!

Here are a couple reccomendations:

  • Georgetown University – admittedly I am not too familiar, but campus is beautiful
  • Waterfront park – Park – nice walk along the river, with some restaurants along the south eastern part (near the Nick’s Riverside Grill icon on the map below)
  • Key Bridge Boathouse – rent kayaks/canoes under the Key Bridge. Fun to go out on the water, but don’t drink it!!
  • Clyde’s – Restaurant – seafood; 2 of these in the city, used to love both of them
  • Georgetown Tobacco – Shop – cigar shop with other interesting items (cufflinks, canes, Mardi Gras masks)

An ambitious walk may take you up Wisconsin Ave, and along P or Q St. through some pretty neighborhoods back to the DuPont area.

Downtown & Monuments

Somewhat of a catch-all for the monuments and things along the DC Mall

  • Lincoln Memorial and around the Reflecting Pool – many great war memorials in this area, including the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial
  • Pennsylvania Avenue between White House and Capital – lots of embassies, plazas, architecture
    • US Navy Memorial Plaza – nice plaza to walk through with a statue and fountains
    • National Gallery of Art & Sculpture Garden – sculpture garden has a little snack bar that serves sangria
  • Bartholdi Park (US Botanic Garden) – easy to pop in and out of, on the South side of the Mall next to the Capital
  • Old Ebbitt Grill – Restaurant – seafood and oysters right near the White House

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address below to be notified about updates and new posts.