Dupont Circle is one of the hippest neighborhoods in Washington D.C. Explore this eclectic jumble of bistros, bars, embassies, galleries, museums and early 20th-century architecture. The cosmopolitan district is home to young professionals and artists and has a large lesbian and gay community.
The circle started taking shape in the last quarter of the 19th century when members of Washington’s elite built their mansions here. Following a period of decline in the early 20th century, Dupont Circle re-emerged as a bohemian neighborhood in the 1970s, attracting musicians, artists, students and intellectuals.
Take a slow ramble through the streets to appreciate the architecture. In Embassy Row you’ll find many country embassies in mansions and former residences. Visit the Heurich House, also known as the Brewmaster’s Castle, a Victorian mansion with a fortress-like appearance.
At the heart of the neighborhood is the small park where locals hang out and chess players compete at stone tables. Stroll through the leafy open space and rest near the white marble fountain. The area honors Samuel Francis Du Pont, a Civil War naval hero.
On a cultural tour of Dupont Circle’s museums and galleries, visit the Phillips Collection to view works by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso and other towering figures of modern art. Explore the revival-style house where President Woodrow Wilson spent his last few years. The National Geographic Museum offers insights into the diversity of our planet and its cultures.
The area has many other attractions that make a visit worthwhile. Pick up vintage clothing in secondhand stores, find good deals on rare vinyl records and try a bowl of mussels in a casual restaurant. Come back in the evening for the lively nightlife.
To find many of the area’s gay-friendly bars, restaurants and cafes, walk down P Street Northwest toward Rock Creek Parkway along the Potomac River. This park is a great place for walking, biking or simply enjoying green space in the nation’s capital.
Dupont Circle is located just north of downtown Washington D.C. It conveniently has its own metro station. Street parking is limited but you’ll find paid parking garages nearby.