Washington's Dupont Circle: Keeping the trendy vibe flowing
If you're into independent bookstores, private art galleries, ethnic restaurants and the kind of chic yet friendly neighborhood where everyone knows your name – or wants to, anyway – then Dupont Circle is the place to go.
The hub is Dupont Park which attracts families with kids, singles sipping Lattes, office workers chatting amiably among themselves while munching sandwiches and bicycle couriers taking breaks from their routes.
Those that like to stroll around city streets to clear their heads or just get the blood flowing arguably won't find a more scenic area 'hood in D.C. The vibe here is young and professional but with a healthy respect for the area's history. You'll likely see that as soon as you see the architecture. Embassies and institutions are housed in former, formidable mansions that are well tended, including the Embassy of Iraq.
That's not to say the area is stuffy. The neighborhood -- long a Mecca for the gay and artistic communities – has plenty of vibrancy. Abandoned police and fire call boxes have been turned into community art with themes of history, architecture and personalities and many of the grand row houses there are decorated with more than a bit of whimsy.
Those seeking brushes with the political elite will often find various household names dining or shopping in this neighborhood. And don't forget the recent political history made there, too. The owners of Kramerbooks & Afterwords – open 24 hours a day – famously fought a subpoena from Kenneth Starr to hand over a list of book purchases by Monica Lewinsky. (It's still a popular late-night haunt, particularly on weekends.)
HelloWashingtonDC Tip: Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, don't plan to drive to Dupont Circle. Parking is extremely limited. Take the bus or better yet, the Metrorail Red Line to the Dupont Circle station. If you do need to drive, wear comfortable shoes because you will likely walk a fair distance from any parking garages or pay lots that have space.
Posted on March 26, 2010 by Nancy Dunham