My Favorite Things: DuPont Circle Neighborhood (Washington, DC)
Washington D.C. is one of my favorite cities in the United States, but looking at all the tourist guides and reviews for it can be completely overwhelming. The city is fairly spread out, so planning your trip with geography in mind is the only way to make the best use of your time. Over time, I’ve found that neighborhood guides are much more useful than just a simple list of highlights.
DuPont Circle is on the Red Line, almost in the heart of the city. It has the hustle and bustle of the city, but tends to be residential enough that most of the tourists stay away. It is by far my favorite neighborhood in D.C.
Luna Grill – I’m normally not interested in plugging restaurants (because I’m secretly a picky eater with the palette of a child), but the DuPont Circle area is full of places to eat, but most of them are not affordable. Which is why I will always plug Luna as a place with great character and not the shocking D.C. prices. Their huevos rancheros are worth the trek alone.
The Madhatter – A little more upscale, The Madhatter is just as thematic and atmospheric as the namesake suggests. Based around Alice in Wonderland, this place is open at whatever time you are ready to brunch, eat, or party. Feel free to join in the madness.
Woodrow Wilson House – Over the past year or so, Wilson has become something of a controversial figure. Regardless of your feelings on the man, the admission cost alone is worth it to see the meticulous and purposeful preservation of the home thanks to Wilson’s widow after his death 1924. Our tour guide (shout out to Lauren!) did a wonderful job of presenting the facts of Wilson’s historical legacy, while also discussing him the context of more modern progressive movements.
Heurich House – Do you like beer? Of course you do. Even if you don’t, this house, built and owned by beer mogul Christian Heurich, is full of esoteric history and whimsical artficats. Travel back in time to witness the opulence and glamour, and maybe a creepy doll or two. They host a bunch of events, so check the calendar to stop by for a seasonal event or just for a regular tour.
L. Ron Hubbard House – A historic home devoted to the founder of Scientology may seem like a strange site to recommend. Actually, it is strange. But, believe me when I say, it’s worth it. This house is probably doesn’t look as strange as you’d think, but the story of his life and Scientology is just as quirky and interesting as you’d imagine. The house is only a few blocks away from the metro stop and the tour is free – you know you’re curious.
And finally, there’s no better way to gauge a neighborhood than by the quality of their bookstores. And, in DuPont Circle, you’ve got two great options. For new books and a glass of wine, Kramer Books and Afterwords Café is the place for you. For used books, Second Story Books has one of their satellite locations here – although my favorite location is their warehouse off the Red Line in Rockville, MD.