Dupont Circle has made a name for itself over the decades. During the Gilded Age, it existed as the city’s epicenter of wealth, power, and status, attracting society elites who called these grand buildings home. In the 70’s, Dupont became known nationally as a major hub for the LGBTQ community when D.C.’s first gay bookstore opened here in 1974.
These days, D.C.’s got it all from cultural gems and culinary delights. Beauty abounds on quaint brick streets, boutique shelves, and gallery walls. Stunning architecture honors the past, while cutting-edge art, theater, culinary, and nightlife scenes push into the future. The best news? The Kimpton Carlyle Hotel sits in the middle of all this goodness. No matter the pace you’re seeking, we’ve gathered ways to soak up the flavors of our magnetic neighborhood and beyond.
- Head west three blocks to Connecticut Ave., Dupont’s main artery, with great shops, restaurants, and bars. Relish French fare at Bistro du Coin, feast on oysters at Hank’s, indulge in delicious pies at Pizzeria Paradiso, or grab a handcrafted cocktail at Urbana. On Sunday mornings, a colorful farmers market bustles year-round. Any day of the week, cozy into The Riggsby, at the Kimpton Carlyle which has a welcoming supper club-esque vibe and delicious American fare with retro flare prepared by James Beard award-winning Chef Michael Schlow.
- Explore the 14th and U Street scenes, two of the city’s most sought-after corridors. Wander the vibrant lineup of cafes, shops, and art galleries. Find live performances at Studio Theatre and concerts at Black Cat and Lincoln Theatre; dine at popular restaurants like Le Diplomate and Ghibellina to name a few.
- Wander north to discover happening Adams Morgan. Shop at women’s boutique Violet, enjoy casual, boardwalk-inspired seafood at Pops SeaBar, grab a latte or cocktail in Songbyrd Music House and Record Café, enjoy dishes by “Top Chef” alum Marjorie Meek-Bradley at Roofers Union, and find rocking nightlife options from Madam’s Organ (with live music seven nights a week) to Habana Village (a salsa dancer’s dream).
- Play “name that flag” on walking tours of Massachusetts Avenue’s Embassy Row just west of the circle. Stumble upon hidden gems like the Spanish Steps at Decatur Place and 22nd Street NW.
- Walk just a few blocks to the Dupont Circle Metro stop and hop on the red line to easily access downtown attractions like the National Mall, with its dozens of monuments, memorials, and free Smithsonian museums.
- Soak up culture of all sorts in Dupont: Score great reads at Second Story Books or Kramerbooks; feast your eyes on stunning masterpieces at The Phillips Collection, an impressive showcase of visual art dating back to the turn of the century.
After all this exploring, unwind with a glass of vino amidst gorgeous original artwork by Michele Oka Doner at the Kimpton Carlyle and pat yourself on the back for exploring one of the most beloved portions of the District.
Where to stay: Kimpton hotels in Washington, DC
Dupont Circle Fountain and Street Sign: Matthew Chenet Photography