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Adams Morgan Walk
This walk centers around the heart of Adams Morgan on 18th Street and its intersection with Columbia Road, where the dining and nightlife scene stretches for several blocks. You can easily see Adams Morgan in an hour or two, so you may want to combine it with a trip to Dupont Circle or U Street, perhaps winding up here in the evening when this neighborhood gets hopping. Outside this central area, Adams Morgan starts to feel gritty at night, and most visitors never venture farther.
If you arrive here from Dupont Circle, you'll walk north up 18th Street. As soon as you reach the stretch of cheek-by-jowl restaurants, cafés, shops, and bars, you've reached Adams Morgan proper. The neighborhood's restaurant corridor lies on 18th Street south of Columbia Road and the parts of Columbia Road and Calvert Street directly adjacent. The city's most diverse eats are served along these few blocks, a succession of Salvadoran pupusas (stuffed tortillas), Ethiopian injera (pancake-like sourdough bread), French ratatouille (savory vegetable stew), and West African moi moi (black-eyed-pea cakes) unrivaled in the city.
Adams Morgan's bar and club scene caters mostly to a young crowd in their 20s. The popular clubs often have lines out the door, and walking down 18th Street around midnight is a little like trying to drive on the Beltway at rush hour. If you're game for a drink, try the Leftbank for a trendy vibe amid retro furnishings or the Reef with its unpretentious atmosphere, colorful fish tanks, and large beer selection. The multistory Madam's Organ is a neighborhood institution, with live music every night, and Habana Village is one of the best places in the city for salsa dancing and Latin music.
The shops on 18th Street feed an appetite for the offbeat. Here you can find collectibles such as Mission furniture, Russel Wright crockery and Fiesta ware, aerodynamic art deco armchairs, Bakelite telephones, massive chromium toasters, kidney-shape coffee tables, skinny neckties, and oddball salt and pepper shakers. On the west side of 18th Street are antiques shops as well as secondhand shops set up in alleys or warehouses. Nearby is the District of Columbia Arts Center, a combination art gallery and performance space.
Columbia Road to the east between 16th and 18th is the area's Latin Quarter, as bilingual as it gets in Washington. At tables stretched along the street, vendors hawk watches, leather goods, knockoff perfumes, CDs, sneakers, clothes, and handmade jewelry. On Saturday morning a market springs up on the plaza at the southwest corner of 18th and Columbia, with stands selling fruits, vegetables, flowers, and fresh bread, not to mention exotic delicacies from the food stands.
At the corner of 16th and Columbia, All Souls' Unitarian Church was a cornerstone of the civil rights movement and community activism during the 20th century. Heading south on 16th, the Mexican Cultural Institute promotes Mexican art, culture, and science. Farther down the street the public can explore two mansions owned by the Meridian International Center, a nonprofit promoting international understanding. The Meridian and White-Meyer Houses hold periodic art exhibits with an international flavor. On the opposite side of 16th Street, Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, was once considered a possible location for the White House. Stop off here for shade and city views among the fountains and statues of Joan of Arc and Dante.
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