Washington, D.C. Places

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Adams Morgan

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 of narrow streets. 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.

If you arrive from Dupont Circle, you'll walk north up 18th Street. As soon as you reach the stretch of 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 (pancakelike sourdough bread), French ratatouille), and West African moi moi (black-eyed pea cakes).

Adams Morgan's bar and club scene caters mostly to a young crowd in their twenties. The popular clubs often have lines out the door. If you're game for a drink, try Bourbon for a huge selection of wine, microbrews, 150 kinds of whiskey, and an outdoor patio, or the Reef with its colorful fish tanks and rooftop bar. 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 Cuban cuisine, salsa dancing, and Latin music.

In the shops on 18th Street you can find used records, books, collectibles such as Jonathan Adler ceramics and Bakelite telephones, handmade jewelry, and a breathtaking number of doorknobs. Adopt some neighborhood swagger with treasures found in consignment and vintage clothing boutiques. 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, sidewalk vendors hawk their goods. Continue walking northeast from Adams Morgan toward the Columbia Heights Metro station, where on Saturday morning two first-rate markets spring up—one in Mount Pleasant (at 17th Street and Lamont) and the other in Columbia Heights (at 14th Street and Park Road). Stands selling produce, flowers, and fresh bread, not to mention exotic delicacies, stimulate the senses.

Columbia Heights' burgeoning development led big box retailers like Target and Marshalls to set up shop here in a center called DC USA. Accessible by Metro and Circulator buses, Columbia Heights was recently deemed "the hip strip" for its festive Civic Plaza, popular eateries, and Gala Hispanic Theatre.

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. As you head south on 16th, you'll come to the Mexican Cultural Institute, promoting Mexican art, culture, and science. 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, and don't miss the statues of Joan of Arc and Dante. On Sunday afternoon, a drum circle gathers.

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