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Dupont Circle Walk
Two hours should be enough to walk the main sights here; longer if you want to linger in some of the neighborhood's fascinating small museums and enticing cafés.
Take the Metro to the dramatic Dupont Circle Q Street exit and you'll find yourself in the heart of it all. If you arrive on a Sunday morning you'll emerge into Dupont Circle's year-round farmers' market at the corner of Q and 20th streets. The large island in the middle of the traffic circle a few paces down Connecticut Avenue is a lively urban park, vibrant with rollerbladers, chess players, street performers, and a marble fountain created by Daniel Chester French. On sunny days the surrounding benches are pleasant spots for people-watching, newspaper reading, or relaxing with a cup of coffee or a snack. Also nearby is the one-of-a-kind bookstore Kramerbooks & Afterwords, which has a broad and eclectic selection of reading material, as well as a popular café, open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
Northwest of Dupont Circle
Head up the main north-south artery of Connecticut Avenue, lined with shops, restaurants, and cafés that are busy day and night. Turning left onto R Street you'll pass number 2131, an understated white-painted town house, home to FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt between 1916 and 1920. Detour a block south on 21st Street to find the Phillips Collection, founded as the first permanent museum of modern art in the country, with a collection including works by Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Picasso, Klee, and Matisse.
Along R Street lie a variety of art galleries. Nestled among them the nonprofit Fondo Del Sol Visual Arts Center is devoted to the cultural heritage of Latin America and the Caribbean. Detour east on R Street for the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, which displays weapons, uniforms, medals, recruitment posters, and other military memorabilia related to American Jews serving in the U.S. military.
At the west end of R Street, Sheridan Circle and Massachusetts Avenue are home to a cluster of embassies in striking villas. North on Massachusetts Avenue, you'll see some very unrestrained architecture, including the Cameroon Embassy, housed in a fanciful castle with a conical tower, bronze weather vane, and intricate detailing around the windows and balconies.
S Street edges into the Kalorama district. The Woodrow Wilson House shows the former president's home pretty much as he left it. On display are many gifts from foreign dignitaries. Next door, the Textile Museum hosts special exhibitions as well as its permanent collection of fabric arts, and a shop stuffed with beautiful things.
Just south of Sheridan Circle the Bison Bridge is guarded by four bronze statues of the shaggy mammals. Nearby, the Anderson House was bequeathed by Larz and Isabel Anderson to the Society of the Cincinnati, an exclusive club of the descendents of Revolutionary War officers. Next door, the Walsh-McLean House was once home to Evalyn Walsh-McLean, the last private owner of the Hope Diamond (now in the National Museum of Natural History). Head back to Connecticut Avenue for tempting opportunities for tea, lunch, or a snack before continuing on.
Southeast of Dupont Circle
Past Dupont Circle, heading down Massachusetts Avenue toward Scott Circle, you'll pass the Brookings Institution and the Johns Hopkins University D.C. campus buildings. The Christian Heurich House Museum, once known as the Brewmaster's Castle, was the home of a German-born beer magnate and is nearby on New Hampshire Avenue. Scott Circle is decorated with statues of General Winfield Scott, Daniel Webster, and S. C. F. Hahnemann. If you walk to the south side of the circle and look down 16th Street, you'll get a familiar view of the columns of the White House, six blocks away. Nearby, down 17th Street, the National Geographic Society brings its magazines to life with interactive exhibits, photo galleries, and live shows.
A few sights lie clustered on or near M Street south of Scott Circle, including two noteworthy religious institutions. The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church is one of the most influential African-American churches in the city. The Renaissance-style St. Matthew's Cathedral is the seat of Washington's Roman Catholic diocese, and the historic site of President Kennedy's funeral Mass. By appointment, you can tour the newsroom that broke the Watergate scandal at the Washington Post Building.
Sometimes called Midcity, the epicenter of this neighborhood is at the intersection of P and 14th Streets. This is where the bars and restaurants buzz by day and spill out on to the sidewalks at night. In the 2000s, gentrification took hold and brought to life a once derelict neighborhood. Revitalized it certainly is, but take a moment to notice the layers of history.
Logan Circle itself can be found to the east along P Street, a circle of brooding redbrick Victorian mansions, and surrounding streets where many prominent African-Americans once lived. One block south of the circle on Vermont Avenue, the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House features exhibits on the achievements of African-American women.
Around the corner on 14th, you'll come across the highly regarded Studio Theater, a number of contemporary art galleries, more boutiques, and music venues, all part of 14th Street's thriving arts scene, continuing right up to U Street.
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