U Street Corridor Getting Oriented

Great Experiences on U Street Corridor

African-American Civil War Memorial and Museum: Learn about the lives of slaves and freedmen, and discover whether your ancestors fought in black regiments during the Civil War.

Ben's Chili Bowl: This D.C. institution has perfected its recipe over the last 50 years and satisfies meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

Boutiques: Whether you're after funky footwear or flashy housewares, hit the shops on U and 14th streets for trendy finds.

Ethiopian food: Nothing brings you closer to your meal than eating with your hands. Use the spongy injera bread to scoop up delectable dishes from East Africa.

Jazz and live music: Music greats like Duke Ellington made this neighborhood famous back in the 1920s. Relive the glory years at a jazz performance at Bohemian Caverns or rock out to today's music at the 9:30 Club or Black Cat.

Getting Here

The Green Line Metro stops at 13th and U, in the middle of the main business district. To get to the African-American Civil War Memorial, get out at the 10th Street exit. Limited parking can be found on the residential streets north and south of U Street, but as the area gets more popular, spots are getting harder to find on weekend nights.

The area is within walking distance from Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, but at night you are better off on the bus or in a cab, especially if you are alone. Buses 90 and 92 travel from Woodley Park through Adams Morgan to 14th and U, while Buses 52, 53, and 54 travel north from several downtown Metro stops up 14th Street (check www.wmata.com for information).

Planning Your Time

You'll need half a day at most to see U Street's attractions and visit its boutiques. You can also fill an evening with dinner on U Street, a show at the 9:30 Club, Bohemian Caverns, or Lincoln Theatre, and drinks afterward. If you're not driving, allow plenty of time for public transportation.

Quick Bites

Ben's Chili Bowl. This U Street institution still serves cheap and filling chili any which way imaginable. 1213 U St. NW, U Street, Washington, District of Columbia, 20009. 202/667–0909; www.benschilibowl.com.

Busboys and Poets. For a more intellectual snack, step into this bookstore–cum–restaurant–cum performance space that serves up sandwiches, pizzas, and poems. Named in honor of Langston Hughes, this gathering place holds readings and musical performances. 2021 14th St. NW, U Street, Washington, District of Columbia, 20009. 202/387–7638; www.busboysandpoets.com.


The blocks between 10th and 16th streets are well lit and busy, but the area gets grittier to the north and east. Use your street sense, especially at night, when it's a good idea to take a cab.

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