Adams Morgan is located in Northwest DC between Dupont Circle and the National Zoo. The neighborhood’s main drag is the bustling and quirky 18th Street, roughly bound by Columbia Road to the north and Florida Avenue and U Street to the south. Eighteenth Street is lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants, each with its own distinctive vibe. The multiculturalism of the area means a diverse array of dining options, from Mexican to Ethiopian, and the prices tend to be reasonable. On weekend nights, the Metro empties at the Woodley Park Zoo-Adams Morgan stop as young people make the pilgrimage across the Calvert Street Bridge to the crowded nightlife neighborhood.
Crooked Beat. This lower-level store is good for music aficionados who think they’ve seen it all; the place is packed with hundreds of hard-to-find albums. Crooked Beat sells new and used LPs and CDs, from independent bands to obscure tracks from major labels. The knowledgeable staff can provide good recommendations.
Idle Time Books. Aptly named, Idle Time is a secondhand bookstore with a pleasant atmosphere and helpful staff. It offers fiction and nonfiction on a variety of topics, but as in any used-book store, browsing takes time. There are also funky greeting cards and a modest CD collection.
Shake Your Booty. This boutique has a loyal fashionista fan base. The clothes straddle high-end and affordable and are generally interesting and well made. The store sells well-known brands such as BCBG and Chinese Laundry. While dresses and shoes are the highlights, you can also find good jewelry.
Smash Records. This punk-rock store relocated from Georgetown to the space above Hoopla. It features an eclectic mix of punk, alternative, and indie music, as well as a small selection of clothes, posters, shoes, jewelry, bags, and more. This is the place to come for studded belts, hot-pink hair dye, and that 1979 Buzzcocks album you’ve been searching for.
The Tibet Shop. To find this second-story shop, look for the eye-catching purses, clothes, and jewelry hanging on the fence outside. Jewelry is one of the highlights of the store; a good selection of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings ranges from cheap to expensive. Some of the pieces exhibit beautiful Himalayan craftsmanship and could make a stand-out addition to any wardrobe. There’s also a bead section for those feeling inspired to make their own jewelry.
Cashion’s Eat Place. A cross between a neighborhood restaurant and a fine-dining establishment, Cashion’s is casual yet upscale. The modern-American menu, which changes daily, recently took on some Greek flavors under the new owner, a former sous chef. The wine list is chosen with care, and the sidewalk tables are prime seating in nice weather. Cashion’s is pricey but one of the few options for food of this caliber in the area.
The Diner. This neighborhood favorite is as good at noon as it is at 3 AM—the restaurant is open 24 hours, seven days a week. Weekend brunch draws crowds, but the high ceilings prevent claustrophobia. Not surprisingly, the menu boasts traditional diner fare such as buttermilk pancakes, French toast, and cheeseburgers. At night, expect a crowd—and often a line—of bar hopppers in search of chicken fingers and French fries.
Meskerem. Situated in the middle of the main drag, Meskerem is a goof spot to sample Ethiopian cuisine. Keeping with tradition, the food is presented on a common plate, signifying loyalty, family, and friendship, and diners eat without utensils, scooping up the food with pancake-like injera bread. The cuisine is characterized by fragrant spices, slowly simmered meat stews, and excellent vegetarian options.
Mixtec. A family-owned, no-frills restaurant, Mixtec is good for inexpensive, reliable Mexican food. The interior leaves something to be desired, but the cooking is authentic and delicious, the portions are large, and the margaritas are strong—what more could you want?
Perry’s. Nearly unidentifiable from the street, this upstairs Asian and sushi restaurant has a sleek, comfortable interior and a beautiful rooftop deck. The main menu ranges from miso-glazed tofu steak to ginger-konbu short ribs, and entrées run between $16 and $23. The nigiri menu is extensive, with more than 25 options, and the maki are a mix of traditional rolls, such as California and spicy tuna, and rolls on the wild side, such as a fish-and-chips roll that contains flounder, red onion, malt vinegar, and a French fry. Perry’s also has an excellent selection of wines and sakes and features $4 cocktails during happy hour (5:30 to 7:30). The Sunday brunch, during which the waiters are dressed in drag, draws a crowd willing to wait an hour.