Dupont Circle. Photograph via iStock.
Dupont Circle

Where to eat, shop, and explore around Dupont Circle.

About Dupont Circle

Washington neighborhoods tend to have a singular feel—either residential or commercial, tourist-centric or governmental. In contrast, Dupont Circle is a vibrant blend of local haunts and traveler attractions, historic homes and thriving nightlife. While much remains unchanged in recent years—including the area’s status as a center of gay life and host of the Pride Parade in June—there are also enticing new restaurants and shops that keep even longtime Washingtonians coming back.

Things to Do in Dupont Circle

All the best things to do and places to see in Dupont.
Dupont Circle Neighborhood Guide: Anderson House, one of the area's grandest mansions, is open for tours. Photograph by Mark Finkenstaedt.
Not-so-hidden gem: Anderson House, one of the area’s grandest mansions, is open for tours. Photograph by Mark Finkenstaedt.

Anderson House. A magnificent Beaux Arts mansion that’s home to the Society of the Cincinnati, Washington’s oldest historical organization, founded by American Revolution officers in 1783. Visitors can take hourlong guided tours of the home or browse through the museum, which features weapons, portraits, and artifacts from the Revolutionary War. (2118 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-785-2040).

Board RoomA youthful crowd rents board games like Jenga to play at this bar and game room. (1737 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-518-7666).

Fox & HoundsFans of authentic dives can play tunes on the jukebox at this neighborhood watering hole, which pours straight glasses of booze with a mixer alongside (go for a gin and tonic). (1537 17th St., NW; 202-232-6307).

Hillyer Art SpaceIf emerging talents are of interest, don’t miss Hillyer Art Space, just steps away from the Phillips Collection. The contemporary commercial gallery features international artists and is a must-stop during First Fridays when Dupont’s galleries stay open late and offer the chance to chat with curators. (9 Hillyer Ct., NW; 202-338-0325).

The marble fountain in Dupont Circle proper. In warm weather, a good spot to sip coffee and people-watch is on the benches ringing the marble fountain in Dupont Circle proper, the traffic circle/park that defines the neighborhood and is home to chess matches, political rallies, and, in winter, snowball fights.

The Phillips CollectionAfter you’ve fueled up, head to America’s first museum of modern art. The Phillips boasts some 3,000 works by the greats—including Renoir, Monet, and Rothko—plus exhibits ranging from Georgia O’Keeffe to local collector Anita Reiner. (1600 21st St., NW; 202-387-2151).

Woodrow Wilson HouseHistory buffs can also explore the more recent past at the Woodrow Wilson House, a Georgian Revival mansion where the 28th president spent his final years. An hourlong tour reveals quirky personal items, including an early slow cooker and Wilson’s surprisingly large shoes. (2340 S St., NW; 202-387-4062).

Photos of Dupont Circle

Click on a photo to view gallery in full-screen.