Travel

Join the neighborhood at Dupont Circle

By Zenda Douglas

For The Sun News

Phillips Collection, Sant Building
Phillips Collection, Sant Building Phillips Collection

When it comes to exploring big cities, sometimes it’s best to tackle them one district or neighborhood at a time. This is definitely true of the District of Columbia and there’s no better place to start than in Dupont Circle. This lively part of D. C. is bursting with restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, museums, and hotels and gains a global flair from the numerous international embassies that call this neighborhood home.

You’ll find Dupont Circle where Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Avenues converge upon the famous fountain near P and 19th Streets. A visit to the fountain can give you a total immersion experience in Dupont Circle. There’s no telling what you may see – cyclists, jugglers, pantomime, musical performers, tai chi and yoga exercisers – all mingled in with people coming and going, working on laptops, walking their dogs, eating takeout, meeting up with friends.

Getting familiar with the neighborhood is best done on foot. Most visitors get started at the Dupont Circle Metro Station and soon realize that they fit right into this welcoming neighborhood. As you walk, take in the gorgeous Victorian architecture, “Brewmaster’s Castle” (The Heurich House), historic homes, The Woodrow Wilson House, D.C.’s only presidential residence, and The Textile Museum.

Art enthusiasts and first-time museum goers will be mesmerized at The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art. Here, visitors can see Renoir’s massive Impressionist masterwork, “Luncheon of the Boating Party” as well as works by Rothko, Bonnard, O’Keeffe, van Gogh, and Diebenkorn. Check out the museum’s Center for the Study of Modern Art for programs stimulating artistic thought.

There is no shortage of lovely hotels and quaint B&B’s in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The famed Embassy Row Hotel was rated on the 10 Best New Hotels in America list by USAToday; this after undergoing a $15 million multi-phase renovation, debuting 231 deluxe guestrooms. The hotel’s culinary concept, Station Kitchen & Cocktails anchors the new lifestyle driven lobby and features shared plates served at communal tables to offer engaging social experience. Here, guests and visitors will find the only rooftop heated pool and bar in Dupont Circle. The Rooftop also features sweeping views of D. C. and Virginia.

For a casual meal, head for nearby, Kramerbooks & Afterwords, a café known for its great selection and extreme hours – it’s open until the wee hours on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s got an enticing bar and a large case of delectable desserts. For a unique taste of the neighborhood, visit Duke’s Grocery, perhaps the best burger spot around.

Upcoming events:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Kennedy Center, February 7-12: The preeminent modern dance company returns with a program of classic pieces including "Revelations" and newly premiered works by artistic director Robert Battle. For more information call 800-444-1324 or visit http://www.kennedy-center.org .

President's Day Birthday Celebration, George Washington's Mount Vernon, February 18-20: Tour the first president's mansion including the little-seen basement and third floor and attend a wreath-laying at the Washington's tomb over the President's Day weekend. For more information call 703-780-2000 or visit http://www.mountvernon.org .

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, February 23-May 14: An Instagrammer's paradise: a retrospective of room-size installations by the reigning queen of Pop art who turns 88 on March 22. For more information call (202) 633-1000 or visit http://hirshhorn.si.edu .

Big Ten Tournament, Verizon Center, March 8-12: Held for the first time in DC, this nationally televised tie-breaker tournament welcomes 14 teams to the bracket. The winner will secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. For more information visit Verizon Center: https://verizoncenter.monumentalsportsnetwork.com/

Ragtime, Ford's Theater, March 10-May 20: The epic-Tony Award-winning musical based on E. L. Doctorow's novel about three families at the turn of the 20th century yearning for the American dream: one Jewish, one African American, one wealthy and white. For more information call 202-347-4833 or visit https://www.fords.org.

National Cherry Blossom Festival, Citywide, March 20-April 16: The nation's largest springtime celebration isn't just about the blossoms-it's a three-week-long cultural festival that includes an Opening Ceremony (March 25); Blossom Kite Festival (April 1); the nationally televised parade (April 8) and the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival (April 15). For more information call 877-422-5666 or visit http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.

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