Let's face it. With all its monuments and traditions, Washington, D.C., can be a bit stodgy. So where does this buttoned-up city go to let its hair down? "Adams Morgan," answers my friend Scott Suchman, a photographer who's lived in the neighborhood for 11 years. "It's diverse. It's really cool architecturally. It's more like New York City than any other section of D.C."
The intersection of 18th Street and Columbia Road NW. forms the heart of this northwest D.C. neighborhood. Coffeehouses, sidewalk cafes, and funky boutiques snuggle next to all-night bars and dance clubs. Step just off the main drag, though, and you'll find shady streets lined with brownstones, row houses, and elegant apartment buildings.
Restaurants here feature flavors from around the world. You can find just about any cuisine--from Ethiopian and French to Mexican and Caribbean--all within a few city blocks. The food scene points to the rich diversity in both residents and visitors that adds to Adams Morgan's unique character and vibrant atmosphere.
Navigating the Neighborhood
On weekends, Adams Morgan is packed around the clock. There's plenty to entertain visitors of all ages, but the crowd gets noticeably younger as the night wears on.
Finding a parking spot is nearly impossible, so don't plan to drive. Take the Metro's Red Line to the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan stop, and walk the remaining few blocks, or splurge for a taxi.
Where To Shop
- Adams Morgan Farmers Market: 18th Street and Columbia Road NW.; (301) 587-2248. Open 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday May-December. Offers sustainably grown produce.
- Crooked Beat Records: 2318 18th Street NW.; (202) 483-2328. Small independent record store in the basement of a brownstone.
- The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques: 2311 18th Street, NW; (202) 332-3370 or www.thebrassknob.com. Specializes in antique hardware, lighting, and stained glass.
- Toro Mata: 2410 18th Street NW.; (202) 232-3890. Features the art of Peru.
Where To Eat
- Cashion's Eat Place: 1819 Columbia Road NW.; (202) 797-1819. An innovative, ever-changing menu and wonderful wine list; one of the city's best.
- Julia's Empanadas: 2452 18th Street NW.; (202) 328-6232. Tiny storefront specializing in savory Latin American-style baked pies.
- Perry's Restaurant: 1811 Columbia Road NW.; (202) 234-6218. Rooftop dining and sushi.
- The Diner: 2453 18th Street NW.; (202) 232-8800 or www.trystdc.com. Breakfast served 24 hours, 7 days a week.
- Tryst Coffee House, Bar, & Lounge: 2459 18th Street NW.; (202) 232-5500 or www.trystdc.com. Coffee, tea, and free Internet.Insider's Tip
"D.C.'s Hottest Neighborhood" is from the June 2006 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.