|Photo: William Geiger|
In this vibrant, cosmopolitan neighborhood, you will find some of the city's finest museums and historic homes as well as an array of ethnic restaurants, unique bookstores, and Washington's largest concentration of private art galleries.
Dupont Circle, a lively urban park at the center of this community, attracts picnicking visitors, office workers, sunbathers, mothers with strollers, bicycle messengers, chess players, and assorted passersby.
The centerpiece of this busy space is the magnificent, white marble Dupont Memorial Fountain, designed by Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial.
Then and Now
Dupont Circle was a rural backwater until after the Civil War, when a massive modernization program paved, lit, and sewered its grand avenues and side streets. The powerful and socially elite from about the city and the nation, including new millionaires with money made in Western mines, soon gravitated here. Washington at that time was the place for the nation's elite to show their wealth, be close to power, enjoy the social season, and marry their daughters well. They built the grand mansions that still line Massachusetts Avenue. On the side streets, the 19th-century Washington brick row house took on special grandeur.
Although some of Dupont Circle's grandest mansions are gone and others are now occupied by embassies and institutions, the visitor can still enjoy the special ambiance of a neighborhood created when the nation was in love with its capital city.
A Community with Pride
The Dupont Circle area has also long been one of DC's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered centers. The Circle itself has been the site of annual Youth Pride and Pets Pride DC celebrations and the stepping off point for demonstrations and Pride parades. Dupont's restaurants, bars, and bookstores are major sites in gay DC, in particular Lambda Rising, one of the nation's best known gay bookstores since 1974.
Follow the Art on Call Boxes
Locate the area’s Art on Call boxes – formerly abandoned police and fire call boxes restored as community art!
The Dupont Circle Art on Call project presents original artwork by 22 local artists, featuring Dupont's centerpiece, the fountain designed by Daniel Chester French.
The Sheridan-Kalorama Art on Call project brings together the extraordinary talents of several historians and local artists with boxes as elegant and refined as the community itself. The distinctive red and gold-painted boxes boxes focus on three themes: history, architecture, and well-known personalities.
For More Information
Try our Insider's Insights™ walking itinerary of Dupont Circle/Kalorama.
Check out our CALENDAR OF EVENTS for up-to-date information on exhibitions, lectures and other heritage happenings in the city.
Looking for a restaurant? Be sure to check out Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington members in Dupont Circle.