Dupont is one of those classic places in DC that everyone has been to. If you’ve just moved to DC, it’s probably one of the first areas you explored. If you’ve lived in DC, you probably know it by heart. If you’re a tourist, odds are you’ve been there. But outside the circle, beyond Madhatter, past Pizzeria Paradiso, on the other side of Kramer’s, there are still some gems you might have missed in the hustle of the crowds. You’ve probably heard of the Mansion on O St, but have you been there? Stop speed walking past the fountain and take a moment to admire the sculpture. Here are my favorite hidden Dupont spots.
Art: DC is a hot spot for collections and galleries and Dupont has a ton of them. Meandering up and down the streets around the circle, you will find lovely local galleries and contemporary collections. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. If you would like something more concentrated, head to the Phillips Collection on 21st street. Exhibiting right now is Angels, Demons, and Savages featuring abstract art by Pollock, Ossorio and Dubuffet. The Phillips collection also houses 3,000 pieces in its permanent collection, including the famous Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir. Stroll around Dupont and admire the sculpture in the middle of the circle and guess which figures represent which elements, pay your respects to Ghandi, and find the giant red bear.
Food and Drink: I already wrote about the great wine bar, Veritas, which I still stand by as a cozy Dupont nook. I also love Soho Tea & Coffee on P st, especially when the weather’s nice because they have fantastic fresh smoothies (and white wine smoothies… yes please). Been to Julia’s Empanadas late night? Next time, try some kabobs. Food Corner Kabob House or Moby Dick House of Kabobs are located in Dupont and serve up great food until 10:00 pm. While Krispy Kreme is a landmark of Dupont, Zeke’s DC Donutz is moving in as the the new donut shop in town (although they have already hit a rough patch or two). Dupont also has Komi, arguably the best restaurant in the city, while Little Serow is hailed as the new ‘it’ restaurant of 2013. Lauriol Plaza is a staple, but for something new, try Crios on P St. And we can’t not mention the classics like Bistrot du Coin and Tabard Inn. Dupont still has some things for the foodies out there.
Things to Do: Followed my advice and checked out Second Story Books and Krammers? Dupont is still full of full things to do. The locals have probably heard of O St Mansion, but have you been there? They host a variety of fun and unique tours like treasure hunts, numerology tours, and even champagne tours. If you like some booze with your history, check out History and Hops at the Heurich House Museum or the Brewmaster’s Castle, where every third Thursday they offer tours of the historic residence with brews from a local brewery. This month, explore the house with Lost Rhino. If you like historic houses, you are in the right area. Dupont is home to the Anderson house, Everett House, and Woodrow Wilson House. Still not enough? Check out the Textile Museum which opens again in April with an exhibit on Southeast Asia.
While all of these places are awesome in their own right, I have to admit, my favorite secret of Dupont is technically in Kalorama Heights, just north of Dupont. Located between Decanter St and S St NW on 22nd, is the Spanish Steps- a little tribute to Rome’s architectural highlight. A quiet place to reflect and pause, these steps are a great stop for an after work stroll, added challenge during an afternoon run, or a perfect place for a post date kiss.
What is your favorite part of Dupont? What hidden spot did you find?