What You'll See

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, embassies, 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 by Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial.

Then and Now

Dupont Circle was a rural backwater at the edge of the old city until after the Civil War, when a massive modernization program brought paved streets, sewers, and street lighting. 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 rowhouse took on special grandeur.

Although some of Dupont Circle's grandest mansions are gone and others are now occupied by embassies and institutions, visitors and residents alike 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 a center for DC's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered communities. 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. Many of Dupont's restaurants and bars are major gathering places for gay DC.

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 focus on three themes: history, architecture, and well-known personalities.

For More Information

Check out our Calendar for up-to-date information on exhibitions, lectures and other heritage happenings in the city.


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