Dupont Circle

19th St, P St, Conn Ave, Mass Ave, NH Ave NW
Washington, DC

Submitted by: Michael Schade

The center of this historic neighborhood is the fountain and park in the middle of a traffic circle.

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Why It Works

Dupont Circle is surrounded by historic residential buildings and businesses like coffee shops, hotels, cafes and movie theatres. It also has the city's best weekly farmers market.

The Circle has a fountain in the middle of it, with benches all around. The whole park is not very big, but it's packed every day in the summer. It's a circle with intersecting and concentric walkways.

What Makes Dupont Circle a Great Place?

There is convenient bus and subway access. The Circle is at the intersection of five main streets that connect you to the White House, Georgetown, Rock Creek Park, Embassy Row and more.

There are benches located on the concentric circles. If it's nice out people bring blankets and sit on the ground. Litter isn't usually a problem, but if it's a nice day out the trash cans can over-flow. If there are a lot of people the first impression is GREAT! If there aren't, it looks like any other empty park with a beautiful fountain in the middle of it. Maintenance is regular, and it does feel safe...there are bike police that ride by. Vehicles surround this park (it's in the center of the traffic circle) but once you cross into the park, they just seem to disappear.

Many of the City’s notable stores are found only in Dupont: Axis salon (the city's wittiest window displays); Kramerbooks (the region's best cafe/bookstore, open late with live music); live street performers; concentration of art galleries plus the Phillips Collection; and you also have the City's best restaurants.

This is the City's only circle that is populated. 17th Street is home to City's best Halloween event, the High Heel Drag Race. There are permanent checker/chess boards that are always in use. People watching is the main activity...and eating.

Many residents who are involved in the community spend time in the Circle. People are just happy, social, interested in their neighbors (which is so rare these days). Singles and couples, college kids and seniors, gay and straight, democrats and republicans, bums and professionals, tourists and locals, everyone gravitate to this park...you just can't help it. With so many people using it, you feel like you are missing out by not stopping and absorbing the vibe.

There are many educational institutions headquartered here. The fountain in the circle is the city's best meeting place.

*Amber Richane also contributed to this nomination.

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