DUPONT CIRCLE / EMBASSY ROW, Washington D.C.
Favorite thing: I didn't know much about the Dupont Circle area when I booked our hotel, but I figured that since the hotel had good reviews, that it was close to all the embassies and that there was a metro station within walking distance, the neighborhood couldn't be that bad. Turns out, it was amazing! Although slightly removed from the heart of the city, Dupont Circle is still close enough to be included in Pierre Charles L'Enfant's original city plans (to give you an idea, it only took us about 30 minutes to walk down to the White House from Dupont Circle). In the 1870s, the first large mansions were built in the area, and about 50 years later, when Connecticut Avenue was enlarged, it became home to many shops and offices as well. There was a brief period of decline after World War II, but Dupont Circle once again became a thriving residential and commercial area in the 1970s, mostly thanks to the gay community who more or less elected it as its home in the nation's capital (every year, the gay Pride parade and high heel race are still held around Dupont Circle in June and October, respectively). Today, Dupont Circle is a fun and safe area for visitors. Connecticut Avenue is filled with specialty shops, and the selection of restaurants is pretty amazing. Even street performers are great (see my little video)!
An inscription on a wall next to the statue says:
...OUR SOUL SHALL NEVER PERISH,
FREEDOM KNOWS NO DYING
AND THE GREEDY CANNOT HARVEST
FIELDS WHERE SEAS ARE LYING,
CANNOT BIND THE LIVING SPIRIT
NOR THE LIVING WORD
CANNOT SMIRCH THE SACRED GLORY
OF TH'ALMIGHT LORD.
TARAS SHEVCHENKO 'THE CAUCASUS.' 1845
The inscription at the base of the statue reads:
THE LIBERATION, FREEDOM AND
INDEPENDENCE OF ALL CAPTIVE NATIONS
THIS MONUMENT OF TARAS SHEVCHENKO, 19TH
CENTURY UKRAINIAN POET AND FIGHTER FOR
INDEPENDENCE OF UKRAINE AND THE FREEDOM
OF ALL MANKIND, WHO UNDER FOREIGN RUSSIAN
IMPERIALIST TYRANNY AND COLONIAL RULE
APPEALED FOR "THE NEW AND RIGHTEOUS LAW OF
WASHINGTON," WAS UNVEILED ON JUNE 27, 1964.
THIS HISTORIC EVENT COMMEMORATED THE
150TH ANNIVERSARY OF SHEVCHENKO'S BIRTH.
THE MEMORIAL WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE 86TH
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ON AUGUST 31, 1960, AND SIGNED INTO PUBLIC
LAW 86-749 BY DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, THE 34TH
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ON SEPTEMBER 13, 1960. THE STATUE WAS ERECTED
BY AMERICANS OF UKRAINIAN ANCESTRY AND FRIENDS
Driving along Massachusetts Avenue and seeing many foreign embassies.
I was very impressed by the buildings of the Japanese and of the Spanish embassies.
This is the picture of the Spanish Embassy which is not located on that avenue, but combines the ancient and the modern style of architecture. The picture was taken during a ride about the city.
Fondest memory: our friendly company of gifted Ukrainian and Russian educators.
DuPont Circle is a lively cosmopolitan neighborhood that is home to the city's Embassy Row. This area boasts numerous museums, restaurants, and art galleries. DuPont Circle was one of the nation's early gay neighborhoods along with the Castro in San Francisco and the Village in New York, but now the area is more gentrified and the entertainment mainstream.
I have been to a few bars and clubs in the area, but many are just too trendy for my taste. I prefer the much more laid-back atmosphere at nearby Adams Morgan.
Maybe the worst thing about DuPont Circle is trying to drive through the circle. Five cross streets meet here, meaning ten different entrances and exists in the circle. And pedestrians have the right-of-way, meaning you could sit just about forever.
One of the best things about living in the Washington DC area is being near all of the embassies. I was invited to many embassy functions and attended some parties uninvited.
The best parties I went to were held by China, Japan, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Italy, Thailand, and Ukraine. It is no coincidence that all of these countries, with the exception of Ukraine, happen to be included in my list of favorite foods. (Ukraine's party had pretty women, but the food was forgettable.)
Fondest memory: Of course China is my favorite embassy and I made so many good friends there. If you live in Washington DC or are planning a special visit, then keep in mind the dates of Chinese New Year because every year there's a big party at the China embassy.
You will definitely want to be on the invitation list for this one. The chefs from China cook a large buffet that always includes several of those special dishes that cost twenty bucks each on the menus of fancy Chinese restaurants in Georgetown or Dupont Circle.
There are also games with prizes and you can take home gifts like sandalwood fans and Chinese handicrafts.
So if you want to be on the exclusive short list of non-Chinese guests, it's best to make a friend or two at the Chinese embassy and hope they remember you when those Chinese New Year party invitations go in the mail.
These are the townhouses around Dupont Circle, one of the most interesting commercial areas of the city. Lots of interesting nightlife to be found between K Street and Dupont Cirlce. If you only have one night to spend in DC and have to get in your nightlife quotient, this is the area to go.
There are great bars for meeting younger people along M Street. Sign of the Whale is one of the best, with three or four others in a stone's throw distance. Three streets up along P Street begins the big gay and lesbian bars. DC has a huge gay community, and Dupont Cirlce is the gay life 'capital'. I'm not gay, but get a kick out of seeing what they come up with next in Dupont Cirlce. You don't have to be gay to check out the bars along P Street.
The townhouses in this photo are indicative of the great architecture around Dupont Cirlce.
Try the busy atmosphere at The Front Page, which looks like a large store front from the street. I met marvelous people, had delicious food, enjoyed the drinks and music (+ the daily bar crossword and the latest newspapers)and every aspect of The Front Page. This is a multi-level set of restaurant eating areas and various bars under one ownership adjacent to a hotel in the Embassy Row section of NW D.C. Actually, I became a regular, I liked it so much. There were many regular customers there, returning night after night. Features sports on t.v. & the screens were big but the sound was low so as not to blast people listening to music or talking. If you are into people watching, you not only have the patrons inside to study & observe but the passersby are on view through the large windows & you can be comfortable while checking them out.
Fondest memory: Everybody walks! The weather in January invited that too. Every single door on the street was a new operation of interest. Antiques, salons, restaurants of every ethnicity, book shops galore, clothings stores of every ilk, liquor stores open 'til the small hours, fascinating churches, well preserved old architecture and grounds and lots of Hiltons, my favorite hotels. I stayed at the Embassy Row Hilton and it was hushed, lush & had everything you could want. The rooms are huge and elegant, all premium channels on t.v., excellent service & food that rolls your eyes back. Lovely bar, helpful concierge. The BEST!