The shadow of the neighborhood’s immigrant roots is still visible in ethnic restaurants like the Amsterdam Falafelshop and Las Canteras and in resource centers like the Latino Economic Development Corporation. In 2014, the American Planning Association named Adams Morgan one of the “10 Great Neighborhoods in America,” and it’s not hard to see why. The vibrant culture and acceptance of diversity make this neighborhood truly unique among cities.
Adams Morgan is the kind of place where you can’t wait to come home after work and spend time in the shops in your neighborhood. The stores and restaurants here have an independent streak and a decidedly non-corporate atmosphere. You’ll find this indie spirit at Idle Tyme Books and also at Tryst, an independent coffee shop with mismatched chairs. You can get a sandwich and a coffee at Songbyrd Record Café, as you browse the stacks of vinyl records and look at the curated playlists on the walls. If your taste runs more to shopping for vintage clothing instead of books and records, Meeps is a D.C. institution. In business for more than 20 years, Meeps has a carefully curated selection of vintage clothing from the 1960s onward.
Nightlife in Adams Morgan is another big draw. People come here from other neighborhoods on weekend nights, even despite the lack of a metro stop within the borders and extremely limited amount of public parking. You can dance the night away at Timehri International or party on one of the four floors at Madam’s Organ. If you’d rather sip whiskey and smoke a cigar, the Jack Rose Dining Saloon is a great place to chill.
The shops and restaurants in Adams Morgan don’t cater exclusively to the young, though. This neighborhood is attracting a growing number of baby boomers because there’s so much to do here. Even President Obama and the First Lady came to the neighborhood to dine at Mintwood Place. Tail Up Goat is a great place for classics—locals rave about the lamb ribs—as well as truly inventive food creations that make dining a fun experience.
If it seems like a lot of the people you see in Adams Morgan are exceptionally fit, that’s no coincidence. This is a very walkable neighborhood, and fitness is a big part of the lifestyle here. You can push yourself in a boot camp at the Hard Training Club or have an “escape room” adventure at Omescape DC. But if you’d rather just take a jog through acres of wooded paths, you’ll feel like the city is miles away at Kalorama Park.
18th Street NW is one of the major streets in Adams Morgan. It sees so much foot traffic that the city cut down the trees lining the road to widen the sidewalks and add more bike lanes. From ramen bowls at Sakuramen to Smoke & Barrel, a BBQ joint that even offers vegan wings, you could spend every weekend at a different restaurant on 18th Street, and it would still be months before you had to eat at the same place twice.
If you’re looking for an apartment to rent, expect to jump quickly when you find one that you like. The rental market in Adams Morgan is very competitive, as it is in most of D.C. But you’ll be happy to know that you can bring your dog to your new home, since pet-friendly apartments aren’t hard to find here. You and your dog will love the dog park inside Walter C. Pierce Community Park.
Originally called Lanier Heights, the boundaries of Adams Morgan were created during the desegregation phase of the civil rights movement. Redevelopment during the 1980s brought in new buildings and a fresh, vital spirit that remains. Today the neighborhood is a colorful, welcoming spot where everybody finds their place to belong.