18th Street in Adams Morgan contains a denser population of bars and clubs than anywhere else in Washington DC. There are plenty of great ethnic restaurants, most often offering a better value for your money than in other parts of the city. It's a great place to see the city at its most dynamic; people from all walks of life, culture, race, sexual orientation, immigrants, natives, transplants, etc. all converge here to have a good time. After midnight on weekends, it gets so packed full of revelers that it's hard to move down the sidewalk. It's more than just nightlife though—it's a lovely, historic, culturally vibrant neighborhood, full of eccentric shopping, outdoor markets, international restaurants, and community murals!
The name "Adams Morgan" is derived from the names of two formerly segregated area elementary schools — the all-black Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School (now defunct) and the all-white John Quincy Adams Elementary School.
For more information on riding the Metrorail in Washington DC, see Washington DC#Get_around.
The closest stop to Adams Morgan is the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan stop on the Red Line, which is actually a 15 minute walk from the bars on 18th street.
The following are the main bus routes operating in these neighborhoods, along with links to timetables and route maps. For more information on riding buses in Washington DC, see Washington DC#Get_around.
- L2 runs north from West End through Dupont Circle, then straight up 18th St in Adams Morgan before veering west to the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan metro station in Upper Northwest and continuing past the National Zoo.
- D.C. Circulator Woodley Park-Adams Morgan-McPherson Square "Green" Line runs from the Woodley Park Metrorail station on the Red Line in Upper Northwest through Adams Morgan, then the Columbia Heights Metrorail station, and then goes south along 14th street through Shaw, and on to the McPherson Square Metrorail station in the West End.
Parking & safety considerations
You will most likely have to comb the side streets to find street parking. Due to an above-average frequency of muggings, be careful when walking back to your car at night by yourself.
Taxis are easy to catch on the main drags.
The Adams Morgan Heritage Trail is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour around the neighborhood. The tour will take you to 18 poster-sized street signs that include historical information, pictures, and maps.
- Walter Pierce Park, Calvert Street & Biltmore Street. A beautiful park with a community garden, dog park, basketball court, chess tables, and children's area.
This part of the city has a ton of colorful neighborhood murals, worth seeking out if you like public art, and worth noticing even if you couldn't care less!
- Champorama Park Mural, 2270 Champlain St NW. One of several murals in D.C. by the city's legendary Nigerian artist, Aniekan Udofia.
- Madams Organ, 2461 18th St NW (over the bar of the same name). The unmistakeable mural that is (to the consternation of some of the more uptight residents) the somewhat risqué symbol of Adams Morgan.
- Un Pueblo sin Murales (The Adams Morgan Mural), 1779 Columbia Rd NW. "A Town without Murals." is an odd title in these parts—clearly, it isn't referring to Adams Morgan. On the contrary, there is an element of Pinochet's Chile here, as the mural was painted by two asylum seekers from that oppressive regime, and the caption's "demuralized people" likely refers to that society. The diverse group of people in the mural, however,resemble Adams Morgan.
- Toulouse-Lautrec, 2433 18th St NW (above Jyoti Indian Cuisine). Contrary to popular belief, this huge two-story mural is not of the famous French painter, it is a mural reproduction of one of his paintings. The man in question is Aristide Bruant, a then-popular French cabaret performer.
- Walter Pierce Park Mural, Between Calvert St & Adams Mill Rd NW. This is a sadder mural, a memorial by Aniekan Udofia to two teenagers who were murdered near this park.
- District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St NW, ☎ . Gallery: W-Su 2PM-7PM. The Arts Center has an art gallery with rotating high-quality shows by local artists and a very cool black box theater with interesting events, such as comedy nights or avant garde poetry nights almost daily. Shows/events: $5-20.
- Tibet Shop, 2407 18th St NW, ☎ . Su-W 10:30AM-9:30PM, Th-Sa 10:30AM-11:30PM. The Tibetan import store, run by an acclaimed Tibetan journalist and photographer, packed with upscale, handmade arts and crafts, as well as ritual items, carpets, clothes, etc.
- Meeps & Aunt Neensie's Vintage Clothing, 2104 18th St NW, ☎ . M-Sa: noon-7PM, Su: noon-5PM. In business since 1992, Meeps has a selection of men's and women's fashion, casual to formal. Styles range from the 1940s to 1980s. The store is small but beloved.
- Mercedes Bien, 2423 18th St NW (second floor), ☎ . Sa noon-6PM, Su noon-5PM. A small men's and women's vintage store run by long-time D.C. fashionista of the same name. In a unique twist, the items on display are actually well organized, carefully selected, and don't require extensive browsing. Considering the careful attention to detail, the prices are quite affordable, and the fashions skew 70s-ish, but other periods are also well-represented.
- The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques, 2311 18th St NW, ☎ . Sa: 10:30am-6:00pm, Su: Noon-5:00pm. Antique home hardware. Pricey but eclectic.
Books and Music
- Idle Time Books, 2467 18th St NW, ☎ . 11AM-10PM daily. One part record store and three parts used bookstore, this is another great place to browse and to find dirt-cheap books and CDs (small, but excellent classical selection). Unlike soulless chain bookstores, this one is full of comfy chairs, so grab an interesting random book and start whiling away some time!
- Smash Records, 2314 18th ST NW, ☎ . M-Th noon-9PM, F noon-10PM, Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-7PM. D.C.'s punk rock scene was legendary in the 80s, and this was its most famous record store. It has a great collection of both old and new punk and other local indie CDs, as well related books. Also on offer is a small selection of cheap punk fashion.
- Adams Morgan Farmers' Market, 18th Street NW & Columbia Road NW. Sa: 8AM-2PM, May-December.
Jumbo Slice Pizza is the food specialty of Adams Morgan. Various take-out stores along the 18th St nightlife strip, between Columbia Rd and Florida Ave, serve enormous, greasy slices of pizza for around $5 per slice to hungry drunks until 4AM. There are different opinions about which of the jumbo slice pizza places is best, but the truth is that it's never good pizza --- but it can be very satisfying late at night if you need a quick fill, especially after drinking at the adjacent bars. The three most well-known pizza stores are Pizza Mart (2445 18th St NW), Jumbo Pizza (2341 18th St NW), and Pizza Boli's (1511 U St NW), a DC-area chain with a location in Shaw.
- Amsterdam Falafelshop, 2425 18th St NW, ☎ . Su-M 11AM-midnight, Tu-W 11AM-2:30AM, Th 11AM-3AM, F-Sa 11AM-4AM. Cheap, good falafel with a huge fixings bar catering particularly to the late late night crowd. Good twice-fried fries as well. They accept euros, dollars, and all major credit cards. $4.50-9.
- The Diner, 2453 18th St NW, ☎ . 24 hour daily. It's a 24 hour diner on the booziest street in the city. Amazingly, the food is actually good! D.C. is rather lacking in 24 hour establishments, so this location is very popular. Weekend nights include performances by local DJs and are crowded. $4-15.
- Donburi, 2438 18th St NW, ☎ . Japanese rice bowls. Rice bowls: $9-12.
- Sakuramen, 2441 18th St NW, ☎ . M closed, Tu-Th 6PM-10:30PM, Fr-Sa 11:30AM-11:00PM, Su 11:30AM-10:00PM. A hole-in-the-wall ramen shop in the basement of a row house, featuring Japanese ramen with a Korean twist. Among the menu options is a "fireball" ramen (featuring a ball of spices that pops in the broth for a nice kick), a kimchi ramen, and a number of broths featuring Berkshire pork belly. The saku-ramen dish on the menu is actually a vegetarian ramen that is widely acclaimed. $4-15.
- Super Tacos and Bakery, 1762 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . M-Th 10AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Despite the suspicious name, this institution serves great tacos (with homemade salsas), tortas, and more Americanized Mexican food such as burritos (including the aptly named "gringo" burrito). They also serve house made beverages including horchata, a nut-based smoothie.
- El Tamarindo, 1785 Florida Ave NW, ☎ . M-Th 11AM-3AM; F 11AM-5AM; Sa-Su 10AM-5AM. This Salvadoran place offers solid food and solid drinks at reasonable prices, in a nice, comfortable dining room. Another establishment catering to the ultra-late night crowd. $12-25.
- Johnny Pistolas, 2333 18th St NW, ☎ . Mexican.
- Jyoti Indian Cuisine, 2433 18th St NW, ☎ . Traditional Indian cuisine with a outdoor seating.
- Lapis Bistro, 1847 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . Afghani food in a restaurant decorated with rugs.
- Las Canteras, 2307 18th St NW, ☎ . Tu-Th 11AM-3PM,5PM-10PM, F-Su 11AM-3PM,5PM-11PM. Adams Morgan lucked out when a top Peruvian chef from El Chalán in the West End opened this little restaurant, serving traditional Peruvian dishes with a little international flair. Peruvian food is one of the world's truly great cuisines, rich with seafood, some fifty varieties of indigenous potatoes, and the culinary intersection of Spanish, Incan, and East Asian traditions. Chinese influenced lomo saltado (beef & potatoes) as well as ceviche (raw fish) are the national dishes, and as with El Chalán, the anticuchos (chicken hearts) are exceptional. $22-35.
- Meze, 2437 18th St NW, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th: 4:30pm-1:30am; F: 4:30pm-2:30am; Sa: 10:30am-2:30am; Su: 10:30am-1:30am. A Turkish restaurant with an extensive offering of fresh mojitos. Open since 2001.
- Little Fountain Cafe, 2339 18th St NW, ☎ . Romantic basement restaurant.
- Pho 14, 1769 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . Arguably the best Vietnamese food within the city limits.
- Southern Hospitality, 1815 Adams Mill Rd NW, ☎ . M-Th 4pm-1am, F 11am-2am, Sa 10am-2am, Su 10am-12am. Serves southern food such as Cajun style shrimp and grits, crunchy boneless fried chicken, and Nutella waffles. 2 levels
- The Grill from Ipanema, 1858 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . M-Th 4:30PM-11PM, F 4:30PM-11:30PM, Sa noon-11:30PM, Su noon-10PM. This is no gimmicky downtown place—this is a real taste of Brazil in D.C. Brazilian food is meat heavy, and the steaks here are excellent. If steak is too one-dimensional, try the feijoada, a stew of various smoked meats, southern greens, fruit, and black beans. Too much meat? Try one of the seafood moquecas. And the potent caipirinhas are among the neighborhood's favorite cocktails. It is a little overpriced, but if you don't mind the extra $5-10, this makes for a great dinner date. $20-35.
- Johnny's Half Shell, 1819 Columbia Rd, ☎ . Breakfast: Tu-F 7AM-9:30AM; lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, dinner: M-Sa 5PM-10PM. A great seafood restaurant. Some of the best entries on the menu, such as the Maine lobster, are from outside the region. $35-65.
- Mintwood Place, 1813 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . M closed, Tu-F 5:30PM-10:30PM, Sa 10:30AM-11:30PM (with midday break), Su 10:30AM-9:30PM (with midday break), price=. A modern French-American fusion restaurant, serving dinner all week (except Monday) and brunch on weekends. Named one of the Best New Restaurants in 2013 by Conde Nast Traveler. Features a charming but relatively loud dining room, and outdoor seating that is very nice during the warmer months, with a great location for people-watching.
- Perry's, 1811 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . M-Th 5:30PM-10:30PM, F 5:30PM-11:30PM, Sa 11AM-3PM,5:30PM-11:30PM, Su 10:30AM-2:30PM,5:30PM-10:30PM. There are a lot of reasons to come here, including the rooftop patio seating and the masterful cooking (mostly Japanese and Middle Eastern "tapas") by famous local chefs as well as an import from New York's Bond Street. Other attractions include drag queen brunch ($25.95+tax) on Sundays, and happy hour specials on sushi and tapas (M-F 5:30PM-7:30PM). $20-45.
You have plenty of choices for drinking in Adams Morgan - you'd be well-served to do your own reconnaissance by walking up and down 18th St. Several bars and clubs have sidewalk or rooftop patios that are open during the warmer months. Bars serve anything from cheap pitchers of beer to expensive cocktails.
Be aware that on F-Sa nights, the crowd is young and drunk and the whole thing can look a bit like the capital's take on Mardi Gras. That's either a plus or a minus depending on your view, but you can escape this crowd if you choose your bar carefully. Regardless of your tastes, you should be sure to stop by the legendary New Orleans themed Madam's Organ, which offers live music every night of the week.
- Bedrock Billiards, 1841 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . Offers billiards and shuffleboard and displays artwork by local artists.
- Bourbon, 2321 18th St NW, ☎ . M-Th 6PM-2AM, F-Sa 6PM-3AM; brunch: Sa-Su 11AM. Offers a very wide selection of its namesake liquor—150 whiskeys, to be precise, not just bourbons. Don't like whiskey? They also have a great selection of American wines & microbrews. The dance floor upstairs is popular on weekend nights, but otherwise it's better to visit at a more relaxed time of the day—the noise, especially from the embarrassingly classless bartenders, interferes with the proper enjoyment of a $30 Scotch. 10-ounce burger: $16.
- Dan's Cafe, 2315 18th St NW, ☎ . Su-Th 7PM-2AM, F-Sa 7PM-3AM. This family run operation is a true dive bar and most colorful bars in the city. Operated since 1965 by owner Clinnie Dickens, who is now in his 80s. SoCo lime shooters are served in squeeze ketchup bottles. It's a one of a kind experience. If you want a dive on 18th St, this is it. Cash only.
- Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 2007 18th St NW, ☎ . Su-Th: 5PM-2AM; F-Sa: 5PM-3AM. A whiskey-themed bar with huge windows for smoking cigars.
- Roofers Union, 2446 18th St NW, ☎ . Su-Th 5PM-2AM, F-Sa 5PM-3AM. The biggest bar in the area, with three-levels plus a more relaxed rooftop deck offering great views of the neighborhood from its tables. The club, and of course the rooftop patio, can get extremely crowded, so show up early on the weekends. No dress code, no cover.
- Shenanigans Irish Pub, 2450 18th St NW, ☎ . A good selection of Irish beers and drinks. Popular with the young and drunk crowd.
- Smoke and Barrel, 2471 18th St NW, ☎ . M-Th 5PM-2AM, F 5PM-3AM, Sa 11AM-3AM, Su 11AM-2AM. Eclectic beer selection and great BBQ food, including vegan options.
- Ventnor Sports Cafe, 2411 18th St NW, ☎ . A sports bar with memorabilia on the walls.
- [dead link]2020 Restaurant and Lounge, 2434 18th St NW, ☎ . An upscale and expensive cocktail bar and club.
- Brass Monkey, 2317 18th St NW. Four bars in one, with a Karaoke bar in the basement named Peyote grill, and a dance floor with cocktail tables on the second floor. The third floor bar has pool tables and old rusty/ic couches, then there is the upstairs bar which is really divey and has a roof attached where you can go in the warm weather. Go for a crazy drunken night, but don't expect much class. Sloppy and fun if you're in the right mood.
- Club Heaven & Hell, 2327 18th St NW, ☎ . Su-Th 5PM-2AM, F-Sa 5PM-3AM. This club is a bit out of the ordinary, but the theme is fun. Basement is hell (who would've thought hell would be the most low-key and conversation friendly?), first floor is purgatory (appropriate for anyone stuck in line), and the upper floor is of course heaven, with its large celestial dance floor. Other than the gimmick, the no dress code policy and $5 covers make this a popular stop. Note that Hell does not have A/C.
- Grand Central, 2447 18th St NW, ☎ . During the week, it's a sports bar. On the weekend, top 40 pop songs are blasting and the venue attracts a younger, drunker crowd.
- Habana Village, 1834 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . W-Sa 6:30PM-3AM. Salseros take note—actually, they already have taken note, and the place has a sex ratio heavily skewed towards the males (probably best to come in couples). This is indeed one of the best places in the city for a night of salsa dancing (DJs), and to have a few Cuban drinks. $10 lessons nightly (beginner and advanced); Cover: Free-$10.
- Bossa, 2463 18th St NW (Next to Madams Organ), ☎ . The Brazilian food is sub-par, the drinks are pricey, but the bands are usually great. Admission: $5-$8; Mojito: $10.
- Bukom Cafe, 2442 18th St NW, ☎ . M-Th 4PM-1:30AM, F 4PM-2:30AM, Sa 2PM-2:30AM, Su 2PM-1:30AM. The "cafe" bit refers to the food, which is fine Ghanaian cuisine (don't miss the "beer meat" appetizer). But the attraction that draws the crowds is the nightly live music—mostly reggae bands, but also West African music. The friendly crowd is mostly African, and a good deal older and more laid back than the rowdy neighbors. No cover. Food: $8-16; Wine: $7-10; Fruity cocktails: $9.
- Columbia Station, 2325 18th St NW, ☎ . Su-Th 5PM-2AM, F-Sa 5PM-3AM. Nightly live jazz, no cover. A nice laid back place to get a drink while listening to good, local, live jazz with no cover.
- Madam's Organ, 2461 18th St NW. Su-Th 5PM-2AM, F-Sa 5PM-3AM. This blues/funk bar and soul food restaurant is a neighborhood fixture. Live music every night. It has a unique atmosphere, with its stuffed animals, appliances and nick-nacks hanging from the walls and ceiling. Playboy magazine once named it one of the best bars in America, and redheads get beer discounts. Daily meal half-price specials. Half price beers F-W: 5-8pm. Cover: usually $3.
- Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe, 2477 18th St NW, ☎ . S. Restaurant, bar, and cafe with nightly performances.
- Tryst, 2459 18th St NW, ☎ . M-Th 6:30AM-2AM, F-Sa 6:30AM-3AM, Su 7AM-2AM. Very hip café-by-day/bar-by-night strategically placed next to The Diner (same owners). The atmosphere is very friendly and encourages you to just hang out for a while. Free WiFi M-Th. Food: $4-10.
- HighRoad Hostel DC, 1804 Belmont Rd NW, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-out: 11AM. A nice hostel right near the action on 18th St. Clean rooms and helpful staff on duty 24-hours per day. 2-night minimum stay. Dorm room: $40-47+tax; Private room: From $130+tax.
- Washington International Student Center, 2451 18th St NW, ☎ . If you'd like to stay right in the center of the coolest street in D.C., this is your hostel. It's very noisy, of course. Lots of international students; some that stay long term. Free pickup from Union station. Dorm bed: $29.
- Adam's Inn, 1746 Lanier Pl NW, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Inexpensive and international, Adam's Inn is a decent place to spend a few nights. A few cautions: bathrooms are shared unless you pay extra, amenities are limited - no in-room TVs, and breakfast never changes. $99-199, breakfast included.
- American Guesthouse B&B, 2005 Columbia Rd NW, ☎ . It's hard not to like this place, with its beautiful rooms in an Adams Morgan 1880s Mansion. Some of the cheaper rooms are very small. $120-220.
- Normandy Hotel, 2118 Wyoming Ave NW (10 minute walk from Dupont Circle or Woodley Park Metrorail stations), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A hotel with a European feel. Rooms feature marble bathrooms. Outdoor garden lounge. Daily wine and cheese receptions from 5pm-6pm. 75 rooms. From $173; Valet parking: $40/day.
- 1 Taft Bridge Inn, 2007 Wyoming Avenue NW, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 100-year old mansion on a quiet street. Rooms include breakfast each morning. Private baths and shared baths available. $98-205; breakfast included.
- Hilton Washington, 1919 Connecticut Ave NW (10 minute walk from Dupont Circle or Woodley Park Metrorail stations), ☎ . The 1,070-room luxury hotel, with a great location near both Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, underwent a $150 million restoration in 2010. It is famous as the place where former President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. $220-400.
Muggings are a serious problem in Adams Morgan. Muggings happen more often on quiet side streets, so simply restricting your walks to the main streets and traveling in groups of three or more will lower your odds of a problem.
Pickpocketing is rampant on 18th St on weekend nights. Immense crowds of drunk people bumping into each other makes for a pickpocketing bonanza.
- Dupont Circle - a wealthier neighborhood to the south
- Shaw - a nightlife destination to the south
- Columbia Heights - more dining and nightlife options and Meridian Hill Park to the east
- Near Northeast - more nightlife options
- Upper Northwest - the Zoo and parts of this neighborhood are in easy walking distance, just across the Duke Ellington Bridge along Calvert St. from Adams Morgan.
- Wheaton - the location of more fantastic ethnic dining options