Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.

  • Published 2023/03/03

An eclectic mix of urban lifestyle delights mainly comprises the things to do in Adams Morgan in Washington, D.C.

This neighborhood in Northwest Washington spreads over some five square miles, with its points of interest within walking distance from each other.

On a visit to Adams Morgan in Washington County, you can pick from the shops, bars, and restaurants on the streets arterial to the intersecting Columbia Road and 18th Street Northwest.

Eye-catching architecture and colorful public murals combine with these establishments for a pleasant stroll in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

Cultural diversity is an emblem of Adams Morgan, which drew its identity from the 1955 merger of two local schools—the all-black Thomas P. Morgan Elementary and the all-white John Quincy Adams Elementary School.

A visit to this neighborhood also brings you just minutes away from other amazing destinations in North Washington.

Check out the following list of the best things to do in Adams Morgan, D.C.

Stroll on the Scenic Plazas of Meridian Hill Park

Water fountain at Meridian Hill Park

Jon Bilous /

The Upper and Lower Plaza in the 12-acre Meridian Hill Park are must-visits when you’re in Adams Morgan.

Located off 16th Street Northwest, this national park akin to an Italian villa garden is on the eastern periphery of Adams Morgan.

A stroll on the park’s Lower Plaza will take you to its charming 13-basin cascading fountain.

The cascades of this fountain are touted as among the longest in North America and settle on a reflection pool below.

Joan of Arc statue at Meridian Hill Park

Andrei Medvedev /

At the Lower Plaza, you will also see the James Buchanan Memorial and a statue of the famed Italian poet Dante Alighieri.

A statue of Joan of Arc on horseback, on the other hand, is one of the striking features at the Upper Plaza of Meridian Hill Park.

A visit to Meridian Hill Park on a Sunday afternoon is especially lively, as this is when it hosts a drum circle.

Drum circle at Meridian Hill Park

Joao Kermadec /

Tour the Cafritz Galleries in the White-Meyer House

The Cafritz Galleries is the primary exhibition space of the Meridian International Center, which maintains the historic White-Meyer House at Crescent Place.

Artworks of prominent artists and personalities are displayed in this venue which also hosts cultural programs.

Past exhibits in the prestigious Cafritz Galleries include artworks by Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the White-Meyer House is open for tours by appointment.

This historic mansion was constructed in 1912 as the home of U.S. diplomat Henry White who served as the American envoy to Italy (1905–1906) and France (1906–1909).

The weeping hemlocks and hazels planted by the Meyer family in the original garden plaza of the house have been preserved here.

Drink and Dine at The Green Zone

Take a stroll on the tree-lined 18th Street Northwest and you will find The Green Zone, a unique place to dine and drink.

This resto cocktail bar has the theme International Zone which was created in Baghdad.

With this concept, The Green Zone’s cheery bar offers creative Middle Eastern flavors in its drinks offerings.

Here, you can sample concoctions like Janissary Corps, Lebanese No. 1, Mint Lemonade, and Saz’iraq.

The Green Zone kitchen’s menu items are equally unique, with choices like falafel, super smooth hummus, and za’tar-spiced labneh.

Try scrambled eggs made with kashkawan cheese and the sausage sujuq for an appreciation of The Green Zone’s flavors.

For variety in the vibe at the Green Zone, its mainstay Latin and reggae music yield to Arabic and Mideast DJs each Friday and international DJs on Saturdays.

Tour the Historic Meridian House

Exterior of the Historic Meridian House

srhtk /

Make an appointment for a tour of the historic Meridian House located on the campus of the Meridian International Center on Crescent Place Northwest.

Built in 1919, the Louis XVI-style Meridian House was the property of U.S. diplomat Irwin Boyle Laughlin, who served as ambassador to Greece (1924–1926) and Spain (1929–1933).

The designer of this historic house is the famed architect John Russell Pope, whose works also included the design of the Jefferson Memorial and the National Gallery of Art (West Building).

The main rooms of this house still retain their architectural design, décor, and furnishings like 18th-century lighting fixtures and European over-door paintings.

Antique portraits of Ambassador Laughlin and those of his wife and daughter also adorn some of the house’s rooms.

Experience Adam Morgan’s Vibe at Roofers Union

Pick a nook at Roofers Union on 18th Street Northwest to experience the vibe of Adam Morgan.

This tavern offers several levels where you can enjoy classic American fare and craft cocktails while immersed in the ambiance of its neighborhood.

For a casual atmosphere, have your orders taken at Roofers Union’s wine-garden style Streetery along 18th Street Northwest.

Or you can pick a spot at the Jug & Table on the tavern’s first floor to browse the over 20 choices on the Roofers Union wine list while enjoying live music.

Watch out too for the special nights at Roofers Union’s second floor where the DJ for the evening accommodates audience requests.

To capture an amazing bird’s eye view of Adam Morgan, go to the rooftop bar of this tavern where frozen margaritas are among the customer favorites.

Shop for a Gift at Urban Dwell

An eclectic array of trendy merchandise brings plenty of shoppers to Urban Dwell on Columbia Road Northwest.

Owned and operated by Tom McMahon, a USAF veteran, this trendy boutique is family-oriented and a great destination to shop locally in Adams Morgan.

Housed on the first floor of an eight-story brick building, this shop features merchandise carefully curated for various trends and price ranges.

The goods at Urban Dwell are from local and international artists and designers, offering an opportunity to pick gifts suited for varying occasions and preferences.

Choices at this boutique shop include accessories for men and women, baby gifts, books and stationery, and kitchen items.

With its varied offerings, Urban Dwell received four consecutive annual citations as “Best Home Good Store” from Washington City Paper.

Have a Picnic at Kalorama Park

Paved trails at Kalorama Park

Farragutful, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The three-acre Kalorama Park is an urban oasis at the Adams Morgan intersection of Columbia Road, 19th Street NW, and Kalorama Road.

This triangle-shaped park does justice to its name Kalorama, a Greek word that translates to “beautiful view” in English.

The park is a green sanctuary with grassy fields, lush trees, and flowering shrubs in spring.

The grounds of Kalorama Park

APK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is also home to a community garden where local residents grow vegetables or tend plots of decorative plants.

Kalorama Park has picnic facilities, two playgrounds, and basketball courts popular for pickup games.

The park is also home to the Kalorama Recreation Center which hosts various events for children throughout the year.

Wooden benches at Kalorama Park

APK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy a Stroll on the AdMo Art Walk

Adams Morgan offers a great opportunity for locals and visitors to explore its neighborhood businesses through the month-long AdMo Art Walk.

This annual event is traditionally held from April to May through the joint efforts of the DC Arts Center and the Adams Morgan Partnership Business Improvement District.

The art walk is a self-guided, GPS-enabled tour of participating businesses along 18th Street Northwest and Columbia Road Northwest.

Each participating establishment, which includes shops and restaurants along the two road corridors, features the artworks of an assigned artist.

Some 14 Adams Morgan businesses participate yearly in the AdMo Art Walk, offering a quick take on what this neighborhood has to offer.

Buy Organic Veggies at Adams Morgan Farmers’ Market

The seasonal Adams Morgan Farmers Market provides shoppers with an abundant source of organic produce.

This market runs Saturday morning till noon from June to December at Unity Park in front of LINE DC hotel on Champlain Street.

DC-based Licking Creek Bend Farm is among the major suppliers and sellers of all-natural fruits and vegetables sold in this farmers market.

The Adams Morgan Farmers Market is one of the first neighborhood markets in the DC Metro area.

As a self-managed non-profit, the market offers affordable prices to shoppers.

Sing or Dance the Night Away at Madam’s Organ

Mural of Madam's Organ

Ted Eytan from Washington, DC, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Look out for the mural of a beautiful redhead lady on 18th Street Northwest, and you’d be at the doorsteps of Madam’s Organ.

This lively bar has been an anchor to the nightlife in Adams for several decades, inspiring much fun with its motto “Where Beautiful People Go to Get Ugly.”

Madam’s Organ offers live music all days of the week and features a mix of open mic and karaoke singing.

Exterior of Madam's Organ

AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the first floor of Madam’s Organ, you have a choice of two bars for comfort food and drinks served in mason jars.

The mezzanine of Madam’s Organ overlooks the main stage, and on its second floor, you can dance to the beat of blues and grooves.

Seal the night of your visit at Madam’s Organ on its roof deck, a cozy place for a smoke or small talk.

Browse Bestsellers at Lost City Books

Intellectuals visiting Adams Morgan would typically find their bearings onward 18th Street Northwest at Lost City Books.

Formerly known as Idle Time Books, this iconic, veteran-owned bookstore opened in 1981.

Its shelves quickly became popular for a wide selection of rare, out-of-print books.

With its makeover as Lost City Books, this bookstore also accommodated an increasing collection of newly published titles as well as highly curated gift items.

The two-level domain of this bookstore likewise became a popular venue for events like open mic poetry, children’s storytelling sessions, film showings, and live music.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Tour the Woodrow Wilson House

Exterior of Woodrow Wilson House

APK, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The historic Woodrow Wilson House is located on South Street Northwest, the Embassy Row at the southern periphery of Adams.

This former residence of the 28th U.S. President, Woodrow Wilson, has been converted into a museum.

President Wilson moved to this house after finishing his term in 1921 and died in an upstairs bedroom here in 1924.

A typewriter in Woodrow Wilson House

dctim1, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Guided one-hour general tours are conducted at the Woodrow Wilson House on weekends.

More than 8,400 artifacts related to Wilson’s presidency and legacy are displayed in the museum.

Shoot Selfies at the Decatur Terrace Steps and Fountain

Signage of Decatur Terrace Steps and Fountain

Kristi Blokhin /

The Decatur Terrace Steps and Fountain is a scenic park in the historic Kalorama neighborhood adjacent south of Adams Morgan.

Also popularly known as the Spanish Steps, this park in D.C. is on 22nd Street Northwest and links Decatur Place Northwest to South Street Northwest.

The terrace and its lion-head fountain were built in 1911 as a pedestrian link between the two streets, as its stretch is too steep for vehicles.

This public park is the only one in Washington, D.C. that was developed on a street.

Flowering trees like eastern red cedars, magnolias, and oaks line the park’s stretch, creating an awesome setting for a photo shoot.

Steps of Decatur Terrace Steps and Fountain

AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See Pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park

A panda eating bamboos at Smithsonian National Zoological Park

EQRoy /

Drop by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park on Connecticut Avenue Northwest, a short distance north of Adams Morgan.

The zoo’s exhibits include many endangered species, including giant pandas, within a separate habitat in the 163-acre park.

All told, the zoo features more than 2,700 animals including many of the world’s most endangered species.

Monkey on a rope at Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Manokhina Natalia /

Passes to this zoo are free to the public, and it hosts various programs for the enjoyment of visitors.

The most popular among these activities include Grapes with the Apes, Sunset Serenades, and Fiesta Musical.

People at Smithsonian National Zoological Park

DavidNNP /

Enjoy the Outdoors at Rock Creek Park

A bridge at Rock Creek Park

RHW Photography /

Adams Morgan is only two miles from Rock Creek Park on Glover Road Northwest.

This expansive park northeast of the neighborhood spreads over 1,754 acres, offering plenty of outdoor recreational activities.

It boasts more than 32 miles of trails for hiking, with some stretches traversing the western periphery of Adams Morgan.

Nature trail at Rock Creek Park

Eric Broder Van Dyke /

You can also go biking on the paved trails and roads of the park.

In addition, it provides 13 miles of bridle trails for horse riding.

A person on the grounds of Rock Creek Park

Nicole Glass Photography /

Final Thoughts

Many of the best things to do in Adams Morgan, D.C. make a visit to Washington, D.C. truly complete.

The shops, bars, and restaurants of this neighborhood are iconic establishments that define much of the U.S. capital’s character.

Be sure to include Adams Morgan in your Washington, D.C. itinerary.

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