Better known for nightlife than tourist attractions, this diverse, funky neighborhood is proof that D.C. has a soul. Once an exclusively African-American part of town, Adams Morgan was formally named in 1958 for two then-recently-desegregated elementary schools in the area: Thomas P. Morgan and John Quincy Adams. Now home to a large cross-section of the city’s Latino populations (including Mexican, Salvadorean and Brazilian), as well as African restaurants and hopping jazz clubs, this is an area chock-full of flavor, color, and independently-owned businesses.
Centered around Columbia Road and 18th Street, it can make an excellent end to a day’s exploration of nearby Dupont Circle, the U-Street Corridor, or both. In the evenings, check out Habana Village for salsa dancing and Cuban food; Ghana Cafe for West African cuisine and, on the weekends, live African music; or local landmark Madams Organ for live jazz, blues and soul food.
If you can only get here during the day, though, try to come on a Saturday for the outdoor Latin Quarter market at Columbia and 18th, or take a wander by the elegant statues in Meridian Hill Park, once considered as a possible location for the White House.