Washington, D.C. Tour: Adams Morgan
A culturally diverse neighborhood that likes to party.
Adams Morgan combines the names of two formerly segregated schools, a verbal marriage that symbolized the integration of the community. Today, diverse cultures peacefully co-exist, as one can see by simply perusing the restaurants lining 18th Street: Ethiopian, Indian, French, South African, Eritrean, Mexican, Peruvian, Himalayan, Middle Eastern, and New Orleanian. During the week and 9-to-5 hours, the scene is laid-back, with locals lingering at sidewalk eateries or drifting in and out of shops. On weekend evenings, however, the main strip turns into a hopping block party. Revelers come from around the city, piling into bars and live music joints to celebrate a common cause: to have an outrageously good time.
Adam’s Inn Bed and Breakfast
Tucked in a trio of Victorian row houses on a residential street, the European-style bed-and-breakfast provides a tranquil sanctuary steps from the action on 18th Street. The homey property features 26 rooms (15 with private baths), two shared kitchenettes, a sunny breakfast nook and a spacious backyard garden that is more suburban than urban.
Toro Mata specializes in Peruvian art and crafts, covering every available space with pottery, reverse-painted glass, figurines, paintings, textiles, jewelry and toy-size Andean pack animals. The items, handmade by village artisans, accommodate budgets of all means–from under $10 to four figures.
All Souls Church, Unitarian
Founded in 1821 as the First Unitarian Church of Washington, the institution has a long history of supporting our nation’s biggest social issues, such as abolitionism, civil rights, women’s equality and, most recently, same-sex marriage. All Souls is also known for its eclectic musical programs, which are open to all. Sunday services, for example, may feature a medley of jazz, ancient church chants, South African beats and gospel. Free lunch follows in Pierce Hall.
The Brass Knob
The fun house of decor, open for more than 30 years, sells vintage pieces and architectural parts salvaged from residences, many in the District. The always-changing inventory includes doorknobs, stained-glass windows, chandeliers and garden ornaments sampled from a range of styles: Victorian, art deco, art nouveau, Edwardian and federal.
Tryst, Washington, D.C.
With its mismatched furniture and insomniac hours (open until 3 a.m. on weekends; reopens at 6:30 a.m.), Tryst is more than just an indie coffeehouse and bar: It’s a temple of loafing. Thanks to table/couch/overstuffed chair service, you don’t ever have to move, except to lift your cocktail glass or mug of coffee, tea or Yarud (orange juice steamed with lemon, lime and honey).
Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Jack Rose Dining Saloon is a must-stop for whiskey obsessives. This Adams Morgan bar stocks more than 2,000 bottles in its collection—including Scotch, Japanese, Kentucky, and even Belgian whiskey. There's also bourbon, rye, and plenty of rare offerings. Thanks to removable glass panels, the roofdeck with its own tiki bar can be enjoyed rain or shine, winter or summer.
Amsterdam Falafel Shop
After the cooks fry the falafel, the patrons take over, topping their handheld sandwiches with any of the 20-plus sauces, salads, pickled items and Middle Eastern dips available at the fixings bar. For the French fries, ketchup gets some fierce competition from the Dutch mayo, peanut sauce, malt vinegar and Old Bay seasoning.
The American and sushi restaurant has a number of draws—the rooftop bar, for instance—but its most diva-esque attraction is Sunday drag brunch, now in its 19th year. The “girls” lip-synch and strut around the main dining area, adding extra sizzle to the all-you-can-eat buffet.