About Dupont Circle / Adams Morgan
Just northwest of the White House in Washington, D.C. lie the neighborhoods of Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, the historic center of the queer community in the District.
The clubs and bars stay open well into the night. On weekends, the area truly comes alive as hardworking Washingtonians, riding their second winds, flood the streets. The sidewalks become packed, and the hum of chatter, laughter and music fills the air.
Dupont Circle is just about a mile away from the National Mall, centered around a traffic circle with a large fountain in the middle. It is surrounded by grand Victorian-style townhouses and multiple restaurants and stores. It seems to be designed as a place for people to enjoy themselves or the “cosmopolitan” area of the District.
Adams Morgan is a bit uphill and to the west of Dupont Circle. Most of its nightlife is centered around 18th Street, where one can find gay bars such as Pitchers and Larry’s Lounge. It is also known for its multicultural acceptance, with many immigrants living in the neighborhood.
Dupont, once a hub for Bohemian lifestyle and counterculture in the second half of the 20th century, hosted anti-Vietnam war protests, Black Panther offices and free clinics beginning in the 60s. The opposition to mainstream culture the neighborhood represented drew queer people to it and by the early 80s, it became known as the place for queer nightlife and safe spaces in the District.
In recent years, due to factors such as rising property values, many of the District’s queer people have dispersed out of the neighborhood to other parts of the city like The Shaw and Logan Circle.
Adams Morgan’s history lies in multiculturalism. The neighborhood itself is named after the desegregation of two elementary schools in the area, Adams and Morgan. In the 60s, immigrants of many different backgrounds including African and Caribbean peoples made residence in Adams Morgan. Like Dupont, Adams Morgan faced rising property values and resulting gentrification as time went on.
Along 18th street in Adams Morgan, one can find many gay bars and queer hotspots, including A League of Her Own, one of the few lesbian bars remaning in the United States.
Today, the zip code in which both neighborhoods lie, 20009, has over 50,000 residents. 67% of the zip code’s residents are White, 18% are Black and 13% are Hispanic or Latinx of any race, according to census data. In comparison, White people make up 46% of the District’s total population, Black people make up 46% and 11% are Hispanic or Latinx of any race.
Despite the changing nature of the neighborhoods, many D.C. queer residents still see Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan as a place to fully express themselves and find a sense of community.