DC nightlife

Best Neighborhoods for Washington DC Nightlife

Washington DC has so many great neighborhoods. They all have a different personality, but if you’re looking to go out, here are the best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife. So whether you’re a local or a traveler looking for a night out on the town after a day of the National Mall and Washington DC museums, followed by dinner at one of the best restaurants in DC, be sure to check out these best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife.

14th Street NW & Logan Circle

Best Bars on 14th Street

14th Street NW (between M & U) is the eating, drinking, and shopping heart of the popular Logan Circle neighborhood. This street has transformed over the past few years as the life of M Street started expanding north and the trendy U Street started expanding south. There are now dozens of popular bars and top DC restaurants for nearly every taste that have moved into the charming and historic buildings. Some of the best places to go out on 14th Street are: ChurchKey (for great beers), Le Diplomate (a French brasserie), Barcelona (Spanish tapas and wine bar), Masa 14 (pan-Latin specialties and a roof deck), and El Centro (the best tequila and margaritas selection in the city). These places help make 14th Street one of the best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife.

logan circle best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife

Dupont Circle

Best Bars on Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle is a cosmopolitan neighborhood with dozens of trendy bars, cafés, and restaurants. It’s a wealthier part of town, near most of the foreign embassies, and on a nice day, you’ll likely see hundreds of dog walkers and people doing yoga outside on a patch of grass within the circle. While most of Washington DC is gay-friendly, this neighborhood is especially known for it due to the many gay-owned businesses on the 17th Street. There are a large stretch of bars near the circle on P Street and Connecticut Avenue. A neighborhood staple is The Front Page, an American-style bar and restaurant that gets pretty rowdy at night. Other good choices are The Big Hunt (a dive bar), Bier Baron Tavern (great beer selection), Irish Whiskey Public House (Irish pub), and 18th Street Lounge (club/lounge). These places help make Dupon Circle one of the best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife.

dupont circle best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife

U Street

Best Bars on U Street

If you happen to be in DC on a weekend, then it is a guarantee at U Street that you will find plenty of partying, dancing, live music and of course flowing drinks. Some of the best spots in this area include the two rooftop bars Marvin (14th and U) and Local 16 (16th and U) along with the Caribbean themed Patty Patty Boom Boom (14th and U) or Solly’s U Street Tavern (11th and U). If  great cocktails and speakeasies are your thing, don’t miss The Gibson. These places help make U Street one of the best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife.

u street best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife

H Street NE

Best bars on H Street

The H Street NE neighborhood is one of Washington DC’s most recent gentrifying and “up and coming” areas. It’s historically rougher history became hipster, and now it’s on the cusp of becoming yuppy. However, it still has a lot of character and charm. It’s a great neighborhood to bar hop, but to get you started, Biergarten Haus, Ocopa, Atlas Arcade, Copycat Co, and Church & State are great places to start. These places help make H Street one of the best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife.

h street best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife


Best Bars in Georgetown

Georgetown is popular for its high-end shopping, dining, and nightlife, as well as it’s picturesque 18th and 19th century architecture, quaint cobblestone streets, waterfront harbor, and of course, Georgetown University. It has one of the best bar scenes in the city along M Street, with some additional spots along Wisconsin Avenue, which support both the DC elite that live in the neighborhood and the Georgetown University students. Georgetown is one of the nicest areas in the city. With a good mix of college students, tourists and some locals, Georgetown provides a fantastic array of bustling bars and clubs to enjoy. Want a lively piano bar? Head to Mr. Smith’s. In the mood for some low-key jazz? Head over to Blues Alley on Wisconsin Avenue or for those who are on a rather strict budget but still want to have a good time, make your way to Rhino Bar & Pumphouse on M and 33rd Street.  Rye Bar and Old Glory are great Georgetown bars as well. While quite expensive, Bourbon (in the Four Seasons) has a great cocktail list and food menu. The Georgetown Waterfront has a lot of great options as well (our favorite is Farmers, Fishers, Bakers). These places help make Georgetown one of the best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife.

georgetown best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife

Capitol Hill

Best Bars in Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is one of the most diverse areas, ranging from Capitol Hill interns, young professionals, DC elite, families, and older retired residents all mixed together in a few square miles. The historic architecture, large brick sidewalks, and old trees make it one of the best DC neighborhoods to walk around in or go for a jog, with the added benefit of catching an iconic view of the Capitol on nearly every corner. Step into any Capitol Hill pub and it’s almost inevitable that you will overhear lively debates on the biggest political issues facing the country.  There are many great bars spread out in this large neighborhood, but the main areas to go out are around Pennsylvania Ave & 3rd NE or Barrack’s Row on 7th Street SE (between North Carolina & C St SE). Some of our favorites are Hawk n’ Dove, Cava Meza, Barrel, Boxcar Tavern, The Pug, Granville Moore’s, and Sonoma. These places help make Capitol Hill one of the best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife.

capitol hill bars - best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife

We hope you enjoy these best neighborhoods for Washington DC nightlife!

Each of these neighborhoods are included as part of our self-guided Washington DC tour and offline, which can be downloaded here.

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Anthony Bourdain in DC

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Looking for more best restaurants in Washington DC? Check out all the sites from the Anthony Bourdain Washington DC Travel Guide on Travel Channel, with our commentary and tips.

Washington DC Monuments

Washington DC Monuments
No Washington DC tour would be complete without teaching the fascinating stories about the many monuments. They share thousands of stories about the people and events that created and shaped the nation. Learn about each of the Washington DC monuments.

National Mall Tour

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The National Mall is a must-see on any Washington DC tour. Learn fun facts about all the monuments, how to get there or where to park, who provides the best National Mall tour, and more by reading our guide to the National Mall.

Best Restaurants in DC

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Washington DC’s international influence provides great food from all over the country and world, and here are the best restaurants in DC.

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