One of DC's most vibrant and cosmopolitan neighborhood's, Dupont Circle is home to some of Washington's finest museums, historic homes and foreign embassies as well as an abundance of critically acclaimed restaurants, bookstores and private art galleries. It is also the heart of DC's nightlife and the city's gay and lesbian community. The Circle itself is a gathering place with park benches and the magnificent, white marble “Dupont Memorial Fountain” designed by Daniel French, the sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial.
The Circle is located at the intersection of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, P Street and 19th Street. The boundaries are roughly 15th Street, 22nd Street, M Street and Florida Ave. The area is served by the Washington Metro Red Line.
During the 1870s and 1880s, mansions were built along Massachusetts Avenue, one of Washington's grand avenues, and townhouses were built throughout the neighborhood. Although some of the area's grandest mansions are gone and others are now occupied by embassies and institutions, the visitor can still enjoy the special ambiance of a neighborhood created when then the powerful and elite from about the city and the nation gravitated here where they would be close to power and enjoy the social season.
It is now home of some of the nation's most prestigious think tanks and research institutions, including the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the original founding Church of Scientology. The Phillips Collection, the nation's first museum of modern art is located a few blocks from the Circle.
The area has long been the center of DC's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender centers. The Circle itself is the site of Youth Pride, an annual LGBT pride festival. Dupont's restaurants, bars and bookstores are major sites in gay DC. Lambda Rising has become one of the nation's best-known gay bookstores since it opened in 1974.
Today the area is more mainstream and trendy with coffeehouses, restaurants, bars and upscale retail stores.