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The Best Books on D.C. Neighborhoods, Circles, and Parks

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The best way to explore Washington, D.C.'s neighborhoods is by taking a walk there, discovering the restaurants, the locals, and more. For those who may not be able to make the trip or want to dig a little further in the history of the sites, Curbed mapped the best publications that recognize each area's significance. After sorting through the selections, feel free to let Curbed know if there were any books that should have been included or might be better choices by leaving a comment or emailing dc@curbed.com.


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1. Rock Creek Park

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Beach Dr NW
Washington, D.C. 20015

A History of Rock Creek Park: Wilderness & Washington, D.C.
Scott Einberger
Rock Creek Park should be known for more than its trails. It should also be known for its influence on the Civil War, U.S. Presidents, and poet Joaquin Miller.

2. Capitol Hill

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Wicked Capitol Hill: An Unruly History of Behaving Badly
Robert S. Pohl
Get to know the nitty gritty side of this Southeast neighborhood by learning about historic crimes and misbehaving government officials.

3. Dupont Circle

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1 DuPont Cir NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

A History of Dupont Circle: Center of High Society in the Capital
Stephen A. Hansen
Today, Dupont Circle is known for its variety of retail and restaurant options, but at one point it was full of small farms. In this publication, one can learn about its beginnings as well as how it eventually became a home for U.S. President William Taft, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and extravagant balls.

4. Foggy Bottom

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Foggy Bottom and the West End in Vintage Images
Matthew B. Gilmore, Joshua Olsen
One upon a time, Foggy Bottom was an industrial center. Now, it's home to mansions, the Kennedy Center, and Watergate. In this publication, the authors discuss how this Northwest neighborhood evolved.

5. Adams Morgan

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Adams Morgan: Then & Now
Celestino Zapata, Josh Gibson
Adams Morgan has experienced a myriad of changes over the past few decades, and soon there will be even more changes planned. What more can you learn from Washington, D.C.'s most racially diverse neighborhood? You can find out with this book.

6. Kalorama Triangle

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Kalorama Triangle: The History of a Capital Neighborhood
Stephen A. Hansen
The Kalorama that we know and love today was once used as barracks and hospitals during the Civil War. See what information historian and longtime resident Stephen A. Hansen has to provide on this transition to what it is now.

7. Logan Circle

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The Neighborhoods of Logan, Scott, and Thomas Circles
Paul K. Williams
According to this publication, Logan, Scott, and Thomas circles are historically significant in their influence on the Civil War, the elite, and politicians.

8. National Mall

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National Mall
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 426-6841

The National Mall: Rethinking Washington’s Monumental Core
Nathan Glazer, Cynthia R. Field
This publication is a collection of essays from historians, poets, planners, and more. Expect a look at the Mall's past and future.

9. Georgetown

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Historic Georgetown: A Walking Tour
Thomas J. Carrier
With a location so close to the Potomac River, this neighborhood was a site where Europeans colonials settled. As a book meant to be a walking tour of Georgetown, you will be able to discover the homes of John F. Kennedy, Francis Scott Key, and more.

10. Anacostia River

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Anacostia: The Death and Life of an American River
John R. Wennersten
With issues like pollution, the author of this publication means to provide solutions on how to further improve the Anacostia River.

11. Park View

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Park View: Images of America Series
Kent C. Boese, Lauri Hafvenstein
Due to its location on a streetcar line, this Northeast neighborhood experienced a housing boom in the 20th century. In this book, you will be able to learn which builders helped transform the area from farms to row houses.

12. Potomac River

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The Potomac River: A History & Guide
Garrett Peck
In this publication, the author focuses less on the Potomac River's dirt and more on its history. From the Catholic settlers to the Civil War, learn everything you didn't know about this river.

13. U Street

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Greater U Street: Images of America
Paul K. Williams
In the early 1900s, U Street was mostly populated by African Americans due to racial segregation in Washington, D.C. It was the site of culture, music, and later the riots of 1968. See what else causes this Northwest neighborhood to be so unique and so significant in the nation's capital.

1. Rock Creek Park

Beach Dr NW, Washington, D.C. 20015

A History of Rock Creek Park: Wilderness & Washington, D.C.
Scott Einberger
Rock Creek Park should be known for more than its trails. It should also be known for its influence on the Civil War, U.S. Presidents, and poet Joaquin Miller.

Beach Dr NW
Washington, D.C. 20015

2. Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C. 20002

Wicked Capitol Hill: An Unruly History of Behaving Badly
Robert S. Pohl
Get to know the nitty gritty side of this Southeast neighborhood by learning about historic crimes and misbehaving government officials.

3. Dupont Circle

1 DuPont Cir NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

A History of Dupont Circle: Center of High Society in the Capital
Stephen A. Hansen
Today, Dupont Circle is known for its variety of retail and restaurant options, but at one point it was full of small farms. In this publication, one can learn about its beginnings as well as how it eventually became a home for U.S. President William Taft, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and extravagant balls.

1 DuPont Cir NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

4. Foggy Bottom

Washington, D.C. 20037

Foggy Bottom and the West End in Vintage Images
Matthew B. Gilmore, Joshua Olsen
One upon a time, Foggy Bottom was an industrial center. Now, it's home to mansions, the Kennedy Center, and Watergate. In this publication, the authors discuss how this Northwest neighborhood evolved.

5. Adams Morgan

Washington, D.C. 20009

Adams Morgan: Then & Now
Celestino Zapata, Josh Gibson
Adams Morgan has experienced a myriad of changes over the past few decades, and soon there will be even more changes planned. What more can you learn from Washington, D.C.'s most racially diverse neighborhood? You can find out with this book.

6. Kalorama Triangle

Washington, D.C.

Kalorama Triangle: The History of a Capital Neighborhood
Stephen A. Hansen
The Kalorama that we know and love today was once used as barracks and hospitals during the Civil War. See what information historian and longtime resident Stephen A. Hansen has to provide on this transition to what it is now.

7. Logan Circle

Washington, D.C. 20005

The Neighborhoods of Logan, Scott, and Thomas Circles
Paul K. Williams
According to this publication, Logan, Scott, and Thomas circles are historically significant in their influence on the Civil War, the elite, and politicians.

8. National Mall

National Mall, Washington, D.C. 20024

The National Mall: Rethinking Washington’s Monumental Core
Nathan Glazer, Cynthia R. Field
This publication is a collection of essays from historians, poets, planners, and more. Expect a look at the Mall's past and future.

National Mall
Washington, D.C. 20024

9. Georgetown

Washington, D.C. 20007

Historic Georgetown: A Walking Tour
Thomas J. Carrier
With a location so close to the Potomac River, this neighborhood was a site where Europeans colonials settled. As a book meant to be a walking tour of Georgetown, you will be able to discover the homes of John F. Kennedy, Francis Scott Key, and more.

10. Anacostia River

Washington, D.C.

Anacostia: The Death and Life of an American River
John R. Wennersten
With issues like pollution, the author of this publication means to provide solutions on how to further improve the Anacostia River.

11. Park View

Washington, D.C.

Park View: Images of America Series
Kent C. Boese, Lauri Hafvenstein
Due to its location on a streetcar line, this Northeast neighborhood experienced a housing boom in the 20th century. In this book, you will be able to learn which builders helped transform the area from farms to row houses.

12. Potomac River

Washington, D.C. 20007

The Potomac River: A History & Guide
Garrett Peck
In this publication, the author focuses less on the Potomac River's dirt and more on its history. From the Catholic settlers to the Civil War, learn everything you didn't know about this river.

13. U Street

Washington, D.C. 20001

Greater U Street: Images of America
Paul K. Williams
In the early 1900s, U Street was mostly populated by African Americans due to racial segregation in Washington, D.C. It was the site of culture, music, and later the riots of 1968. See what else causes this Northwest neighborhood to be so unique and so significant in the nation's capital.