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Foggy Bottom.
Photo via Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

What to do near George Washington University

Museums, underground live performances, and a mansion with secret doors

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Foggy Bottom.
| Photo via Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Between Dupont Circle and Georgetown, Foggy Bottom is known as one of the city’s taller, sometimes even quieter neighborhoods. With George Washington University, the neighborhood’s population can be very transient, but fun, vibrant activities are always prevalent nearby.

Below, Curbed DC has listed 10 places near George Washington University that students, locals, and tourists should definitely check out, from a quirky mansion with secret doors to an underground arts space with live performances.

Were there any notable locations left off this map? Let Curbed DC know in the comments.

Note: The mapped points have been listed geographically, from most north to most south.

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1. The Phillips Collection

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1600 21st St NW
Washington, DC 20009

There's nothing wrong with the Smithsonian museums, but if you want to discover lesser known spots in the District, the Phillips Collection is a must-see for art lovers. In 1921, this Dupont Circle museum became the first museum of modern art in the U.S. Inside, you can find works from artists like Renoir, Rothko, and Monet.

The Phillips Collection Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

2. Dupont Underground

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19 Dupont Cir NW
Washington, DC 20036

This 75,000-square-foot underground space was once a subterranean trolley station. Now, it’s open as an arts and culture venue with live performances, dance parties, and video art installations.

One previous exhibition Dupont Underground hosted was a Minecraft-like art display, called, “Raise/Raze.” This exhibit allowed visitors to interact with over 650,000 plastic balls and create arrangements with them.

Plans for Dupont Underground include creating an underground winery, gallery, restaurant, and the nation’s first underground micro-hotel. Since December 2014, Dupont Underground has been under a 66-month lease by nonprofit Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground.

Dupont Underground Photo via Malcolm K.

3. The Mansion on O Street

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2020 O St NW
Washington, DC 20036

The Mansion on O Street might be the quirkiest hotel in all of Washington, D.C. A majority of the 100 guest rooms have themes like a safari room or an Elvis-inspired Graceland suite. The development is composed of three connected row houses and comes with amenities like "secret doors."

A chandelier at The Mansion on O Street in Washington D.C. Photo via Victoria Pickering

4. Heurich House Museum

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1307 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Referred to as the Brewmaster's Castle, the Heurich House is known for beer-focused events, such as Oktoberfest. Every month, the museum hosts "History & Hops," which features a beer tasting, a local brewer, and a tour of the 1890s mansion.

Heurich Mansion Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Almonroth

5. National Geographic Museum

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1145 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

For those who love animals, traveling, and photography, the National Geographic Museum should be on one's Washington, D.C. tourist bucket list. This museum is fairly small, so don't expect your visit to take more than an hour or two. Regardless, it's a good outlet for learning about subjects like animals and dinosaurs, the ocean, and various cultures around the world.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jllm06

6. National Museum of Women in the Arts

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1250 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

Since 1987, this museum has been totally dedicated to celebrating the women who have influenced the art world. From Frida Kahlo to Mary Cassatt, the National Museum of Women in the Arts ensures that women artists are never forgotten or under-acknowledged. The museum's collection has more than 4,500 artworks.

National Museum of Women in the Arts Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

7. Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

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1661 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20006

Out of every single museum and gallery in the nation's capital, the recently reopened Renwick Gallery tops them all for being the most Instagrammable. One of the exhibitions in particular, called, "Wonder," took the city's art scene by storm with some 100,000 visitors in the first month. What caused such popularity was how monumental and visually stunning the installations inside were, such as the dead insect art installation.

Photo via Shutterstock/Tupungato

8. Ford's Theatre

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511 10th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

If interested in touring a historic venue, the Ford’s Theatre is your best bet. The site became famous after it was the site of the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. After being used as a warehouse and office building for many years, it was later reopened as a theatre in 1968. To see all of the current and upcoming performances, go to the Ford’s Theatre website here.

Ford's Theater Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Difference engine

9. Octagon Museum

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1799 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

In Foggy Bottom, you can find this architecture and design museum. The house was built between 1798 and 1800 by the architect of the U.S. Capitol, Dr. William Thornton. It now serves as the home of the American Institute of Architects and features architects who have had some of the longest-lasting influence.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Steveturphotg

10. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

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2700 F St NW
Washington, DC 20566

You don't need to cough up too much money to enjoy a performance at the Kennedy Center. Every day, there are free performances at the Millennium Stagewith no tickets required.

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Tom

1. The Phillips Collection

1600 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20009
The Phillips Collection Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

There's nothing wrong with the Smithsonian museums, but if you want to discover lesser known spots in the District, the Phillips Collection is a must-see for art lovers. In 1921, this Dupont Circle museum became the first museum of modern art in the U.S. Inside, you can find works from artists like Renoir, Rothko, and Monet.

1600 21st St NW
Washington, DC 20009

2. Dupont Underground

19 Dupont Cir NW, Washington, DC 20036
Dupont Underground Photo via Malcolm K.

This 75,000-square-foot underground space was once a subterranean trolley station. Now, it’s open as an arts and culture venue with live performances, dance parties, and video art installations.

One previous exhibition Dupont Underground hosted was a Minecraft-like art display, called, “Raise/Raze.” This exhibit allowed visitors to interact with over 650,000 plastic balls and create arrangements with them.

Plans for Dupont Underground include creating an underground winery, gallery, restaurant, and the nation’s first underground micro-hotel. Since December 2014, Dupont Underground has been under a 66-month lease by nonprofit Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground.

19 Dupont Cir NW
Washington, DC 20036

3. The Mansion on O Street

2020 O St NW, Washington, DC 20036
A chandelier at The Mansion on O Street in Washington D.C. Photo via Victoria Pickering

The Mansion on O Street might be the quirkiest hotel in all of Washington, D.C. A majority of the 100 guest rooms have themes like a safari room or an Elvis-inspired Graceland suite. The development is composed of three connected row houses and comes with amenities like "secret doors."

2020 O St NW
Washington, DC 20036

4. Heurich House Museum

1307 New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
Heurich Mansion Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Almonroth

Referred to as the Brewmaster's Castle, the Heurich House is known for beer-focused events, such as Oktoberfest. Every month, the museum hosts "History & Hops," which features a beer tasting, a local brewer, and a tour of the 1890s mansion.

1307 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

5. National Geographic Museum

1145 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jllm06

For those who love animals, traveling, and photography, the National Geographic Museum should be on one's Washington, D.C. tourist bucket list. This museum is fairly small, so don't expect your visit to take more than an hour or two. Regardless, it's a good outlet for learning about subjects like animals and dinosaurs, the ocean, and various cultures around the world.

1145 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

6. National Museum of Women in the Arts

1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005
National Museum of Women in the Arts Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

Since 1987, this museum has been totally dedicated to celebrating the women who have influenced the art world. From Frida Kahlo to Mary Cassatt, the National Museum of Women in the Arts ensures that women artists are never forgotten or under-acknowledged. The museum's collection has more than 4,500 artworks.

1250 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

7. Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum

1661 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20006
Photo via Shutterstock/Tupungato

Out of every single museum and gallery in the nation's capital, the recently reopened Renwick Gallery tops them all for being the most Instagrammable. One of the exhibitions in particular, called, "Wonder," took the city's art scene by storm with some 100,000 visitors in the first month. What caused such popularity was how monumental and visually stunning the installations inside were, such as the dead insect art installation.

1661 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20006

8. Ford's Theatre

511 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Ford's Theater Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Difference engine

If interested in touring a historic venue, the Ford’s Theatre is your best bet. The site became famous after it was the site of the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. After being used as a warehouse and office building for many years, it was later reopened as a theatre in 1968. To see all of the current and upcoming performances, go to the Ford’s Theatre website here.

511 10th St NW
Washington, DC 20004

9. Octagon Museum

1799 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Steveturphotg

In Foggy Bottom, you can find this architecture and design museum. The house was built between 1798 and 1800 by the architect of the U.S. Capitol, Dr. William Thornton. It now serves as the home of the American Institute of Architects and features architects who have had some of the longest-lasting influence.

1799 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

10. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Tom

You don't need to cough up too much money to enjoy a performance at the Kennedy Center. Every day, there are free performances at the Millennium Stagewith no tickets required.

2700 F St NW
Washington, DC 20566