Planning to discover the nitty-gritty of the capital of the United States but not sure where to begin? If you want to be in the heart of the hippest district in Washington, DC, then Logan Circle is the place to be! Located in the Northwest DC area, Logan Circle is named after the traffic circle at its core, around which beautifully preserved Victorian houses stand.
Centered around 14th Street, Logan Circle is a vibrant neighborhood with stylish home-décor stores, hip restaurants, LBGT-friendly bars, and craft beer pubs. An eclectic cultural scene comes alive in the neighborhood’s many art galleries, theaters, and music venues. There are also plenty of fantastic eateries, restaurants, and bars to wine and dine the night away.
Getting excited to explore the ‘The District?’ Don’t miss a thing with this complete guide for what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in Logan Circle, Washington, DC.
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What to see & do in Logan Circle
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
Start your Logan Circle visit by taking in some of DC’s rich history with a visit to the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site. Located on Vermont Avenue, the museum is housed in a beautifully preserved 19th-century townhouse and is part of the Logan Circle Historic District.
The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site honors and celebrates the life and legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American educator and civil rights leader. Roam around the intimate museum and enjoy an in-depth look at Bethune’s life and her pivotal role in the civil rights movement.
Learn about the history of the National Council of Negro Women, founded by Bethune, and her contributions to society as a trusted advisor to several U.S. presidents.
Once you’ve finished your visit, stroll around the Logan Circle Historic District and marvel at the stunning examples of late-19th-century residences built in the Late Victorian and Richardsonian Romanesque styles.
Nestled amongst the classic, timeless architectural Downtown DC masterpieces of the White House, the Washington Monument, and the United States Capitol, you’ll find the Watermelon House. A noteworthy attraction in its own right, this historic home is named after the bright, cheerful mural of a watermelon that adorns the side of the house.
Built in the late 19th century, the Watermelon House is one of several historic row houses on Vermont Avenue that were repainted to add color to the neighborhood. The striking mural fast became a popular photo-op site. While the house isn’t open to the public, you can still take that Insta-worthy shot!
The Watermelon House is just one of many beautiful and historic homes in the Logan Circle area. Stroll through the surrounding streets and admire the picturesque architecture and charming Victorian-era row houses.
Old Korean Legation Museum
Admire some beautiful Victorian architecture and glimpse the intricate relationship between America and Korea at the Old Korean Legation Museum. Set on Logan Circle, the museum details the history between the two countries from 1889 to the present day. If you enjoy history and politics, visiting this museum is a must on your DC itinerary.
Take time to explore the exhibits that tell the story of the diplomatic endeavors of the Joseon dynasty and the Korean Empire that took place in the building for over 17 years. Discover how it fell into disrepair when Japan denied diplomatic sovereignty to the Korean Empire in 1905 and how it was finally returned to Korea in 2012.
You can also learn about the role of Korea in the international community and admire some fantastic exhibits showcasing Korean culture, art, and history.
Catch a show at the intimate Studio Theatre on 14th Street. Founded in 1978 by Joy Zinoman, the theater is a serious player in the capital city’s dramatic scene presenting slick productions and substantial plays.
The Studio Theatre boasts two well-appointed performance spaces, the 200-seat Victor Shargai Theatre (formerly Metheny) and the smaller, 90-seat Milton Theatre.
A full calendar offers a variety of contemporary plays, musicals, and productions throughout the year. You’ll also find alternative programs such as staged readings, workshops, and educational programs.
One legendary experience in Washington, DC, which shouldn’t be missed is watching a show at the historic Howard Theatre. Located in the heart of the trendy Shaw neighborhood, this beautifully preserved theater is one of the coolest places to visit in Washington, DC, and promises an evening to be remembered!
Opened in 1910 as a vaudeville theater, the Howard Theatre was famous for presenting shows with African American performers during the segregation era. The theater also served as a venue for political rallies and speeches and was an important gathering place for the civil rights movement in Washington, DC.
Today, the 650-seat theater is a state-of-the-art music venue with a built-in stage and spacious dance floor. Once host to the likes of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin, the Howard Theatre is still the go-to for music performances. You can also catch comedy shows, film screenings, and other cultural events.
African American Civil War Museum
Travel back in time to the American Civil War with a visit to the African American Civil War Museum. Set on Vermont Avenue in the U Street neighborhood, the museum honors the history of African American soldiers and their contributions during the Civil War.
Exceptional exhibits highlight the experiences of black soldiers, sailors, and civilians during the war. Learn about the contributions of African American women, abolitionists, and other activists. Discover the role of the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) in the Union Army, which had over 200,000 African American soldiers.
Don’t miss the museum’s brilliant permanent exhibit, From Slave to Soldier: The African American Experience in the Civil War, which tells the story of the war from the perspective of African Americans.
Wander through history via interactive displays, photographs, and artifacts and gain deeper insight into the African American experience during this pivotal period in American history.
Where to eat & drink
Logan Circle boasts a vibrant dining scene with a few of Washington’s most popular spots to eat & drink.
For a taste of Toyko and some of the best ramen in town, head to Jinya Ramen Bar. Tuck into classic tonkotsu ramen or go for something different, like Japanese-style fried chicken or crispy pork belly. A sleek outlet of the L.A.-based Japanese chain, Jinya is an excellent spot for a casual evening with friends.
If you’re looking for a lively tapas bar inspired by the culture of Spain, Barcelona Wine Bar is a fantastic spot! You’ll find an ever-changing menu focusing on clean flavors, seasonal ingredients, and specialties from Spain and the Mediterranean. Sip on an award-winning selection of wines from Spain and South America.
Experience the artful spirit of an authentic Parisian brasserie at La Diplomate with delicious Gallic classics like onion soup gratinée and escargots to bouillabaisse and cassoulet. Relax in the elegant ambiance of the indoor dining room, or book a table on the patio for a sublime alfresco meal.
Looking for a vibrant and bustling spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner? Head to the Commissary in Logan Circle. Book a table on the restaurant’s spacious outdoor patio and people-watch while you tuck into crispy chicken and waffles, quinoa bowls, and juicy lamb burgers.
Logan Tavern is your best bet for a laid-back neighborhood joint with a warm and welcoming vibe! Enjoy farm-to-table American cuisine with a modern twist for lunch and dinner or a lazy weekend brunch.
If you’re a beer aficionado, join brew-loving Washingtonians at Church Key to work your way through the 555 labels on offer! Kick back on comfy couches in a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere, and sip one of the 50 taps or bottled ales. Snack on classic pub grub like flatbreads, chicken wings, and deviled eggs.
Where to stay
With its central location, Logan Circle is one of the most popular neighborhoods to stay in Washington, DC. The accommodation selection in the area includes everything from cool boutique hotels to vacation rentals. If you run out of options, expand your lodgings search to other nearby Downtown DC neighborhoods like Dupont Circle, Penn Quarter, or Foggy Bottom.
Situated on a tree-lined street a short walk from The White House, the Viceroy Washington DC is a high-end hotel with polished rooms and a stylish gallery with artworks by local artists. Unwind in a soaking tub in your en-suite bathroom or soak up city views over drinks on the seasonal rooftop terrace. Cool off in the swimming pool and stay fit in a 24-hour gym.
Housed in a beautifully preserved 1962 Morris Lapidus-designed building, the Washington Plaza Hotel offers classic guest rooms with private balconies and pool views. Located less than a mile from The White House, the chic downtown hotel has a seasonal outdoor pool, a fitness room, and a stylish lobby cocktail lounge with a fireplace.
Original artwork and exterior murals abound at the elegant and eclectic Hotel Zena, a Viceroy Urban Retreat. Relax at the hip lobby bar/lounge and enjoy a game of billiards or unwind on the rooftop sundeck and swimming pool with drinks from the poolside bar.