Colonials Weekend: Explore new areas: U Street

Colonials Weekend is the perfect opportunity for you to get off your bottom and show your family how well you know D.C. The Hatchet’s cheat sheet will help you seem like quite the Washingtonian, and give you an inside scoop on the lesser-known details of the District. Read up so you can be the tour guide this weekend.

Upon exiting the U Street Metro station, you’ll find yourself in a culturally vibrant and active area. Here is one example of a living, breathing D.C. neighborhood.

Originally developed in the late 19th century in response to the rapid demand for housing, U Street soon became a predominately African American neighborhood, rich in culture and art. In the 1990s, U Street was revitalized, following a period of decline, and turned into a thriving, diverse community with new dining, entertainment venues and homes.

Today U Street is known for its ethnic food and shopping but the nightlife is what really makes this area buzz. When you walk the Corridor – as the main street is called – you’ll find laid-back bars, cool concert halls and unique storefronts.

Jazz has a special place in the heart of U Street, once being home to Duke Ellington and a performing ground for Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong at the Lincoln Theatre, still a working venue thanks to careful preservation.

Music still thrives in the neighborhood today. Nestled nearby is the 9:30 Club, which was named “top club” by the Billboard Magazine Touring Awards in both 2007 and 2009. This is a small venue hosting big names like Bob Dylan and Adele.

Whether you want a sophisticated night at a trendy restaurant or bar, or to let loose at a nightclub, you can find it all here.

Insider Tips

This is one of the best areas of town if you’re in the mood for
Ethiopian food or jazz restaurants and bars – there are so many, it’s hard to pick a favorite!

When it’s breakfast time at Ben’s Chili Bowl, you can still get a chili dog, or anything else off the main menu.

Busboys and Poets

If you are looking for place that not only serves food, but food for thought, then head to this neighborhood gem. Busboys and Poets describes itself as a gathering place “where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul.”
Hours: Monday through Thursday 8 to 2 a.m., Friday 8 to 2 a.m., Saturday 9 to 2 a.m., Sunday 9 a.m to midnight
14th and V streets, NW

Vintage Shopping

Looking for an edgy and unique wardrobe? Then the vintage shopping in this neighborhood is a must, with popular stores like Junction, Dr. K Vintage and Rock it Again.

Hours: Wednesday 3 to 7 p.m., Thursday through Saturday noon to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday
1510 U St., NW

Dr. K Vintage
Hours: Monday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
1534 U St., NW

Rock it Again
Hours: Monday through Thursday noon to 7:30 p.m., Friday noon to 7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1528 U St., NW

Ben’s Chili Bowl

One great place to get your foodie fix in the District is Ben’s Chili Bowl, which boasts the best chili dogs in the area. This eatery isn’t just a local secret; celebrities like Bill Cosby, Bono and even President Barack Obama have indulged here. And don’t fear, vegetarians – there is also great veggie chili.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 6 to 2 a.m., Friday 6 to 4 a.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
1213 U St., NW

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