living in dupont circle

If Dupont Circle had a theme song, it would be by Dua Lipa. Fun, always great, classic, has staying power and the kids like it. Dupont Circle holds a special place in my heart. I lived here for 10 years in the last of my single girl days and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. What is so continuously appealing through the decades about living in Dupont Circle?

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Of the 109 DC neighborhoods tracks, Dupont Circle ranks 12th of Best Neighborhoods for Professionals, and 15th Best Overall. For Families, Dupont ranks 39th out of 109 neighborhoods. I’m not a fan because so much information there is faulty. But I would generally agree with the rankings. It is one of the better neighborhoods for both professionals and overall, and for families it’s just outside the top third. If you’re the kind of parents who don’t want to trade lifestyle to leave the neighborhood, then the downsides may not matter.

Dupont Circle – Location

Dupont Circle is a small neighborhood. Florida Avenue is the northern border, 15th on the east, M Street to the south and 22nd street on the west side. It’s about seven blocks north-south and seven blocks east-west, if you don’t count the half-blocks between the lettered streets.

The actual circle of Dupont Circle has an inner and outer ring and 5 roads, or, 10 different spokes that go through. Actually, it’s 12 spokes because Connecticut Avenue is split by the underpass and let’s just say it’s a disaster to navigate by car, bike or foot. The streets that run through it are Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire – so 3 of your New England States. And then 19th and P Streets also intersect here.

Red line metro runs through Dupont with a stop underground in the circle.

North and east of the circle has a different feel than south and west which is the older part of Dupont, closer to downtown more commercial. North and east are more leafy and residential – combining city living with walkability and streets framed with trees and parks.

Dupont Circle Real Estate

Dupont is urban, dense living. There are more condos than you will find single family homes here. There used to be only single-family homes here with a few apartment buildings. As prices rose, homes got carved up into condos to make living here more affordable and provide homes for more people.

Dupont has rowhomes, condos and apartments. One of the most famous condo buildings is the Cairo. Built in 1894, the Cairo was the tallest building in DC, thus spurring all sorts of controversy. And after successful lobbying, the Height of Buildings Act was passed in 1899. This outlines that the type of street dictates the maximum height of the buildings on that street.

The average price of all condos in Dupont Circle over the last six months is $545,000. The median price is $519,000. This is for studios, one and two bedrooms. If we break it down by number of bedrooms, the average for studios is $261,000. One bedrooms sold at an average price of $418,000 and median price is $400,000. The average price for two bedrooms is $725,000 and the median price is $688,000.

Dupont Circle is famous for its gorgeous Victorian homes built in the early 1900’s. Prices for these gorgeous grand dames range can run up into the $3M’s. You can get a smaller rowhome just over $1M. The average price of rowhomes in Dupont is $1.877M and the median price is $1.75M.

Many of the large Victorian homes have basement apartments that are rentable, which help subsidize the mortgage payment. There is a steady demand for these rentals as well. Dupont tends to be one of the DC neighborhoods that parents can feel okay with their newly graduated 22-year-old moving to. There’s enough city-vibe for the young professional and a good neighborhood feeling for the parents to not worry about their kiddo in the city.

Fun in Dupont

Dupont Circle has fun for all! The circle alone is a huge gathering place for many people. You will often see people stop and sit here on their way home from work just to read or people watch.

The Baron Hotel Pub is here and it is home to the Comedy Loft of DC.

The Phillips Collection Museum is in Dupont Circle.

Do you miss old board games like Trouble, Risk, Operation, Sorry or Hungry Hungry Hippos? Check out the Board Room on Connecticut Avenue which is a pub with vintage board games.

Aside from the games, what else makes them cool? Their motto is “Put down the phone and interact at the Board Room.” And they don’t have a kitchen so you are allowed to bring in your own food. This is the kind of cool place you feel like you would see in other cities but not DC. But here it is!

One of the best book stores and cafes is here – Kramerbooks, is now called Kramers. They were always great but under new ownership, this feels like a new institution of an old institution for DC. I love their books but I also love their pie.

There was a point when Kramers was considering a move, but seems they have closed the chapter on that idea. See what I did there? Kramers is excellent at curating an interesting selection of books for kids and adults. Their children’s section encourages kids to read and makes reading fun. This is easily a place the whole family can spend an afternoon! They host book readings and author events.

Dupont Underground is where the old trolley lines used to go through DC under the circle. When the trolley cars were retired they had stores under the circle, but eventually that closed up. The space was finally reopened as an arts venue called Dupont Underground. They aren’t opened every day, but if you check the events calendar you will see the events coming up and you can run around underneath Dupont Circle!

I bet you didn’t know there’s a mini golf course in Dupont! Swingers Crazy Golf.

You can also tour the Heurich House Museum/Mansion. German Immigrant Christian Heurich had a DC brewery and you can tour the home and learn about DC History!

There are a couple low key awesome bars in Dupont as well. Larry’s Lounge and The Commodore are both places that are like Dupont’s version of Cheers.

There are also events that come to 17th Street. The Dupont Drag Race is the week of Halloween. It’s literally one of the reasons I bought my condo, because it has a view of the drag race. And these are not cars racing, no, it’s drag queens in heels. It’s actually the High Heel Drag Race!

You may wonder why there’s a drag race. While the neighborhood is very diverse in present day, Dupont used to be a marsh. Then as development moved from K Street and Georgetown to the north and east, Dupont became a place of mansions for the wealthy. As those mansions were passed to the next generations, and the turbulent times of the early to mid 1900’s came, many mansions were sold to other countries and turned into embassies.

Dupont then started to fall into disrepair. But then, in the 1970’s, Dupont became the epicenter of gay culture in DC, and along with it came gentrification. By the year 2000, the prices started to rise quite a bit and this became a solid neighborhood with steady home values.

Fun for Kids – Human and Fur Children

Ross Elementary School was once going to close, and then the families in the neighborhood banded together and sent their kids there, helping the school turn around. Now it’s one of the sought after DC elementary schools. Ross has a playground that is opened to the public on weekends and after the kids go home from aftercare.

There’s another park in the area is the Stead Recreation Center. If you’ve been in the area you’ve definitely heard of this spot. This playground has an area for the big kids and an area for wobbly toddlers so everyone has a safe space. Although this park is not dog friendly, there’s still plenty of places that are!

S Street Park is a large fenced in dog park that is covered with astroturf. This used to be a triangular dirt pit but now attracts dog owners and lovers from all over the area so that their furry friends can play. People actually line up outside the fence to watch the dogs inside. There’s a water fountain for the dogs and this place is always filled with people so there are lots of friends for you pooch to play with and stay entertained.

While we’re on the topic of doggies, one of the best, most long-standing pet stores and groomers is on 17th Street – it’s called Doggie Style.


There is so much packed into this 7 block by 7 block neighborhood.

On Connecticut Avenue there are quite a few places to eat. There’s Bistrot du Coin for French food and mussels. It’s always packed, and always delicious. There’s also Alero which is one of the best Mexican Restaurants we have. There’s Thai Chef Street Food and Zorba’s Greek Food. Closer to Dupont Circle there’s more fast casual, plus the only Krispy Kreme in the city. On the south side there’s Tatte, which is a café and bakery from Boston that’s popped up all over DC to much approval.

Lauriol Plaza on 18th Street for Mexican Food. Their patio is amazing and a lot of people bring their dogs too. Downtown on 19th you there’s the Palm Steakhouse which is more upscale.

The 17th Street Corridor has a lot of restaurants packed into a 2 block stretch.

Sacrifical Lamb at the corner of 17th and R is not to be missed. The restaurant doesn’t look like a lot from the outside but don’t let it fool you. It’s the most delicious Pakistani food and they do an incredible delivery service too. They have been here for close to 20 years.

Agora is another favorite of mine, it’s on 17th Street and they serve Turkish tapas. You can order a sampling of different foods and it’s all so good.

Floriana on 17th Street is also pretty highly rated and delivers consistently great Italian Food. And don’t miss the neighborhood staple, Annies Steakhouse which has been in business for decades. There’s also Hanks Oyster Bar around the corner on Q Street, if you’re a fan of oysters or other delicious seafood items!

There’s Commodore on 17th Street which is a very low-key chill bar with a good menu.

For grocery stores, the obvious one here is Safeway on 17th. But, if DC had a meme it would be “What’s Your Safeway Called?” There was Secret Safeway, Senior Safeway, Social Safeway – they all had nicknames. The one on 17th Street was called Soviet Safeway for its uncanny ability to consistently have empty shelves and long lines.

Sunday the farmer’s market in Dupont is a huge hit. It draws people from all over the city in the same way Eastern Market in Capitol Hill does the same.

Dupont Circle is an iconic neighborhood famous for being consistent but also for reinventing itself. Being less than a mile from downtown, this is a very convenient neighborhood for everyone from young professionals to families to empty nesters. Everyone cohabitates here peacefully and many people stay for decades and generations.