Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest and most interesting neighborhoods in Washington DC. Bordered by the Potomac River on the west and The White House on the East, Foggy Bottom is a mix of history, culture, government, foreign embassies, and international businesses. There are many places to visit that are well worth the time. Here are a few of the best.
Located on the shores of the Potomac just north of the Lincoln Memorial is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Opened in 1971, the Kennedy Center is dedicated to a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances of theater, ballet, dance, music, comedy, opera, symphony, and more. Festivals, Banquets, and Gala Events are also frequently held here. In addition to the performances, education has become a major focus and its education programs have expanded to reach people of all ages.
The Kennedy Center offers an astounding open-air rooftop terrace. It is free of charge to the public most nights from 10:00 a.m. until midnight though it is occasionally closed for private events so please check ahead. From the terrace you get a 360-degree view to take in Arlington, Virginia, to the West; the Potomac River to the South; Washington Harbor and the Watergate Complex to the North; and the Lincoln Memorial to the East.
There are Free performances daily at 6:00 and free transportation from the Foggy Bottom Metro.
2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC 20566 | (202) 467-4600 | www.kennedy-center.org
One of Washington DC’s best-kept secrets is the opportunity to tour the US State Department’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms. This is no run-of-the-mill government building, but rather a suite of 42 lavishly appointed rooms where U.S. diplomats carry out high-level meetings with the most prominent emissaries, government officials, and royalty from around the world.
The Diplomatic Reception Rooms contain one of the nation’s most prominent collections of American art and antiques, over 5,000 pieces, dating from the 1750s through the 1820s. For example, you’ll find the desk on which was signed the 1783 Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War.
The tours are Free and run Monday – Friday at 9:30am, 10:30am and 2:45pm.
2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520
Forever associated with the scandal simply known as “Watergate”, this legendary Washington DC luxury hotel is so much more than a historical marker. A modern urban resort perfectly accommodated to make it an ideal destination for travelers who are in DC for both business and leisure.
Housing over 300 beautiful guest rooms as well as over 27,000 square feet of meeting and event space including the Moretti Grand Ballroom. There are also over 10,000 square feet of outdoor terrace space to host events.
Perhaps second only to the top of the Washington Monument, the Top of the Gate may have the best panoramic view of DC. Enjoy a drink at this rooftop bar and lounge and take in the views of the Kennedy Center, the Potomac River, the Washington Monument, and the rest of the Washington D.C. skyline.
The Watergate Hotel also has several restaurants, the Argentta Spa, and fitness facilities.
2650 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037 | (866) 271-0218 | www.thewatergatehotel.com
Just west of the Watergate complex is the Thompson Boat Center. Located on the shore of The Potomac, you can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards and venture out on the river for a completely different view of the memorials and monuments. Paddle your way around Theodore Roosevelt Island or make your way downriver to Tidal Basin where you can row right up to the Jefferson Memorial.
The Thompson Boat Center also offers private or group classes. And if you want to stay on land, you can rent bicycles as well.
2900 Virginia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037 | (202) 333-9543 | https://boatingindc.com
Located in the heart of Foggy Bottom, the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum display collections of rugs, clothing, and other textiles from around the world, dating from 3000 BC to the present.
The museum is also home to the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection. Donated in 2011 by Mr. Small, the collection features more than 1900 items that document the formation, development, and history of our nation’s capital, including manuscripts, books, newspapers, photographs, and maps.
701 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052 | (202) 994-5200 | https://museum.gwu.edu
At the northwest corner of Foggy Bottom is the southern end of the famous Rock Creek Park. Founded in 1890 as a recreational getaway for people living in the Capital, the park is 1,800 acres of green oasis, sheltered by oaks, beech, cedars, and dogwood trees.
There are miles of asphalt trails, perfect for walking, biking, running, or rollerblading. There are also equestrian trails to go with the Rock Creek Horse Center or further north, the Meadowbrook Stables.
You can visit the Carter Barron Amphitheater, a 4,200-seat venue where you will find concerts, plays, festivals as well as a tennis tournament, the Citi Open than runs every July. Located east of Rock Creek, it’s accessible from 16th Street NW. Check the website for programs and events.
Rock Creek Park also houses the Nature Center in Rock Creek Park, the Rock Creek Park Planetarium, the Rock Creek Golf Course, and the Rock Creek Tennis Center.
Other Points of Interest
There are so many important places in Foggy Bottom that it is unfair to single a few out. Some of the more prominent that call Foggy Bottom home are; the U.S. Department of Interior, the World Bank Office Building, the Office of Personnel Management, the Art Museum of the Americas, DAR Constitution Hall, the American Red Cross Headquarters, and the National Academy of Sciences.