Places to Eat, Things to Do around Foggy Bottom

If you’re visiting campus for Commencement or hosting guests for the week's activities, don’t miss these neighborhood favorites.

May 12, 2024

There's plenty to do and see in the neighborhood many GW students call home. (William Atkins/GW Today)

There's plenty to do and see in the neighborhood many GW students call home. (William Atkins/GW Today)

The George Washington University is deeply rooted in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, which gives students the opportunity to make the nation’s capital their biggest classroom. As GW prepares for Commencement Sunday, May 19, take time to explore the area the university has called home for more than a century. Or use public transit to go farther afield: Students can continue using their U-Pass benefits through Commencement Day.

If Someone Was Coming to D.C. For A Day, What Would You Recommend They Do? from The George Washington University on Vimeo.

Eat and Drink

Foggy Bottom offers plenty of options of for hungry people. At GW Deli (2133 G St. NW), a student institution for decades, the breakfast sandwiches are well worth the sometimes-intimidating lines. Poppabox (1928 I St. NW) offers a variety of quick, affordable daytime options for those who like eating to-go. 

Besides brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trucks abound in the neighborhood. (William Atkins/GW Today)
As well as brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trucks abound in the neighborhood. (William Atkins/GW Today)

Western Market, the revamped pedestrian mall at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, opened in 2021 with a host of new eateries and old favorites. Popular options include bento boxes at Onkei, Venezuelan classics at Arepa Zone, affordable bowls and wraps at Falafel Inc. and hefty sandwiches at D.C. family-owned Roaming Rooster. For happy hour or a sit-down meal, try burgers at Duke’s Grocery, beer and a slice at Andy’s Pizza or savory Indian street food at Bindaas. Grab dessert, including local creamery ice cream, at longtime favorite Captain Cookie and the Milkman.

If you’re here for an extended period or just prefer to cook for yourself, pick up groceries at Trader Joe’s (1101 25th St., NW) or Whole Foods Market (2201 I St., NW).

Visit Museums and Historic Sites

Visitors to D.C. often head straight to the Smithsonian Institution’s many offerings on and near the National Mall, and they’re well worth a visit. But there are also artistic heavyweights in Foggy Bottom and its environs, Just steps from the White House, the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery (1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) showcases the vibrant landscape of contemporary American craft.

For those who like to wander, the Foggy Bottom Association has created multiple self-guided walking tours of historic Foggy Bottom featuring sites of artistic, historical and social significance. The Foggy Bottom Historic District includes the city’s oldest standing structure: a frame dwelling at the corner of 25th and Eye streets said to have been associated with the Underground Railroad. (The structure now comprises 822, 824, 826 and 828 25th St. NW.)

Political history junkies can swing by a site that lives in infamy: the Watergate Hotel (2650 Virginia Ave. NW). If you’re already in D.C., it’s probably too late to book Room 214, used in the original break-in and now rebranded as the Scandal Suite. But you can still grab a drink at Off the Record (800 16th St. NW), the cozy, semi-hidden bar at the Hay-Adams Hotel that has hosted its share of cloak-and-dagger doings.

At the far south of the neighborhood on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences stands the Albert Einstein Memorial (2101 Constitution Ave. NW), a 21-foot bronze statue erected in 1979 to commemorate the 100th birthday of this scientific and humanist icon.

If you’re on the Mount Vernon Campus, the historic Foxhall neighborhood includes some lesser-known gems. The Kreeger Museum (2401 Foxhall Rd., NW) boasts an extensive collection including works by Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, Claude Monet and more. The Kreeger currently encourages but does not require reserving a timed pass for entry, with a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $10 for students, military and seniors.

Nature in the City

Rock Creek Park is easy to access but feels miles away from the D.C. hustle..
Rock Creek Park is easy to access but feels miles away from the D.C. hustle. (Katja Schulz/Creative Commons)

GW takes pride in its reputation as an urban campus, but nature is never far away. Joggers, cyclists, birdwatchers and others can enjoy the tree-shaded paths of Rock Creek Park. Or if you’re craving a taste of the life aquatic, rent a boat at the Thompson Boat Center (2900 Virginia Ave. NW) and float down the Potomac.

Take In a Performance

Culture vultures can walk or catch the complimentary shuttle from the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station (2301 I St., NW) to the Kennedy Center (2700 F St., NW), which hosts free performances from up-and-comers at Millennium Stage. Visitors should also step outside or upstairs to the terrace to see a different kind of show: the panoramic view across the Potomac

See the city from a new perspective atop the Kennedy Center. (William Atkins/GW Today)

Shop GW

Take a souvenir home from the university’s revamped campus store (2125 I St. NW), which offers Revs clothing, jewelry and housewares as well as books, electronics and more.

Campus Store Opening