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 final exams wrap up and GW prepares for Commencement Sunday, May 21, take time to explore the area GW has called home for more than a century.
Eat and Drink
Foggy Bottom offers many options for hungry people. GW Deli (2133 G St., NW), a student institution for decades, offers classics that are worth the sometimes-intimidating lines, including some of D.C.'s best breakfast sandwiches. Local hero José Andrés’ fresh, fast-casual bowls put vegetables front and center at Beefsteak (800 22nd St., NW).
Western Market, the revamped pedestrian mall at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, opened last fall with a host of new options and old favorites, including D.C. family-owned Roaming Rooster and Falafel Inc, an affordable student favorite. For happy hour or an outdoor sit-down meal, try gastropub-y options at Duke’s Grocery or savory Indian street food at Bindaas.
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).
The following GW Dining locations on the Foggy Bottom campus will be open to GW students and their guests during Commencement Week: Hillel Café (2300 H St., NW) is open for lunch and dinner through Thursday, May 18; Shenkman Hall Dining (616 23rd St., NW) is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and Thurston Hall (1900 F St., NW) will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner through May 16, and open with adjusted hours through May 19.
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 absolutely worth a visit. But there are also artistic heavyweights in Foggy Bottom and its environs.
The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum (701 21st St., NW) currently hosts two linked exhibitions: “What Color Is Divine Light?”, a massive site-specific thread installation by artist Anne Lindberg, and “Prayer and Transcendence,” which explores the role and iconography of Islamic prayer carpets.
Head downstairs to the museum’s interactive Textiles 101 Gallery to learn about fabric art and even try some hands-on crafting. Visitors also shouldn’t miss the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, a selection of historic artifacts telling the story of the nation’s capital.
The Corcoran School of the Arts and Design’s historic Flagg Building (500 17th St., NW) is one of the city’s architectural gems. Through May 20, it hosts GW’s biggest annual exhibition of student work at NEXT 2023, showcasing Corcoran graduates’ capstone and thesis projects in fields from theatre to photojournalism. Access hours vary daily, so visit the festival guide for details.
As a bonus reward for those making the short walk from Foggy Bottom proper, the White House is right across the street and the Smithsonian’s own Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Ave. and 17th St., NW) is just a block away.
It's not strictly Foggy Bottom, but 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 $10 for adults and $8 for students, military and seniors.
Nature in the City
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), where current and upcoming shows include Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and Washington National Opera’s production of “La Bohème,” as well as free performances from up-and-comers at Millennium Stage and workshops at the REACH. Visitors should also step outside or upstairs to the terrace to see a different kind of show: the panoramic view across the Potomac.