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U Street Heritage Trail

Cultural Tourism D.C.'s Greater U Street Heritage Trail tells the story of one of Washington D.C.'s most loved neighborhoods. You will see landmarks important to the history of jazz in D.C., learn about African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War, and read about the neighborhood's recent renaissance.
Difficulty: 
Easy
Scenery: 
Very Good
Photo Op: 
People who enjoy city photography will love this trail. The colorful storefront of Ben's Chili Bowl makes for great shots.
Location: 
12th and U streets
Washington, DC
Metro Accessible: 
Yes
Closest Metro Station: 
U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo
Distance to Metro Station: 
0.00mi
What to Bring: 
The U Street Heritage Trail map. Note that the text of the trail signs can be downloaded in pdf form from Cultural Tourism D.C.'s website.
Food Options: 
U Street has plenty of food options. More details, including links are provided below.
Additional Information: 

This is one of Cultural Tourism DC's Heritage Trails. Signs are posted along the trail (i.e., on the sidewalk) to point out places of historical interest. The trails provide great opportunities to learn local and national history, as well as visit D.C.'s distinct neighborhoods.

This trail provides walkers with a tour of one of Washington D.C.'s most lively neighborhoods.

Lovers of African American history will especially like this one. Known in the early-to-mid 20th century as "Black Broadway," U Street was home to numerous jazz clubs where many musical titans played, including hometown favorite Duke Ellington. You will pass two of Ellington's boyhood residences on the trail.

The trail also brings walkers to the African American Civil War Memorial. Across the street from the memorial is the African American Civil War Museum. Plan ahead to give yourself some time to visit the museum.

As with the Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan Neighborhood Heritage Trails, you will pass entrances to Meridian Hill, also known as Malcolm X, Park.

There are many places to eat in the U Street corridor. Perhaps the most famous is Ben's Chili Bowl, which was founded in 1958. In 2009, Mayor Adrian Fenty brought President Barack Obama to Ben's as part of his welcome to the city (Source: Wikipedia).

Also popular is Marvin, named after hometown favorite Marvin Gaye. The restaurant combines Belgian cuisine (Gaye lived a self-imposed exile in Belgium for two years) and soul food.

A relatively recent (and innovative) addition to the area is Cause - The PhilanthroPub, which is located just off U Street and is reviewed very well on Yelp. The restaurant donates its profits to charity.

Disclaimer: 
Environmental conditions in cities, parks, etc. can change rapidly and without our knowledge. We do not make any claims as to the accuracy of information presented on this page. Furthermore, hiking can be a dangerous activity that may result in bodily harm and possibly death. We hope the information that we provide will help you prepare for your hike, but do not assume that the information provided is complete. It is your responsibility to prepare yourself for whatever challenges you may face. If you decide to use any of the information on this page, you do so at your own risk.
Images: 
Lincoln Theatre, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.
Ben's Chili Bowl, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.
Bohemian Caverns, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.
African American Civil War Memorial, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.
Thurgood Marshall Center, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.
Duke Ellington's former home, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.
Meridian Hill Park, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.
14th and U streets, U Street Heritage Trail, Washington D.C.

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