Adams Morgan is situated just outside the original city of Washington as planned by Pierre L’Enfant. The area developed as an urban district in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the city expanded, a process greatly facilitated by the construction of two streetcar lines on Columbia Road and 18th Street.
The area was originally known as Lanier Heights and became a fashionable, middle-class neighborhood. Following a period of decline during and after the Second World War, and racial tensions thereafter, the current name was adopted sometime between the 1950s and 1960s. It was derived by the combination of the names of two area schools, the predominately white-attended John Quincy Adams and the black-attended Thomas P. Morgan schools.
Since the 1970s, Adams Morgan has experienced an ongoing renaissance. Population and businesses have continued to increase. There were eight restaurants in the area in 1975; today there are more than 100, and the population has more than doubled. This continued growth and prosperity have made Adams Morgan and its commercial area on 18th Street and Columbia Road a vibrant nightspot and a desirable place to live.
Today’s Adams Morgan is a unique place. Its density, ethnic diversity, iconic murals above Madam’s Organ and the former Café Lautrec Restaurant, varied colors and architecture of the different store fronts and evening bustle make it a special neighborhood.
Today, Adams Morgan has more than 90% of residents 20 years of age or older and 79 % of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher education. There is an average household income of $115,000 and a median age of 33.5 years, according to the 2014 Neighborhood Profiles produced by the Washington, DC Economic Partnership. The DC Economic Partnership also highlighted the 24,000 people living within a 10 minute giving the neighborhood a walk score of 91 – a walker’s paradise. There is 17,550 sq feet of new retail space under construction in 2015.
This vibrant, diverse and artistic neighborhood is abuzz with colorful storefronts, friendly sidewalk cafes, restaurants with diverse cuisine, intimate coffee shops and some of Washington’s liveliest nightspots. Young professionals come for the spicy urban experience…and stay to raise their families.
The primary crossroads of Adams Morgan — Columbia Road and 18th Street — are the epicenter for independently owned shops that sell unique, one-of-a-kind gifts in all price ranges. Visitors will find unique records and books, environmentally friendly items, house furnishings, clothing and local contemporary artists’ work.