Adams Morgan Day in Washington, DC

Adams Morgan Day

Moshe B. Zusman

Each year, the 2nd Sunday in September is Adams Morgan Day, an annual neighborhood festival with live music and international food from around the world.

Adams Morgan Day has become one of the most popular events in the city, by inviting visitors to enjoy sidewalk cafes, colorful vendors, cultural demonstrations, and dances in the neighborhood.

History

Adams Morgan Day began as a mega-block party in the late 1970s and grew in the 1990s into a massive festival with up to 300,000 visitors.

Long-time and new community-minded residents and business owners participate in the annual event, creating a local-grown festival that highlights the unique and historic neighborhood of Adams Morgan in Washington, DC, its ethnic roots, its diverse community, and its variety of pubs, international restaurants, and shops

Newcomers can be forgiven for thinking that Adams Morgan is a person—it is not—instead, it is the name of the neighborhood. Formerly the area was known as Lanier Heights but was updated following the social changes of the 1960s. Adams Morgan (also, often written as "Adams—Morgan") came from combining the names of two formerly segregated elementary schools, the predominately white-attended John Quincy Adams Elementary School and the black-attended Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School. 

The Event

Adams Morgan Day is the longest running neighborhood festival in Washington DC, having celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018.

First-time visitors should expect a dynamic array of singers, dancers, and live music filling the streets. Local eateries offer special deals, and most other businesses attempt to entice customers with bargains or sales. The Dance Plaza is a favorite feature with dance performances, live music, & workshops on rumba, Mexican folk, Bolivian, and salsa.

For the children, there is a Kid's Fair that has games, interactive science exhibits (in English & Spanish), clowns, face painters, jugglers, and the Chinese Lion Dancers. Prior years have seen cultural presentations like the Humanities Truck, a recording and exhibition space from American University that showcased content featuring the neighboorhood from the archives of the Smithsonian Museum. 

The roads are typically closed on 18thStreet NW between Columbia Road and Wyoming Avenue for the block party.

Location and Transportation

Adams Morgan, 18th St. NW, between Florida Ave. and Columbia Rd., Washington, DC. The Kids Fair is located at Marie Reed School at 18th St. at Wyoming. Two blocks along 18th Street NW (from Columbia Rd. NW to Kalorama Rd NW) will be closed to traffic. 

The best way to get to Adams Morgan Day is to take Metro to the Woodley Park-Zoo-Adams Morgan station. Parking is very limited in this part of town.

Things to Do

The eclectic neighborhood is the center of Washington, DC's liveliest nightlife and is popular with young professionals.

The culturally diverse community is home to lots of restaurants, nightclubs, coffee houses, bars, bookstores, art galleries, and unique specialty shops. The restaurants feature international cuisine from just about everywhere from Ethiopia and Vietnam to Latin America and the Caribbean.

The District of Columbia Arts Center is a non-profit organization that spotlights new and emerging artists, musicians, playwrights, and other performers. At the Patricia M. Sitar Center for the Arts, classes and programs in the arts are offered to community members and often feature shows and gallery exhibits.

Was this page helpful?