Washington DC Underground: 8 Secrets That Encapsulate The US Capitol’s Underground Art Scene

Most people would describe the US Capitol as being the epicenter for politics and NGO’s. However, Washington DC (The District of Columbia) actually has quite a few artist stops in addition to a thriving underground scene: from charming parks and graffiti cliffs to underground collectives. If you’re tired of seeing museums and monuments or you just want to rediscover the city and learn something new about it then look no further because this is the digest for you.

The Spanish Steps

Tucked away just off  22nd and Decatur is an incredible vantage point just atop an idiosyncratic set of stairs known as the Spanish Steps–designed to resemble Spanish architecture. It’s a great place to hang out, read a book, pass on a date, or do a photo shoot. That being said, the streets of DuPont Circle can be rather narrow so know that parking is very limited.

DuPont Underground

A little further down from The Spanish Steps at the base of Connecticut Avenue in DuPont Circle is DuPont Underground, a renovated abandoned metro station turned art house. DuPont Underground often features amazing “up-and-coming” artists and art shows of every genre and every medium!

Culture House 

Formally referred to as “Blind Whino”, Culture House DC is a Southwest DC Art House that also hosts anything from fashion shows, to concerts, to art shows. You can’t miss it as it is painted in technicolor and just a hop and a skip away from Navy Yard.

The Cliff

Just above the boat house in Georgetown is The Cliff. Technically, you’re not allowed to go here… but passersby can still look at it past the railing? It can be found just under the Key Bridge and overlooking the Potomac river with Crystal City, VA just ahead. Graffiti artists have been known to tag here.

The Glass Forest

In The Palisades, behind an old recreation center and playground, there is a secret Glass Forest full of glass sculptures. It’s unknown who made them and why they’re there… Spooky, right? This forest will either charm you or send shivers down your spine.

Dumbarton Oaks

Just a hop and a skip away from Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown is a massive estate covered in garden-space known as Dumbarton Oaks. This beautiful flower-world is very reminiscent of the regency period and any born and raised Washingtonian knows that this is the place for hopeless romantics to take their dates when things are going well.

Mousai House

The location is unclear, but Mousai House is essentially a collective that hosts art shows for DC based artists. This includes visual and fine artists all over the district. Prepare for a really unique art experience that uplifts the arts community of DC! According to their instagram, they are known as a “Haven for Underground Artists”. For more updates, give them a follow on instagram!

Spit Dat DC

If you are looking to support more of the arts world or if you have a penchant for music and spoken word specifically, you’ll definitely want to attend a free/by donation open mic night with Spit Dat DC . On Thursdays at Blue Chakra Lounge you can perform or support DC artistry!

Many well known music artists have gotten their start performing for Spit Dat DC such as Christyles Bacon and Basic The Bassist.

Gravely Point

It’s not quite DC… It’s technically Arlington. However, Gravely Point is an incredible place overlooking the entire Washington Mall. This is also where planes go to take off and land. You can skip rocks near the Potomac River under the weeping willows, ride bikes on the trail, take pictures with the Monument in the background, or picnic.

Madrid-based traveler, visual and performing artist, and content writer.

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