Home to the Catholic University of America since 1887, the Northeast neighborhood of Brookland has been nicknamed “Little Rome.” But the popular neighborhood is also home to tree-lined streets filled with older homes and retro storefronts, and its central arts zone near the Brookland Metro stop offers galleries and performance spaces. Catholic University’s 193 tree-lined acres include Romanesque stone buildings and a grassy central lawn popular for sunbathing and frisbee-playing.
Take a guided tour of the grounds and interiors of some of Brookland’s most famous buildings. This vibrant collegiate area moves to a creative beat, which you’ll see in action on the Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market. The galleries of local potters, painters and crafters line a brick-paved pedestrian byway; visit when they’re open (most weekends) and you can see them in action and buy their wares; think carved wooden busts, pillows decked with vintage souvenir pennants and paintings galore. Nearby, long-running Dance Place offers up 100 plus performances a year starring edgy contemporary choreography.
Dining and drinking spots also dot the area, with offerings on old-timey 12th Street NE like funky gastropub Smith Public Trust (don’t miss its good-weather beer garden) and Steel Plate, which dishes up fancy cocktail and new American chow in a space decked with reclaimed wood and brassy light fixtures. On the arts walk, Brookland Pint pours dozens of beers (including two dozen mostly local ones on tap) in cool surrounds with a mural of the monuments; a pubby food menu is on tap too.