George Washington University

White House Area & Foggy Bottom

Known as ‘G-dub’ or ‘GW,’ this university has been a bedrock of Washington identity since its founding in 1821. Besides shaping much of the American political landscape, GW has shaped the capital itself, buying up town houses on such a scale that it is now the city’s second-biggest landowner after the federal government. Its list of famous alumni is mighty impressive, and includes Edgar Hoover, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, John Foster Dulles, J William Fulbright, Colin Powell, Bob Woodward and Elizabeth Warren.

The university is spread over several blocks between F, 20th and 24th Sts and Pennsylvania Ave in Foggy Bottom. The best bit of the campus is University Yard, between G, H, 20th and 21st Sts, where Colonial-revival buildings flank a green park bedecked with roses and a statue of – who else? – George Washington.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby White House Area & Foggy Bottom attractions

1. St Mary’s Episcopal Church

0.13 MILES

Built in 1887, St Mary’s was home to the first black Episcopal congregation in DC, which was established in 1867. James Renwick, designer of the…

2. Textile Museum

0.17 MILES

This gem is the country’s only textile museum. Galleries spread over two floors hold exquisite fabrics and carpets. Exhibits revolve around a theme – say…

3. University Yard

0.18 MILES

One of the best bits of the George Washington University campus, where Colonial-revival buildings flank a green park bedecked with roses and a statue of –…

4. Watergate Complex

0.34 MILES

Designed by Italian architect Luigi Moretti and DC-based landscape architect Boris Timchenko and constructed between 1963 and 1971, this five-building…

5. State Department


The headquarters of the American diplomatic corps is a forbidding, well-guarded edifice – modernist, monolithic and unfriendly. In stark contrast are the…

6. Octagon Museum

0.47 MILES

Designed by William Thornton (the Capitol’s first architect) in 1800 for one of the largest slave-owners in the state of Virginia, this minimally…

7. National Academy of Sciences


Made up of approximately 2000 members, including almost 200 Nobel Prize winners, these are the folks the government hits up for scientific advice (whether…

8. Renwick Gallery

0.51 MILES

Part of the Smithsonian group, the Renwick Gallery is set in a stately 1859 mansion on the same block of Pennsylvania as the White House. It's emerged as…