U Street: D.C.'s Black Broadway

Photo of Howard Theater, credit Ron Cogswell

Explore U Street: D.C.'s Black Broadway

Explore the neighborhood that was shared by Black intellectuals, business leaders, and families of all economic levels. The businesses they owned and the houses they lived in are featured on this walk.

U Street was dubbed “Black Broadway” for the numerous movie theaters, nightclubs and ballrooms frequented by jazz musicians like Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey, Jelly Roll Morton, and Duke Ellington himself. On our walk, you’ll see:

  • A theater and club where these performances took place
  • The first full-service YMCA for African Americans; one of the few hotels that welcomed a Black clientele
  • The first memorial to African American soldiers who fought in the U.S. Civil War
  • Homes occupied by the Ellington family as Duke grew up

You’ll also stand on the corner where searing protests started on April 4, 1968, following the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That event shook the city and the neighborhood, igniting a sometimes violent response that resulted in property damage.  The years that ensued brought other challenges, yet U Street's legacy of Black empowerment has remained intact.

What people are saying about our U Street walking tour

"U Street is really hopping now and this excellent exposure via WW made us want to return to experience the clubs, restaurants, and cultural events in the near future." TripAdvisor reviewer


If you like this Washington walking tour, you might also like: Columbia Heights and Logan Circle

Guides that may lead this tour: 
Portrait of David

DAVID traces his love of history to having grown up next to Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a recreated mid-19th century living history village on Long Island. He moved to the D.C. area in 2003 following a stint as a park ranger at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York City.

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Available for private tour bookings. Please email info@washingtonwalks.com for more information.


Approximately 2 hours
Reservations REQUIRED and limited to fifteen (15) participants on public tours.

Please email us for a private or group tour quote.

Embarks from U Street/Cardozo Metro Station’s 13th Street exit.
Questions? Answers here.

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