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Sam Goodwin: Your Local Dupont Circle, Washington DC Insighter

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4 months ago

Meet Sam Goodwin, your Local Insighter for Dupont Circle, Washington DC.

Sam is an American author, public speaker and current doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University. Beyond being recognized for having visited every country in the world, Sam has also co-founded a tech company in Singapore.

In 2019, Sam was wrongfully imprisoned in Syria on the accusation of being a CIA spy. Since his miraculous rescue, Sam regularly speaks to a wide a range of audiences on his experiences. Later this year, Sam will be releasing his first book, Saving Sam: The True Story of an American’s Disappearance in Syria and His Family’s Extraordinary Fight to Bring Him Home.

sam goodwin usa insighter washington dc

Today, we are gaining exclusive access to Sam’s local insights from his local neighborhood in Washington DC: Dupont Circle.

Sam, what an honor to have you join us on Travel Insighter! Can we trouble you to introduce yourself to our readers who aren’t familiar with your journey?

I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri and spent most of my upbringing playing competitive ice hockey. After playing collegiately at Niagara University in upstate New York, I moved to Singapore to begin my professional career, where I spent the six years working for a tech startup and business and regional NGO.

In late 2019, I completed my journey to every country in the world, and it’s a privilege to know a handful of the other members of this “club,” including Travel Insighter co-founder Dan Herszberg!

Today, I live in Washington DC and am excited to share some insight into my neighborhood: Dupont Circle.

Sounds like you have worn many professional hats. How long have you lived in Dupont Circle? And what do you love most about living there?

I’ve lived here since August 2022.

The first thing that comes to mind is the location. It’s in the geographic heart of DC, a city I consider to be among the best in the U.S. Dupont Circle is known for its vibrant atmosphere, historic architecture, diverse dining options and lively street performers.

What are some must-visit places in Dupont Circle?

I would recommend starting in the circle itself, which is named after Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont, a prominent naval officer in the United States Navy. The green space of the circle is a fun place to people watch, and it showcases the neighborhood’s diverse culture.

The O Museum, in addition to being a local attraction, also has a handful of hotel rooms. I didn’t know this until recently and am told that staying here is worth the splurge.

What are your favorite restaurants for a leisurely lunch or dinner in Dupont Circle?

I enjoy Mission. It’s an economical and consistent Mexican restaurant.

I typically order the chicken burrito and appreciate the large portion size. Commissary and Dukes are also solid options. The burgers at both places are tasty.

Where’s the best coffee in Dupont Circle?

Either Tatte or Foxtrot. Both are DC staples and great spots to work or meet friends.

What’s your favorite dessert in Dupont Circle?

I would say Larry’s Ice Cream. I find it to be a little pricey for ice cream, but it’s in a perfect location. I’m curious to get Dan’s review on how Larry’s stacks up to ice cream from around the world!

Let’s turn to the evening. What’s there to do after dark in Dupont Circle?

Sauf Haus is a fun spot. On weekends, the place comes alive with music and dancing. On other days, it’s great place to watch a big sporting event on TV.

Afterward, I suggest walking downstairs and around the corner to Surf Side, which is open 24 hours, for some late-night tacos.

That sounds like a fun night out. What’s your favorite landmark or place to go, even if just to pass the time?

The circle itself is a relatively well-known landmark. When the weather is nice, people are often out walking their dogs, playing games of chess or having a picnic.

In regards to landmarks, the National Mall is only a 15-minute walk from Dupont Circle, which is home to some of the most well-known landmarks in the world, including the Washington Monument, Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial.

Dupont Circle is also in the middle of “Embassy Row,” and I enjoy walking up and down Massachusetts Avenue seeing the embassies from countries around the world.

What’s a unique activity that only locals would know?

I enjoy going for a workout class at Madabolic. The gym was started by hockey players so maybe I’m biased, but it’s consistently ranked one of the best gyms in the city and can accommodate people of all abilities.

If someone had just one day in Dupont Circle, where would you tell them that they must go to do or see that isn’t on all of the tourist guides?

Kramer’s is an iconic independent bookstore known for its extensive collection of books across various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, politics, history, and more. It offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere where book lovers can browse through shelves filled with literature, discover new releases, and find hidden gems. It also has a café and restaurant.

Are there any events, festivals or celebrations that are particularly special in Dupont Circle?

Every Sunday, year-round from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, the Dupont Circle Farmers Market is open. In the warmer months, more than 50 local and regional farmers set up tents to sell fruits, vegetables, baked goods and more.

One of the best times to visit DC is in the spring.

If possible, it’s worth trying to time your visit the cherry blossoms that can be seen all over the city, especially in Tidal Basin, which is a short walk from Dupont Circle.

If you could give one piece of local insight to tourists visiting Dupont Circle, what would it be?

Many people who visit Dupont Circle enjoy seeing the local art. This can be done at The Phillips Collection, Hillyer Art Space and even inside the metro station, among other places. If you’re interested in art, I think you’ll appreciate these spots.

Sam, this has been such a whirlwind tour of Dupont Circle – thank you! How can our readers get in touch with you or learn more about your experiences?

Don’t hesitate to reach out anytime. Either on Instagram or directly by email: sam@samrgoodwin.com. I hope you have the chance to visit Washington DC!


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