U Street U Street

Founded in 1958, the building housing the original Ben’s Chili Bowl was once the first silent movie house in the District, and has hosted protesters and presidents alike.


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An area that dates back to the 1860’s, U Street has a long and storied history in DC. Once lined with Victorian-era houses U Street transformed into a vibrant entertainment destination by the mid-twentieth century.

Our U Street “Neighborhoods” ticket features area mainstay Ben’s Chili Bowl, which has been serving its famous half smokes for over 58 years. Founded by Trinidadian-born Ben Ali in a building that was once a silent movie theater, this DC institution once served some of the greatest jazz artists of the day during a time when U Street was known as the “Black Broadway.” Luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davies, and Nat King Cole would often stop by Ben’s for a late night snack after playing at one of the legendary jazz clubs on U Street.

Where to Play Where to Play

  • 2935
    Tickets entered for this neighborhood
  • 9
    Retailers in this neighborhood as of December 06, 2017

HIDDEN GEM

Alley Art

Go on an expedition of a different kind along U Street to scout amazing alley murals painted on the side of some of the most unsuspected buildings. Pictured is located at 905 U Street, NW. There’s also a new installation in the works for 1213 U Street, NW, right on the side of Ben’s Chili Bowl.