Riding the L2? From Chevy Chase Circle to Farragut Square
Ambling up and down one of DC’s leading thoroughfares, the L2 Metrobus’s path along Connecticut Avenue covers major ground in the northwest section of the city. In the years following World War I, Connecticut Avenue developed into a major residential and commercial corridor, with high-style apartment buildings popping up along the avenue. Residents were able to move farther away from downtown and commute using public transportation – first on streetcars, then on buses, and eventually on Metrorail – or their own vehicles.
As one of the neighborhoods found along the DC/Maryland state line, Chevy Chase is one of many streetcar suburbs developed to house residents farther from downtown. It became more popular as streetcar lines extended into Maryland, with bridge construction across the Rock Creek and Klingle valleys allowing for pedestrian, streetcar, and automobile traffic to easily pass through. The neighborhood is known for its apartment buildings on Connecticut Avenue, as well as single-family homes found along the adjacent tree-lined streets. The neighborhood also includes numerous businesses, including some that are housed in historic landmarks: the Chevy Chase (Avalon) Theater, Chevy Chase Savings Bank, and Chevy Chase Arcade (the latter of which includes a rare interior landmark designation).
Moving south through Van Ness and Cleveland Park, more architecturally-significant apartment buildings contribute to the residential character and density of the avenue, such as the Ponce de Leon, Tilden Hall, 3901 Connecticut Avenue, Sedgwick Gardens, and the Kennedy-Warren. Cleveland Park, another early streetcar suburb, includes a commercial strip of restaurants and shops that is anchored by the famous Art Moderne style Uptown Theater, designed by John J. Zink and completed in 1936.
Continuing over the Klingle Valley Bridge, the L2 passes by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and through the Woodley Park Historic District. The bus then makes its only detour from Connecticut Avenue, turning east onto Calvert Street and passing over the Duke Ellington Bridge, which crosses the Rock Creek Valley. Here, the L2 crosses paths with the 90 and 96 Metrobus routes, which carry passengers across the city in a southeast-northwest direction. The L2 then moves southwest along Columbia Road, passing through the Adams Morgan neighborhood (which includes the Kalorama Triangle and Washington Heights historic districts), before rejoining Connecticut Avenue at the curving concrete of the Brutalist style Washington Hilton.
After rejoining Connecticut Avenue, the L2 moves through the Dupont Circle Historic District – a long-time commercial destination for both locals and tourists – and makes its way downtown. South of the circle, Connecticut Avenue becomes much more commercial in character, with many office buildings visible through the bus’s windows, as well as famous Washington landmarks like the Mayflower Hotel. Approaching Farragut Square, commemorative monuments, like the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Memorial, come into view. Finally, arriving at Farragut Square, a popular public park with the Admiral David G. Farragut Statue at its center, the bus makes its final stop before making the trek back up to Chevy Chase Circle.
This tour hopes to draw your attention to the historic and architecturally-significant gems along the L2 Metrobus route. Start at the historic site that’s closest to you! If you’re traveling southeast on the L2, click “Next” to follow along. If you’re traveling northwest, click “Previous."