Discovering the city’s belowground delights
MANY PEOPLE know about the Metrorail, D.C.’s mostly subterranean subway system. But did you know there’s another transportation hub under the U.S. Capitol building? Built in 1909, these rail lines still whisk members of Congress between their offices and the Capitol. Visitors can ride the 1960s cars (above), too, by arranging tours through their elected officials. In this city of just 68 square miles, there are plenty of other intriguing hidden sites, like the Dupont Underground, a former trolley stop (1949-1962), fallout shelter (late 1960s) and short-lived food court (1990s). Today, the space located beneath Dupont Circle hosts history tours, art exhibitions and performances. Just outside the District, Virginia’s Crystal City Metro stop leads to a partially substreet-level mall, providing convenience items, souvenirs, coffee and doughnuts rumored to come from a Dunkin’ Donuts oven inside the Pentagon.