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Then & Now: Best of D.C.'s Hot Spots

In recent years, many of D.C.'s thoroughfares are the go-to places for drinks, dining and dancing. But the fun started much longer ago. Here are the city's top streets known for a good time today - and yesterday.

This is Connecticut Avenue. A long time ago it was all serious. But now it's time to par-tay.

1From housing to homes: The U Street demand

During the Civil War, Washington, D.C. residents fought their way for a spot in one of the block's Victorian-style homes. Now it's home to the city's jazz scene. Music is all-around on this street with art galleries intermixed for the visually artistic fans.

2H Street thrives

H Street has always been a bustling thoroughfare, even hundreds of years ago like in this picture (top right) taken in 1865. The street dipped in popularity and business in post-World War II and during the 1960s.

Now the street thrives (bottom right) with restaurants that serve up deep-dish pies, venues that host rock concerts and beer halls that have a fresh brew on tap.

H Street

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3Last call: It's 18th Street

18th Street was a much quieter neighborhood before automobiles hit the pavement about a century ago. Today a walker would be hard-pressed to find some peace as people make their way by car and foot to the row of bars and nightclubs along this road.

4Beep Beep: 14th Street

It's been a longstanding tradition to get out your horns and yield for pedestrians along 14th Street. The street has been coined the transportation row of the D.C. for nearly 100 years even in times of the horse-and-buggy (like in this picture, top right).

Then car dealerships lined up the streets, which is still seen today. But with its proximity to the National Mall, 14th Street is not one to miss for a night out.

14 Street

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5College fun: Connecticut Avenue

If you're in college, or want to recall those wild days, you can do so at Connecticut Avenue with its proximity to the University of D.C. The street has been known for years as an epicenter of the city with many streets meeting up with Connecticut Avenue. It's also close to Dupont Circle, known for its gay-owned businesses and a fun place to shop and dine.

6Florida Avenue Grows

Decades ago, like in this picture (top right) taken in the 1920s, the city grew so big that the original plan for Florida Avenue's length stretched so far that city officials had to name a portion of the street something else.

In the 2010s, it's an area known as a must-have for good eats and plenty of fun. It's one of the main thoroughfares you'll want to drop in and hang out.

Florida Avenue

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7Big Apple Meets D.C.: Must Be New York Avenue

New York Avenue has been a favorite among locals and tourists alike for years for its hustle and plentiful businesses along the way. Named after another big city a bit north, New York Avenue is home to the National Museum of Women in the Arts and The Art Deco. But drivers beware: It's also an accident-prone area.