Downtown DC has come to signify urban revitalization and the rise of new districts like Penn Quarter, a dining and entertainment hotspot named for its proximity to Pennsylvania Avenue. In Chinatown, you’ll notice the storefronts have their names spelled out in Chinese characters, a requirement to do business in the neighbhorhood. Meanwhile, the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site will take you back to 1865 as the cobblestone street and building’s facade are reminiscent of the past.
A crossroads of culture and entertainment, Downtown has served as the backdrop of pivotal moments in the history of the city and the U.S. Museums, theaters and galleries share the streets with bustling restaurants, lounges and hotels. Downtown is full of must-see sights like the International Spy Museum, Newseum, Madame Tussauds Washington D.C., the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Crime Museum and Ford’s Theatre. Framed by the iconic, colorful Friendship Arch, DC’s Chinatown is the place to go for Chinese food and great shopping. Nearby you’ll also find the Verizon Center, which hosts college and professional sports action and star-studded concerts year-round, and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Downtown DC covers the area between the National Mall, White House, U.S. Capitol and Massachusetts Avenue. Chinatown runs along H Street NW as well as around cross streets, including 7th Street NW. The Penn Quarter overlaps Chinatown in some areas and stretches from Pennsylvania Avenue north to H Street between 5th and 10th Streets NW. Take Metro to Gallery Pl-Chinatown, Metro Center, Archives-Navy Mem’l-Penn Quarter or hop on the Georgetown–Union Station Circulator route or various Metrobuses, which runs through Downtown.
By day, view a complete collection of presidential portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, and watch art preservationists at work in the Lunder Conservation Center. Or, try your hand at espionage in Operation Spy, an interactive experience at the International Spy Museum. Catch a midday production or lecture at the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Center for the Arts.
By night, see what’s doing at the Verizon Center, home of the Washington Wizards and Capitals. The sports venue also includes the Regal Cinemas Gallery Place Stadium 14 Movie Theater; Lucky Strike Bowling; and restaurants, bars and shops. Walk along 7th Street or along F Street and enter a sea of dining and nightlife options. Celebrity chef José Andrés also has five nearby restaurants, all which will leave a good taste in your mouth.
Penn Quarter is a revitalized historic neighborhood in downtown Washington, DC. The name “Penn Quarter” is relatively new and not so widely known. The area may also be called Old Downtown by some, although most people refer to the neighborhood as “near the Verizon Center”. Over the past two decades, Penn Quarter has become an arts and entertainment district with many restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, art
Penn Quarter is the neighborhood that runs north of Pennsylvania Avenue, south of Mount Vernon Square, between the White House and I-395. The closest Metro Stations are Gallery Place/Chinatown and Archives-Navy Memorial. There is some street parking available in the area, but this is a busy part of town in the heart of the city and spaces fill up quickly.