Penn Quarter
Penn Quarter Neighborhood Profile
Penn Quarter is both edgy and uber-chic. This colorful neighborhood has two sides to its personality. Find a wide variety of restaurants, theaters and entertainment venues, museums and art galleries.
Getting Around in Penn Quarter.
Penn Quarter has a WalkScore of 98. It is a Walker’s Paradise so daily errands do not require a car. The Penn Quarter TransitScore is 100 and BikeScore is 89.

Metro Station

Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station for Green, Yellow & Red lines. Metro Center for Red, Orange, Silver & Blue lines.


About 42 Bus Lines run through Penn Quarter/Chinatown. It is in BRIDJ service area.


There are about 17 Capital Bikeshare stations in Penn Quarter-Chinatown.


ZipCar has about 10 locations in Penn-Quarter-Chinatown.

Bright lights, big city fun.
Looking for big city buzz? Hit Penn Quarter-Chinatown on a Friday or Saturday night. Take in a concert, show or game. Share noodles with someone you love. Go highbrow at the Shakespeare. Coo over a Red Velvet cupcake. Pose at the Portrait Museum. Dine at one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants and pubs. Sip a cocktail and people watch. It’s like a colorful shot of adrenaline. Mosey over to City Center for a très chic shopping spree. Stroll through the pricey glow of fine leather, platinum, silk and diamonds. Want to live inside the dream? Pick up a glass box on the penthouse level. Don’t forget the pedigreed pooch.
Penn Quarter DC Schools

Thomson Elementary School

Public • Grades PK-5

289 students • 5 student/teacher

Basis DC

Public Charter • Grades 5-9

510 students • 16 student/teacher

Wilson High School

Public • Grades 9-12

1696 students • 14 student/teacher

For a full, updated list of schools, see EBIS. School data from SchoolDigger
Penn Quarter History
Penn Quarter began with the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation. Its “Pennsylvania Avenue Plan” called for a mixed-use neighborhood that included residences, offices, theaters and other cultural venues, retail, hotels, and restaurants in both new and renovated buildings framing new parks and plazas. The neighborhood’s revitalization initially involved a number of developments west of the FBI Building to 15th Street, including the building we know now as the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. New parks and plazas like Pershing Park, Freedom Plaza, and the Navy Memorial were created. Market Square, The Pennsylvania, and the former flagship store of Lansburgh’s department store on 7th Street were early revitalization efforts east of the FBI Building beginning in the mid-1980s. The MCI Center ( renamed the Verizon Center, then Capital One Arena) opened in 1997. This spurred development of adjacent blocks to the north and east and the Penn Quarter neighborhood to the south. Redevelopment has continued at a steady pace since.
Chinatown 華府華埠 was once home to many Chinese immigrants who moved into the area in the 1930s, having been displaced from Washington’s original Chinatown along Pennsylvania Avenue by the development of the Federal Triangle government office complex. The newcomers marked it with decorative metal latticework and railings as well as Chinese signage. At its peak, Chinatown extended from G Street north to Massachusetts Avenue, and from 9th Street east to 5th Street. In 1986, the District dedicated the “Friendship Archway,” a traditional Chinese gate designed by Alfred H. Liu, a local architect and chairman of the Chinatown Development Corporation. The colorful, $1M work of art includes seven roofs up to 60 feet in height, 7000 tiles, and 272 painted dragons in the style of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Erected to celebrate friendship with Washington’s sister city of Beijing, it was hoped the arch would reinforce the neighborhood’s Chinese character. According to the plaque next to the arch, it is the largest such single-span archway in the world. In 1993, the Friendship Archway underwent a major renovation funded by DC and Chinese governments. Artisans from China performed extensive repairs on the archway and repainted details. In 1986, the Metro station was given its present name: Gallery Place-Chinatown. Many residents were displaces and in 1982, the city built the Wah Luck House apartment house at 6th and H Streets to accommodate them. Designed by architect Alfred Liu, the apartment building introduced modern Chinese design motifs due to the red-paneled balconies. Sadly, with completion of the MCI Center in 1997 (renamed Verizon Center in 2006 and Capital One Arena in 2017), little of the Chinatown neighborhood remained.
Sources: Wikipedia
Neighborhood information on this site is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.