Posted April 13, 2020

Neighborhood Spotlight: DC’s Penn Quarter


Washington, DC’s Penn Quarter neighborhood, also known as Chinatown, is almost like a city within a city. Nearly everything you’d want to do is right there: sports and entertainment venues, diverse cuisine and internationally-celebrated museums. And just a five-minute walk from the heart of all the attractions, the hip and vibrant atmosphere at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC is the perfect home base.

Penn Quarter’s centrally located to many of DC’s most popular attractions. (Photo credit: Destination DC)

A Live Entertainment Powerhouse

  • Penn Quarter is home to Capital One Arena, DC’s premier, 20,000-seat-arena hosting everything from professional sports games to global music superstars. Sports fans can catch Washington Wizards NBA games as well as Washington Capitals hockey games here, while recent performers include Shakira, Elton John and Beyoncé.
  • Nearby, theatergoers have access to nearly any kind of performance they can imagine. Take a trip back in time at Fords Theatre, which is still a working theater and the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. During the day, the theatre, museum and education center are open for tours that educate guests about Civil War-era Washington and Lincoln’s life, while plays and musicals related to Lincoln’s legacy are performed in the evenings.
  • For classic theatre productions, try the Shakespeare Theatre Company or take in an outside-the-box show at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, which hosts innovative and original works for the local community.

A visit to the historic Ford’s Theatre is like stepping back in time. (Photo credit: Maxwell MacKenzie)

Off-the-Mall Museums

The National Mall is home to some of the most respected museums in Washington, but they aren’t the only ones!

  • See the new portraits of both President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, then view the nation’s first collection of American art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (both museums are housed in the same historic Penn Quarter building).
  • From there, across F Street is the International Spy Museum, a captivating exploration into the history, tactics and some of the most famous names in international espionage.
  • On Pennsylvania Avenue, you’ll find one of the most unique museums in Washington, the Newseum – an interactive museum dedicated to the ever-changing world of journalism and news media, the biggest news stories from around the world and the freedoms of the First Amendment.

Get up close to the world’s most notable news, from a piece of the Berlin Wall to an antennae from the top of the World Trade Center. (Photo credit: Sam Kittner/Newseum)

Dine Around the World in a Few Short Blocks

You’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse dining neighborhood in DC than Penn Quarter. For starters, the festive colors of the Friendship Archway, a traditional Chinese gate designed by a local Taiwanese-American architect, serve as a warm welcome to this area.

  • Near the Archway, try handmade Chinese dumplings and dan-dan noodles at Reren Lamen & Bar, or Bantam King for spicy miso Japanese ramen topped with shredded chicken, mizuna greens, corn, chili threads, scallions, nori and naruto.
  • Celebrity chef Jose Andres has a collection of restaurants in the area spanning a variety of cuisines, like Greek and Turkish fusion at Zaytinya or elevated Mexican cuisine at Oyamel. Sip modern cocktails from a list of more than 100 libations at his self-described cocktail lab, Barmini.
  • Indulge in luxe Asian-inspired small plates and creative large-format cocktails at Dirty Habit or dress up for modern Indian fare at the white table-clothed (and local favorite) Rasika.

Cozy up to the bar and savor an expertly handcrafted cocktail at Dirty Habit.


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  1. Euripides Toro says:

    Great info for when we stay at the Palomar next week. Thanks

  2. Kimpton says:

    Glad to help! Hope you have a great stay.

  3. Kimpton says:

    This is wonderful, Ellen! Definitely lots to see and do in DC, we’re thrilled to hear you found us in a perfect spot.