The Best 7 Things to Do in Penn Quarter, D.C.

Updated July 20, 2020.

Washington D.C’s Penn Quarter neighborhood has lots to offer—from amazing food to iconic sites to a great location just blocks from the National Mall! Next time you find yourself in this neighborhood, check out all my favorite things to do!

7. Visit the National Archives

This is likely on your D.C. to-do list already, as it should be! If you don’t already know, the National Archives is the building where America’s most important documents are stored, including the Declaration of Independence (just like in National Treasure), Constitution, and Bill of Rights. There are also permanent and changing exhibits, and they have a really great gift shop inside, too!

You are not longer allowed to take photos inside the National Archives Rotunda where the Declaration and other historic documents are stored. I took this photo in 2010 when it was still allowed!

6. Tour the FBI Experience

Did you know you can tour the FBI building to visit their museum? You can! It’s true! An it’s one of the best things to do in D.C. The FBI Headquarters is right on Pennsylvania Avenue, but you can’t just walk in. Don’t forget to request your tour in advance!

Living it up at the FBI Experience!
Read on: D.C. Tours to Request in Advance

5. Go to the Theatre

Penn Quarter is also the unofficial theatre district of D.C.! Here you’ll find the Warner Theatre, National Theatre, and Ford’s Theatre. Check out their websites to see what shows are in town for your trip! With plenty of restaurants, walkability, and other sites to see nearby, a night at the theatre makes for the perfect date night!

So ready to see the Nutcracker!
Read on: Date Night in D.C.: The Nutcracker Ballet

4. Tour Ford’s Theatre and the Petersen House

Speaking of theatres, don’t forget that Ford’s is also a museum, and you don’t have to see a show in order to visit the museum and auditorium. Again, this is probably already on your list, with its claim to fame being that it’s the site of President Lincoln’s assassination. Plan to spend a couple of hours here!

Ford’s Theatre
Read on: How to Visit Ford’s Theatre

3. Eat Amazing Food

Penn Quarter has arguably some of the best food in D.C.! Whether you want a quick bite at Chop’t, a British pub experience at Elephant and Castle, or a special occasion sit-down meal at BLT Prime, you’ll find something for everyone in Penn Quarter!

Grilled Salmon from BLT Prime
Read on: What to Eat in Penn Quarter

2. Visit the Navy Memorial

One of my favorite memorials is not terribly well known. It’s the Navy Memorial! It’s easy to spot with the naval flags flying, but the best part is the map of the world on the ground. Take some time to find where you are, where you’re from, and where you want to go!

I went to the memorial with my friend from Japan who came to visit. We found Ise City on the map, where she grew up and where I taught English!

1. Take in the View from the Old Post Office Tower

This is one of the best views in the city! The Old Post Office Tower is attached to the Trump International Hotel, but the Trump Organization kindly gave the tower back to the National Park Service! The entrance is around the back of the hotel next to the Starbucks, and best of all, you can visit for FREE!

The Old Post Office Tower
The view from the top!

Are you ready for your trip to D.C.? Check out my Washington, D.C. Page!

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