Updated July 20, 2020.
Chinatown is one of D.C.’s most well-known neighborhoods, thanks in no small part to the amazing food, Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, and CapitalOne Arena! Plan to spend a few hours here to see (and eat!) everything!
7. See the Mary Surratt House
Who’s Mary Surratt? She’s the first woman every hanged in the United States. Why? She may have been in on the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln! Her former boarding house is now an Asian-fusion restaurant and karaoke bar, right in the heart of Chinatown’s H Street Corridor.
6. Go to an Event at CapitalOne Arena
Formerly the Verizon Center, formerly the MCI Center… the CapitalOne Arena is home to the Washington Capitals NHL team, the Washington Wizards NBA team, the Washington Mystics WNBA team, concerts (I’ve seen Michael Buble here and it was amazing!), Disney on Ice, and more! It’s one of Chinatown’s main draws, and it helps that it’s literally attached to the Green, Yellow, and Red Metro lines!
5. Visit the U.S. Mint
Most of the U.S. Mint Headquarters in D.C. is closed to the public, but anyone can visit the coin store! It’s open Monday-Friday from 10:00am-5:30pm; closed on weekends and federal holidays. This is a fun store to visit, especially if you’ve already taken the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tour or the Treasury Department Tour!
4. Visit the 6th and I Synagogue
This is more than just a house of worship. It’s also a place to find out more about Jewish life and an event venue for religious and secular purposes. I visited once and was encouraged to see how much they do for the community and how they welcome all people of all walks of life. As a Christian for example, the more I understand about Judaism, the more I understand about Jesus. Check out their calendar of events!
Read on: Religious Sites in D.C.
3. Eat Amazing Food
Chinatown is in the running for the best food in D.C.! There are tons of restaurants to choose from, and every cuisine to try: Mediterranean, pizza, all-American, Spanish, and of course, every variety of Asian!
Stay tuned for What to Eat in Chinatown, coming to the blog soon!
2. Visit the National Portrait Gallery
The Smithsonian’s Portrait Gallery is one of my favorite Smithsonian museums. It’s not on the National Mall, so it’s usually a bit less crowded, and it stays open late every day! I am admittedly not much of an art person, but the America’s Presidents exhibit it one of the most interesting to me. I like to see how things have changed over the course of my country’s history, like clothing styles and artistic styles. George Washington’s portrait is different from Teddy Roosevelt’s, and FDR’s is different from Nixon’s!
1. Find the Chinatown Friendship Archway
I say find… but it’s not hard to find! It crosses H Street, NW, at Seventh Street, and you really can’t miss it! It’s officially called the Chinatown Friendship Archway, and it was completed in November 1986.
Want more D.C. recommendations, tips, and insider info? You’ll find everything on my Washington, D.C. Page!
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