Whether you're a long time visitor or brand new to the sights of the city, there's a new vibrant area of the city to explore. You're in for a real treat and probably a surprise – when you visit the Penn Quarter downtown. Once downtrodden the neighborhood along 7th Street, N.W., extending from Chinatown to Pennsylvania Avenue not only has been revitalized but, in fact, is becoming the heartbeat of the city.
The opening of the Verizon Center in 1997, which brought the Washington Wizards and Capitals to town from the suburbs, surged like an electric shock through the area.
Suddenly, wherever you turn, there is something to see: a fascinating portal into the world of espionage at the International Spy Museum, the wonders of science revealed through fabulous interactive exhibits at the Mariam Koshland Science Museum, standing next to the life-like Barack Obama figure at Madame Tussunds, the first federal art collection at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the newly reopened National Portrait Gallery and the Washington Area Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. And this just scratches the surface.
Penn Quarter is at the center of a vibrant theater community that includes the Shakespeare Theater, the venerable Ford's Theater, Warner Theater, National Theater, as well as the smaller but as exciting Wooly Mammoth Theater and Warehouse.
Street transportation is plentiful, but the Chinatown-Gallery Place Metro stop is one of the main hubs in the region's world class subway system. It has sparked a revived Chinatown, the explosive growth of myriad shops and restaurants in Gallery Place and the luxury condominiums seemingly sprouting up everywhere around Penn Quarter.
The city has long been one of the restaurant capitals of the world, from the Spy Museum's adjoining café and incredible offshoot, Zola, to fan favorites like the ESPN Zone and Hard Rock Café.
In between, are restaurants with some of the most sought-after tables in the city, funky kaiten sushi outposts, the terrific classics in Chinatown and the best steaks and seafood you can find.
If it weren't for the national monuments, the Capitol and other attractions down on the Mall, the bustling Penn Quarter would be reason enough to visit Washington. With DC Metro as your guide, we invite you to explore.