Penn Quarter

Photo of the Chinatown archway in Penn Quarter, credit Amy Tripp Myers

Where is Penn Quarter?

“Penn Quarter” describes downtown’s Seventh Street corridor, where the 19th-century meets the 21st.  It includes D.C.’s Chinatown Historic District.

What Can You See in Penn Quarter?

Hip hotels, restaurants, and loft apartments have sprouted up amidst attractions like the Shakespeare Theatre, National Portrait Gallery, Capital One Arena, and National Building Museum.  That most of these are housed in buildings constructed during the 1800s is what makes this walk an irresistible urban scavenger hunt to discover a bygone era – a time when Chinese, German and Italian immigrants lived and worked on and around Seventh Street.

Who Once Lived in Penn Quarter?

If you know where to look, you can find the old U.S. Patent Office where newcomer Emile Berliner filed applications for the first microphone and disk record ever invented, where Jewish families attended synagogue, where Chinese Americans forged a community, and where German Catholics formed a parish.

Don't miss this chance to experience downtown Washington, D.C. in a new way!

Why is it called Penn Quarter?  The fact that the southern boundary of the neighborhood borders Pennsylvania Avenue, NW influenced its naming, as did the fact that the former Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation’s Pennsylvania Avenue Plan called for its historic structures to be renovated even as new buildings were developed.  In early 2000s Washington, D.C., the name was also appealing to real estate developers as they wooed commercial and residential tenants.


More Washington, D.C. walking tous you might like: Foggy Bottom and Abraham Lincoln's Washington

Guides that may lead this tour: 
Portrait of Carolyn

CAROLYN attributes her devotion to walking tours to perambulations through her new hometown when she arrived to earn an M.F.A. in Acting from The Catholic University of America. She is the founder of Washington Walks.

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Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.  THIS WALK DATE HAS BEEN CANCELED.


Also available for private and group tour bookings. Please email for more information.

Approximately 2 hours
Reservations REQUIRED and limited to fifteen (15) participants.

$35 per person for public tours.

Email for a private or group tour quote.

Embarks from outside Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter Station.
Questions? Answers here.

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