Chinatown

A Vibrant Area That Began on Pennsylvania Avenue

Chinatown offers a scene for nightlife and also provides a great link to history. With flourishing museums, profitable businesses and lively people, Chinatown is a full of entertainment and a great place to spend a Saturday night.

HistoryThe Chinatown area was formerly populated by German immigrants, but Chinese immigrants began to populate the area after they were displaced from Washington’s original Chinatown located along Pennsylvania Avenue.

After the D.C. riots in 1968, its population deteriorated at a fast pace, with many Chinese immigrants and D.C. natives relocating to the suburbs. Increases in taxes and crime and a decline in business caused turmoil in the city. In 1976, however, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) created a metro stop called Gallery Place which would acknowledge the creative makeup of the city but would ignore the ethnic background. A decade later, an attempt was made to acknowledge the Chinese by dedicating the Friendship Arch to reinforce the neighborhood’s Chinese character.

Each winter, a Chinese New Year celebration draws people from all over the area.

LocationChinatown is located east of downtown and consists of numerous businesses along H and I streets between 5th and 8th Streets in northwest Washington.

LandmarksChinatown is known for its Friendship Arch, built cooperatively by the Washington and Beijing city governments. Considered Chinatown’s “gateway,” the Friendship Arch is a vibrantly colored landmark with thousands of glazed tiles and giant panels with carved golden dragons. In the center is a marble panel inscribed with characters from the Chinese language, reading “Zhongguo cheng,” which translates to “Chinese city.” Chinatown is also known for its Chinese marks adorning traditional Chinese restaurants and contemporary businesses.

ChurchesNearby places of worship include the Calvary Baptist Church, Church of the Epiphany, Shiloh Baptist Church and the Chinese Community Church.

BusinessesThe Seventh Street District is also known as the Washington D.C. Chinatown and Shopping District because one can find fine restaurants, great museums and theatres. The Verizon Center is close by, and it hosts the Washington Wizards and Capitals’ home games. The Washington D.C. Art Gallery can also be found in this district.

In 2004, the District spent $200 million on renovations to transform the area into a scene for nightlife. Among the shops at Gallery Place, you can find Urban Outfitters, Thai Chili, Ann Taylor, Clyde’s, Washington Sports Club, just to name a few.