Downtown/Penn Quarter

The capital’s Downtown is all business, no questions asked.

With businesspeople and briefcases crowding the sidewalks to and from work (and slow-walking not an option), Downtown DC feels like any other urban downtown. But it sure doesn't look like them—a scarcity of skyscrapers lends an open, transparent air, allowing this metropolis to make its own political statement. Beyond the hustle and bustle of Downtown's main corridors, Penn Quarter provides locals with a splash of culture and entertainment when their workdays end.

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On the Map

Downtown/Penn Quarter is bordered by Judiciary Square, Mount Vernon Square, Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, Shaw, and Foggy Bottom

  • Public transit is Easy
  • Having a car is Difficult

Reagan National Airport: 15 minutes by cab without traffic or 21 minutes by public transit
Dulles International Airport: 35 minutes by cab without traffic
The White House: 5 minutes by public transit
Georgetown: 9 minutes by public transit

Behind the Iron Gates

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Trading towering skyscrapers for historic American centerpieces, Downtown DC boasts an air of importance.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Aimless wandering in this district will provide no shortage of monuments and historical fun facts.

Pixel
We are right in the heart of the city with easy access to all metros: Red Line at Metro Center, Green/Yellow, Blue/Orange line at McPherson Square. The neighborhood is very walkable and great for jogging down to the National Mall, Washington Monument, Smithsonian, and Potomac River."

Where Suits Reign Supreme

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Whether on the way to the office or during lunch break, regulars of Downtown keep a buttoned-up appearance.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Repose, though rarely indulged in Downtown, is possible.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

All you need is a quiet bench.

Chinatown: A Treat for Your Eyes, Ears, and Mouth

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

No longer simply a food destination, Chinatown attracts a multitude of adventurous visitors through its gates.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Happy hours and late-night lounges are as abundant as Asian restaurants in Downtown/Penn Quarter.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Public transit will get you here, but wouldn't you rather get home via rickshaw?

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Penn Quarter: DC's Urban Boom

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Helping comprise what is now a much larger downtown area, Penn Quarter, or "Old Downtown," has become DC's new destination for arts and entertainment.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

By night, Penn Quarter provides the best excuse to dress up.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

By day, this pedestrian-friendly area's countless storefronts and museums serve as an urban explorer's paradise.

USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW
USA WashingtonDC Downtown Penn Chinatown CKW

Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

As a freelance photographer based out of DC, I’ve had a lifelong desire to be submerged in different cultures, meet people of all walks of life, and eat bizarre foods. While my personal favorite escape is surfing remote warm-water breaks in Central America, I loved working on this project and discovering the many hidden subcultures that make up the diverse and often-mislabeled city of Washington, D.C.

Chris Weisler

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