One Block: Exploring D.C.'s Penn Quarter & Chinatown

Your quick guide to eating, shopping, imbibing and playing in Washington, D.C.'s Penn Quarter & Chinatown.

When deciding which of Washington, D.C.'s neighborhoods to devote a day to, you won't want to overlook Penn Quarter & Chinatown. (Although, we recommend extending your trip and exploring them all.)

The bustling zone is filled to the brim with global cuisine, unique shops and bars pouring wine, craft beer or artful cocktails. Not to mention, there's a myriad of activities waiting on every architecturally stunning street. Clockwise, it's bordered by the Friendship Archway, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Newseum and Ford's Theatre. 

Grab your itinerary and a pen, then read on for our suggestions, which are sure to spice up your time in Penn Quarter & Chinatown. 


Soak up some fresh air as you enjoy a French Riviera-inspired brunch on Fig & Olive’s terrace. Then, marvel at your artful surroundings while indulging in contemporary Peruvian cuisine at China Chilcano. Finally, when late-night cravings hit, Clyde’s satisfies with classic American fare, such as juicy burgers and jumbo lump crab cakes. 

China Chilcano 418 7th St. NW, 202.783.0941

Clyde’s 707 7th St. NW, 202.349.3700

Fig & Olive 934 Palmer Alley NW, 202.559.5004

China Chilcano


Peruse women’s upscale apparel and accessories, plus stationery and gifts at Upstairs at 7th. After, stop by Teaism, a tea shop teeming with tisanes, greens, oolongs and more. Don't forget to deck out the hand holding the cup—visit Mia Gemma, a jewelry store selling beautiful baubles from engagement rings to earrings. 

Mia Gemma 933 F St. NW, 202.393.4367

Teaism 400 8th St. NW, 202.638.6010

Upstairs on 7th 1299 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (enter at 12th & E), 301.351.8308

Upstairs on 7th


Swirl, sniff and sip a glass of wine while nibbling on locally sourced snacks at Free State. Try one (or a few) of Iron Horse Tap Room’s 20-plus drafts. Or, make a reservation at trendy Barmini, where expert mixologists pour top-shelf cocktails and present them in stunning fashion. 

Barmini 501 9th St. NW, 202.393.4451

Free State 501B G St. NW, 202.601.7216

Iron Horse Tap Room 507 7th St. NW, 202.347.7665



Challenge your competitive companions to a game of shuffleboard, darts or Skee-Ball at Rocket Bar. Bring your history-buff buddies to Ford's Theatre to see a show or take a tour of the site where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Top off your trip by taking your fun-loving friend group to Escape the Room, where sleuths follow clues to beat the clock and flee a locked room. 

Escape the Room DC 409 7th St. NW, 202.888.0802

Ford’s Theatre 511 10th St. NW, 202.347.4833

Rocket Bar 714 7th St. NW, 202.628.7665

Ford's Theatre

Madison Sullivan
About the author

Madison Sullivan is an Assistant Editor with Morris Visitor Publications, based in Aug...