Take a Tour: DC’s Chinatown
Cities with designated “Chinatown” neighborhoods aren’t very few and far between (there’s over 50 in the US!) And Washington DC is no exception. DC’s Chinatown is best known for landmarks such as the Friendship Archway, some of the best food in DC, and a lively night life.
Originally established in what is now the Federal Triangle area, the Chinese immigrants who made up the neighborhood were displaced when the Federal Triangle government office complex was built. The current Chinatown neighborhood is in the H Street area, and while when it was established it was home to thousands of Chinese immigrants, the 2017 census determined it is currently home to around 300, due to gentrification in the area that came largely from the Capitol One Arena being built in 1997, and larger chain stores like Wegmans, Starbucks, and Urban Outfitters opening locations.
Things To Eat
Chinatown’s food scene is famous in the DC area, and while there are still nationwide chain restaurants such as Hooters, Starbucks, and Ruby Tuesdays, the most frequented are those owned and operated by Asian Americans. China Boy specializes in everything from classic Chinese cuisine to Asian Fusion, while Chinatown Express prides itself on being one of DC’s most authentic Chinese restaurants, and is perfect for those on the go, as this small deli-style café serves individually folded dumplings, hand pulled noodles, and more. If you’re looking for entertainment with your meal, you may choose to check out Wok and Roll, which includes a full bar, a comprehensive Asian menu, and karaoke!
Things To Do
When visiting Chinatown, it’s almost impossible to miss seeing the Friendship Arch, which is styled after the traditional Chinese gateway, and faces east from 7th and H Street into Chinatown. This arch was built in 1986 as a collaboration between Washington DC and Beijing, with the intention of honoring the neighborhoods’ Chinese residents and attracting visitors. If you’re visiting Chinatown during the Lunar New Year (which falls around the end of January or early February, depending on the year), you can catch the Lunar New Year parade, which is organized by the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (MOAPIA) in partnership with Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA).
dc parade. “2019 DC Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, Washington DC.” Dc Parade, 28 Jan. 2022, dcparade.com.
“A Neighborhood Guide to Chinatown in Washington, DC.” TripSavvy, 6 Sept. 2021, www.tripsavvy.com/chinatown-washington-dc-neighborhood-guide-1039373.
Wikipedia contributors. “Chinatown (Washington, D.C.).” Wikipedia, 1 Mar. 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinatown_(Washington,_D.C.).