Who says I don’t appreciate Chinatown?
Where else could I buy an umbrella by $5, right exiting the restaurant, to face an unexpected rain?
(The French group was surprised, thinking I was prepared, and carried the umbrella with me. Shell I tell them the truth?).
But the rain... I couldn't see much!
This is called the Friendship Arch a traditional Chinese gate, which was an entrance to a historical neighborhood, but sadely replaced by the Verizon Center and Metro. Yet, there are loads of wonderful Chinese and Asian restaurants. We came here to just see it and we found a neat Starbucks to have some tea.
They have walking tours of the area, so contact the Chinatown Community Cultural Center
Chinatown in DC is much smaller than other Chinatowns in US because it’s no more than 2-3 blocks that house several Chinese restaurants that aren’t as cheap as someone would expect. Actually, the only Chinese people we met were working at the local restaurants and they weren’t everywhere around like in San Fransisco or New York.
I don’t really have much to say about the area, it was full of cheap Chinese restaurants and the one and only impressive site was the Chinatown Gate which was right next to the metro station we used many times so we had the chance to take picture of the gate day and night (pics 1-2). The “Friendship Archway” was made in 1986 and it’s decorated with 300 dragons. As our hotel was located there we had the chance to buy from a small store some extremely cheap souvenirs, hats for the sun, and if we had any rain we would buy an umbrella for $3 :)
In case you saw every museum at the Mall you’ll probably pass from here anyway as some nice museums are located here like the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. It’s located at 575 7th St. NW, open daily 9.00-21.00(Sundays 10.00-19.00). With so many free museums in DC we just skipped the $18 entrance fee they ask for!
Do you enjoy cop shows, including documentaries? Are you a crime victim? Are you or have you ever been in law enforcement? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then check out the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. This museum opened only recently, probably why most people don't know about it.
Inside are a wide range of exhibits covering the entire history of American crime, law enforcement, prisons, forensics, capital punishment, and the movies about them. See Clyde Barrow's car, where he and his partner in crime Bonnie Parker were killed in a police ambush (remember the final scene from Bonnie and Clyde?). See exhibits on medieval justice, punishments in colonial America, the pirates, the Old West, gangsters, serial killers, America's prisons, a replica forensic lab, fraud, computer crime, and a lot more.
located in old downtown, chinatown is a small area that once was the center of washington's chinese comunity. today this area has been recently renovated and now has a nice selection of bars, restaurants, and stores. pictured is "friendship archway". built in 1986 it was paid for by the city of beijing. the arch has seven tile roofs and is decorated with three hundred painted dragons in the style of the qing dynasty. the "friendship archway" is the largest single span chinese arch in the world.
Lots of cities have arches. Paris has its Arc de Triomphe, Rome has its Arch of Titus, Barcelona has its Triumphal Arch, London has its Marble Arch, New York has its Washington Square Arch. So it is only fitting that the American capital, Washington D.C., should have one, too.
Washington’s arch, a Chinese arch on H Street in Chinatown, is not your ordinary marble paean to a military victory. It is a multicolored friendship arch, with lots of red and gold, as befitting an arch in the Chinese style. In the middle is a panel emblazoned with Chinese characters that says “Jungwa” – the Chinese word for “China.”
The arch marks the entrance to Washington’s Chinatown, which is probably one of the smaller Chinatowns around. It consists of a block or two dotted with Asian restaurants and a few buildings with pagoda-style roofs. Chinese immigrants moved into the neighborhood in the 1850s, when the German immigrants who originally lived there moved on to bigger and better things.
Nowadays, the Chinese population is dwindling. City planners hoped that a traditional Chinese arch would attract tourists and revive business. It was designed - aptly, I think - by a “local” architect named Alfred H. Liu, who clearly sounds like a man with feet in two worlds.
Since the arch went up in 1986, it has been a focal point for festivities marking the Chinese New Year. Because the Chinese calendar is lunar (like the Hebrew calendar), holiday dates are not fixed. If you are planning a trip to Washington D.C. in January-February, check the calendar to make sure you don’t miss the Chinese New Year Parade that passes under the arch.
In the few minutes I stood at the bus stop, I witnessed at least two collisions at this intersection. The sirens wailed, street entertainers were banging away on metal bowls – in short, it was a very noisy and chaotic place.
Going to see the parade and bringing in the Year of the Boar(Pig) was such a good time. I suggest going early and getting some lunch and a good spot on the street to get good view of the parade. This event is great for the whole family, and kids of all ages will get a kick out of sites and sounds. Remember it is winter time so dress in layers and be aware of possible snow and ice on the street,(the police had the part of the walk way blocked off cause of dangerous ice melting off the roofs). The event is free but bring money for food and maybe to by a hat from the vendors:)! Overall Id rate the whole deal about an 8 of 10. Mostly cause I didnt get a place to make for great pics and I was standing on ice. But that was my bad. But I love the dragons so I will be going back next year. But the next time new years fall on my Birthday Im going to China to do it up Big! Check out my shopping, resaurant tips and transportation tips as well. Photos to come later this week. Gozalo!Enjoy!
To tell the truth: Washington's Chinatown is small, nondescript, and uninteresting. It occupies all of two blocks and has almost been completely overrun by non-Chinese stores and restaurants. Most stores that originally were here have packed up and moved to areas where the Chinese population is now higher (Rockville, Maryland and Falls Church, Virginia). This Chinatown is really not worth your time to visit; the only 'attraction' is a tall, dragon filled Friendship Gate on H Street.
Washington's Chinatown is modest compared to that of San Francisco, or Oakland. However, it does have the main feature that most people really desire--some fine restaurants, modestly priced. It's centrally located, just a few blocks north of the Navy Memorial, next to the Verizon Center.
Indeed, it is very small Chinatown. But quality over quantity right? However, it doesn't have neither. Let me explain. Not all of the commercial establishments in the Chinatown is chinese. It has a McDonald, Starbucks and a Hooters. The street has more tourist than Chinese people. The restaurants are not cheap...like they're expected to be... Overall, it's more of a tourist trap/Chinese supply sort of a place. You will be disappointed if you've been to other Chinatown in North America.
As in any other chinatowns, Washington DC chinatown is framed by a colorful arch. Design by Alfred Liu, this seven-roofed wooden archway symbolizes an area that has been the center for both Chinese immigration and business in Washington DC.
Washington DC chinatown is filled with an array of colorful restaurants and shops. We just looked around and took several pictures on the spots that caught my attention before a guy (looked like a homeless guy) chased us. Maya told us this neighborhood is not a safe place for girls at night. During our visit on the late afternoon, we noticed many policemen (on bicycles & cars) kept their eyes open on the crowds.
Chinatown is my neighborhood, so I'd best review it. Chinatown is wonderful. Start off by leaving the Metro at the 7th & H St exit of the Gallery Place-Chinatown stop. Immediately in front of you, you can see the famous Chinatown gate. It's a tourist stop of historical significance, so make sure to get a picture in front of it.
Also, on H St, be sure to stop at one of the ubiquitous Chinese places. My personal favorite is Tony Chang's, one of the few restaurants listed on both the city's "Best Restaurant" and "Best Bargain Restaurant" lists.
Feel free to catch a concert or Wizards or Capital's game at the MCI Center. The Shakespeare Theatre is also only a few blocks down on 7th Street between F & G Streets for the more art minded. Also, see the Spy Museum here. All in all, Chinatown has history, great cuisine, and lots to see!
If you don't notice you're entering Washington's compact Chinatown by the Chinese characters on the street signs, the ornate, 75-foot-wide Friendship Arch spanning H Street might clue you in. Though Chinatown's main cross-streets may appear somewhat down-at-the-heels, this area borders many blocks undergoing revitalization, and it's still the place to go for Chinese food in the District. Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, and Mongolian are among the regional styles you'll find here. Nearly every restaurant has a roast duck hanging in the window, and the shops here sell Chinese food, arts and crafts, and newspapers. Most interesting are traditional pharmacies purveying folk medicines such as dried eels, powdered bones, and unusual herbs for teas and broths believed to promote health, longevity, and sexual potency.
Chinatown in Washington, D.C. appeared as early as 1885 on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets, N.W. In 1890, the U.S. government started to buy Chinatown property to use for government buildings, so the residents had to move. In the 1930’s they moved to the heart of the District of Columbia, near the corner of 7th and H Streets, NW, an area that was formerly populated by German immigrants There they marked the area with decorative metal latticework and railings as well as Chinese signs. At its peak, Chinatown was deemed to extend from G Street north to Massachusetts Avenue, and from 9th Street east to 5th Street.
As far as Chinatowns across the country and Canada, I would say that this one is probably the smallest that I have ever encountered. There isn't alot to see other than the really neat arch that they built years ago when I was young. With the exodus of the Chinese to parts of the Maryland suburbs and the encroachment of large money generating facilities, this Chinatown has never expanded much beyond its current state.
However, there are a few redeeming points. With the construction of the MCI center and the new DC convention center, it is starting to offer many of the more modern amenities nearby. Unfortunately, much of the colorfulness of the Chinese culture has been lost to the effects of modernization. There are still some neat Chinese grocery stores in the main part and some really good restaurants. You can see the roasted duck and pork hanging in the window, much like you see in Hong Kong, China, and other big Chinatowns. I would just recommend having lunch or dinner there before heading out to wherever else you want to go. By all appearances, the places look in need of repair, but put aside your displeasure and step into the Washington Chinatown world. Try Tony Cheng's Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown if you drop by. They have a wide assortment of Chinese food available such as Hunan, Cantonese, and Szechuan. They also serve dum sum from 11am-3pm.
N.B. There is a first rate bus service that can take you to NYC chinatown from Washington DC chinatown for about $20.
Granted, Chinatown isn't that big (only a block or two), but it's quickly growing into a hot spot as part of a new area called Penn Quarter. It's a quick walk up from the National Mall and you can find a lot of cheap lunches up here. One favorite is a place called Matchbox -- it's not Chinese food, but their pizza and mini burgers are excellent.