Old Post Office Pavilion, Washington D.C.

4 out of 5 stars 30 Reviews

1100 Pennsylvannia Avenue (202) 289-4224

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Old Post Office
    Old Post Office
    by rmjiv
  • view through wires
    view through wires
    by mindcrime
  • view through plexy glass
    view through plexy glass
    by mindcrime
  • kymbanm's Profile Photo

    The VIEW!!!

    by kymbanm Updated Jan 24, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View toward the Capitol
    4 more images

    I had read about the Old Post Office Pavilion on another VT page, and had already decided that I wanted to go and experience this wonderful place. Unfortunately, I lost my DIY guide and couldn't remember the name! My hotel concierge had no idea what I was talking about .... but after reviewing a tourist map, I recognized the name and headed out to make this my first stop on my first day in DC.

    I took the metro to the Federal Triangle stop and rode the escalator up to the surface. I noticed some street art and began to wander .... and promptly got lost. I was distracted by art, people watching, and all the law enforcement uniforms and secret service agents in attendance. I entered one of the Federal buildings, got scanned, and kept walking. I was quite turned around. After eating in the underground foodcourt, I wandered somemore in this maze of buildings .... I ended up being redirected when I tried to enter the Herbert Hoover / FBI Building by way of the underground tunnel.... ooopsie ;)

    If I had just made 2 right turns, or 2 left turns, I would have SEEN the Old Post Office when I got out of the Metro!!! Well marked, and quite pretty, I then wandered (with a full tummy) into this place I had only heard about. I followed the signs through the little indoor mall, and took the elevator up to the tower.

    Wow! The views really were spectacular! I was the only person up there ...... the breeze was refreshing and I had a blast just taking photos. There is also a museum of the history of this building and the fight to save it from destruction. You can also go into the bell tower and visit the bells presented to the US by the Duchey of Britain.

    Being so close to the White House, the National Mall, and the National Archives ...... this is definitely NOT out of the way - but is a little visited, wonderful place to check out ;)

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    OLD POST OFFICE Pavilion

    by mindcrime Written Nov 9, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Post Office Pavilion -the building
    4 more images

    I was suggested to visit the Old Post Office Pavilion because they have some budget restaurants and it’s a short distance from the Mall. It was built in 1899 and it was the first government building that had its own electric power plant. We strolled a bit around after passing the screening from the security at the entrance and checked the junky souvenir shops for a while. We skipped the food places (pic 3) as they seem pretty basic and the place wasn’t very clean so we preferred to enjoy the architecture of the place.

    But the main reason we visited the Pavilion was to go up the clock tower and enjoy another nice view over the Mall. We took the glass elevator with a ranger giving us some info about the place. At the top floor we saw a small exhibition with photos and then another elevator took us to the top of the tower.

    The Clock Tower is 315 foot tall (taller than the statue of Freedom on the Capitol) and offer 360 degree view so you will enjoy all the monuments and the rest. We liked the fact that it isn’t crowded at all.
    The tour is for free and there’s no need to go earlier for timed tickets like in Washington Monument so it’s a nice alternative although there is a small problem, the wires in some of the windows(pic 4) wont let you have perfect pics but this not-so photo-friendly space is a nice change :) Some sides with no wires are covered with plexy glass so it may be a problem too depending on the sun light. Pic 5 is taken through a plexy glass.

    It’s open Monday to Saturday 9.00-20.00(Sundays 10.00-18.00)

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Post Office Pavilion

    by richiecdisc Written Apr 25, 2010

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Post Office Pavilion interior

    Built in the late 1890s, the Old Post Office Pavilion is the last in the Richardsonian Romanesque style constructed in the District of Colombia. Its 315 foot clock tower is its key feature and makes it the tirde tallest building in DC. Though it does house one of the nation's oldest post offices, its immense size ensures that only a portion of it is utilized in this capacity. Though Federal offices take up a part of the massive structure, most tourists will know it for its shops and sizable food court that offers up some of the least expensive eating options close to the National Mall. Staffed by National Park rangers who offer free tours of the clock tower, views from its 270 foot observation deck rival those from the Washington Monument with a lot less hassle in the busy tourist season.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    The Old Post Office Tower

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 13, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Stunning view

    The tower is 270 ft with an beautiful view. It's operated by the park service, so you can take an elevator up top into the clock tower and have a wonderful view of the city. They keep a ranger up there at all times, so be sure not to touch the cables because they are in place to keep vistors safely inside. If you choose, they have stairways you can take to go down. Your able to view the huge US Congress bells that they use during celebrations.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • rexvaughan's Profile Photo

    The Jewel of the Federal Triangle

    by rexvaughan Updated Feb 17, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ben Franklin
    4 more images

    This magnificent old building would no longer be standing had it not been for the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Having served as the city post office from 1898 to 1914 and offices for the US Post Office Dept from 1899 to 1934, it was deemed no longer necessary to the Federal Triangle plan which called for the demolition of all existing buildings. As funds were short, action was postponed and as time went by the building’s stature grew in the perception of the public to the point that by the 1970’s it was called by the General Services Administration “a jewel adorning Washington and more specifically Pennsylvania Avenue with a massive verticality that relieves the continuous horizontalness of the Federal Triangle.” That’s a bit of an awkward and wordy way of putting it, but the building was saved and renovated and is a really grand place to visit.

    There many wonderful features to enjoy:

    * A fine statue of the first Postmaster General, Benjamin Franklin with the inscriptions on the base referring to him as Patriot, Printer, Philosopher, Philanthropist
    * A fine exterior that is the last of its style, Richardsonian Romanesque Revivalism. This was innovative when built but soon replaced by a new architectural fad, neoclassicism.
    * A wonderful interior with a large and attractive atrium which now houses a food court and stage where we were entertained by a local musical group.
    * The Congress Bells which were a gift from an English foundation in honor of the US Bicentennial in 1976 and which were first rung on April 19, 1983, the 200th anniversary of the congressional proclamation ending the hostilities between the two nations in the Revolutionary War.
    * Great views of Washington from the tower.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    The Old Post Office Pavilion

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 13, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beautiful interior

    Very unsuspecting place. Was just walking by this very massive building with pavillon banners everwhere so I went in. My friend was very dismayed when I didn't come back out, so she came in looking for me. I was amazed by the interior and beautiful architecture.

    It was the old postoffice, so they turned it into a food court, movies theatres, and has some shops. It is the last remaining examples of Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture in Washington, DC. This is where the 270 ft. tower that houses the bells of the US Congress.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • RhondaRuth's Profile Photo

    See the view from the Tower for free!

    by RhondaRuth Updated Sep 10, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Old Post Office

    The Old Post Office was our first stop.
    The Pavilion and Tower is located on Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Streets, NW, halfway between the White House and the United States Capitol. It is Washington, D.C.'s first modern skyscraper standing an impressive 12 stories tall. The building was originally built to house the United States Post Office Department and the Washington, D.C. Post Office. A newer more efficient mail facility had been built, causing many to insist that the building be demolished, but fortunately, the lack of federal funds during the Depression put those plans on hold. Then it was rescued by the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

    The view from the Tower is free and since it was nearing lunch ... well nows the time to stop and take in the view right? And what a great view. I'll put some extra pictures in a Travelogue. Even the roof tops are interesting to see. I love the gardens on the roof tops!

    We could have eaten in the Pavillion, but there was too much of an inter-mix of smells going on with the different types of food. Not appealing to my appetite at the time. So we walked a block to see the front of the Old Post Office and spotted a TGY Friday's. Good food there!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jlee008's Profile Photo

    Old Post Office - New Twist

    by jlee008 Updated Apr 8, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View from Old Post Office Clock Tower

    This place is a great place to visit in Washington DC. The Old Post Office Pavilion was Washington DC first skyscraper, measuring in at 12 stories tall. This amazing wonder was almost destroyed if it were not for the Depression. So it is with great pride and admiration that we can still cast our eyes on this historical spectacle today.

    The original function of the Old Post Office Pavilion is what you might correlate with the name. Specifically, it was built to house the US Post Office and the Washington DC Post Office. Today, it is an amazing venue for unique, sophisticated, and eclectic shopping, international food, and even formal events!!

    Drop by to spend some down time here and enjoy some of the music offerings...have some great food ( I love the gyros!!!)...do some shopping...but don't forget about what you want to do later in the night. You can visit Ticketplace where you can purchase same-day, half-price tickets for performances at the Kennedy Center and other local theaters!! (Although last I went Ticketplace relocated to near the Shakespeare Theater)

    Mind you though, there are security checks prior to entering the building. However, it can be worth it because the food choices are better and cost less than the ones in the Smithsonian. Since this is very close to the museums, it is a logical place to drop by for a bite!!

    Also, don't forget to visit the Old Post Office Pavilion Clock Tower. While it isn't really all that interesting, it does offer a nice view of the Capitol Builiding and the National Monument from atop!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • besbel's Profile Photo

    Old Post Office Pavilion

    by besbel Written Aug 10, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of the biggest and most majestic buildings in downtown DC. More than a century old (it was open in 1899), the Old Post Office Pavilion was the tallest building of Washington at the beginning of the XX century. Interestingly, only after fifteen years of being open, it was labeled as "old" because of its style and design, very French castle-like compared with the most recent constructions and buildings at the time, and even its demolition was considered. However, those plans were never put into practice and, after some decades, the Old Post Office was reappreciated again, for its architecture, beauty and size.
    Right now the Old Post Office holds a number of private events (e.g. galas) cultural events, like art openings, movies and exhibitions. There is also an international court food, with a variety of dishes not only from USA but also from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Middle East. Personally I think the food is only so-so, but this place is definitely worth the visit!

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo

    View from the Old Post Office Tower - FREE

    by TravellerMel Written Jun 17, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Post Office Pavillion
    4 more images

    The Old Post Office Tower is operated by the National Park Service. It is FREE to access (via elevator), and since the tower is one of the tallest structures in the District (315 feet high), it has stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Capitol and the National Mall monuments. There is a National Park Passport stamping station at the desk just as you enter the elevator - best to do so after you return, since the line often obscures the desk.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • bugalugs's Profile Photo

    Old Post Office Pavilion

    by bugalugs Updated Jul 27, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Post Office Pavilion

    This is a really nice place to visit. The Post Office was built in 1899 and has a 315 foot high clock tower. The building was to be demolished but thankfully some reason, I dont know why, someone must have had a change of heart and instead the place was renovated in 1978.

    There is no admission charge to the post office. If the front doors are locked which they were when we visited, go to the left side of the building down the steps and in the side entrance.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Old Post Office Pavilion

    by Tom_Fields Updated Jul 30, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Old Post Office Pavilion
    4 more images

    This Romanesque-style masterpiece was completed in 1899, and served as the national headquarters of the US Post Office until 1914. At the time, it was the tallest Federal building, and had the largest enclosed space of any in the city. After years of controversy about the building's fate, it has now been beautifully restored to its former glory.

    Standing 315 feet high, the tower is the tallest in Washington except for the Washington Monument and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. And the view is impressive.

    In addition to the observation deck, be sure to examine the Congress Bells. The Ditchley Foundation in England presented them as a gift to the city as part of the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations. Cast by the Whitechapel Foundry in London, they are replicas of the bells at Westminster Abbey. The bells weigh altogether six tons. The Washington Ringing Society rings them during all major American holidays and other special occasions.

    On the ground floor is a collection of shops and restaurants. If you're lucky, you may even get to hear a live band. It's a perfect place for a quick lunch as you tour the area.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • rmjiv's Profile Photo

    Old Post Office Clock Tower

    by rmjiv Updated May 2, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Post Office
    1 more image

    For a great view of the D.C. skyline, visit the Old Post Office tower. The tower is nearly as tall as the Washington Monument and when I was there I didn't have to wait to go up.

    The clock tower is 315 feet tall and you can see a full 360 degrees. It's great for picture taking or just for another view of the city.

    Skip the "Pavilion" which is just a bunch of touristy shops.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • mattreider's Profile Photo

    Food Court

    by mattreider Written Oct 31, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Like most of the older buildings in Washington, D.C, the renovation including expensive restaurants, shopping malls, and a food court. The food court in the bottom of the Old Post Office building is nice, but don't go out of your way to get there.

    If it's open, you can take the elevator to the top of the old clock tower (yes, the clock still is on time) and look around the downtown area. D.C. is very impressive from the sky, its rectilinear office blocks clearly deliniating the main thoroughfares of traffic.

    Was this review helpful?

  • KhanhLy's Profile Photo

    Old Post Office

    by KhanhLy Written Dec 21, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Old Post Office

    It's a beautiful old building. Inside, you can see the steel frames. You can also take the elevator up to the top and see over DC. When we visited the old post office, it was raining and thundering, so they had already shut down the elevator.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Washington D.C.

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

73 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Old Post Office Pavilion
3.5 out of 5 stars
14 Reviews
0.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
3 Reviews
0.2 miles away
Show Prices
Show Prices

View all Washington D.C. hotels