4 Reasons to Rent an Apartment in Penn Quarter/Chinatown

Friendship Arch in Chinatown

Grand opening: Spanning H Street, Chinatown’s Friendship Arch stands 60 feet and sports more than 270 painted dragons. It may or may not double as a Stargate as well. (jessstah via Flickr)

Penn Quarter is quite a trendy area, and along with its little neighbor Chinatown, it’s a favorite hangout for 20/30-somethings. But no matter your age, there are some good reasons to rent an apartment here.

1.       Location – In Penn Quarter/Chinatown, you’re in the center of it all, literally. There’s more going on here than you can shake a chopstick at: Verizon Center, restaurants, arts, museums, Metrorail’s Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter (Green/Yellow Line) and Gallery Pl-Chinatown stops (Red, Green/Yellow Line). To the west is downtown and Foggy Bottom; to the east is Capitol Hill and the H Street Corridor; to the south, the National Mall; to the northwest, a bunch of desirable neighborhoods.

[ Related: Best Foot Forward: D.C.’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods Revealed ]

And yes, there is some discussion of what exactly constitutes Penn Quarter. The DowntownDC BID claims it as its own, but they’re throwing in areas that I think to be downtown. On the other hand, the neighborhood seems bigger than this map from The Washington Post. So for the purposes of this entry, we’ll stick to the area just under Chinatown and expand like a balloon until you reach Pennsylvania Avenue, but not as expansive as the Downtown BID would have it. Readers, we’re sorry if we’ve left you feeling a bit dislocated. Feel free to call your neighborhood whatever you want.

2.       Restaurants – I don’t have official numbers, but if personal experience, Google maps and this blog are any indicator, Penn Quarter/Chinatown has to have some of the finest, most diverse restaurant choices in the city. Wok and Roll, Hooters, Tony Cheng’s Seafood Restaurant, Asia Nine, Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza, Matchbox Chinatown, and that’s not all … pick your poison. If you rent here, you won’t go hungry.

[ Related: Ella’s in Penn Quarter Makes Eating Healthy as Easy as Pie ]

3.       Verizon Center – This is the crème de la crème of arenas in the District, which hosts concerts, traveling shows and the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Georgetown University men’s basketball team. Plus, it’s in the middle of all the action in Chinatown, and if you walk around long enough, you’ll surely see some action, but like any other place where action is present: Be aware of your surroundings.

4.       Walkability – Like last month’s entry into the neighborhood game, Capitol Hill, Penn Quarter/Chinatown is very walkable, but not quite as open and green. But guess what? You don’t move here to climb trees or play touch football; you come here to be close to work – either by foot or Metrorail – eat at cool restaurants, and have a fun nightlife where there’s always something going on, and that’s what the renter gets in Penn Quarter/Chinatown.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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