Situated between 9th and 7th Streets NW and surrounded by the neighborhoods of Mount Vernon Square and Shaw, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is conveniently located near the legendary monuments and museums of Washington, DC. In the immediate vicinity, visitors will encounter the striking Beaux Arts-style Carnegie Library, home to the Historical Society of Washington DC, and a short, two-block stroll leads to Chinatown. In a few years time, the area will experience tremendous transformation with the addition of CityCenter DC, a 10-acre residential/commercial development that will feature restaurants, shops, a luxury hotel and park and yield more nearby Washington Convention Center event venues to choose from.
Travelers from near and far can easily get to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with Ronald Reagan National Airport situated five miles from Mount Vernon Square and Shaw. A little further away are Dulles International Airport (28 miles) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (36 miles). Visitors from the East Coast who ride Amtrak often hop on the DC Metro or take a cab once they get to Union Station.
Built in 2003, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center features >100,000 square feet of meeting space with 77 meeting rooms. The largest space spans 473,000 square feet, while the second-largest is 52,000 square feet. Planners will find plenty of flexibility as the venue is able to accommodate small functions to larger events ranging from 500 to 4,200 attendees.
Hotel venues in the Washington Convention Center area include the Embassy Suites Washington, DC Convention Center, Hampton Inn Washington DC Convention Center, the Henley Park Hotel and the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel – all of which are within walking distance from the city’s main convention venue.
Off-site venues in the Washington Convention Center neighborhood include visually stunning locations, such as the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, with its soaring rotunda, ideal for standing receptions for 500 or seated dinner of up to 350 guests with a built-in backdrop that includes the Great African Bush Elephant. Overlooking the Potomac, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts offers another elegant possibility with a total of 14 indoor and outdoor event spaces. On the Main Level, the Chinese Lounge on the Box Tier of the Eisenhower Theater accommodates intimate groups of 40 seated or 60 standing, while on the roof level, the South Gallery, the largest indoor space comfortably fits 570 guests seated or 1000 standing.
In recent years, Washington, DC has experienced a revitalization of its dining scene, with restaurant openings by celebrity chefs and other talented locals. Not too far from the White House, BLT Steak Washington has a private dining room, ideal for up to 24 for lunch or dinner, and the menu features savory USDA Prime and Certified Angus beef, among other selections. In the Le Droit building right next to the Spy Museum, Zola boasts a warm and inviting setting, and is a crowd-pleaser with creative cuisine such as the Egg Yolk Ravioli Salad and Hawaiian Blue Prawns paired with mascarpone polenta.
When the meetings are over at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, there is no shortage of places for visitors to experience. A good start for exploration is the National Mall. Stretching from Constitution to Pennsylvania Avenues, and bordered by the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol, this is where visitors will find the National Museum of American History, National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, among other points of interest where admission is free. During downtime, the charming neighborhood of Georgetown is ideal for shopping and people-watching, with boutiques and cafes along its busy streets.