Downtown Historic District

The heart of DC's old downtown includes an eclectic mixture of commercial, institutional, and residential buildings.

DC's old downtown area is centered along the historic commercial arteries of 7th and F Streets, which intersect at the monumental Greek Revival Old Patent Office. The Downtown Historic District offers a rich variety of commercial buildings, including retail establishments, banks, department stores, dime stores, and some of city's earliest office buildings. It also includes notable synagogues and churches, remnants of downtown's residential neighborhood, and portions of Chinatown.

The department stores built within the downtown area reflected the needs of urban residents of all socioeconomic levels. This area served as the main shopping district within DC for decades prior to suburban development and residential movement away from the city’s core.

Incorporating approximately 200 buildings dating from about 1830 to 1940, the Downtown Historic District uniquely conveys the essence of downtown Washington City visually and historically as it developed from the early Federal period to the present. It is representative of a once extraordinarily well-integrated downtown urban area in which commercial, residential, and government elements were combined successfully.

DC Inventory: July 26, 1982 (effective October 5, 1984)
National Register: September 22, 2001



Generally includes structures fronting on 7th Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue and I Streets, F Street NW between 7th and 11th Streets, and H and I Streets NW between 5th and 7th Streets