The Chinatown Friendship Arch, Washington, D.C.

The Chinatown Friendship Arch is a colorful landmark located in Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown neighborhood. It was built in 1986 as a symbol of friendship between the people of the United States and China.

The arch spans H Street NW, a busy thoroughfare in the city, and is adorned with ornate Chinese architectural features and traditional artwork. It was designed by local architect Alfred H. Liu, and its major decorative elements were fabricated in China and installed on the arch by skilled Chinese craftsmen.

The arch stands 47 feet tall and 75 feet wide, making it one of the largest of its kind in the United States. It serves as a gateway to Chinatown and a symbol of the cultural heritage and diversity of the neighborhood. It is also a popular tourist attraction and a frequent backdrop for cultural and community events.

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Why should you go?

  1. Admire the architecture. The Chinatown Friendship Arch is a stunning piece of architectural design. Its ornate features and intricate details are a testament to Chinese craftsmanship and tradition. You can admire the arch from afar or get up close to see the details of the artwork.
  2. Take photos. The Chinatown Friendship Arch is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to take pictures. The colorful arch makes for a great backdrop for group shots or individual portraits.
  3. Explore the Chinatown neighborhood. The Friendship Arch is located in Chinatown, which is home to many Chinese restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions. You can explore the neighborhood's vibrant streets and experience Chinese culture and cuisine.
  4. Attend a festival. The Chinatown neighborhood is known for hosting numerous events throughout the year. The annual Chinese New Year parade is one of the biggest and most famous, and the Friendship Arch is a central part of the festivities.

Best places to visit near Friendship Arch

  • National Portrait Gallery. This museum, located just a block away from the Friendship Arch, houses a collection of portraits of famous Americans and features rotating exhibitions.

  • Capital One Arena. This sports and entertainment arena, located a 2-minute walk from the arch, is home to the Washington Wizards basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team. It also hosts concerts and other events.

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum. Just a short walk from the arch, this museum features a collection of American art from the colonial period to the present day.

  • Ford's Theatre. This historic theater, located a few blocks from the Friendship Arch, is best known as the site where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

  • The National Mall. This large landscaped park, situated about a 15-minute walk from the arch, is home to several famous monuments and museums.

  • The White House. This famous residence and workplace of the U.S. President is located less than 1 mile from Friendship Arch.

  • Verizon Center. Located about 1 mile from the Friendship Arch, this indoor sports and entertainment arena hosts many concerts, sports events, and other performances throughout the year.

  • National Museum of American History. Situated about 1 mile from the arch, this museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution, showcases the history of the United States through exhibits on everything from the nation's founding to its pop culture.

  • Chinese American Museum. This museum is located less than a 10-minute drive from the Friendship Arch and offers exhibits and programs that showcase the history and culture of Chinese Americans in the United States.

  • International Spy Museum. This museum, about a 10-minute drive from the Friendship Arch, offers interactive exhibits and displays on the history of espionage and intelligence gathering.

  • The United States Capitol. This iconic building, which houses the U.S. Congress, is less than a 10-minute drive from Friendship Arch.
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    What are the most interesting and unique facts about Friendship Arch?

    • The Friendship Archway is decorated with intricate patterns that include 7,000 glazed tiles and 284 dragons, 12 carved and 272 painted.

    • By 1990, the arch unexpectedly began to deteriorate, and one of the 100-pound carved dragons even fell off, striking the roof of a soda truck. In 1993, the arch underwent a major renovation, and there have been no more problems with falling tiles or dragons.
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    What's the best way to see Friendship Arch?

    • Walking. One of the best ways to see the Friendship Arch is on foot. You can easily walk to Chinatown from many parts of downtown, and once you're there, the arch is hard to miss. It is located at the intersection of H and 7th Streets NW, and there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and other attractions in the area to explore.

    • Metro. If you prefer not to walk, you can take the metro to the Chinatown/Gallery Place station, which is located right next to the Friendship Arch. The station is served by the Red, Yellow, and Green lines, so it's easily accessible from all parts of the city.

    • Bus. Several bus routes run through Chinatown, so you can also take the bus to get there. The Metrobus website has a trip planner tool that can help you find the best route to take.