This Washington DC artwork was painted during the Discover the REAL DC event on Monday night This Washington DC artwork was painted during the Discover the REAL DC event on Monday night

Explore DC neighbourhoods

Washington DC’s neighbourhoods were to the fore at SO Auckland this week when the city’s tourism organisation invited agents to ‘Discover the REAL DC.’


Eleven interactive DC neighbourhood stations showcased Adams Morgan graffiti and H Street music, Chinatown basketball and the National Mall, as well as cuisine ranging from Georgetown cupcakes to U Street chilli and salad bowls. It’s all part of DC’s goal to market beyond its ‘monuments, memorials and museums’. ‘The city is not dead after 7pm,’ says Destination DC president and chief executive, Elliott Ferguson. ‘We have the second largest number of theatres outside of New York. U Street, once known as ‘Black Broadway’ has a vibrant food and music scene. ‘There’s a free event at the Kennedy Centre 365 days a year, and in December we have a new festival (a Christmas light show), called Enchant.’

From the Wharf in southwest DC, home of the Museum of the Bible and the new International Spy Museum, are ferries to neighbourhoods like historic Georgetown, or Alexandria in Virginia. Ferguson also points to the city’s Potomac and Anacostia Rivers where people can kayak, canoe and paddleboard. Kiwis to DC have increased to a level that they have now been separated from the Australian numbers. The first statistics from 2018 recorded 11,000 Kiwi visitors, 60% of them leisure, and the tourism organisation will continue to invest in this market. Ferguson has seen many new itineraries from the Kiwi trade extending stays into Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle and many other neighbourhoods. More Kiwis are expected as air connectivity grows. Chicago to DC is less than two hours by train, and at the end of this month a non-stop train service from New York will take just two hours. Significant arts and culture developments opening in DC over the next six months include the National Children Museum (2 November) and Planet Word Museum (spring 2020).