FX Excursions

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Dynamic D.C.: Exciting New Developments Transform the Nation’s Capital

by Susan B. Barnes

Dec 21, 2023

© Ahmet Kalayci | Dreamstime.com

December 2023

Something is always happening in Washington, D.C., and the action extends far beyond Capitol Hill. In fact, a $9.6 billion investment throughout the 68-square-mile city will introduce new developments, renovate existing spots and enrich the lives of its 4 million residents through neighborhood enhancements.

“If you haven’t been to D.C. in five or 10 years, you’re in for a surprise,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, president and CEO, Destination DC. “D.C. is a true waterfront destination, with new development in the Capitol Riverfront district in southeast and The Wharf in southwest. The National Museum of Women in the Arts reopened in October, the first museum dedicated solely to championing women in the arts.

And then there’s the food. We truly are a world-class dining destination.” “I think we are going to see further growth in the D.C. dining scene, along with new hotel concepts that have been emerging simultaneously,” said Billy Martin, fourth-generation owner of Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown. “These two sectors work hand-in-hand to meet changing consumer demographics and lifestyles. From efficiency concepts like Hotel Hive to traditional luxury at the Conrad and Four Seasons, there are great lodging options to suit all traveler tastes and preferences.”

National Air and Space Museum

© Jiawangkun | Dreamstime.com

The Wharf transformed the city’s desolate waterfront into a thriving, mile-long neighborhood in fall 2017. Now popular with locals and visitors, The Wharf boasts restaurants, boutiques, offices, highly sought-after residences and hotels including Pendry Washington DC – The Wharf, Canopy by Hilton Washington DC and InterContinental Washington D.C. – The Wharf. Phase Two brings new retail and restaurant openings such as Philippe, a Beijing-style restaurant from Philippe Chow.

“We have continued to see rapid growth and development in D.C. over the past few years, attracting more visitors to neighborhoods like NoMa, Brookland, Shaw and the Capitol Riverfront,” said Ferguson. “New things to do in these areas add to all there is to see and do beyond the National Mall. I’m also proud of the fact that sustainability has been an integral component to the city’s new developments.”

The Capital Jewish Museum in Judiciary Square opened its doors this year to share the story of Jewish Washington, incorporating the original brick building of one of the city’s oldest synagogues, Adas Israel. After two years of extensive renovations, National Museum of Women in the Arts reopened in October. Its inaugural exhibition, The Sky’s the Limit, showcases large-scale work by women from the past two decades and runs through Feb. 25, 2024.

The National World War I Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, honoring the 4.7 million servicemen and women who served in the
war, will open in 2024 with the installation of A Soldier’s Journey by Sabin Howard, a series of sculptures depicting 38 larger-than-life human figures. It will be the tallest freestanding bronze sculpture in the Western Hemisphere.

Several debuts in the next year or so will include the renovations
at Folger Shakespeare Library in Capitol Hill, where an inaugural permanent exhibition will feature an 82-copy collection of First Folios, the first published copies of Shakespeare’s works dating to 1623. The Go-Go Museum and Café in Anacostia will present a deep dive into the official music of D.C.; and Osteria Mozza, a restaurant and market led by Michelin-star chef Nancy Silverton and Stephen Starr, will open in the old Georgetown Market space.

Potomac River

© Jon Bilous

The National Air and Space Museum expects to complete its multiyear renovation in 2025, and in 2026 the 11th Street Bridge Park, the city’s first elevated public park, will span the Anacostia River and feature an amphitheater, picnic gardens, interactive art, waterfalls and more. Upcoming D.C. developments include a $10 billion expansion project at Union Station, Amtrak’s second-busiest location; a new National Museum of the U.S. Navy set to break ground in 2025; and a new concourse at Dulles International Airport intended to meet LEED Silver standards and be completed by 2026. Further down the road, the Smithsonian Institution will open a pair of new museums on the National Mall: American Women’s History Museum and National Museum of the American Latino.

Regarding sustainability, Washington, D.C., was named the first LEED Platinum City in the world in 2017 and is committed to furthering its sustainable practices. The capital boasts more LEED-certified buildings than any other U.S. city, including the new LEED Silver-certified Capital Jewish Museum and the LEED Gold-certified Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Additionally, the city is dedicated to an aggressive climate legislation that will realize 100 percent renewable electricity by 2032 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

With all that is new in D.C., the city’s history still shines through.

“Historic Georgetown, where Martin’s Tavern calls home, continues to draw visitors interested in 19th-century architecture and ‘old Washington’ culture that can still be felt on these cobblestone streets,” said Martin. “Even with new venues opening, such as The Wharf, the nostalgia for venues where history happened will always remain strong.”


Escape the city with a meandering drive along the 25-mile-long George Washington Memorial Parkway, stunning in any season. The parkway was designed for recreational driving and affords ample opportunities to explore sites along the Potomac River such as Glen Echo Park, Great Falls Park and Theodore Roosevelt Island, each with miles of trails for stretching the legs. The parkway ends at Mount Vernon, where George Washington lived for 45 years, both before and after his presidency.


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