Take your meetings to the next level in Washington, DC.
The The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is the first convention center in the world to earn the WELL Health-Safety Rating (2022), the first in the northeast, U.S., to achieve the GBAC STAR accreditation.
With a prime location in the heart of downtown, the world-class Walter E. Washington Convention Center is as functional as it is artistically impressive. The 2.3-million-square-foot space hosts meetings, conventions and events of every kind, from medical industry annual meetings to comic book-inspired expos and board retreats. See the space now with this virtual tour.
Here’s why the Walter E. Washington Convention Center is meetings central in Washington, DC:
You can mold all 703,000 square feet of exhibition space inside the convention center into whatever shape you need. Within its two levels and five exhibit halls is a 473,000-square-foot exhibit hall that can be subdivided into three rooms, 198,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, a 52,000-square-foot ballroom and 77 breakout rooms. The space is versatile enough to accommodate events of all sizes.
Art & Design
Impressive. Striking. Modern. These are the words to describe the building, which has been recognized by the prestigious American Institute of Architects. The ultra-modern structure features a soaring staircase, towering glass walls and smooth granite floors. Its $6 million public art collection combines sculpture, paintings and photography. With more than 130 pieces by 93 different artists, it is the largest public collection of art in DC outside of a museum. The collection showcases living artists from the local community with approximately 50 percent from Washington, DC. Among the highlights: works by Sam Gilliam of the Washington Color School, a group of DC-area artists who developed a form of abstract art in the 1950s and 1960s.
Through its combination of smart building design and sustainability programs, the convention center is a leader in environmental stewardship and environment-first initiatives, which include a color-coded recycling protocol, water efficiency, green product purchasing and more. The building boasts a long list of energy-reducing features, from LED upgrades to all lighting systems to solar film-insulated windows and computerized HVAC systems.
Partnering with Aramark Environmental Service, the center is working towards the proper sorting of its recycling to ensure everything is processed correctly. “Behind the scenes, we have five massive docks all prepared to receive large volumes of sorted trash recycling,” says Hootan Kaboli, senior vice president, Office of Executive for Events DC. The Center further reduces its organic waste through a robust composting program.
In partnership with PepsiCo, the center has also installed a “Dream Machines” set that encourages attendees to recycle their bottles and cans. All paper products provided by the center are ECOLOGO certified and made from 100 percent recycled fiber. Additionally, the center works with the local government to recycle over 50 palettes a month many going to a furniture maker who transforms them into functional seating and platforms. Surplus food from events is redirected to the DC Central Kitchen and Capital Area Food Bank.
Award-Winning Digital Signage
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is the largest digital signage network of its kind in any conference facility in the United States with over 200 digital signage displays located throughout the facility.
The convention center has significantly expanded its digital signage program adding 12 new LED video walls, a two-story curved video wall at the Concourse Rotunda, video walls above the exhibit halls and digital flags in front of the salons.
Another new technology feature, virtual reality, uses 360-degree and 3D imagery allowing you to preview your experience inside the venue before booking and complimentary WiFi access allows attendees to engage with real-time information.
Ongoing Capital Improvements
The past two years have kicked off a series of fresh renovations for the convention center. Upgrades include an interior redesign by architecture firm McKissack & McKissack, new furniture arrangements, unique lighting fixtures, Wi-Fi and USB ports, and an exterior streetscape renovation with new retail and greater live plants to bring nature indoors. A landscaped rooftop terrace remains in the plans.
A new “Downtown Dining District” opened as part of a $16 million food and beverage investment. The former food court renovation included opening the more than 17,000-square-foot space up with direct entry from the Grand Lobby and views to the exhibit halls below, about 400-people seating capacity and making the area more flexible for various retail and catering functions, including a tasting room, restaurant, bar and induction kitchen, among others.
The grand lobby refresh initiative is geared towards optimizing the public spaces in the convention center by making them more flexible, user-friendly and tech-forward.
Just outside, development in the historic Shaw neighborhood continues to bring new restaurants, breweries and retail to the convention and entertainment district.
Local Cuisine & Retail
For your event, Aramark is a premier catering option. The award-winning company serves more than 115 million guests annually, using fresh and local ingredients to fuel regional favorites and innovative international cuisine. Choose from popular catering packages to put together creative, custom-themed menus to perfectly complement your event.
There are plenty of great places to eat and drink near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Guests seeking to taste the local flavor can drop by the convention center’s “Uptown Food District” where Ben’s Chili Bowl serves half-smokes, chili fries and more. Ben’s U Street flagship has been around since the late 1950s and is a hallmark in the District. Retail additions in the past year include Shop Made in DC. featuring packaged foods, clothing, arts, and other gift items from around 50 DC makers.Unconventional Diner
The exterior space surrounding the convention center also offers a wide range of retail and dining options, including new fine dining at Petite Cerise and Parlour Victoria or sipping at Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn and cocktail connoisseur David Strauss' Morris American Bar, one of the city's most happy, brightly lit drinking establishments.
For locally sourced snacks and on-the-go items, guests should check out Pearl’s Bagel, Union Kitchen Grocery, or they can grab a table at the Unconventional Diner, a high-end diner concept specializing in modern comfort food.
Convention-goers can get their CrossFit fix at the Urban Athletic Club, which includes 3,000 square feet of training space, one-on-one training sessions and open gym hours. Guests in need of haircuts have it made at Cuttin-Up Barber Shop, which accepts walk-ins.
The center is Metro accessible (Green/Yellow lines) with a dedicated Mt. Vernon-7th St-Convention Center stop and immediately walkable to Shaw's booming dining scene, downtown museums and nightlife, and the National Mall.
Convention Center Floor Plans
View floor plans overview in a higher resolution.
Walter E. Washington Convention Center Overview and Floor Plans in Washington, DC
Events DC owns and operates the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. To learn more, visit eventsdc.com.