Ultimate Architect's Guide to DC for the AIA Conference 2024

Ultimate Architect's Guide to DC for the AIA Conference 2024

The AIA Conference is the largest gathering of architects in the US, and this year, it's happening in Washington, DC! Architects from all over will be flocking to our nation's capital.

DC is a stunning city, and Monograph will be there for the conference too! How about you? Tell us if you're attending and enter our $1000 giveaway at AIA24.

If it wasn't obvious already, Monograph loves architects. It's our mission to always be in service to the architects and professionals who shape our built environment, letting them focus on what they love and do best.

That's why we've put together an architect's guide to DC to help the architecture community experience the very best of this amazing city. We asked architects in the DC area who use Monograph to share their favorite spots.

Insider Tips from Local Architects

We asked architects from Monograph firms to share their favorite spots. Fantastic recommendations came in from architects at firms like Teass \ Warren Architects, Evelyn Pierce Design Studio, Carib Daniel Martin Architecture + Design, Soto Architecture & Urban Design, Ven Studio, LLC, and Square 134 Architects. 

Here are the three questions we posed:

  1. What do you love most about DC?
  2. What are your three favorite works of architecture in DC?
  3. What are your three must-do experiences for architects visiting DC during the AIA Conference?

After collecting over dozens of recommendations, we organized the tips into themes below. We've also included links to Google Maps locations so you can do more research, save favorites, and check reviews in less time. 

Explore all locations in Google Maps

Can you guess which spot received the most mentions? Read on to discover the top must-see locations.

Let's dive in!

What do Architects love about DC?

Spoiler: Architects love DC for its rich history, extensive green spaces, unique neighborhoods, well-designed city plan, and the accessibility of cultural institutions. Here are some of their reflections:

"The interconnectedness of the city to the world as well as the accessibility to nature."
–Carib Martin, Principal, Carib Daniel Martin Architecture + Design

"The amount of green spaces and low-rise buildings leave the city feeling bright."
–Madeline Sambor, Associate Architect, Teass \ Warren Architects

"The history and the materials (brick, stone, etc)"
–Evelyn-Pierce Green, Principal, Evelyn Pierce Design Studio

"The history of the city"
–Philip Dayao, Architectural Designer, Teass \ Warren Architects

"The amount of open space and the view corridors created from the L'Enfant Plan."
–Emilie Rottman, Senior Associate, Square 134 Architects

"L'Enfant did an amazing job: I love the street grid, sliced by diagonals and circles."
–Laura Campbell, Principal, Convene Architecture

"L'Enfant's plan: a logical city plan with varied neighborhoods that are well connected via avenues and rich with green space and view corridors."
–Katherine White, Project Architect, Teass \ Warren Architects

"We live in a city of neighborhoods that exist outside of our monumental core with amazing streets."
–Will Teass, Principal, Teass \ Warren Architects

"Its walkability and great presence of free museums."
–Gabriella Adorno, Junior Architect, Soto Architecture & Urban Design

"The character of the rowhomes and each neighborhood's unique qualities."
–Kiley Wilfong Culle, Principal, Ven Studio, LLC

Ready for specifics? Here are the top DC architectural landmarks recommended by local architects.

Favorite Works of DC Architecture

Architects in DC have a strong affinity for museums, galleries, and historical landmarks, reflecting the city's blend of cultural richness and historical significance. Here are the favorites:

The National Mall

  • The National Mall - Washington, DC 20565 - map
  • Hirshhorn Museum - Independence Ave SW & 7th St SW - map
  • African-American Museum - 1400 Constitution Ave NW - map
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial - 16 E Basin Dr SW - map
  • The Lincoln Memorial - 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW - map
  • National Gallery of Art - East Building - Constitution Ave NW - map
  • National Museum of the American Indian - 4th St SW & Independence Ave SW - map

Around the city

  • National Portrait Gallery (atrium) - 8th St NW & F St NW - map
  • Union Station - 50 Massachusetts Ave NE - map
  • MLK Library Interior Renovation - 901 G St NW - map
  • Midtown Center - 1100 15th St NW - map
  • Dumbarton Oaks garden - 1703 32nd St NW - map
  • Washington National Cathedral - 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW - map
  • Finnish Embassy - 3301 Massachusetts Ave NW - map
  • Kennedy Center Rooftop - 2700 F St NW - map
  • The Reach Expansion at the Kennedy Center - 2700 F St NW - map
  • Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - 400 Michigan Ave NE - map
  • St Coletta of Greater Washington - 1901 Independence Ave SE - map
  • Southwest Library - 900 Wesley Pl SW - map

Just outside the city

  • Glenstone Museum - 12100 Glen Rd, Potomac, MD 20854 - map
  • The Pope-Leighey House - 9000 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22309 - map

Top Experiences for Architects Visiting DC

Architects have shared some unique experiences that combine architectural exploration with local culture. Here are their top recommendations:

"Bike through the National Mall - brownie point if you want pause and watch the sunset! Lunch at Union Market. Dinner at Barcelona Wine Bar and cocktails at Le Diplomate."
–Gabriella Adorno, Junior Architect, Soto Architecture & Urban Design

"Visit Old Town Alexandria via the Metro: Stroll down King Street, eat at Thompson's Italian, and catch a Potomac River water taxi back to DC."
–Laura Campbell, Principal, Convene Architecture

Going to AIA in DC? RSVP here to enter our $1000 giveaway!

"Ride the metro and transfer at L'Enfant Plaza, Stay at The Line, Eat at Ambar on Barracks Row."
–Katherine White, Project Architect, Teass \ Warren Architects

"Sumac Restaurant in Virginia, Hike Great Falls in Maryland, Tour the Renwick Gallery."
–Carib Martin, Principal, Carib Daniel Martin Architecture + Design

Where do local architects eat in DC?

  • Union Market - 1309 5th St NE (5 mentions) - map
  • The Wharf - 1100 Maine Ave SW (3 mentions) - map
  • Sumac Restaurant - 3863 Sperryville Pike, Sperryville, VA 22740 - map
  • Thompson's Italian - 124 N Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046 - map
  • Barcelona Wine Bar - 1622 14th St NW - map
  • Le Diplomate - 1601 14th St NW - map
  • Ambar - 523 8th St SE - map
  • Busboys and Poets - 2021 14th St NW - map

Where do local architects go exploring in DC?

  • Washington Monuments at Night - National Mall, Washington, DC (3 mentions) - map
  • Great Falls Park in Maryland - 11710 Macarthur Blvd, Potomac, MD 20854 - map
  • Renwick Gallery - 1661 Pennsylvania Ave NW - map
  • Planet Word Museum - 925 13th St NW - map
  • Metropolitan Branch/Beer Trail - Runs from Union Station to Silver Spring, MD - map
  • National Arboretum - 3501 New York Ave NE - map
  • The Line Hotel - 1770 Euclid St NW - map
  • Old Town Alexandria - Alexandria, VA - map
  • Capital Jewish Museum - 3rd & F St NW - map
  • L'Enfant Plaza - 429 L'Enfant Plaza SW - map

Washington, DC is a city rich with architectural marvels, vibrant green spaces, and a fascinating historical backdrop. Our guide helps you explore the best of DC during the AIA Conference 2024. Between education sessions, tours, parties, and visiting the Monograph booth at the expo, take time to see the city.

Did we miss one of your DC favorites? Add your tips HERE to let us know what architects shouldn't miss!

Must-See Presentations at AIA Conference 2024

As you enjoy the AIA Conference 2024, make sure to check out talks by some of Monograph's customers. Here are some must-see presentations that will provide valuable insights about urban development and the architecture business:

Jeremiah Russell of Rogue Architecture

WE101 – Taking Care of Business: Entrepreneurship or Intrapreneurship?
6/5/2024 | 9:30am - 12:00pm | Convention Center Room 143
Learn what your firm's leaders know about finance and professional development—and how they can help you advance your career.

WE201 – Strategies to Mitigate CA Liability for Small Firms
6/5/2024 | 4:00pm - 5:00pm | Convention Center Room 140
Discover ways to mitigate risk at your firm based on construction contract administration principles.

Sean Jursnick of Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects

FR216 – Bridging the Housing Gap: The Rise of Single-Stair Apartments
6/7/2024 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm | Convention Center Room 207A
Study the role designers can play as advocates promoting long-term solutions and positive change in neighborhoods, towns, cities, and states.

Will Teass and Charles Warren of Teass \ Warren Architects

SA301 – From Blackboards to Balconies: Adaptive Reuse in the Shaw Neighborhood
6/8/2024 | 11:30am - 12:30pm | Convention Center Room 152A
This session will take a deep dive into the adaptive reuse of a historic landmarked schoolhouse and the opportunities it provided for urban development.

Take advantage of these valuable presentations and connect with leading architects.

Enjoy your time in DC, and be sure to visit the Monograph booth #2407 so you can:

  • Talk shop with our CEO and other architects about streamlining your architecture firm
  • Test drive tools to manage your firm easily and get quick answers from experts
  • Have some fun making models like you did as a kid, but this time, with a system that is far superior to Legos (hot take)

RSVP here and enter our $1000 giveaway. See you soon!

Monograph - product management software for architects
Join 15,000+ A/E Readers

Get hidden insights that drive top A/E firms

Join our newsletter and learn how to drive your firm forward with actionable insights and tactics.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.