The name "downtown" can be somewhat vague and tends to incorporate several neighborhoods, including the popular Chinatown and Penn Quarter. D.C.'s downtown is really the area north of the National Mall that stretches from the White House to Capitol Hill. Lots of Washington's power addresses are here — the World Bank, various news organizations, law firms, lobbying groups - as well, of course, as the ultimate power address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Being in the heart of D.C., there are many historical spots in the Downtown — the boarding house where the Lincoln collaborators met, the home and office of American Red Cross founder Clara Barton and the city's oldest synagogue, now a museum of Jewish history.
Not particularly residential, the Downtown area is definitely known for great restaurants, bars and hotels. After all, the movers and shakers visiting DC on business have to eat, drink and sleep somewhere!
Some downtown-area highlights include Equinox, with its emphasis on organic dining; President Obama and his wife have dined here. Georgia Brown's is a Southern dining gem hidden alongside Franklin Square. E Street Cinema shows foreign, indie and documentary films that you won't find at the average movie theater.