Named for one of Washington D.C.’s original city planners, four large commercial buildings dominate L'Enfant Plaza. Originally part of a 1940s urban renewal effort, the square and its surrounding complex have been the centre of constant reassessment and development for decades.
Southwest Washington’s largest retail space, L’Enfant Plaza houses over 40 shops and restaurants across 120,000 square feet of entertainment space. Tenants are primarily large chains like Starbucks, Five Guys, CVS and dressbarn. With a three-story glass entrance and a large outdoor patio, the shopping complex clearly has a flair for drama.
L’Enfant Plaza station is a major juncture for the Washington Metro, with service from the blue, silver, orange, yellow and green lines. The complex also stands atop one of the city’s largest parking garages. Nearby, Virginia Railway Express trains, favoured by commuting workers from as far south as Fredericksburg, stop at L’Enfant Station.
There used to be even more for visitors to enjoy at L’Enfant Plaza. Until the 1980s, the complex housed an 800-seat cinema. The American Film Institute struggled to keep the venue alive once its endangerment was evident in 1970, but between student film screenings, commercial movies and live plays nothing took hold and is now used as a conference centre.