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Mayor Bowser Reopens the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Events DC Adds New Food and Retail Options with Ben’s Chili Bowl and Shop Made in DC

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the reopening of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and joined Events DC in announcing the addition of two locally-owned vendors inside the Convention Center, Ben’s Chili Bowl and Shop Made in DC.

“We have been inviting people to come back and experience DC, and it is always important to us that visitors are able to experience the real DC. It doesn’t get more DC than Ben’s Chili Bowl or a whole shop filled with items made by DC creatives,” said Mayor Bowser. “Spread the word: DC is open and so is our Convention Center.”

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center opens ahead of two major conventions, Otakon and Awesome Con. Otakon, the largest convention celebrating Japanese animation, manga, J-pop, and east Asian culture in the world, will take place on August 6-8. Awesome Con, a celebration of geek culture from comics, movies, and games, will return to the Convention Center on August 20-22. These are the first major-scale events since the beginning of the pandemic, serving as a clear sign that the District is back in business and providing opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy all that DC has to offer.

“What do Michael J. Fox, The Eagles, and Shaquille O’Neal all have in common?,” said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “Because DC is Open, we will each be making appearances at venues throughout Washington, DC this month, and the Convention Center will be the epicenter of the excitement with two citywide shows that are the first since the Winter of 2020. We are especially excited that visitors to the Convention Center will get a chance to Experience DC with new retail and restaurant options, including one of the District’s iconic gems, Ben’s Chili Bowl.”

Events DC, in partnership with Aramark, will provide guests with authentic DC experiences through locally inspired cuisine and crafts that attract both visitors and residents alike. Ben’s Chili Bowl, founded in 1958, is a beloved and widely respected city landmark that began in the District’s U Street Corridor. After decades in the District, it continues to be a must-visit restaurant for people who look to experience the local flavors of Washington, DC. Additionally, Shop Made in DC is a retail initiative with a mission to showcase the District’s local makers and artists. As the first retailer dedicated solely to “made in DC” products, the location inside the Convention Center will become the retailer's fifth location in the District.

The new Ben’s Chili Bowl is located inside the new District Eats area at the Convention Center and will be open during all convention and show hours. Shop Made in DC is located at the entrance of the South building on L Street NW and will be open during all convention and show hours.

For more information on upcoming events and conferences, please visit eventsdc.com.