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PHOTOS: 5 Awesome Venues Where Startups Will Party at Challenge Festival

After tracking down more than 70 of the most promising startups in the world, we’re bringing them all back to our nation’s capital next month for our second annual Challenge Festival. Challenge Festival is a celebration of innovative ideas and the people behind them, and we can’t wait to bring the party to some of D.C.’s coolest rooftops and venues.

Check out a preview of our venues below, and get excited for Challenge Festival 2015!

May 11th — Education Gala at the Flying Bridge Rooftop

Our first stop of the week will be overlooking Union Station at the Flying Bridge. Traditionally, a flying bridge is the open area on top of a ship’s pilothouse or closed navigation bridge. This area serves as an operating station for the ship’s captain and navigation officers in good weather or when complete unobstructed views are important.

That’s exactly what D.C.’s Flying Bridge offers: The view pans 300 degrees from Union Station to the Library of Congress, the Capitol Dome and across to the Washington Monument—the perfect start to our week.


Cap view

May 12th — Energy & Sustainability Gala at the Old Ebbitt Grill’s Rooftop Deck

Our next stop will be the Old Ebbitt Grill, also known as Washington’s oldest saloon, founded in 1856. Presidents McKinley, Grant, Cleveland and Roosevelt are among the prestigious world leaders who have connections to the building that originally served as a boarding house.

Since then, the eatery has moved to several different locations, and now it’s on 15th Street NW—just blocks from 1776. The Victorian interior displays memorabilia from previous locations, including animal heads attained by Teddy Roosevelt. Antique light fixtures, marble staircases and patriotic paintings create a federal atmosphere perfect for our energy and sustainability gala.

May 13th — Health Gala at The Warner Theatre Rooftop

The Warner Theatre is a treasured landmark that combines historic architecture with modern, sophisticated style. Named for Harry Warner, a founder of Warner Brothers, the original 1924 theater presented live variety shows and silent films.

Since the building’s most recent restorations were completed in the early 1990s, celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Jay-Z have left their handprints and signatures along the Walk of Fame. Now a live performance venue, its luxurious rooftop patio will surely be a hit at our health gala.

May 14th — Cities & Transportation Gala at 101 Constitution Rooftop Terrace

101 Constitution, where the rooftop terrace offers a panoramic view of Washington’s National Mall, will be the setting of our cities and transportation gala. Just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, we will be in close proximity to some of the nation’s most powerful people, whose everyday decisions affect the landscape of our world—a pretty fitting way to conclude our gala events, right?

May 16th — Challenge Festival Closing Party at Sidney Harman Hall

Sidney Harman Hall is home to the Shakespeare Theatre Company here in D.C. The stunning theatre will serve as the backdrop for our Keynote Night, Challenge Cup Global Finals and the closing party. Following the final pitches and the announcement of the global Challenge Cup winners, we’ll have the chance to celebrate the startups and say farewell to our international entrepreneur friends.

For more information or to reserve your spot at these events and more, register for Challenge Festival 2015 today!

Old Ebbitt Grill Photos Courtesy of Old Ebbitt Grill, Warner Theatre Photos Courtesy of Warner Theatre, 101 Constitution Photos Courtesy of 101 Constitution and Jessica Schmitt Photography, Sidney Harman Hall Photos Courtesy of M.V. Jantzen and Sidney Harman Hall.

Danica Smithwick

As a member of 1776’s editorial team, Danica Smithwick spends her time telling stories and communicating with others. She is a Union University and Washington Journalism Center student who loves…