See how the locals live in this pretty, mixed-use area just a few blocks east of the Capitol building. If you take the short walk along Pennsylvania Ave SE from the Capitol complex, you’ll be amazed how quickly the marble walls and intense hill staffers give way to cute little homes and intriguing businesses prowled by locals and a few savvy visitors like yourself. If the late morning finds you near the big dome, this neighborhood is a great side trip for lunch and a recharge before returning to the mall.
Eastern Market is named for the city’s last operating historic market. The market building proper, at the corner of 7th and C Sts SE is open during the daytime with produce stalls, specialty food shops, and a quaint lunch counter. The grounds just outside have produce stalls during the week and craft goods on the weekends.
The neighborhood is bounded by Pennsylvania Ave SE to the south and North Carolina Ave SE to the north. (Where else but the district can you be simultaneously north of Pennsylvania and south of North Carolina?) 6th St SE and 10th St SE provide the west and east borders. Most of the commerce runs along Pennsylvania and 7th with homes and pocket parks filling up the rest of the space. The best metro station for the area is called Eastern Market as well.
If you’re in Eastern Market for one of our evenings from Just the Ticket: An Insider’s Guide to Great Evenings Out in Washington, DC, you’re probably headed to a show at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), a darling little black box theater in the adjoining Barracks Row neighborhood. There isn’t a great deal of nightlife here in Eastern Market, although the local, divey Tunnicliff’s Tavern is a frequent post show drinking spot for artists performing at CHAW.
There are a number of very nice restaurants in the neighborhood. Acqua Al Due is a charming Italian spot with a sister restaurant in Florence. Monmartre is a sleek and tasty French destination. Radici Market or District Taco are good choices for a quick bite, perhaps to take away and eat on a bench in the tiny park at Pennsylvania and D SE.
Beyond the market itself, there are numbers of attractive specialty stores along 7th St SE. Fairy Godmother and Dawn Price Baby testify to the child raising element in the area. Woven History features funky textiles from far away. Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm there’s a big flea market for those who like to poke through random stuff for treasures.
While there is no single giant reason for the visitor to stop in Eastern Market there are enough little ones that you’ll be glad you made time. DC has a lot of grandeur. Eastern Market is one of the best places to learn that it also has a great deal of charm.
Please let us hear about your Eastern Market adventures either in comments here or by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.