In the Neighborhood: Your ultimate guide to Washington D.C.'s Capitol Hill
Famed for its prominent political institutions, this historic neighborhood shines with trendy restaurants, urban gardens and classic architecture.
By Cassandra Brooklyn | July 6, 2023
From stunning architecture and one-of-a-kind shops to political institutions and a 150-year-old food market, Capitol Hill has something for everyone. Take in the old brick buildings, tree-lined streets and manicured flowerbeds while appreciating colorful rowhomes with painted shutters and American flags flying behind iron fences.
Capitol Hill has everything from Indian street food and Spanish tapas to harder-to-find Salvadorian, Ukrainian and Balkan food. If the weather is nice, Eighth Street, also known as Barracks Row, is an especially good place to find great restaurants. Consider:
- Belga Café: A Belgian restaurant known for pretty plates, craft beers and decadent Sunday brunch. Belgian French toast and an extensive waffle selection included, of course.
- Ted’s Bulletin: Serving all-American dishes and seasonal favorites with a creative twist, this kid-friendly eatery also offers all-day breakfast. So, go ahead and order a boozy milkshake with your evening pancakes and homemade pop tarts.
- Ambar: A Michelin guide-approved, rustic-chic restaurant where you can indulge in all-you-can-eat Balkan brunches, lunches and dinners.
From the Supreme Court to the United States Botanic Garden, Capitol Hill is the perfect mix of prominent political landmarks and beautiful urban green spaces. Discover:
- The Library of Congress: Tour the largest library in the world for free but make sure you confirm your timed ticket online in advance. Be sure to swing by the library’s Court of Neptune Fountain, Great Hall, Main Reading Room and Children’s Literature Center.
- The Supreme Court: Explore the prestigious building when the Court is not in session, either by doing a self-guided tour or by sitting in on a courtroom lecture.
- The United States Botanic Garden: Free to visit, the garden includes highlights such as the indoor conservatory, orchids, create a living wall art workshops and gardening lectures.
From the area’s iconic market, which has served as a community hub and food and arts destination for 150 years, to newer neighborhood shops selling everything from clothing and candles to books and bar soap, Capitol Hill is full of shopping surprises. Highlights include:
- Eastern Market: Selling mostly food and grocery items during the week, on the weekend this shopping mecca transforms into a massive marketplace where hundreds of local artisans sell pottery, paintings, photography and everything in between.
- HoneyMade: Pick up a handmade candle, goat milk soap bar or a District-shaped beginner embroidery kit at this woman-owned home goods and gift shop.
- Bitter Grace: Known for empowering personal styling experiences and closet revamps, this is where to go for a wardrobe consultation or to find the latest in sustainable fashion.
From prototypal political attractions to cool and contemporary shopping and dining, Capitol Hill is guaranteed to inspire excitement and fun on your Washington getaway.
Cassandra Brooklyn is a freelance writer specializing in travel, culture, and all things outdoors. She's the author of the cycling guidebook, Cuba By Bike, and has bylines in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Forbes, The Daily Beast and Lonely Planet, among others.