Neighborhood Profile: Eastern Market

By Mandie Vasquez, Host Committee Member

The Eastern Market is a great place to visit on the weekend, especially for local shopping at the market.  This neighborhood is a friendly place to grab a bite to eat, shop for produce, arts, and crafts, or take a stroll. Eastern Market is a small neighborhood within the larger Capitol Hill community. Both are known for exquisite views of the United States Capitol Building along Pennsylvania Avenue to the west and the charming architecture of the many row houses that line the streets. The majority of this neighborhood is residential, and the commercial center can be found along Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th Street, SE.

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Eastern Market, Washington, DC, 1943, Library of Congress

Eastern Market is a short metro ride from the Marriott Wardman Park. Take the red line from the Woodley Park Metro in the direction of Glenmont for 3 stops.  Transfer trains at Metro Center to the blue/orange/silver line heading east towards either Largo Town Center or New Carrolton for 5 stops to the Eastern Market Metro. After exiting the metro, take a left and cross Pennsylvania Avenue and let your adventure begin.

History of Eastern Market

The market is one of the largest and oldest public markets in the United States. It was part of Pierre L’Enfant’s plan for three public marketplaces in Washington, DC and was established in 1805 by a proclamation by President Jefferson. Originally the market was located near the intersection of 6th and L Streets, SE. This location weathered challenges, as it was damaged when the British attacked Washington in 1814 during the War of 1812 and it also saw a disruption of supplies during the Civil War. In the latter part of the 19th century the market became run down and it was decided to move the market in order to continue developing Washington, DC.

Eastern Market was relocated to 7th Street, SE to a brick building designed by Washington, DC architect Adolf Cluss. What we now call the south hall of the market was completed in 1873; the building was expanded in 1908. This modern market building was built with meat cellars and ventilation making it an ideal location for meat, seafood, poultry, and cheese vendors.

In the early morning hours on April 30, 2007 a fire gutted the market building, leaving only the red brick outer walls. After the fire, indoor vendors were relocated as the city worked hard to restore the market. The market building opened to the public on June 26, 2009. Throughout their storied history, Eastern Market has become a gem of the Capitol Hill neighborhood and an icon for Washington, DC.

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Eastern Market interior, Washington, DC, 1933, Library of Congress

Highlights 

Arts and Craft Vendors

Eastern Market is known for the local artists and crafters found in the outdoor space surrounding the market building.  The outdoor vendors are open on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here you will find a variety of handmade items. From painters to photographers to sculptors, jewelers, and woodworkers, you will be sure to find a one of a kind memento of you trip to Washington, DC.

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Vendor with displaying art work of the DC Flag

Food

The food and dining reflects the vibrancy of the Eastern Market neighborhood. Inside of the market building you will find The Market Lunch, which has been serving hearty breakfast and lunch foods since 1978. There are several food vendors located outside. Some local favorites include Crepes in the Market, gumbo at Puddin’, Indian food at Indigio, and Vegan Delights. Traditional brick and mortar restaurants line the outskirts of Eastern Market, and as food trucks have become popular, they can also be found at the market.

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Two archivists enjoying their crepes at Crepes in the Market

Capitol Hill Books

Stop by Capitol Hill Books to shop their endless selection of used books. The store is located across from Eastern Market at 657 C Street, SE and open during the week from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m and on the weekend form 9 a.m to 6 p.m. This used bookstore is overflowing with a floor to ceiling selection of books. They have something for every type of bookworm, with a variety of genres and subjects. It is truly a place you need to see for yourself.

 

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