Make your own history in this iconic DC neighborhood
With the U.S. Capitol as its beacon, Capitol Hill (lovingly named by Thomas Jefferson) has served as the center of politics in Washington since the early 19th century.
But there is much more to the Hill than suited staffers and America’s most famous cast iron-domed structure. Hop off a Metro train at Eastern Market or Capitol South (both on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines) and begin a day filled with history, culture and dynamite eats.
Explore Capitol Hill By Day
See the sights (and seats) of power
Any visit on the Hill must begin with a tour of the U.S. Capitol, the seat of the U.S. Congress and one of the most recognizable buildings in the world (here’s how you can book your tour). Then it’s time to explore the Supreme Court Building, where the highest federal court in the U.S. has debated the most vital issues in American history. The building is open to the public, and if you time your visit right you might just get to witness oral arguments heard before the court. Continue your patriotic march to the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world holding millions of photos, films, recordings and maps, as well as featured exhibitions that bring the library’s vast collections to life.
To be, or not to be? Be at these monumental museums.
There is no question about it. For literary buffs, the Folger Shakespeare Library, boasts the largest Shakespeare collection in the world, as well as engaging exhibitions, concerts and theater performances that would please The Bard himself. Trade in the sonnets for stamps when you visit the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, which lies on the edge of the neighborhood by Union Station. The building, which was built in 1914 in the traditional Beaux Arts-style that you’ll find across the Hill, originally served as DC’s primary post office and since 1993 has paid homage to the history and preservation of America’s postage. Amid all the bustle of Capitol Hill, take a moment for reflection at one of Washington’s newest memorials, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. The memorial, which opened in 2014, is overseen by the National Park Service’s National Mall & Memorial Parks unit, and is dedicated to the courage and sacrifice of veterans both living and deceased.
A row of restaurants and rows of local produce.
Getting hungry? Make Barracks Row, the city’s oldest commercial district, your next destination. The strip that runs along 8th Street SE, which gets its namesake from the country’s oldest Marine Corps post nearby, has undergone an incredible revival over the last decade. There, you will find restaurant options galore, from quick bites and family-friendly carry-out storefronts to critically acclaimed establishments like Belga Café, Belgian cuisine from renowned Chef Bart Vandaele. If it’s sweets you crave, District Doughnut serves up handcrafted gourmet doughnuts seven days per week.
After lunch, stroll a few blocks north to one of Capitol Hill’s must-see attractions: Eastern Market. The market is a longtime community hub and vibrant food and arts bazaar that operates Tuesday through Sunday. Weekends bring local farm-fresh produce, handmade arts and crafts and live music. Fresh food and community events can be enjoyed during the week. No matter the season, stop by Market Lunch inside historic South Market Hall for their famous blueberry buckwheat pancakes.
You might need a nap after all the shopping and eating Barracks Row and Eastern Market have to offer. If you’re traveling with bookworms, stop by local favorite Capitol Hill Books, and take your new reads to Stanton Park for some relaxation. The spacious four-acre square features a statue of war hero General Nathanael Greene and, in the springtime, off-the-Mall cherry blossoms.
Explore Capitol Hill By Night
Get your fill on the Hill.
It’s not hard to be full when dining on Capitol Hill. Art and Soul provides Southern hospitality with down-home cooking and sustainably sourced ingredients for a sophisticated dining experience. Another Hill favorite for dinner is Charlie Palmer Steak, known for big cuts of tender beef. Trade in the traditional American options for German cuisine and a lengthy beer list in the elegantly designed, 1920s-style dining rooms at Café Berlin. And no list of celebrated DC restaurants is complete without Rose’s Luxury, winner of Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurant in 2014. Chef Aaron Silverman has been stunning DC diners since Rose’s opened its doors with small and family-style dishes.
When it’s time for bed.
With so much to discover in Capitol Hill, you’ll want a comfy place to rest your head. Liaison Capitol Hill DC. offers a boutique experience with a rooftop lounge and pool, and its lobby connects directly to Art and Soul. Before retiring to their room, night owls can enjoy a night cap at the Article One Lounge (open until 2 a.m.), an on-site bar set in the atrium of the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. The conveniently located Residence Inn Capitol by Marriott boasts an indoor pool and spa. Or after you finish your night at The Dubliner, kick back at the Phoenix Park Hotel, which shares the restaurant’s vibe with traditional Irish decor. If you’re seeking something a little wetter, the Capitol Skyline Hotel is known far and wide for throwing “Miami-style” pool parties and offers daily shuttles to DC landmarks.