The historic Capitol Hill neighborhood is famous for its marbled Congressional offices, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress—just a few of Washington, D.C.’s heavy-hitting sites. But it’s also a leafy residential zone lined with elegant 19th-century row houses, locally owned boutiques, colorful Eastern Market and some of the city’s top restaurants. And thanks to two Metrorail Stops (Capitol South and Eastern Market) and the free D.C. Circulator, it’s easy to get to and around, though walking reveals some of the city’s prettiest sights. Whichever mode of transport you decide to use, here are just a few highlights in a zone packed with some of the best things to see and do in Washington, D.C.
Where to Eat
This center of power isn’t all about politicking. It’s also a popular foodie destination, with celebrity chefs and homegrown toques adding to D.C.’s overall restaurant buzz. Opened by local star chef Scott Drewno (formerly Wolfgang Puck’s The Source) and chef Danny Lee (Mandu), Chiko transports diners to Asia with flavor-bomb mashups of Korean and Chinese dishes. Little Pearl marks James Beard Award-winning chef Aaron Silverman’s latest gem, following his uber popular no-reservations spot Rose’s Luxury and Michelin-rated upscale tasting room Pineapple and Pearls (both also located in Capitol Hill). Le Bon Cafe recalls Paris’ Marais neighborhood and dishes French favorites and welcomed caffeine fuel to Hill worker bees.
Where to Drink
After work, Capitol Hill’s buttoned-up let down their hair at fine watering holes like Barrel, where the rum list is two pages long and an underground level serves up rum-based cocktails and hip-hop beats. Harold Black pours craft drinks in civilized, speakeasy-style digs, while Wisdom lays down knowledge from a gin-heavy menu in casual comfort.
Where to Shop
You won’t find big chains in this historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. Instead, the streets are lined with locally owned shops like Fairy Godmother, where kids find wishes for great toys and books granted, and Hill’s Kitchen, where adults indulge their culinary fantasies with top tools. Howl to the Chief is a dog’s paradise with tons of toys and treats fit for presidential pooches.
Where to Play
Naturally, this area is full of iconic sites. But after seeing the usual suspects (Capitol Hill, Supreme Court, etc.), visitors shouldn’t miss glimpses of feminist history at the Belmont-Paul or an intriguing stroll through the country’s postal past at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Just kitty-corner from the Supreme Court, the Folger Shakespeare Library is another marbled hall, this one housing the largest collection of Shakespeariana in the world, along with a Globe-like theater for productions of the Bard’s famous plays.