Capitol Hill is a quaint neighborhood in southern DC where lawmakers and politicians trade in their suits and dresses for sweatpants and sneakers. Like most of the city, this area is steeped in history. It boasts great restaurants, verdant parks, and easy access to the rest of the city. Several historical figures were also born in the area, including John Philip Sousa, a prominent American composer, and J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI’s original director. This neighborhood has plenty of must-see attractions for visitors, but it also has plenty to offer permanent residents.
The Neighborhood of Capitol Hill
While Capitol Hill is considered part of the city, its independent bookstores, community gardens, and locally owned shops make it feel like a close-knit community. The Eastern Market is one of its best features. On Saturdays and Sundays, the main building transforms into a farmers’ market and craft fair. Stop by and shop for everything from handmade jewelry clothing to organic produce.
The neighborhood itself is largely residential, and several streets are lined with Victorian row houses that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The historic nature of the neighborhood makes parking a valuable commodity. Thankfully, the area is highly walkable and houses several subway stops, including Union Station, the Amtrak railroad headquarters. Union Station also houses shopping outlets, dining options, and even a movie theatre. The building itself was designed by Daniel Burnham, a prominent American architect.
Capitol Hill was named for its proximity to the US Capitol Building, which houses both the House of Representatives and the Senate. While there, visitors can tour the premises and watch the US government in action. During committee hearings, people can watch Congress members cast their votes from designated galleries within the Congressional Chambers. The Capitol Rotunda is also home to several historical paintings and statues, including a mural of George Washington and a 300-foot-long painting that shows different periods of American history.
In The Middle of Everything
Outside the Capitol Building, visitors can see the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Marine Barracks, and Washington Navy Yard. With more than 144 million assets, the Library of Congress boasts the largest collection of books in the world. This national treasure was nearly lost after the War of 1812, but former President Thomas Jefferson kept the library alive by donating 6,000 books from his personal collection. The architecture and artwork in the Great Hall and main reading room (a.k.a. the Sacred Room) are also worthy of note.
When you’re ready for a break from the crowds, pay a visit to the US Botanic Garden. Congress established the park back in 1820, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in North America. With both indoor and outdoor gardens, there is plenty to see all year-’round. The indoor gardens include a jungle, desert, and primeval display. There is also a butterfly garden and a rose garden. During the warmer months, the outdoor amphitheater hosts performances and events. Try using a local deal aggregator for recommendations and discounts on more fun things to do in Washington DC.
Washington DC is also one of the country’s best food cities, and some of its top restaurants can be found in Capitol Hill. For casual cuisine, stop by Mangialardo’s, a small deli that serves Italian subs. This place has been a part of the neighborhood for more than 55 years, and locals agree that it serves the best sandwiches in DC. It’s not unusual to grab a bite to eat and overhear lawmakers discussing legislation or lobbyists working on their cause.
For some of the best French food in the city, pay a visit to Montmartre. While the menu is a little bit pricey, the environment is casual and inviting. Start your dinner with the snails “Mere Anne” or frisee and bacon salad. Afterward, move on to the Montmartre Bouillabaisse with monkfish, littleneck clams, calamari, shrimp, and beans in a tomato broth. This special restaurant also offers a weekend brunch with quiches, buckwheat crepes, and more.
There are also several Mediterranean options in Capitol Hill, and Cafe 8 is one of the best. Some of the best dishes include the Iskender (a kabob that’s traditionally served in Turkey), pides (Turkish-style pizza), and the Cafe 8 (a delicious combination of ground lamb, tomatoes, feta cheese, and egg). Other notable locations include the Dubliner Pub and Art & Soul. The former offers traditional Irish food and beer, while the latter serves up southern home-style cooking.
Capitol Hill’s rich history and bountiful attractions make it a great place to call home. If you’re thinking about making the move, sign in at our website and let one of our Eng Garcia Realtors help you create a custom search. From fixer-uppers to recently refurbished houses, we can help you find a place to call home.