Washington D.C.’s Hidden Gem: Eastern Market

Image courtesy of Bella Ramon

By Bella Ramon 

Eastern Market is a hidden farmer’s market located in a convenient nook of the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. It sprouted from Pierre L’Enfant’s idea to have a community space for local markets. Completed in 1873, the same building still stands today. Getting to Eastern Market is a breeze from the Capitol or even from the Eastern Market metro stop on the orange, silver, and blue lines.

The market area is split into three sections: the North Hall, the South Hall Market, and the Outdoor Market. Each section is meant to cultivate a community and offer an abundance of goodies from baked goods, paintings, and handmade jewelry. Items from over 20 merchants can be found around the area.

The North Hall is an indoor event space that has held numerous special events such as weddings and community functions over the years. The vaulted ceilings and hardwood dance floor give the entire space a historical and cozy ambiance. This hall has been kept up to date as a part of Eastern Market’s 2009 $22 million restoration project. With an adjacent outdoor space and a catering plaza, planning an event will not be difficult with this space. 

The South Hall is an indoor market that has more permanent vendors. Visitors are able to browse through gourmet cheese, fresh produce, fresh-cut flowers, and an assortment of meats. This is the perfect place to find fresh food to bring back to campus. The vendors’ friendly faces are eager to answer any questions that may come up when trying to decide what to buy. This area is open Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m.-5 pm year round. There are plenty of opportunities to stop by and support local artisans. 

Every weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., outdoor vendors set up white tents around the market and plaza area in hopes of drawing customers in. The plaza is full of food, handmade soaps, and clothes. The craft vendors range from photographers, sculptors, painters, and jewelers. Visitors can leisurely shop around while enjoying handmade items from talented artists that live right here in the District. One can also stop by fruit stands for a taste of fresh, local fruit. The shop-keepers are constantly cutting up fruit and keeping their sample plate replenished as curious customers walk by testing the different types of apples. Many are eager to talk about which piece of produce is their favorite and why.

In need of a last-minute gift? Head to the tents filled with handmade jewelry or paintings. There are a plethora of Washington D.C. themed paintings of many sizes, making the perfect gift or dorm decoration. Many artists combine famous paintings with the skyline of D.C., for example, painter Joseph Harrison Snyder is a full-time artist who paints the scenery of the city. His art even includes a landscape of the Brookland Works’ iconic Brookland sign and the Basilica.  

For the past 136 years, Eastern Market has been a central area for communities and visitors to connect with one another. This vibrant neighborhood is perfect for anyone wanting to shop locally and meet the talented and hardworking hands of Washington D.C. Overall, Eastern Market is one of the District’s hidden gems, and is the perfect place to spend time exploring the District.

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