Nestled next to the U.S. Capitol is the charming, 19th-century neighborhood of Capitol Hill. In 1791 Peter C. L'Enfant selected this area, once known as Jenkins Hill, as the perfect location for the Capitol, where Congress would make laws to govern the new democracy.
Today, East Capitol Street runs through the center of this neighborhood of rowhouses both modest and ornate. Pennsylvania Avenue angles off from the Capitol, providing an eclectic commercial strip. And Barracks Row (Eighth Street), jutting south from the Eastern Market Metro station, has become one of the city's best spots for shopping, restaurants, and taverns.
Capitol Hill’s unique museums and restored Union Station present a range of activities, and the array of historic buildings offers a sumptuous architectural feast. Don't miss the Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeareana, and be sure to pay a visit to the headquarters of the historic National Woman's Party, the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum.
The historic Eastern Market is renovated and back in business after a devastating fire in 2007, and the Flea Market is in full swing every Saturday and Sunday, offering visitors an assortment of arts, collectibles, crafts, produce, and imported goods for sale.
As you explore the neighborhood keep your eyes open for Art on Call boxes.
If you missed the Capitol Hill House and Garden Tour, organized each May by the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, you can take a self-guided tour, strolling the neighborhood's brick sidewalks to discover buildings of many styles designed by notable local architects. Why not start your architectural tour on East Capitol Street, along the 0.7-mile stretch between the Capitol and Lincoln Park. Then detour down some of the charming side streets. Look for wonderful examples of Federal, Queen Anne, Richardsonian Romanesque, Italianate, and Beaux-Arts style buildings.
This self-guided walking trail helps you discover the neighborhood's rich history, starting back when the Navy Yard’s distinctive factory whistle defined Capitol Hill’s workday. See John Philip Sousa's birthplace, the country's oldest continuously manned Marine installation, and much more. Follow the signs to learn about the dynamic Barracks Row community!
Check out our Calendar for up-to-date information on exhibitions, lectures, and other heritage happenings in the city.
Looking for shopping, accommodation, or dining ideas? Check out Capitol Hill's merchants association listings at www.CapitolHill.org.
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