Thursday, 07, July 2016
Washington Neighbourhoods: Capitol Hill
Explore this historic and political district
Think of Washington D.C, and you’ll likely picture the big, memorable sights that make the city stand out as one of the most recognisable in the world. Some of these landmarks are intermingled with more low-key, everyday sights. Take Capitol Hill, for example. It’s home to the Capitol, which holds the congress of the national states, and the Supreme Court. But it’s also the neighbourhood where most of the employees of the Capitol reside, making it the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C.
As part of our Washington Neighbourhoods series, we’ve taken a closer look at Capitol Hill, and all of the great things you can do in the area.
One of the most popular places to live in the city, there’s a great variety of historic, quaint houses, as well as great places to eat and go out. In the many restaurants and bars in the area, you’ll find the staff working in the Capitol, looking to let off a little steam at the end of the working day.
Top Things to See
The Capitol itself is a hugely popular tourist sight within the city, and you can take a tour of the interior through the visitor’s centre. Knowledgeable guides are led throughout the building, giving unique insight into the gigantic, beautifully painted dome itself, as well as the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
The Library of Congress is also open for tours, which guide you through the unique, Italian-Renaissance architecture and grand reading room.
You’ll have to organise your visit in advance (this is done through your local senator or house representative for US citizens, or at the visitor’s centre for non nationals) but seeing Congress in session is a wonderfully unique experience for visitors to the city. On days when congress isn’t in session, informative talks are held.
A little off the beaten track, fans of Shakespeare will love the Folger Shakespeare Library, which is home to the world’s largest collection of his works. There’s also a beautiful playhouse, which holds performances and concerts throughout the year.
For a moment of peace, visit the U.S. Botanic Garden, which you’ll find at the base of the hill. It’s fully sheltered, and home to beautiful plants and flowers.
Wander around the neighbourhood itself to have a look at the beautiful 19th and 20th century rowhouses, with all of their intricate design touches. If the weather is fine, head to the Eastern Market to pick up some picnic ingredients (the Bartholdi Fountainis the perfect al fresco spot), or visit on the weekend for antiques and crafts.
Fans of love letters will adore the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, which is housed in an old post office.
Where to Eat
You’ll find great restaurants in Barracks Row, the city’s oldest commercial district. There, you won’t be short of a fantastic place to eat. If you’re a donut fan, you definitely can’t miss District Doughnut, where you’ll find incredible gourmet doughnuts, like the gorgeous Salted Dulce de Leche.
Sadly, Freddy’s BBQ Joint from House of Cards is fictional. But if you want some great southern cooking (in a more sophisticated setting), head to Art and Soul, headed up by Art Smith, Oprah’s former personal chef.
Fall Festival on Barracks Row – every September
Held on 8th Street, SE, below Pennsylvania Avenue. Plenty of activities for everyone.
Dupont Circle Metro Station -> Red line towards Glenmont (2 stops) Metro Center Station-> Orange line to New Carrollton (6 stops) Eastern Market
Then, walk 4 mins to Capitol Hill
Uber or Taxi: 23 mins