DC Travel Guide  |  Things to Do

Neighborhood Guide: How to Spend a Day in Barracks Row/Eastern Market

Capitol Hill Books. Photograph by Nora Simon.

What To Do

Eastern Market Pottery

The studio has offered pottery instruction on the Hill for nearly 50 years. In weekday and evening classes, students use the wheel and learn decorating and glazing techniques. The studio is open for students to use on Saturdays and for public visits every weekend. 225 Seventh St., SE; 202-544-6669.

Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital

This cultural center brought new life to a vacant building that once was a naval hospital for veterans of the Civil and Spanish-American wars. You’ll find classes and programs as diverse as Cambodian cooking, sewing basics for kids, readings, and meditation. 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-549-4172.

Marine Barracks Friday Parades

A rare opportunity to see the lovely grounds of the Marine Barracks, these free summer-evening performances feature the President’s Own Marine Band, the Drum and Bugle Corps, the color guard, the silent drill platoon, and Chesty XIV, the bulldog mascot. Request reservations online. Eighth and I sts., SE; barracks.marines.mil.

The Miracle Theatre

This 1909 vaudeville and silent-film house reopened a year ago with 1920s seats, pressed-tin ceilings, and a balcony. Owned by National Community Church, it features almost-new movies like La La Land and favorites such as The Princess Bride, heavy on family-friendly fare. Showings Friday through Sunday. 535 Eighth St., SE; 202-400-3210.

—Melanie D.G. Kaplan

Where To Eat

Ambar

You might not automatically think Balkan when making brunch plans, but the $39 all-you-can-eat-and-drink spread here is one of the city’s most popular weekend repasts for a reason. It’s generous, sure, but there are few better times to revel in nap-inducing treats such as creamy spreads with cornbread, cheese and meat pies, veal-and-beef burgers, and of course, mimosas—here splashed with cherry purée and lime juice. 523 Eighth St., SE; 202-813-3039.

Garrison

Robert Weland’s rustically pretty Barracks Row dining room is best known for its delicate pastas, creative vegetable-centric plates (try the seared cauliflower), and bread-laden brunch feasts. A newer draw: whole-pig roasts for six to ten people. For $75, you get sides, a fruit cobbler, and a riotous amount of crispy skin and succulent meat. 524 Eighth St., SE; 202-506-2445.

Market Lunch

If perusing Eastern Market’s stalls for dinner ingredients has your stomach rumbling, head to this 39-year-old lunch counter. In the morning, go for a scrambled-egg platter topped with fried whiting and sided with grits and toast. Later in the day, it’s all about the crabcake sandwich. 225 Seventh St., SE; 202-547-8444.

Pineapple and Pearls Patio and Cafe

If you don’t have the patience to wait in line at Rose’s Luxury next door, or the cash for a $280 tasting menu in the dining room here, you can experience some of the wonder of Scott Muns’s cooking in the front cafe and on the patio. The cafe slings terrific sandwiches by day (fried chicken, grilled cheese). At night, reserve an outdoor table and linger over Jeff Faile’s marvelous cocktails and one of the new patio snacks, such as sweetbread tacos with white mole. 715 Eighth St., SE; 202-595-7375.

—Ann Limpert

Where To Shop

Capitol Hill Books

An institution as much for its personality as for its books, this used-book shop is built for browsing. Books fill every inch on three levels, from paperbacks in the Mystery Room to foreign-language titles in the bathroom to cookbooks (where else?) on the kitchen sink. Join bibliophiles the second Saturday of every month for wine and cheese. 657 C St., SE; 202-544-1621.

Eastern Market

It’s been around forever (well, actually, since 1873), and you’ve visited many times. But even in a neighborhood now saturated with grocery stores, in a city flush with newer foodie destinations, Eastern Market still more than holds its own. You can shop for artisanal cheeses, fresh pasta, specialty sausage, pastries, and flowers. Outside every weekend, you’ll find local farm stands and the bustling market of artists and crafters. 225 Seventh St., SE; 202-698-5253.

Hill’s Kitchen

Heaven for serious chefs, weekend dabblers, and gift-givers alike. Bestsellers include cookie cutters and cutting boards in the shape of DC and every state but Hawaii. The shop carries brands such as All-Clad and Waring, plus aprons and towels, gadgets and knives, barware and cookware, cookbooks and seasonal goodies. 713 D St., SE; 202-543-1997.

Howl to the Chief

Whether your dog is yelping hello to our new commander in chief or lifting his leg, he’ll enjoy the frosted elephants and donkeys in this pet store’s baked-goods section. Stop by for a cool pumpkin frozen-yogurt cup, Nats hoodies for your four-legged fan, and Trump and Putin dog toys. 733 Eighth St., SE; 202-544-8710.

Labyrinth Games & Puzzles

Newly expanded, this mom-and-pop is an antidote to our wired world. Pick up classics like Monopoly, Twister, Candyland, or Clue, or some of today’s big sellers, such as Catan or Exploding Kittens. Labyrinth hosts a huge used-game sale with live and silent auctions every summer (this year’s is July 22 and 23) and is known for its game nights most evenings. 645 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-544-1059.

—Melanie D.G. Kaplan

This article appears in the June 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.