Capitol Hill

Whether it’s Eastern Market or H Street Corridor, Capitol Hill is buzzing with fantastic activities, stores, and, of course, places to eat.

About Capitol Hill

First thing’s first—Capitol Hill is not just one neighborhood. In fact, its boundaries extend into every quadrant of the city, and within them, you’ll find several distinct communities. The historic blocks around Barracks Row and Eastern Market, for instance—with their handsome rowhouses and hole-in-the-wall shops—could hardly feel more different from the slick new eateries and luxe apartment buildings rising around the ballpark in Navy Yard. Head north to H Street, and you’ll find a funkier scene, with offbeat restaurants and plenty of nightlife. Start wherever you want, but all the areas of the Hill are worth exploring.

Things to Do in Capitol Hill

Photograph courtesy of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club.

Barracks Row/Eastern Market

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.

H Street Corridor

Atlas Performing Arts Center. A catalyst for the revitalization of H Street, the former 1938 movie house reopened in 2006 as a community-focused arts organization. It hosts art shows, dance performances, plays, and spoken word. This summer, check out the resident Mosaic Theater Company’s Voices From a Changing Middle East Festival—two plays that delve into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 1333 H St., NE; 202-399-7993.

The Escape Lounge. Gather a group of friends and pay to get locked in a room—really. For $25 a person, you can “Escape the Oval Office,” an hourlong game in which your team puzzles through clues to uncover a White House scandal before time runs out. If that one hits too close to reality, try another option, such as kid-friendly “Escape the Classroom,” in which your group must find the key to get out of school before the last bus leaves. 1322 H St., NE; 202-399-0900.

Gallery O on H. After a major renovation in 2013, this early-20th-century building—made of the same stone used in the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery—was transformed into an indoor/outdoor community space that hosts art and photography shows as well as music performances. Weather permitting, local jazz artists play free weekend concerts in the courtyard all summer. 1354 H St., NE; 202-649-0210.

H Street Country Club. Head to this campy haunt for taco- and margarita-fueled competition. After getting your fill of Tex-Mex, partake in a collection of arcade games, including shuffleboard, skeeball, and the main attraction—a nine-hole mini-golf course of tiny DC landmarks. The games are first-come, first-served, but you can wait your turn on the 2,000-square-foot roof deck, the largest on H Street. 1335 H St., NE; 202-399-4722.

Rock & Roll Hotel. When nightlife impresario Joe Englert opened this music venue and bar in an old funeral home in 2006, most of H Street was vacant and you could forget about finding a cab. But his bet paid off—more than a decade later, it remains a staple of the H Street corridor, now lined with other bars and restaurants. Rock & Roll Hotel still packs its upstairs dance floor every weekend, while its first-floor concert hall hosts acts nearly every night of the week. 1353 H St., NE; 202-388-7625.

Navy Yard

Ballpark Boathouse. Paddling along the Navy Yard and the Yards Park will give you a new perspective on the Anacostia River. Renting a kayak ($16 an hour for a single, $22 for a double) or canoe ($25 an hour), you can hear cheers from Nats Park, enjoy a Friday-night concert from the water, and, if you’re lucky, spot river wildlife. Potomac Ave. and First St., SE; 202-337-9642.

Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movie Series. Pack your picnic and head to the north side of Canal Park every Thursday for free movies this summer, including classics such as Grease and Sister Act as well as recent blockbusters like Arrival and Rogue One. The series begins in June; showtime at sundown. Canal Park, Second and I sts., SE.

Nationals Park. Since it opened in 2008, Nats Park has helped springboard surrounding Navy Yard into the fastest-growing neighborhood in DC. The stadium seems to evolve every season along with its environs. This year’s additions include a mojito cart, gourmet tater tots at the new food stall See You Tater, and MLB’s Ballpark app—download it to your phone and get special deals (such as upgraded seats), order concessions without waiting in line, and play along with your favorite Racing Presidents. 1500 S. Capitol St., SE; 202-675-6287.

Trapeze School New York. Channel your inner circus performer. If the idea of jumping off a 23-foot-high platform has you shaking in your safety belt, skip trapeze and learn another skill, such as trampoline, juggling, or acrobatic partner-balancing. TSNY’s local branch offers kids a special one-day circus experience as well as summer camps, culminating in performances for proud parents. 1299 New Jersey Ave., SE; 202-479-6861.

Washington Navy Yard Tour. New this year, the National Museum of the United States Navy is organizing free, two-hour walking tours of the Navy Yard. The next is July 17 at 10 am. Registration required; e-mail [email protected] or call 202-433-4882. 805 Kidder Breese St., SE.

Real Estate in Capitol Hill

The rest of the world might know the Hill for its two houses of Congress. But take a stroll through its historic streets and you’ll find plenty of houses that—at least most days—are just as interesting.

George Watterston House (built early 1800s)

224 Second St., SE

Watterston, the original owner, was appointed by President James Madison as the third Librarian of Congress in 1815. The building is now headquarters for the National Indian Gaming Association.

Friendship House (built 1795 or 1796)

619 D St., SE

The house was frequented by George Washington and used as a hospital for soldiers during the War of 1812. In 1815—the year after he wrote the national anthem—Francis Scott Key purchased it. The Friendship House Association, a social-services provider, bought it in 1936. It fell into foreclosure before being turned into condos in 2012.

Marine Corps House of the Commandants (built 1806)

Eighth and I sts., SE

In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson and Lieutenant Colonel William Ward Burrows chose this site to build a house for the highest-ranking officer of the US Marines. The mansion is still home to the Marine commandant and is thought to be the oldest continually occupied public building in the District.

Hiram Johnson House (built 1817–22)

122 Maryland Ave., NE

The most prominent owner of this house—a.k.a. the Mountjoy Bayly House, after the second Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, who built it—was Hiram Johnson, a governor of California, a US senator, and a founder of the Progressive Party. General Motors heir Stewart R. Mott bought the building in 1974; the first floor now houses his foundation.

Sewall-Belmont House (built 1800)

144 Constitution Ave., NE

Years after the Sewall family sold it to other owners, it ended up in the hands of the National Woman’s Party, which renamed it to honor suffragist Alva Belmont. In 2016, President Obama declared the house a national monument for women’s equality. Open for tours Wednesday through Sunday.

Crime & Safety

Below, the number of crimes (violent, nonviolent and property) reported in 2017.

Photos of Capitol Hill

Click on a photo to view gallery in full-screen.