D.C.’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood has evolved over the years into an eclectic mix of 100-year-old town houses and destination restaurants — with a dash of government gravitas thrown in. Roughly bounded by the U.S. Capitol, F Street NE, 13th Street and Interstate 695, Capitol Hill is one of the largest and most densely populated residential areas in the city. It’s home to a mix of young professionals and families — plenty of them Hill staffers — drawn to the area’s thriving restaurant scene and central location in the District. This summer’s hot real estate market drove housing prices in the area up, but it still attracts younger buyers.
You can hop on Metro’s Blue and Orange lines at either the Eastern Market or Capitol South stations. Union Station has the Red Line. Not too far away are the Potomac Avenue (Blue and Orange lines) and Navy Yard (Green Line) stations. The area is also served by a number of city bus lines, the Southeast Freeway and more than a half dozen Capital Bikeshare stations. The DC Circulator also runs through Capitol Hill, from Union Station to Navy Yard.
The Capitol Hill real estate market largely consists of town houses and rowhouses, some renovated and some “fixer-uppers,” though there are a handful of larger condo buildings on the market and in development. A town house in Eastern Market or another area close to the Capitol will likely be priced in the $800,000s or higher, though housing can be more affordable the farther east you go, according to Jessica Wilkie, an associate broker with M Squared
Real Estate who specializes in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. For example, homes in the Kingman Park area, to the east of Capitol Hill proper, can run in the $400,000s, Wilkie says.
You’ll find a bustling restaurant scene on Barracks Row, the corridor along Eighth Street SE from the Eastern Market station to M Street SE. Ted’s Bulletin (505 Eighth St. SE) is known for its classic American fare, including meatloaf and country-fried steak, and its old-fashioned milkshakes, which are available with “spirits.” Or there’s DC 3 (423 Eighth St. SE), a vintage hot dog joint with sides such as fried pickles and cotton candy. For brunch, the authentically Belgian Belga Cafe (514 Eighth St. SE) can’t be beat — if you can stand the wait — or stop into The Sweet Lobby (404 Eighth St. SE) to cure a craving for baked goods. Just off the row, Pound the Hill (621 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is a cozy coffee shop by day, bistro by night.
Shopping at Eastern Market (225 Seventh St. SE; 202-698-5253) harkens back to older styles of doing business, with local merchants offering fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, meats and cheeses. Outside the market, artists sell their crafts. First opened in 1873, the market was severely damaged by fire in April 2007 and located in a temporary structure until June 2009.
Of course, Capitol Hill has more-traditional supermarkets, too. Safeway, Harris Teeter and Yes! Organic Market are all nearby.
Parks & Recreation
Capitol Hill is home to a number of parks, including Folger, Lincoln, Stanton, and Marion parks. Barracks Row Main Street also plans to redesign and improve the publicly owned space along Pennsylvania Avenue SE between Seventh and Ninth streets, including the area around the Eastern Market station.
The area also hosts the Barracks Row Fall Festival every year (barracksrow.org), featuring more than 100 booths, a petting zoo and acrobats from the Trapeze School New York. This year it’s on Sept. 28, and the DC State Fair will be held during the festival, showcasing the District’s best home brew, best bike accessory, best pie and more (dcstatefair.wordpress.com).
A Rich History
One of the biggest draws to the area is the feeling of living among history. Capitol Hill takes its name from the hill it sits on, once called Jenkins Hill or Jenkins Heights. It was here that architect Pierre L’Enfant chose to place the “Congress House,” now the U.S. Capitol Building, which opened in 1800. The neighborhood around it became a boarding-house community for members of Congress and was home to the craftsmen who worked at the nearby Navy Yard. In 1801, the neighborhood grew a little more with the opening of the Marine Barracks at the corners of Eighth and I streets SE. It’s the oldest active post in the Marine Corps.
Need to Know
Average Home Sold Price: $686,823
ZIP Codes: 20002, 20003
Owner-Occupied Homes: 45 percent
Renter-Occupied Homes: 44 percent
Vacant Homes: 11 percent
Median Age of Homes: 69 years
Median Years in Residence: 3.2
Median Age: 35
Households with Children: 12 percent
Average Number of Residents Per Home: 2
D.C. Council Member: Tommy Wells, Ward 6