One great way to get to know the heartbeat of a city is to visit a public market there. There'll be locals with stalls set up to sell goods of every kind. You'll hear the busy chatter of people bargaining with vendors. You'll see lots of vibrant colors; you'll smell all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. You'll sample food from around the globe or local delicacies. It's an experience to be had, for sure.
The Eastern Market is Washington, D.C.'s oldest public market and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, it first opened in 1873. In the early years, Eastern Market was just a single building but has undergone a couple of expansions since then. The Eastern Market today includes the North, South and Center Halls. In 2007, the Eastern Market experienced a devastating fire, causing it to shut down. Renovations and repairs were completed in 2009, and the market is back in full swing! While the physical building holds many of the market's food choices, there are traditional outdoor stalls to visit as well.
The indoor space, known as South Hall, offers a variety of gourmet meats, international cheeses, fresh fruits, and vegetables. It also houses an area with vendors selling beautiful arrays of fresh flowers. Coffee drinkers should head into Eastern Market Grocery to snag a bag of locally grown joe. And yes, this is also the place to come for unique spices (at fair prices).
The outdoor, or open-air market, is just what you might imagine. There are rows of tables lined with a wide variety of items. If you're looking for unique gift items, head over to the stall with hand-carved wooden pieces. Choose something from one of the jewelry vendors like earrings or bracelets. Each piece is handmade and as unique as the artist who crafted it.
See for yourself why unearthing this hidden gem is a must!
(Cover Image Credit: William Justen de Vasconcello via unsplash.com)