This week, specifically March 1, marks my two year anniversary of moving to Capitol Hill from Petworth. It was a major move for me because it meant signing a year-long lease and fully cementing that I was staying in DC for a while. Truthfully, it’s hard to believe that I’ve lived in the same apartment for two years, and have been in the District for almost three! I recently filled out the Global Entry Application and you have to list everywhere you have lived in the past five years. I had six homes on that list, and I did not include college or study abroad addresses! So it’s kind of crazy that two of those years have been spent in one place. Anyway, I wanted to write a post that truly proclaimed my love for Capitol Hill.
I know that the District is pretty walkable, but I think the streets, sidewalks, houses, shops and parks make Capitol Hill especially walkable because they’re pretty and picturesque. Proximity also plays a part. I love that I am about a mile away from the Capitol Building and the Nats Stadium. I love that on a nice day, you can walk to the National Mall or the 2-or-so miles to Gallery Place to see a movie. Finally, I love that I can walk to the grocery store, but also have Eastern Market nearby for when I want to splurge or buy produce based on what looks or tastes good.
Ever since I moved to the neighborhood, I have always said that it reminds me of a small town within a big city. I’ve come to realize that might not be exactly true or the right description. Capitol Hill is definitely not a small town. It is made up of row houses, not stand-alones. Also, not everyone has a yard, so small parks and streets are filled with people on the weekends. However, I do get an excellent community vibe. I love that I see the same people around the neighborhood even if I’ve never met them. I love that the business owners of shops I frequent remember that I visit regularly even if we don’t know always know each other’s names. I grab beignets for my roommate at Bayou Bakery or she brings me a Brown Butter from District Doughnut.
You Never Have to Leave
I love that there is enough to do on the weekends without ever leaving the neighborhood. The trick is to convince your friends to travel to the SE to visit. Capitol Hill has a wealth of spaces and to duck into no matter what the weather decides to do. In particular, small parks, bookshops, and coffee shops are plentiful. I love that I love that Barrack’s Row, Eastern Market/7th St., and the that small stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue north of the Eastern Market metro station are not filled with lots of chain stores and restaurants.There are obviously some chains and I will be the first to admit that I have a huge guilty pleasure when District Taco calls my name! But, for the most part, there are small shops and restaurants that routinely campaign to shop local and host free events. Some of my favorites include pop-ups at Summit to Soul, boozy board game nights at Labyrinth/Mr. Henry’s, KnitLit at East City Book Shop, and events at the Hill Center. I love lazy summer days spent in the parks, wandering the market sipping a fresh-squeezed lemonade or an iced latte.
No, there aren’t clubs or lots of bars that are open past midnight, but I’ve never been that kind of person. The dogs and families with small children may dominate the views as you walk around and you may think that you have to be married to live in the neighborhood, but people of all ages and in all stages of life make Capitol Hill their home. My tip is to go out to dinner after 7:00pm if you are trying to avoid the bedtime crowd.
I know that Capitol Hill is not for everyone. Some people love to be close to nightlife or have a real yard or want to live in a luxury apartment building with tons of amenities. I think that is what is great about DC because those places exist. Cities have to accommodate a wide variety of people that value different living priorities and interests. Capitol Hill is for the dog lovers and meanderers. My neighborhood is definitely not a small town, but it is a community that I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of for the past two years.