Capitol Hill, Washington Places

Part of our Washington travel guide; our list of the best things to see in Capitol Hill, including Library of Congress, National Postal Museum and Nationals Park.
  • The best place in Capitol Hill Washington: Library of Congress

    Library of Congress

    101 Independence Ave SE
    Originally founded by the third U.S. president, Thomas Jefferson, this grand building, also called the Jefferson Library, has the largest collection of books in the world. The most popular points of interest are the massive main reading room and Great Hall. On the Winter and Summer solstices the Great Hall is filled with an odd silver glow that gives the impression you are surrounded by floating clouds, and this makes those days the most crowded. The main reading room is known as the Sacred Room, and is absolutely stunning. You must be 18 or older to use the reading rooms and have a user card, which can be obtained by presenting a driver's license or completing a self registration form. Guided tours will not bring you into the reading room, but will take you up in the dome, where you can see the room in its full glory. There are also a number of rotating exhibitions from the Library's vast collection on display at any one time, as is a Gutenberg Bible.
    Anacostia food nearby
  • National Postal Museum

    National Postal Museum

    2 Massachusetts Ave NE
    The Smithsonian's own philatelist Shangri-La has one of the world's largest collections of rare stamps, as well as exhibitions of how mail has been delivered throughout history, and other ways that the mail shapes culture.
    Capitol Hill eat nearby
  • Nationals Park

    Nationals Park

    1500 South Capitol St SE
    Nationals Park is brand new, having opened just in 2008, and is home of the equally new Washington Nationals baseball team, The Nats. The Nationals, though, have history beyond its latest 2005 beginnings—D.C.'s first baseball franchise from 1891-99 bore the same (interchangeably with the Washington Senators), as did its two other successors throughout the twentieth century. None were very successful though. The first disbanded after nine years with a 0.366 win percentage; the second and third eventually left the city to become the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers. And the modern incarnation was formerly the Montreal Expos. Following in the D.C. tradition, the latest incarnation of the Nats performed progressively worse with each passing year, until 2010, when the team finally started turning itself around, and acquired a bonafide superstar-prodigy in pitcher Stephen Strasburg. The games are fun, and are a great excuse to spend the latter half of a day in the Waterfront District, and to enjoy the new stadium. The stadium is big, with comfy seats, an enormous scoreboard, and happily vendors from venerable D.C. food establishments like Five Guys, Ben's Chili Bowl, and Dogfish Head and Flying Dog Brewery.
    Anacostia restaurants nearby
  • National Book Festival

    National Book Festival

    National Mall
    One Saturday and Sunday in Mid to Late September. Sponsored by the Library of Congress, this festival celebrates books, authors, and reading. Highlights include listening to your favorite author speak, queuing up to have a book signed, taking the kids to visit their beloved PBS Kids characters, and collecting stamps from all the US states and territories in the Pavilion of the States.
    Anacostia food nearby
  • Union Station

    Union Station

    50 Massachusetts Ave NE
    Not just a train station or metro stop, the grandiose 1908 Beaux Arts building by legendary American architect Daniel Burnham makes it worth a look—the ceremonial entrance is stunning. Open long after the museums close, it contains shops, restaurants and a cinema. A large monument to Christopher Columbus stands outside the building.
    Capitol Hill eat nearby
  • Gallaudet University

    Gallaudet University

    800 Florida Ave NE
    Gallaudet is the nation's and the world's first university for the deaf, and remains the world's only university where all classes and services are tailored to the needs of the hearing-impaired. Aside from being the principal institution and center for American Sign Language, the university also comprises a National Historic District, a designation received for its several excellent examples of fanciful North American High Gothic architecture. The most famous of these is the campus' centerpiece, Chapel Hall. Tours can be arranged to be in spoken English, but only with a good amount of advance notice (they are routinely available in ASL), and are geared at information for prospective students and their families.
    Brentwood restaurants nearby
  • Dr. Granville Moore's

    Dr. Granville Moore's

    1238 H St NE
    Su-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM. $15-25 (Belgian beers $8+). The gastropub fare here is great (seafood, salads, sandwiches), but the showstopper is the Belgian mussels and fries, and even more so the 50 Belgian beers chalked in on the board. Considered the gold standard for Belgian food in a city that loves the stuff.
    Capitol Hill
  • Atlas Performing Arts Center

    Atlas Performing Arts Center

    1333 H St NE
    Art gallery: Tu-Su noon-6PM. "The People's Kennedy Center." The Atlas Theatre was an old 1930s movie palace, and reopened several years ago after extensive renovations turning it into an arts center and performance venue on two big stages. Those performances run throughout the whole year, running the gamut from drama to musical to cabaret to dance. The building also houses an art gallery open throughout the week.
    Capitol Hill eat nearby
  • Cafe 8

    Cafe 8

    424 8th St SE
    Su-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. $9-20. Some argue that Cafe 8 is being outshined by newer flashy Mediterranean cooking on the Hill (like Cava Mezze), but this remains a reliable, established place for a good dinner on Barracks Row. The head chef hails from Cafe Divan in the Northwest, and the best items on the menu are accordingly skewed towards Turkish cuisine. As with Divan, the mezzes oddly enough are overshadowed by the great kabobs (especially the Iskender, and good Iskender is hard to find outside of Turkey). The Turkish very thin take on pizza—pides, are also a hit, and a cheaper option.
  • Eastern Market

    Eastern Market

    225 7th St SE
    Tu-F 7AM-7PM, Sa 7AM-6PM, Su 9AM-5PM. D.C.'s biggest public market has been housed since 1873 in a nineteenth century brick building, just a few blocks from the Capitol. The market itself is open every day, but weekends bring an additional influx of vendors ranging from local farmers to antique furniture. The market burned down in 2007 and was for a while housed in a temporary structure, but it reopened in June 2009.
  • Dangerously Delicious Pies

    Dangerously Delicious Pies

    1339 H St NE
    M-Th 11AM-midnight, F 11AM-3:30AM, Sa 9AM-3:30AM, Su 9AM-10PM. By the slice: $4.50-6, whole pies: $30-35. A slice of one of their savoury pies (like the wonderful steak, mushroom, and gruyère) can be enough for dinner, really, so this qualifies as a prime cheap eats spot on H St (or an inebriated after-bar indulgence). Among the dessert pies, it would be a shame not to try the strawberry rhubarb! An import from Baltimore, Dangerously Delicious has flourished here, and is probably the best bakery for pies in the immediate D.C. metro area. Look for pies by the slice out of their food truck downtown, too.
    Capitol Hill
  • B Smith's

    B Smith's

    50 Massachusetts Ave NE
    M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 11AM-9PM. $25-60. Some of D.C.'s best upscale soul food and Creole cuisine is served here, in a beautiful, dining room, which was once the presidential waiting room at the station. B. Smith's is rather famous with visiting celebrities, as well as national politicians. They'll probably get a private room, but you might nonetheless see some famous fellow diners. Best for brunch/lunch.
    Capitol Hill
  • Sticky Rice

    Sticky Rice

    1224 H St NE
    Su-Th 11:30AM-2AM, F 11:30AM-3AM, Sa 5PM-3AM. $8-22. A stylish sushi restaurant by day and crowded H St bar by night, the biggest draw here is the sushi. The rolls are big, inventive, and jaunty—and reasonably priced. If you are here for a couple beers, definitely order a bucket of tater tots. Tuesday nights are karaoke, while F-Sa nights see DJs.
    Capitol Hill
  • Charlie Palmer's Steakhouse

    Charlie Palmer's Steakhouse

    101 Constitution Ave NW
    Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: M-F 5:30PM-10PM, Sa 5PM-10:30PM. $35-85. Charlie Palmer is a national celebrity chef, and his steakhouse vies with two others for the title of the city's favorite steak (and those Republicans like their steak). On the scale of the three, it sits comfortably between trendy and traditional. And of course, it sits somewhere the other steakhouses do not—literally right across the street from the Capitol Building. The views are fantastic. Don't worry if you don't like steak, as this is an all-around outstanding restaurant, with a variety of excellent American dishes.
    Capitol Hill
  • Good Stuff Eatery

    Good Stuff Eatery

    303 Pennsylvania Ave SE
    Flagship location of the soon to be franchised burger joint. Renowned locally for its handmade burgers, handcut fries, handspun ice cream.
  • Belga Cafe

    Belga Cafe

    514 8th St SE
    M-Th 11AM-10PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 9AM-9:30PM. $20-50. One of the neighborhood's longest running favorites on Barracks Row serves perfectly fine Belgian cuisine, and has at all times at least five fine Belgian beers on tap (and a host more besides). Reliable food, best for dinner, and pricey.
  • Lot 38 Espresso Bar

    Lot 38 Espresso Bar

    1001 2nd St SE
    M-F 6:30AM-6PM, Sa-Su 8AM-4PM. A rare sign of neighborhood life in the form of an actual family-run local business! It's a great coffeeshop with a big space, and serves as a really good meeting place pre-games, if the Bullpen isn't your thing. Free Wi-Fi.
  • Justin's Cafe

    Justin's Cafe

    1025 1st St SE
    Kitchen: Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM. $8-14. The lack of food options by Nationals Stadium makes this bar/restaurant an important place to find a pre-game dinner or after-game bite (the kitchen will stay open late when Nats games run long). The menu is fairly basic pub grub like sandwiches, salads, pizza, burgers, fries, etc., despite some menu descriptions with a bit of pretense, but the atmosphere is friendly and the craft beer selection is great.
  • Sonoma


    223 Pennsylvania Ave SE
    Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: M-Th 5PM-10PM, F-Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 5PM-9PM. $20-45. The current dining rage in the country is Italian-inspired cooking with the California philosophy of simplicity, fine (Californian) wines, and local ingredients. This restaurant has excelled in this category, and packs in serious foodies into a crowded, but very trendy space—reservations are a must every day of the week. The lounge upstairs is similarly beautiful and fashionable (and crowded), with a fireplace and big windows.
  • Homebody

    715 8th St SE
    M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su noon-6PM. Selling mostly home furnishings, this store is better suited to locals than travelers, but its selection is unique and stylish enough to merit a visit if only to browse. And there are original works of art and accessories, which are easier to take home.
  • Friendship Baptist Church

    900 Delaware Ave SW
    This attractive white Romanesque church has been the center of the southwest's African American community from its construction in 1886 until the urban renewal project.
    Anacostia restaurants nearby
  • Washington Design Center

    300 D St SW
    Browse: M-F 9AM-5PM; Shop: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-3PM. This huge center for luxury interior design is geared towards industry insiders, not consumers, but you can visit to browse some of the showrooms, or to buy directly from the Kitchen, Bath and Building Products Center on the concourse level. You can also sign up for a tour of the center by sending them an email in advance.
    Capitol Hill
  • Folger Shakespeare Library

    201 E Capitol St SE
    M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Plays: $20-50 (occasional student discounts). A library, performance venue, and a museum all rolled into one. The library is the single most impressive feature—it houses the largest collection of the Bard's works in the world—although the library itself is geared towards researchers, not travelers. The Shakespearean performances here are top-notch, and occasionally outshine the bigger Shakespeare Theatre Company in the East End (although the performances here can be more uneven). There are also frequent lectures, musical performances, etc., which can be a good excuse to visit. The small museum has a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and an Elizabethan garden in the back, and is nice to visit combined with a performance.
    Anacostia eat nearby
  • St Dominic's Church

    630 E St SW
    St Dominic's, built in 1875, served as the center of the European Catholic community just west, and its working belltower remains one of the area's principal landmarks. Visiting a mass can be rewarding if only to enjoy the impressive music ensemble and excellent acoustics.
    Capitol Hill restaurants nearby
  • Groovy D.C.

    323 7th St SE
    M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM Su 11AM-5PM. This is a very eclectic gift shop with unique gift cards, gags, and other arts & crafts. It's a little on the expensive side.
  • H Street Playhouse

    1365 H St NE
    The Atlas Theatre's neighbor is smaller and less historic, offering a 100 seat black box theatre for a diverse range of contemporary dramatic productions in an intimate setting.
    Capitol Hill eat nearby
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EDIT THIS ITINERARY Our list of places in Washington uses some content from Wikipedia and Wikivoyage.