As much a community gathering spot and tourist destination as it is a collection of indoor and outdoor shops, Washington, D.C.’s legendary Eastern Market is a must-visit destination, whether you feel like shopping ‘til you drop or simply soaking up the energy of this funky Capitol Hill enclave.
Come to Eastern Market hungry, and there's no chance you'll leave that way — Photo courtesy of Eastern Market
Part of what makes the combination crafts, flea and food market so special – aside from its overall creativity and playfulness – is that the weekend roster of participating artists (most of whom sell handmade goods) is always changing and evolving. So don’t worry about encountering the same-old, same-old from week to week. In fact, don’t worry about ever encountering it.
Feel like snagging a pair of silly, chic Mann Made Design’s earrings crafted from polished Heineken bottle caps? You’ll find it here. The same goes for hand-poured Capitol Cherry Blossom soap or Provence Morning candles from Aurora Bath and Jewels.
If exotic wood carvings are more your speed, go home with an original piece from Surinamese Wood Carving, where each museum-quality item comes from the hands of master craftsman Adiante Franszoon.
Looking for fresh flowers? Look no further! — Photo courtesy of Eastern Market
If you prefer your finds to be more of the textile variety, scope out the interesting garments and accessories on display from vendors like Kiwi Exquisite, whose dynamic roster of wares includes Egyptian tunics, hats from around the world and too many more items to name.
Into leather? (It’s okay, really!) Stop at Eugene Nee’s booth, where an array of handmade wallets, boots and clothing is just waiting to be snapped up.
And if you get hungry during your shopping binge, or from dancing to the live music played on weekends? No worries! Remember: Eastern Market is first and foremost a foodie mecca. That means you’re never more than a few steps away from something delicious.
If it’s early in the day and your stomach is rumbling for breakfast, order a warm bagel with cream cheese and lox from Fine Sweet Shop. Or maybe try a stack of blueberry buckwheat pancakes from Market Lunch. (Prepare to wait in line; it’ll be worth it.)
Artisans display their one-of-a-kind works at this D.C. shopping event — Photo courtesy of Eastern Market
Later on, opt for something savory. Whether it’s a barbecue sandwich with homemade coleslaw from Canales Delicatessen, or a slice (or three) of rich artisanal cheese from Bowers Fancy Dairy Products, you won’t go home hungry. But just in case, hedge your bets by picking up some extra goodies to cook later on, such as fresh pasta from Eastern Market Grocery. Or grab some Asian fruits - juices and canned goods - from Capitol Hill Produce.
Fresh produce tempts shoppers every weekend — Photo courtesy of Eastern Market