Dear PoPville – Looking for Advice about Hill East

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Dear PoPville,

I am house shopping in Hill East (is this the correct name or is it just what the realtors are calling it?). In my 10 years in DC I have always lived in NW (Cleveland Park and then Columbia Heights), so my familiarity with the community is pretty limited, other than from a few friends who live in the neighborhood and seem to love it. I was hoping you could give me some advice on what it is like living over that way in SE, where to grocery shop, where to eat out, where to drink, where to take my dog to the vet, are there any farmers markets (other than Eastern Market), are there any super sketchy blocks that I should avoid, and is the waterfront there ever really going to get developed?

Be sure to check out Wisdom and Trusty’s by the Potomac Ave metro. There is a Harris Teeter at 1350 Potomac Ave SE. You should try La Lomita at 1330 Pennsylvania Ave SE. And you are not far from all the great restaurants on Barracks Row. There is the Capitol Hill Animal Clinic at 1240 Pennsylvania Ave SE. For folks who live in/nearby what other suggestions would you offer?

34 Comment

  • Barracks Row is great. There is also a Safeway on 14th st, just a few blocks north of the Harris Teeter. People like Mangialardo’s as well. P&C Market (at Lincoln Park, so not totally Hill East) is a neat specialty market.

  • Groceries are easy there are 2 big ones – Safeway and Harris Teeter within blocks of each other. But there is a new Gian on H and Yes has a big location on 8th and another opening somewhere on H I think. I do know that H has a seasonal farmers market – or at least they used to.

    Reservation 13 is not going to be developed to any great degree anytime soon – though I have seen plans for what is closer to happening on Commissioner Brian Flahaven’s web page.

    There are several vets. I used to use Union Vet near Union Station but there is one that moved to 13th and Penn that used to be on 8th.

    Eating out is pretty much H St. which may not be too far depending on where you are going to be. 8th is obviously another. There are a few places near the Harris Teeter but otherwise that is it (DC likes to congregate things).

    If you are close to Congressional Cemetery you can walk your dog but only if you sign up with K9 Corps. I do know there are others hot doggy walking places but I don’t have a dog so I am not the best person to inform. Lincoln Park seems to have become much more of a big gathering places

    I don’t know of any blocks with a particular sketchy reputations, but it is DC and not Smalltown, USA. I do know that coming out of the Potomac Metro Station can sometimes be a place to be more aware (i.e. don’t immediately pull your cellphone out because thieves are on the look out for potential targets).

    Hill East is a good location for getting onto 295 (at East Capitol and on 11th) and 395 (on 11th).

    Advice – get yourself a Fagon guide and regularly read Hill Rag. There are also a number of Hill blogs like Frozen Tropics, Hill is Home, Eastern Market Metro Community Association, etc. Also, there is a Yahoo list serve (
    [email protected]).

    • I should have added that the MPD 1st district has a list serve but you can check out the posts without joining. There are also monthly crime meetings if you are really interested – give you a chance to meet some of the officers in the PSA.

      Of course others do as well.

    • There’s a fairly realistic chance they will be breakground on a small piece of the water front development in the next year and half or so, so that’s a start, and currently there are great running/biking paths already connecting the development to Anacostia Park. Don’t let the name dissuade you – its a really great park, and clean and safe.

  • Hill East is great! We’ve lived there for about a year and a half and are very happy with our decision. It’s a lot quieter than a lot of NW, but there’s a great sense of community. We eat out and shop on H street or Barracks Row (both walking distance). There’s a Harris Teeter and a Safeway. I’ve never used them but people say good things about Atlas Vet on H Street.

    You should always be careful when walking alone anywhere in the city but we have always felt safe in Hill East. People say hello to each other on the street, which never happened when I lived near Dupont. That being said I never walk alone at night (didn’t when I lived in NW either) and you need to be aware of your surroundings.

  • justinbc

    I’ve heard the Safeway that opened there is pretty fantastic, a far leap from the awful ones that plague NW DC.

    • That Safeway is old – it started on 8th and when it needed to be bigger moved to its present location.

      It used to be referred to on the Hill as the Unsafeway. One of the news shows did an undercover story on bad groceries and we there – of course they went there during the reno and didn’t indicate it was during a reno….. After the BIG reno a few years ago is light years improved – though it is still a Safeway and I hate they way they manage their dairy.

      It does have a Suntrust ATM but it also staffs tellers on Saturday and Sunday which has helped me a few times. Also, has a liquor department that is open on Sunday now. They also have some health thing near the pharmacy which I haven’t figured out.

      • Which Safeway are you talking about? The Safeway I hear referred to as “UnSafeWay” is in Hechinger Mall. The Safeway near Hill East is on Kentucky Avenue.

  • justinbc

    Also check out the DC crime map for an idea of the specific place you’re moving. I know the place we bought in Capitol Hill recently just a few blocks south of the H St corridor had only 200 or so reported incidences over a year span (within 1500 feet), compared to nearly 1,000 for my quiet street in Logan Circle. I was quite shocked to find that out, and quite relieved!

  • I lived in Hill East (on Bay Street) for a year and a half, and spent another year just south of Lincoln Park. I loved the community feel, especially on Bay Street– we had a great mix of longtime residents, young families, and a group house or two.

    As far as nearby stores, etc., Frager’s Hardware is a neighborhood institution! Across the street from Frager’s is a huge CVS with a suburban-size selection– way better than the one by Eastern Market metro. If you want internet but not cable TV, I recommend DC Access– they’re local and only available in the Capitol Hill/Hill East area. The service is good, and the people are way easier to deal with than Comcast!

    Blocks to avoid– when I lived there, the intersection of 14th, Massachusetts and Independence wasn’t the best, but that might have changed recently… I remember hearing one of the corner stores there got revamped and is quite nice now.

  • Congressional Cemetery is a great place to take your dog for a stroll…

  • I grew up in “Hill East”. Crime was way worse back then, but the area is no Navy Yard. Wisom is pretty cool, and the Teeter is nice, I suppose.

  • I’m very glad you are getting nice responses.

  • I would NOT recommend Capitol Hill Animal Clinic. I had a very poor experience with my cat and Dr. Montgomery. I switched to Union Vet (by Union Station) and then to Atlas Vet on H Street. To be clear, I wasn’t unhappy with Union Vet. I stopped by Atlas Vet when they were first opening and fell in love with the staff. That is why we made the switch.

    Also, Safeway on the Hill is poorly managed, consistently out of basic stock items and dirty. Stick with Harris Teeter.

  • We moved to Hill East from Adams Morgan after buying a house a year ago and have no regrets. We shop at Safeway and Harris Teeter (usually bike, but parking is easy at both, and they are a short walk away), and we often go out and eat on H street. Both H St and Barracks row are about a 20 minute walk away, which took getting used to after being right in the middle of things in Adams Morgan, but I think the trade off of getting a lot of house for your money, and being right near the metro is worth it. Definitely check out Trustys and Wisdom, both better neighborhood bars than you’ll find in most of NW DC. And Congressional Cemetery is dog paradise.

  • Atlas Vet is great, and the Safeway is recently much improved – far better than the Giant in CH or the Safeway in Admo – trust me.

  • andy

    I was always under the impression that Capitol Hill was the entire neighborhood, and that Hill East was just a nickname for the easterly edge, which was sketchy enough that in the past when people referred to living in/visiting/etc. “Capitol Hill” they functionally meant further west. I’d be happy to have this turn out to be a misimpression, by the way.

    • Depends on who you ask. Sometimes it’s used to distinguish between the Historic District and the eastern section outside of it. Some real estate sites show the dividing line further west (like 8th St). Not sure it really matters.

  • We bought about 2 years ago in the Kingman Park area. This is just North of Hill East. Kingman Park essentially starts on the North side of C street and goes up Benning Road. We chose Kingman Park due to houses were selling cheaper than the Hill East area. A TON of flipped properties popping up. Access to Barracks Row, H st., Cap Hill, and 295/395 are all 5 min. car ride or 10 min. bike. As posters above say crime happens everywhere, but Wife and I feel very safe. Really strong neighborhood community. Our ANC is fantastic and very motivated to better the community.

    We’ve been nothing but impressed and very happy in Kingman Park.

  • I love living in HillEast/Lincoln Park area. The neighborhood feel of the area is fantastic and you’re only a 10 minute walk from great restaurants on H and 8th. Atlas Vet on H is by far the best vet experience I’ve had with my pets.

    There is a farmer’s market at one of the elementary schools on Wednesday (sorry I forgot the name of it!). Saturday there is one on H St. And another at RFK on Thursdays.

    • I love the Watkins market and have been counting down the days until it returns! Their season is short, but everything’s organic and they had a huge selection last year. The staff is really friendly, it’s not crowded like the farmer’s line at Eastern Market, and everything is really high quality. On top of that the prices are amazing (I remember getting organic apples for $1.50/lb last fall) and they take credit cards. I think their hours are 3-7 on Wednesdays.

      Here’s info that was posted on the listserv a couple weeks ago:

      Watkins Farmers Market will return to the corner of 13th & E St, SE (Peter Bug Way) beginning Wednesday, June 5 in the afternoon.
      Opening market day will include live music, kids craft and seasonal organic produce.
      The weekly Wednesday market will be sourced from New Morning Farm and Tuscarora Organic Cooperative

    • Like many commenters I take my dogs to Atlas Vet and have been really happy with them. They were just voted the best vet in the Washington City Paper’s poll, and I wasn’t surprised!

      I work close to Hill East and we bought our home near Eastern Market a couple years ago. Prior to that I’d rented all over the place (NW, SW, and VA). Since I’ve been working in the area for nearly 7 years I was pretty familiar with Capitol Hill/Hill East already, and although my girlfriend was determined to buy in NW she came around pretty quickly when she saw how great the neighborhood is. Although we ended up buying right in the middle of Capitol Hill, sometimes she wishes we’d bought something bigger for the same price further east (I prefer location over house size so I don’t have that kind of longing, but I’m sure I would have liked living in Hill East almost as much).

      Often days (or even weeks!) go by where I don’t set foot in a car, or a bike, or on public transit. There’s just no reason to ever leave the area. Between Barracks Row, Eastern Market, Lincoln Park, Pennsylvania Ave, H Street, and the Capitol Riverfront everything I need is within walking distance (I also consider the National Mall and Penn Quarter/Chinatown within walking distance from where I live, though obviously they’re a bit further from Hill East and not everyone likes walking as much as I do :).

      One more thing– this is a great location if you use a car and want to get out of the city easily. It’s very accessible to 295 and 395. Also, if you like being out in nature it’s only a 10-minute drive to the National Arboretum and Kennilworth Aquatic Gardens.

  • Technically I guess I live in Hill East but I’m only 3 blocks east of Lincoln Park (right off East Capitol). It’s nice to be slightly off the beaten path but still enjoy the perks of the Hill. I complain when I have to park ½ a block from my house! Getting out of the city easy – the entrance to 295 is right at the Armory! I can walk/bike to Eastern Market, H St and Barracks row easily and with a zone 6 sticker I can park anywhere on the Hill I don’t feel like walking to.

    I used to walk my dog at Congressional Cemetery and that was fantastic (He’s to old to enjoy it anymore so we gave up our spot). If you can join I highly recommend it (it is expensive and they do cap memberships at a certain point). I go to Union Vet and have always liked them.

    I love my neighbors and rarely feel unsafe – annoyed lots of times (The Eastern High School kids can be a little rowdy when they get out for the day but kids are always hyped up when they get out of school. It’s to be expected). I have a large dog and try to be smart about where I walk and at what times.

  • We just got kittens and started going to Atlas Vet on H Street, they are really great! Vet spent a fair amount of time with the kittens, was very involved. The facilities are nice and everyone there was great.

  • Awesome running and biking on the Anacostia river walk trail with the completion of the Osprey bridge over the train tracks.

  • We moved from the Hill to Hill East just under two years ago, and we like it a lot. The houses are more affordable by DC standards. The people also seem to be down to earth and connected to the neighborhood. Parking is rarely an issue. There are multiple Metro options (Stadium/Armory, Potomac Ave, and even Eastern Market if you want to walk a bit) and multiple bike share stations. Access to 8th Street and H Street is easy. Nats Park is a 15 to 20 minute bike ride away – love the bike valet! There is also quick access to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail which will eventually provide quick access to the National Arboretum and Kenilworth Water Gardens. AND there is a great soft pretzel shop on 15th St SE not far from that once scary intersection of Mass, Independence, and 15th. My one big complaint is trash, which seems to come mostly from the school kids in the neighborhood…always picking up trash on my street.

    • Yes, the trash can get annoying. The worst part about it is that it’s not only the kids that litter. I’ve seen grown adults do it too. Other than that, this neighborhood is great. My wife and I bought our Hill East house on 14th Street SE about three years ago, and we don’t regret our decision.

  • Apparently the Mayor thinks Hill East has a weak housing market: As a person looking to buy over there, ican 100% dispute that . Also 20003 is the fastest moving market in the city. Here’s to hoping that Res13 gets built sometime in the next decade

  • Ally

    I highly recommend Hill East. I have lived in the area for over 8 years and bought a home near 16th and A SE a few years back. The neighbors are very friendly, it’s a short-ish walk to Eastern Market/Barrack’s Row, and it’s got great outdoor spaces with Lincoln Park and the Anacostia Riverwalk.

    While I’ve luckily not experienced any crime, I have had to call 911 a few times (mostly kids fighting, etc), but that luckily has happened less and less in the last few years.

    If Reservation 13 ever gets some funding and support from the DC government, it’s going to be even better, particularly for home values. That being said, my home has still appreciated nearly $50k since I bought a few years ago, so it’s a great area if you’re looking to buy.

    Best luck!

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