What Are Your Favorite Things to Do in Hill East?

by Prince Of Petworth March 28, 2017 at 11:00 am 54 Comments

1432 Pennsylvania Ave, SE

“Dear PoPville,

I am under contract for a condo in the hill east neighborhood, I wonder if the readers are able to tell me what their thoughts are of hill east, the pending development at res 13, and there favorite things to do or eat in the neighborhood, that would be great.”

Old Trusty’s Signage at 1420 Pennsylvania Ave, SE

  • K

    Anacostia Riverwalk Trial. Kingman Island (technically Kingman Park but close enough). Mangialardo’s sandwiches! Pretzel Bakery. If you have a dog get on the Congressional Cemetery Dog walking/ cemetery dogs wait list.

  • MadMax

    Running through Congressional Cemetery is really nice, especially this time of year (unless you’re afraid of dogs). Hong Kong Carryout has the best Chinese in the area, but it’s cash only and there’s no seating inside. Mia’s coffee isn’t bad, still no word on changes after they sold (I think?). Mangialardo’s makes some pretty good Italian subs and is really cheap. Trusty’s and Wisdom are decent lowkey bars, the kind people seem to want all over the city.

    • MadMax

      Oh also, it’s technically in Capitol Hill and not Hill East, but since it’s right next to the border I will add that Lincoln Park is a fantastic place for picnic / chilling in the afternoon, sunbathing, annual fireworks displays, walking your dog (please don’t go off-leash like the other lawbreakers), or running around the dirt trail.

  • Andrei

    Beware of the naked mole, who may possibly be a hedgehog, dog poop in trashcans, and be ready to talk about MD drivers. Now you are in on the inside.

  • Susan

    Eastern Market, community gardens in alleys at 17th and D and E, walking the dog down by the stadium, Gingko Gardens and Frager’s for your planting and hardware needs, and more

    • jaseguy30

      Eastern Market is 6.5 blocks east of the Capitol. Is that considered Hill East? I’m new here.

      • MadMax

        With the exception of a few ins and outs as the Capitol Hill line zigzags I usually think of Hill East starting at approximately 14th St and going east from there, although in some areas I think it’s 13th St. So to answer your question, no, but it’s easily accessible for those living in Hill East.

        • jaseguy30

          Thanks Max!

      • SF

        I live on 16th and walk to Eastern Market every weekend. Not on Hill East but definitely within the neighborhood experience.

      • Ally

        I don’t think it’s considered Hill East, but it’s certainly very walkable (we’re at 16th and A SE, which is Hill East, and we regularly walk up there). Also only two metro stops away. But, technically, you’re right..not Hill East proper.

  • Traveler

    Congressional Cemetery, Anacostia River Walk, Trusty’s.

    • Andrei

      Yes, but the order is wrong.

  • R W

    W.S. Jenks & Son is also a great hardware store and less pricey than Fragers (also not as crowded). It’s in NE off Bladensburg Road and the people are just as nice and knowledgable there as those in Fragers. Fragers can be a zoo sometimes. H Street is hopping now, too, and isn’t far from where you’ll be living. Also in NE – Jimmy Valentine’s, where you can find real people, real beer, and no posers. While I know you asked for Hill East specifically, we’re a pretty residential area, and there’s more social variety in NE than on our SE end.

  • Tiffany

    Concur with all of the above and want to add that La Lomita at 14th and Penn has some solid Mexican food and great margs (it’s right near potomac metro and a block-ish away from Trusty’s).

  • Rex

    As many others have said Congressional Cemetary is a beautiful place to go for a walk and see fellow neighbors. They also have frequent activities there, like the Day of the Dog Festival, 5Ks, movie nights etc. I love biking along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail to Yards Park/Nats Stadium and not dealing with finding parking. Love the Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival. Also, great to be a 5 minute drive or 15-20 minute walk to all the bars/restaurants at Barracks Row. If you can’t tell, I love this neighborhood.

  • Barney Circle

    Welcome to the neighborhood! Since there seems to be a lot of good suggestions above, I’ll tackle the Reservation 13 development question: I’ve been to a few meetings where the developers (Donatelli Development) have presented detailed plans to the community. They are definitely behind their initial schedule now which isn’t surprising. I believe they are currently working on getting permitting through DCRA. It is hard to estimate when they will officially break ground but last I heard, things are still progressing.

    It’s hard to guess what retail might go in the ~40,000 sq ft they are estimating but I know Donatelli has a track record of using tenants that they know will pay up (Dunk’n Donuts, Sala Thai, etc.). I know the community is very interested in trying to find indie vendors but not sure that will happen.

  • The G-Man at Mangialardo’s. The bar at Trustys.

    • ET


      I like the piza at Pizza Iole and the Vietnamese place both on the 1200 block of Pennsylvania.

      • MadMax

        Oh no, that Vietnamese place is awful.

  • kapitolhill

    While we’re talking about Hill East… I’m curious, what’s that construction/cement depot for off in the corner of RFK parking lot behind DC General? Biked by it last weekend.

  • BrianF

    Wisdom (the bar featured above). This week they’re celebrating GinWorld with specials every night: https://www.facebook.com/events/141184293071934/

    Congressional cemetery, if you have a dog or if you just want some free, friendly dog time.

    The little pho place at Pennsylvania and 11th.

    And get some DC United tickets for their last season at RFK – there are often last minute specials on their website.

  • New DC resident

    I just moved to this neighborhood last week (blocks from Wisdom/Trusty’s). La Lomita allegedly has great margaritas, although I haven’t stopped by yet. We’re walking distance from the newly completed Anacostia Riverfront trails and you can run/bike all the way to College Park, or stroll to Navy Yard’s waterfront parks (and eventually beyond). I’m still looking for a great local coffee shop closer than Bayuu and the restaurants at Eastern Market / Barrak’s Row. Maybe someone will open a coffee shop / wine bar in the former Pennsylvania Avenue Market storefront? Or next door to the new paint store on the corner of Penn/Potomac?

    • birdie

      totally agree that hill east needs another coffee option. i actually live across the bridge in fairlawn, but damn it would be great to have an option besides going all the way to eastern market or navy yard.

      • skj84

        H Street has decent options with Maketto, Sidomo and The Wydown.

        • birdie

          not exactly a quick walk all the way down to maketto.

          • AN

            Check out Mia’s!

        • Thunder

          I like coffee at Maketto, but check out the Stumptown coffee at Sospeso. Its across the street from Maketto. Really good stuff.

    • CS

      Also on the “please someone bring us a coffee shop” bandwagon. I moved to Hill East near Potomac Ave metro after living in Bloomingdale (and near Big Bear) for 10 years, and it’s probably the biggest thing I miss. Yeah, I’ll often make the walk down to the many places around Eastern Market, but would be really nice to have one as close as Trusty’s/Wisdom/Harris Teeter.

      • Jackie

        Hey, me too! Used to live right near Big Bear and now I’m near Potomac Ave. I go to Bourbon Coffee sometimes but it’s just not the same… Also missing Compass Coffee, maybe they could set up shop around here?

    • Hill Easter

      Agree about the coffee shop!

  • AO

    Lots of great suggestions….I’d also add it’s incredibly easy to bike to a Nats game. dinner in Navy Yard, or the beer gardens down there. I’ve lived in Hill East for 3 years now and love it. Oh, and the Cupboard is great for those things you forgot to buy at the grocery store.

  • siz

    congressional cem is one of the most beautiful spots in the city. i’m moving in a few months and my dog and i are gonna miss it so much. heartily endorse all the other spots others have mentioned, esp trusty’s and the riverwalk trail/anacostia park.

  • HillEast

    Wisdom is my favorite low-key bar in the city. Everyone there is so friendly and the drinks are delicious, especially if you like gin. Check it out!

  • Victoria

    Mia’a coffee for the win, though I’ll get mad when it gets more crowded than it already is. Just kidding – welcome to the neighborhood!

  • Kerry

    To add – I find it’s pretty good for all forms of transportation – walking distance to two metro stops, on the 96 bus line (goes to Union Station, Shaw, U Street, and Adams Morgan), and street parking is not tough to find (at least on my block) and it’s easy to get on the major highways to get to Virginia and MD. It’s also a nice bike ride to Navy Yard, Anacostia Park, and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Kingman Park is also interesting for jogging/nature walks, and the new REI may be doing more outdoor activities there. As for the cons, I do find that the neighborhood is a bit residential, and (as someone without kids or a dog) I do wish things would stay open a little later in the evenings- I still haven’t been to Mia’s because it’s never open by the time I get home from work. H Street and Barracks Row are not far at all (a 20-min walk or a very short car ride) if I want more nightlife or late night eats, just not right outside my doorstep.

  • chaime

    Rooted Pilates is the best! Welcoming and with options for all levels. It just opened a few months ago and has been a great addition the neighborhood. Close to Potomac Ave Metro.

  • Dave

    Far East Taco grill on 15th and D NE is a great little place to grab a good bit. And Millie’s Market is a cute little corner market with the nicest owners (also 15th and D NE). They have good sandwiches too.

  • dcgent

    Random stuff others haven’t noted: Awesome Little Free Libaries (Bias–we have one), Far East Taco up 15th is a hidden gem. Only 25 minute car trip to Wegman’s in Md when not rushhour. Very easy access to BWI/Baltimore (if no accident on parkway) and to No. Virginia/national airport. World Wine & Spirits on Penn has great beer selection, including cheaper than average (for DC) growler fills. Big changes coming with all the condos/apartments planned around or at the Safeway location. Might make area dense enough to support a few more coffeeshops/stores. Next big fight: what happens with RFK campus and rest of reservation 13.

    • 15penn

      How do you get a free little library added to your block?

      • Aglets

        You make one.

      • dcgent

        My father-in-law makes them sporadically–he sold two to congressional cemeterary (one for it’s tour guides)

    • Ally

      Love the Little Free Libraries, so thanks for putting one up! Probably one of my favorite things about the neighborhood!

  • HillEast4Life

    The definition here of “Hill East” seems a little strict, but one of the best parts of the neighborhood is how walkable/bikable it is to nearby interesting neighborhoods/areas: Navy Yard, Yards Park, Nationals Park, Barracks Row, Eastern Market, H Street, Anacostia/Anacosta Park via 11th St Bridge or John Phillip Sousa Bridge, and Capitol Hill. I’m not a foodie, but there are lots of great places to check out at least once in Eastern Market/Barracks row like Bullfrog Bagels, Peregrine Espresso, District Taco, and District Donuts. Closer to Navy Yard is the Brig outdoor beer garden and Las Placitas, a fun Mexican/Salvadorian restaurant that has been a pioneer on Barracks row for a long time. If you can get access, the Navy Yard has a cool museum worth checking out. Even if you don’t have a ticket, it is fun to walk down to Nats Park and soak in the atmosphere, maybe sit outside and have a beer at Bluejacket. I always wish I took a bit more advantage of the activities at Hill Center, but I have seen some really interesting talks there. A little further away is a low-key personal favorite: Bistro Italiano in Capitol Hill. Fun fact: we saw disappointed Senators and future presidential foes L. Graham and M. Rubio there on the day that the Affordable Care Act was affirmed to be constitutional by the Supreme Court.

    With the improving weather, it is fun to keep it super local and get in some porch drinking with the neighbors. The Congressional Women’s Softball game at Watkins (June 21 this year, more info here https://www.congwomensoftball.org) and Halloween (huge turnouts) are always fun days for hanging out.

    I will mark myself as low-brow, but the McDonald’s coffee for $1 at 1539 Penn Ave SE is a good deal,. I’m also a big fan of the Safeway and will be bummed when it closes during inevitable future development. Pro-tip: If you are just getting a few scannable (ie not produce) items and it is busy, go to the liquor store portion of the store, grab a six pack of something from their solid beer selection, and get out a little quicker. Bonus points for offering these beers to your neighbors. Just don’t overdo it with the number of items, and be super nice to the people checking you out there. If you want further beer selection, World Wine and Spirits on Penn has some interesting choices and they will also fill growlers.

    Also, mark me as a fan of La Lomita, especially sitting outside in the summer with some Nachos Al Carbon and a pitcher of margaritas. Take the alley shortcut by Bowie’s between E St and G St for bonus adventure points.

    Ok, so I kinda think this neighborhood is great… enough with this blah blah blah. :)

  • Laura

    adding to the amazing list above:

    Pursuit Wine Bar is one of my favorite spots
    East West Taco on 15th St
    cocktails at Hill Prince

  • Ally

    We love Pretzel Bakery, Ambar (has a fabulous brunch), upstairs Piano Bar at Banana Cafe, Lincoln Park in early spring has some of the best blooming trees, Trusty’s (best veggie burger in town), Wisdom is great (but I think I mainly just love the owner’s dog who gets to hang out), and of course produce from Eastern Market. I’ve lived in Hill East for 10+ years and love it. Small crime annoyances, but you get that in almost all city neighborhoods. Our only current issue are the schools (elementary school okay…then after that, not so good). We’re hoping that’ll get fixed so we can stay. Enjoy your new neighborhood and be sure to sign up for the Hill East Listserv or Facebook group :)

  • Jackie

    I’m excited for the 11st Street Bridge Park to be built in the future, between Capitol Hill and Anacostia. Also looking forward to doing some kayaking this summer on the river.

  • Jackie

    A few more things I just learned about as a new resident myself:

    – Capitol Hill House and Garden Tour – http://chrs.org/house-and-garden-tour/
    – Classes at Hill Center on Pennsylvania and 10th: http://www.hillcenterdc.org/events/list/
    – More classes at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop near Barracks Row: http://www.chaw.org/classes

  • Rex

    One more thing i forgot to mention and this is among the things that is not technically in Hill East, but which is so close that it is an amenity that I consider a great benefit for Hill East residents: the East City Bookshop on Pennsylvania Ave close to 7th Street. It is a beautiful space, the book selection is well curated, and they have frequent guest speakers and presentations. I am willing to spend some extra $ on the books there rather than getting on Amazon, because it puts me in such a good mood to visit that space.


Subscribe to our mailing list