Main Streets 2017 – DC
Lively and fast-paced, H Street NE is a happening community. In recent years, this 1.5-mile corridor in northeastern D.C. has seen a strong resurgence, as the neighborhood’s shops, restaurants, nightlife and cultural offerings have grown so strongly that it’s now one of the city’s most attractive areas to live, work and play.
This was among D.C.’s hotspots for commercial, art and dining activity up through the first half of the 20th century. But the 1968 riots that followed the killing of Martin Luther King left burned-out buildings and led to years of decline. In the 1990s, as young professionals began seeking city neighborhoods with potential, H Street NE, just a short walk from the city’s central Union Station, began to come back — and today, you can experience much of the same vibrancy of its earlier years.
In fact, Forbes magazine has named the H Street corridor one of America’s Hippest Hipster Neighborhoods, noting that “the enclave is known for nightlife that includes dance clubs, rock venues, burlesque shows and restaurants…The H Street Festival also adds to the hipness.”
The festival is a 10-block-long September extravaganza, when thousands enjoy live music, performances from cultures around the world, arts and crafts and an amazing diversity of food and beverages. Many nights of the year, the community comes together at The Atlas Performing Arts Center, a signature stop for live theater, music and dance in a handsome venue that dates to 1938 and sports four performance spaces.
You can also join the locals at the H Street Farmers’ Market, where on Saturday mornings from April to December, you’ll find the area’s best cheeses, fruits, vegetables, pastries and flowers. Speaking of food, this is a mecca for foodies. Be sure to sample D.C.’s beloved half-smokes at Ben’s Chili Bowl, or pop into Copycat Co., a dumpling shop and cocktail bar that stays until the wee hours.
There’s a wealth of live music in H Street’s nightclubs. Try Rock and Roll Hotel to catch the latest indie rock, or stop in at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar, where you never know what you’ll hear. The next morning, grab a coffee at the communal marketplace Maketto, sample the finest coffee at Sidamo, or enjoy genuine New York-style bagels at Bullfrog Bagels.
Expect to wait in line, though. Like its neighborhood, the Bullfrog is a happening spot.