The ever-evolving H Street Corridor in Northeast Washington, D.C. is a neighborhood that's absolutely worth adding to your D.C. itinerary. Located near tourist attractions like Union Station and the Capitol Building, it's worth a visit in its own right as well.
The revival of this neighborhood kicked off with the opening in 2005 of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, an art-deco 1930s movie theater that was converted into an arts complex with multiple theaters and dance spaces. This vibrant community along H Street NE continued from there to grow as an arts and entertainment district. Today, these still-developing blocks are home to many high-end apartment and condo buildings and just as many top-notch restaurants and bars. Keep reading to get inspired on what to do for a fun day (or night) out in H Street NE.
The renovated 1938 art deco movie house has four theaters, three dance studios, production and rehearsal spaces. The Atlas is home to a diverse group of local arts organizations that offer dance, drama, and theater arts education programs to the public. Each winter, the theater puts on its annual Intersections festival, with a plethora of shows from artists of all different concentrations, from musicians to poets to actors to visual artists and beyond.
Go Out to Eat at a Buzzy Restaurant
For awhile, H Street was the place in D.C. to open a restaurant or bar with rapid expansion in just a few years, and the strip is still a vibrant destination in Washington for a night out. There's something for everyone, from fast-casual (and affordable) eats like the original location of quick-serve chain &pizza or roast chicken eatery Farmbird.
Stalwarts on the block include Granville Moore, a gastropub that specializes in mussels and Belgian beer, burger joint Big Board, hip ramen spot Toki Underground, or British pub the Queen Vic. Adventurous diners will love the clothing store-meets-Cambodian-and-Taiwainese restaurant Maketto, the creative farm-to-table spot Sally's Middle Name, or Swiss restaurant Stable (complete with raclette table-side). Vegans and vegetarians eat very well here too, between the charming Farewell diner and fine dining vegetarian spot Fancy Radish.
Try Ethiopian Food
Washington, D.C. is known for its authentic Ethiopian fare, and H Street's inviting Ethiopic is a great place to try timatim (a delicious salad with dice tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and spices). Located on the quieter end of H Street near Union Station, the restaurant features meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian dishes, and the samplers are a great value.
Go Bar-hopping and Explore H Street's Drinking Scene
This Washington neighborhood rivals Adams Morgan and U Street/14th Street when it comes to going out. Get an Old Fashioned, Zombie, Rickey, or other classic cocktail at CopyCat Co., an upstairs bar above its shop selling potstickers and skewers. If you're into hoising giant glasses of German beer, there's Biergarten Haus with its equally large beer garden. If you're more into wine, try natural wine bar Dio.
On nice days, Smith Commons is a place to catch a breeze from its outdoor patios (RedRocks pizzeria has a big rooftop too). For a laidback neighborhood bar, try the newish Hill Prince, with cocktails and plenty of beer options, while The Pug is a classic dive bar. Another intimate option is the stylish Wydown coffee shop, which serves up wine and cocktails in the evenings too.
Play Minigolf at H Street Country Club
Play mini golf indoors at this fun bar and restaurant, margarita in hand. H Street Country Club features Mexican cuisine against the backdrop of décor that pokes fun at the country club theme. Two floors offer multiple experiences under one roof – from the bar downstairs to the upstairs dining room and even an indoor miniature golf course featuring a replica of the Washington Monument and other D.C. sites. There's a rooftop bar too.
If you happen to be in D.C. in the fall, try to schedule your visit to the neighborhood around the annual H Street Festival. Last year it was held in October 2018, bringing hundreds of artists and musicians in for a giant block party. Besides plenty of food vendors and outdoor beer gardens outside local bars, there are family-friendly activities like arts and crafts or face-painting. Past activities have included eating competitions, dance lessons at Dance Around the World Stage, and performances all day long. The festival draws thousands, and can get crowded, so plan your transportation and game plan accordingly.
Atlas Performing Arts Center isn't the only place for live performances on H Street. This large nightclub in the H Street corridor features live music, several bars and "hotel" themed rooms (it's not really a hotel, FYI). See all sorts of bands and musicians on Wednesday through Saturday nights at Rock and Roll Hotel. There's also DJ nights, trivia nights, bingo, and a roof deck with great city views. Tickets for shows are available in advance: peruse the concert schedule on the web site.
It's a long walk or a bit of a drive, but nearby Union Market is worth a visit if your in the vicinity of H Street. This historic site underwent a major revitalization, opening up in its current form in 2012. Since then, it's been home to artisanal food companies selling everything from spices to Korean tacos. The indoor market is a popular place to shop for home furnishings, groceries and wine and eat a meal too. There's outdoor space on nice days for al fresco dining, and you can even watch a drive-in movie here during the summer months.
Crash a Local Running Club
For some reason, this neighborhood is home to a ton of friendly running clubs — which is perfect for visitors who want to break a sweat, get the lay of the land, and meet some new people. There's Argonaut Running Club on Fridays, District Running Collective on Wednesdays, and Maketto Run Squad on Thursdays, to name a few. Check out their websites for info on these H Street runs.
A unique way to get around the H Street neighborhood is to hop onto the DC Streetcar, which spans 2.4 miles with eight stations along the H Street business corridor. Powered by electric motor, these new streetcars operate on fixed rails on public streets.The line begins at Union Station on the west and travels toward Benning Road on the east. If you're arriving via the Union Station metro, walk out to the streetcar stop via the parking garage. For now, it's free to ride until the District Department of Transportation changes its fare policy.