Union Market: NE Washington DC

What to know about this artisanal food hall in Northeast DC

Exterior of Union Market

Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy

Union Market is an artisanal food market in NE Washington DC featuring over 40 local vendors, and it's a godsend for groups who all want to eat something different (and try something new). This hip DC market is home to all sorts of businesses run by up-and-coming entrepreneurs to well-known restaurateurs. Plus, you can shop for groceries and unique gifts to take home.

Union Market opened its doors to the public on September 8, 2012, and since then, it's been a favorite in the neighborhood to try new dishes and flavors and to take home produce and other delicacies. Union Market is open for dining and shopping year-round, and the neighborhood that surrounds the food hall is changing rapidly to add more restaurants, bars, and stores.

What to Eat, Do, and Buy There

Union Market's stalls include seafood from Rappahannock Oysters Co.; egg sodas at Buffalo & Bergen created by well-known mixologist Gina Chersevani; coffee from Peregrine Espresso; bread by Lyon Bakery; salmon BLTs from Neopol smokehouse; meat from butcher Harvey's Market; burgers and sausages at Red Apron; produce Almaala Farms; DC Empanadas; DC Dosa; tacos from TaKorean; milk and ice creamfrom Trickling Springs Creamery, wine and cheese at La Jambe, and more

You can shop for wine at Cordial or buy gifts at unique local shops like homewares store Salt & Sundry or Politics & Prose bookstore. When it comes to sit-down dining, there's a restaurant within the market called Bidwell Restaurant. 

Nearby in the Union Market neighborhood, find Blue Bottle CoffeeCotton & Reed distillery and Masseria, an upscale elegant Italian bistro with a tasting menu, and new spots like sushi restaurant O-Ku, Israeli restaurant Shouk, and an outpost of New York American restaurant St. Anselm.

Union Market's Angelika Pop-Up is a movie theatre that screens a mix of specialty film programming and hosts unique events. Drive-in movies are presented periodically throughout the year and projected on the three-story exterior wall of the Market. 

Dock 5 is a warehouse event venue featuring more than 12,000 square feet, 22’ high ceilings and glass garage doors. The space is directly above the artisanal marketplace. 

People eating at tables outside of Union Market
Victoria Chamberlain / TripSavvy 

History of Union Market

D.C.'s largest market once stood at the site where the National Archives currently stands: Centre Market opened to the public in 1871, serving the entire city from its perch near the White House and the Capitol Building. When Centre Market was torn down in 1931 so that the National Archives could be constructed, food vendors moved to a new market at 4th Street and Florida Avenue NE. This location was situated conveniently near highways to Maryland and railroads, with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Freight Terminal nearby. 

Union Terminal Market opened at that 4th Street and Florida Avenue NE location in 1931 and it grew into a bustling shopping destination. More than 700 vendors sold meat, fish, dairy and produce in indoor stalls, with modern amenities like cold storage, elevators and a public cafe. But the market waned in popularity when D.C. banned the outdoor sale of meat and eggs in 1962. 

In 1967, a new indoor market opened a few blocks away at 1309 5th Street NE, which is now the current site of revitalized Union Market. During the 1980s, many of the original merchants left the area and moved to modern distribution centers and supermarkets in the suburbs. Union Market reopened in 2012 as a pioneering urban village designed to bring people together to explore new culinary opportunities. Union Market is owned and operated by EDENS, a company that develops, owns and operates community shopping centers in primary markets across the country. The neighborhood surrounding Union Market continues to evolve, with new restaurants, shops and apartments in the works.

Location, Parking, and How to Visit

Address: 1309 5th Street NE Washington DC

Union Market is located just east of the NoMa Neighborhood of Washington DC, near Gallaudet Univeristy and the Noma-Gallaudet U (New York Ave) Metro Station. The area is rapidly developing and the market is surrounded by a variety of retail shops, restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues. 

For those who want to drive, there is a large parking lot located in front of the market and parking in the lot is free. There's also plenty of street parking, in case that lot is full.

To use public transportation to get to Union Market, take WMATA's Red Line to the NoMA-Gallaudet U stop. You'll then turn right on Florida Avenue NE, turn left on 5th Street NE and the market will be on your left.

Union Markets hours change seasonally, check the website before you make plans:

Tuesday-Wednesday, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Sunday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Website: www.unionmarketdc.com

What Else to Do Nearby

After your meal, make like a local and take a walk to a nearby residential neighborhood: there's NoMa, a mix of high-rise (for Washington, anyway) buildings that house apartments and offices. Graffiti artists have livened up NoMa with creative street art on every corner. Then there's the strip of fun restaurants and bars at H Street NE near Union Station, just 15 minute walk or so away from Union Market.

Tourist must-sees within easy driving distance include the impressive architecture of Union Station, which is next door to the National Postal Museum. Capitol Hill isn't far, as is the Library of Congress, US Capitol, Folger Shakespeare Library and Supreme Court. In adjacent neighborhoods Brookland and Ivy City, you'll find the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the U.S. National Arboretum, respectively.

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