Union Market: NE Washington DC

The Artisanal Food Market on 5th St NE

Union Market
••• Union Market. Photo by Angela N

Why choose one restaurant when you could eat your way through an entire food hall? Union Market is an artisanal food market in NE Washington DC featuring over 40 local vendors, and it's a godsend for groups with a diverse range of food preferences. The hip market's stalls are filled with all sorts of businesses from up-and-coming entrepreneurs to well-known restaurateurs. Union Market opened its doors to the public on September 8, 2012, and it's open for dining and shopping year-round. 

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 surround Union Market continues to evolve, with new restaurants, shops and apartments in the works.

What to Eat, Do, and Buy There

Union Market food vendors include: Rappahannock Oysters Co.; Buffalo & Bergen created by well-known mixologist Gina Chersevani; Peregrine Espresso; Lyon Bakery; Neopol smokehouse; Harvey's Market; Red Apron; Almaala Farms; DC Empanadas; DC Dosa; TaKorean; Trickling Springs Creamery 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.  

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. 

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.

For those who want 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.

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

Saturday, 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.

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

What Else to Do Nearby

Feel 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.