Do your part to boost the economy with a visit to these open-air markets in Washington DC for tasty treats, unique local arts and plenty of free entertainment.
Eastern Market: Capitol Hill
This year-round weekend venue is part open-air farmers’ market featuring stall after stall of delicious snacks and fresh food items grown in rural counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, and part artisan and craft centre with live music and tents in the street and adjacent plazas showcasing the work of painters, potters, sculptors, woodworkers, jewellers, and photographers. There's also a hefty dose of fine edible goods stands indoors at South Hall Market where merchants sell top quality meats, poultry, seafood, pasta, baked goods, flowers, and cheeses. A visit to Eastern Market will fill bellies, shopping bags, and an afternoon in the Capitol Hill district.
Dupont FRESHFARM Market: Dupont Circle
Though not the place for cheap eats, quality abounds at this neighbourhood Sunday morning farmer’s market - many claim the wealth of free samples offers browsers a meal in itself. In the height of the season, over 40 farmers run stands offering top quality local produce. More than simply stalls of fruit and veg; organic preserves, briny pickles, expertly cured meats, aged hard cheeses, beeswax candles, Blue Crab empanadas and crab cakes, baklava drizzled with Maryland honey, seasonal vegetarian tacos and herbed brie or goat cheese blends are just a few of the finds in this bustling street market. *Tip, grab a coffee en route as you’ll want a rich brew to pair with the tasty pastries and freshly baked artisan breads to start your Sunday properly.
Spare-rib ravioli, lobster mac’n cheese, kimchi grilled cheese, Milk Cult ice cream sandwiches and other locally-sourced eats fortify shoppers of shabby chic antiques, eclectic décor, vintage vinyl, retro duds, and funky found object wearable art at this newcomer to the DC marketplace (courtesy of the creators of the famed Brooklyn Flea). Though closed for the winter, April will bring a welcome weekly dose of hipster catnip to the 37,000sq ft Florida Avenue location by the 100-150 vendors each Saturday until the end of November.
Old Town Farmers’ Market: Old Town Alexandria, VA
Just a short Metro ride brings DC visitors to one of the nation's oldest continually operating farmers' markets (free parking for those driving over). Dating back to 1753, George Washington sent his produce from Mount Vernon to be sold at this very farmers' market. Saturday mornings bustle in the city hall clock tower plaza of this picturesque little town; with freshly baked goods, homemade preserves, honey, meats and cheeses and artisan crafts rounding out the produce and fresh flowers offered by local farmers.
Georgetown Flea Market: Georgetown
Just north of T ST NW on Wisconsin Ave at the Hardy Middle School is a year-round flea market, ideal for a day of budget-busting shopping along Georgetown’s toney streets of upscale boutiques. Standard flea market wares; such as antiques, collectibles, art, furniture, rugs, pottery, china, jewellery, silver, stained glass, books and photographs are up for grabs each Sunday from 8am to 4pm.
Feature image: Gleaming produce is available at Washington DC's outdoor markets © Dereje Belachew/iStock/Thinsktock
Have you shopped at any of the DC open-air markets? What did you think? Share your thought with us in the comments below.
Written by Sascha Zuger
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About the author: SaschaZugerSascha Zuger
Sascha Zuger is the author of several Moon Handbook and Spotlight guidebooks. Her work has been seen in National Geographic Traveler, The Washington Post, The LA Times, Food Network Magazine, Parenting, SELF, Gourmet, WIRED, and a number of other national magazines. She also writes novels for teens under pseudonym, Aimee Ferris.