Housed in a 19th-century brick building, Eastern Market hosts a busy farmers' market and flea market. On weekends, artisans and antique dealers also station themselves just outside. It’s all located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, too, which makes it an easy spot to visit while exploring the many nearby monuments, memorials and parks.
Eastern Market is now on the National Register of Historic Places. With the exception of a two-year renovation project due to a devastating fire in 2007, the market has been in constant operation since 1873. In fact, it was the first city-owned market aimed to help urbanize Washington and is now the lone surviving one as well. Grocery store chains nearly forced Eastern Market to board its windows, but local residents fought to keep the market open.
Although it would be easy to look at the 2007-2009 closure as an overall loss, several benefits did come from restoring the building after the fire. Key features – like the historic skylights – were fully restored after being hidden for decades, and, in recent years, the market has undergone a renaissance and business is booming. On weekends, Seventh Street is closed to create a pedestrian plaza, and there are even tentative plans to expand and link Barrack Row to create a community-gathering hub.