Capitol Hill – stretching around and several blocks to the east of the U.S. Capitol – is one of the District’s largest residential neighborhoods. While there are few hotels in Capitol Hill, there are numerous places of interest and many sights that showcase the city’s charm and history.
Ebenezer United Methodist Church sits on the corner of D Street and 4th Street SE, which was founded by African-American parishioners in 1827 (the current structure was completed in 1897. A model of the original sits along 4th St). This church once housed the city’s first publicly financed school for black children. A few blocks away at 225 7th Street SE is the huge Eastern Market, which has been the place where locals buy produce, baked goods, meats, and cheeses since 1871. The indoor South Hall Market is open Tuesday through Sunday with weekends bringing the outdoor, year-round farmers and arts and crafts markets.
To the southwest of the Capitol, across Independence Avenue from the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory, is the lovely and often overlooked Bartholdi Park. This 2-acre park is meant as a demonstration garden – to show visitors what they can do at home – and is designed around a 30 foot tall, 1876 fountain designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty. Speaking of colossal statuary, moving north (directly in front of the Capitol’s west front) is one of the hardest to miss tributes in Capitol Hill: the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial.
The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial marks the eastern edge of the National Mall, with the Civil War’s Union Commander (and later, President of the United States) poetically staring at the likeness of the President who helped end that very war: Abraham Lincoln, who is 2 miles away. The entire marble structure is 252 feet wide and is punctuated by the 17 foot tall equestrian statue of President Grant astride his horse Cincinnati, which rests on a 22 foot tall marble pedestal.
Continuing to the north side of the Capitol brings you to the Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon, which lies in a park just north of Constitution Avenue, between 1st Street NW and New Jersey Avenue NW. This memorial consists of a bronze statue of the former Senator (and son of President William H. Taft) and a 100-foot bell tower. One block further north sits the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II, which honors Japanese Americans who triumphed over adversity to serve their fellow Americans. A 14 foot tall sculpture of 2 bronze cranes, with their left wings raised and pressed together, sits atop a slab of rough-cut marble. Surrounding that is the Honor Wall, covered with panels that list the 800+ Japanese-American citizens who gave their life during World War II.
Capitol Hill does not contain many Metro stations. It is bordered by both the Eastern Market and Capitol South stations (Blue, Orange, Silver) to the south and the Union Station stop (Red) to the north, but you will likely have to do a little walking to fully enjoy this area.