Searching for a place to take family and friends visiting DC that's different from the Smithsonians and the National Mall? One of our favorite places is Union Market in Northeast DC.
I love Union Market for many reasons, but three that are great for visitors are: 1. Union Market has a huge, free parking lot for people with cars. 2. With food stands ranging from Ethiopian to BBQ to oysters, everyone can find something they like to eat. 3. Union Market is more than food!
Where: Union Market
Get There: Take the Metro to NOMA and walk, or drive and park for free in the lot out front
Eat/drink: Have your group split up to divide and conquer the many food options, then bring your findings back to eat a casual lunch at one of the indoor or outdoor tables. Some restaurants also sell drinks, but there are also great bars and restaurants to stop by outside Union Market, like Coconut Club.
First, we must start off with the many food options at Union Market! The options often change, but here are some of my favorites right now:
Bun'd Up: Delicious and always quick bao buns (quickly made and quickly devoured)
Sloppy Mama's: Feel-good BBQ with big helpings
TaKorean: Korean BBQ * Mexican twist = delicious Korean tacos and platters
Arepa Zone: Arepas, arepas, arepas galore
Honestly, whatever I ended up eating there last is usually my favorite. Here are sandwiches from Red Apron Butcher and doughnuts from District Doughnut we got for dinner last night.
There are plenty of nice restaurants right outside the market (St. Anselm is our favorite) and if you want to keep going for drinks, you could go to those, or the new Coconut Club for a taste of that tropical life.
My husband's new favorite place to "shop" is Harvey's Market in Union Market. It's a huge butcher shop in the back corner and for fun, you can watch men slow down and stare as they walk by. For Easter dinner this year, my husband left for Harvey's and came back beaming with a 10-lb pork shoulder. (True story. We ate pulled pork for days.) A. Litteri is another new favorite for sandwiches and great bottles of wine. For those who like to shop for things other than food, there's also a Politics and Prose bookstore outside the market.
We often turn Union Market into a date night with dinner and a movie. Angelika Pop-Up is a great small theater with tickets cheaper than Regal and AMC, plus you can buy snacks and alcoholic drinks. I'm also looking forward to trying the "Crybaby Matinee" for parents with babies once ours comes in a few months. (Maybe with or without the wine that time!)