One Market That's Not a Gamble

While it may seem like all kinds of markets are screwing you over these days, D.C.'s Eastern Market is one place where you can feel safe throwing down your money. The market, which is one of the oldest continually operated fresh food public markets, is open six days a week, and offers good values on fresh food staples. The weekly market consists of fresh meat, produce, seafood, pasta, poultry, baked goods and cheese offerings, but the best way to get the full experience is to wake up early and head out there on the weekend.

Eastern Market is a weekend must if you're looking to gather fresh food and get good deals from the butcher for prices lower than you'd find in stores. On weekends, the main focus is the fresh produce from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Over 175 vendors gather to share their produce, goods, advice, and conversation. People selling handmade pottery, jewlery, ceramics, crafts, furniture, and other flea market type goods also flock to the weekend markets. If you come hungry, you can nosh on prepared foods, including crepes, Mediterranean fare, and blueberry pancakes.

As the weather warms up, it becomes to the perfect place to waste a weekend morning, perusing the eclectic collection of goods or shopping for groceries for the week. Families arrive to leisurely stroll the area, and couples with dogs meander their way around. Street performers also come out to entertain in hopes of garnering a tip. While the market isn't huge, the old-fashioned neighborhood vibe makes it an easy place to waste a few hours.

The flea market can be a little overpriced, but if you stick with the local art and steer clear of some of the pricier jewelry and handbags, you may find a kitschy painting of hugging pandas or a fur coat for $40. Come with lots of cash, just in case, since the ATMs nearby have a bad habit of running low on weekends.

The traditional location for the market, South Hall, was damaged in a fire in April 2007. Part of the market has moved over to East Hall, until restoration is complete.

Weekday hours:
Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Weekend hours:
Arts & Crafts and Flea Market: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Farmers Line: 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.

306 7th St. SE, Washington, D.C.

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