We are grateful for the sponsor of this guide: Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate. Kelly Kelley is an expert for this area. Please be sure to check out thorough details about her practice below. We are thankful for her sponsorship, which allows us to continue to bring DC Area Moms resources like this.
With the concentration of young families on Capitol Hill, DC Area Moms Blog will publish two Capitol Hill Neighborhood Guides: the H Street Neighborhood Guide and Eastern Market Neighborhood Guide. While there will be some overlap between our H Street and Eastern Market guides to Capitol Hill, they do seem to have – in my humble opinion – different personalities.
What is your favorite thing about raising kids in the H Street area?
Our family appreciates living in a family-friendly neighborhood with an urban vibe. Some of our favorite aspects of H Street are the walkability and proximity to a large number of parks and playgrounds. With parks run by the National Park Service, DC Department of Public Recreation, and DC Public Schools, there are many large, clean, and well-maintained playgrounds. Our parks and playgrounds make it easy to meet new people, meet up with friends from other parts of the neighborhood, and feel a sense of community at the playgrounds we go to on a routine basis.
What makes H Street family-friendly and unique?
H Street is a comfortable, family-friendly neighborhood, that is also relevant and trendy. Most neighborhoods have one or the other. H Street has both. As part of Capitol Hill, H Street is brimming with young families and professionals. Nearly everyone seems to have a baby or a dog. The neighborhood is near excellent playgrounds and parks, there are well-organized parent groups, and there is a strong sense of community.
But, we are more than that. H Street is exciting. H Street is unique because – in addition to being a family-friendly area – it maintains a contemporary vibrancy that many residential areas lack. We are hip. Many people feel H Street has (so far) been able to absorb commercial developments without ruining the culture, feel, and values of the neighborhood.
What community events or local attractions are there?
The DC Streetcar may be a divisive topic in some circles, but not among the toddlers of H Street. Looking for, waiving to, or riding the free streetcar is the highlight of many days.
The weekly H Street FreshFarm Market is a staple for many neighborhood kids. And, the food and events at Union Market (one of Bon Appetit’s best food halls in America!) are a great way to introduce your kid’s palates to an exciting and evolving array of flavors. Union Market is a favorite parent meet-up spot – both a place to hang out with local friends in the neighborhood and a draw for friends from other parts of the DMV. The Angelika Pop-Up movie theater is a standby for date night or a matinee with the kids.
The neighborhood also has a unique vibe thanks to the presence of Gallaudet University. The line can be out the door at Starbucks’ First U.S. Signing Store. Also, each fall, we host thousands of people for the H Street Festival, but the neighborhood is lively year-round. The Atlas Performing Arts Center provides numerous cultural activities, Capitol Hill Rita’s Italian Ice scoops sweet treats in the spring and summer, neighbors celebrate Hill-o-ween at Eastern Market, and the Krampus procession rings in the holiday season.
Why would you recommend H Street to families?
H Street is a great location to raise kids in the heart of the District, where they are in walking distance to the Capitol and National Mall, but also grow up in a vibrant urban community. The sense of community in the H Street area, and the greater Capitol Hill area, is strong. Moms on the Hill (MOTH) is a near-legendary listserv for all parents, and there is also TwinMOTH for local twin parents. DOTHs (dads) and GOTHs (grandparents) have regular neighborhood meetups.
What nearby schools or childcare places to kids go to?
Daycare options include two locations of Kiddie University, Elonda’s Day Care, and The Harbor at Station Place (Bright Horizons). There are numerous preschools and elementary schools in the H Street area: AppleTree Early Learning Center, Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan, Ludlow-Taylor Elementary, J.O. Wilson Elementary, Kingman Academy, Maury Elementary, Miner Elementary, Peabody Elementary, School Within a School at Goding, and Two Rivers Public Charter School. Most residents are zoned for Stuart-Hobson Middle School, Eliot-Hine Middle School, Dunbar High School, and/or Eastern High School.
Where are your favorite places to shop in the H Street area?
Most of my shopping is done at the H Street Whole Foods, complete with a family-friendly pub that hosts seasonal family activities and has free fruit for kids, and the Giant with $1 balloons and free cookies for kids, but unique shops are plentiful in the H Street area.
Solid State Books is an absolute gem of a neighborhood shop. The Washington Post agrees, too – Express Editors featured the Solid State children’s book section as one of their favorite places in DC in 2018. The kids love to run through “the tunnels” and read favorites in the plush green woodland children’s area, where there are reading nooks and toys to help their imaginations run wild. This holds their attention while mom and dad browse the well-curated fiction and non-fiction sections and grab a coffee or DC Brau in the café. Shopkeepers Gallery, which hosts storytimes and singalongs, and Salt & Sundry at Union Market sell an eclectic mix of goods and are also neighborhood favorites. Also at Union Market, Three Littles offers charming heirloom toys and a thoughtfully curated selection of sustainable children’s items.
What are some of your favorite places to eat on H Street?
With a slew of Michelin Guide restaurants in the area, it is impossible to pick a favorite. The menu at Maketto will entertain adults, and the tuk-tuk in the courtyard will entertain littles. (And, depending on how nice you are to your kids, the vending machine could hold their attention too.) The staff at Fancy Radish has been incredibly accommodating to our family and exposed the kids to a number of new vegetable preparations.
Indigo is a family-run Indian restaurant that is a treat for all. The food is authentic and delicious, the hospitality is sincere, and the kids enjoy the atmosphere – diners eat outside on picnic tables with a friendly backyard vibe. Fresca Taqueria, another family-run restaurant in the neighborhood, has a counter-service taqueria on H Street and a sit-down restaurant on 7th Street. The staff is extremely tolerant of the unbelieve amount of rice my children always seem to spill on the floor.
Other fast-casual options popular with parents and kids alike include Cava, Rice Bar, Nandos, and the baked goods at vegan Sticky Fingers Diner are out of this world. When you need a taste of the burbs, Denny’s is also just down the street.
What places make H Street feel kid-friendly?
The parks! Kids play in the shadow of the Capitol at Stanton Park, Lincoln Park has two separate playgrounds, and most of the elementary school playgrounds are open to the public when school is out. As soon as they could walk, my kids hit the track at the Sherwood Recreation Center. Sherwood’s bright blue and green accessible playground has attractions for big and little kids, including a much sought-after infant swing. The indoor gym is a toddler favorite in inclement weather. The Rosedale Recreation Center Pool is a gem for all ages in the summertime.
The music and dancing! Boogie Babes, a live concert for littles, on Thursdays at The Miracle Theater benefits the DC Diaper Bank. Think Baby Coachella. Mister Mike’s Music teaches Music Together and other classes at multiple locations in the neighborhood. Joy of Motion offers dance classes at Atlas Performing Arts Center. There are also multiple locations for baby and me yoga.
Storytime! The Northeast Library has programming for all ages and special seasonal events. Though it is a bit of a walk, the Library of Congress Young Readers Center has storytime too. Solid State, Shopkeepers, and other places in the neighborhood host regular (and pop-up) storytimes throughout the year.
And finally, the streetcar!
What advice would you give to families who are new to H Street?
Take advantage of your surroundings. Get out and about and meet other people, involve yourself in the parent groups. Expose your kids to a diverse array of people and experiences. Try the local restaurants and create a family Friday-night tradition, like a trip to your favorite (or a new) restaurant – or pizza night with your neighbors. Appreciate H Street as it is while we still have it. While H Street has managed to persist in its ways, who knows what the future holds as the area continues to grow and develop.
If someone was visiting H Street for a day, what would you recommend they do?
Brunch at Union Market, ride the Streetcar, stroll leisurely down H Street (stopping for all the food and drinks you can handle), browse the shelves at Solid State Books, get your creative juices flowing with an art project for the whole family at Makeshift, and lounge (or run around) at any of our parks. Talk to people along the way, and you will surely have a wonderful day.
Kelly Kelley is an expert, experienced Realtor for H Street:
Kelly Kelley with Compass Real Estate
Kelly Kelley works closely with her clients throughout the DC/MD/VA area and has a well-earned stellar reputation for her extensive knowledge of the market, strong negotiation skills, and smooth transaction processes. Kelly‘s clients enjoy exceptional service and a client-focused, educational approach to buying their next home or investment property. Kelly has lived and worked in Washington, DC, and Virginia for over 16 years. She and her young family live in the Logan/U St. neighborhood. She’s an expert in navigating the complexity of the school systems in and around DC and the surrounding suburbs, including but not limited to the DCPS lottery and area private school systems. Contact Kelly at [email protected] or at 540-529-4804. Look at her website at https://www.jaybarrygroup.com and be sure to follow her group on Facebook and Instagram.