Tour of Union Market, D.C. & A Special Announcement! | Friday Chatter

A few weeks ago, I asked if y’all would be interested in coming along on my adventures around DC, and GOODNESS, the response was so overwhelmingly positive and encouraging! I always say that I have the world’s best community, but you really blew me away this time! Y’all definitely want to see more of DC, and I’m going to try my hardest to make it happen! My hope is to bring one brand new blog post “tour” to you once a month during my off season! (When busy season kicks off, this may drop down to once a quarter, but we’ll see!)

I don’t have a set schedule for tours yet… I’m literally doing this thing live. BUT… I do have a long DC “Bucket List” that has lived in the back of my planner for the last 2.5 years that rarely sees the light of day. I’ve been slowly (let me emphasize SLOWLY one more time here) making check marks on said list, but haven’t gotten too far with progress. (Which is why this blog project is now OFFICIALLY a thing!) Some of the items on the list in my planner are museums… others are gardens, neighborhoods and fun local spots that I’ve seen on the ‘gram. The list really is rather random… meaning chances are good, you’ll never really know what is coming from month to month! That being said, if you have anything that you think SHOULD go on the list (or that you would like to see on the blog!), drop it in a comment down below.

Now… y’all, this is where things get REALLY exciting!

Because SO many of you were not only excited about seeing DC right here on the blog but were ALSO excited about going exploring with your camera in hand yourself… I am introducing something BRAND NEW AND SO EXCITING! Ever want to go exploring in the city? Wanted a buddy to go along with you? Maybe everyone you know is busy or doesn’t want to leave the couch? Yeah, me too! Which is why…Wandering the District: DC Walks for Creatives is now officially a thing! (Tap the link to join the Facebook group!)

Let me back up now… a few weeks ago when I posted about my goal to visit new spots in DC, y’all were really excited about coming along with me… literally! I got so many comments and messages from my sweet friends and industry connections about wanting to go exploring that I literally couldn’t keep track of them all. I’m all about community around here and… and let’s be honest, adventures are WAY more fun with friends. This is why Wandering the District: DC Walks for Creatives was born! This is a super casual Facebook community where everyone that wants in on this adventure can come connect! If you’re looking for blog content, something to put up on the ‘gram, exciting places to take your family when they are in town on their next trip or maybe want to create some genuine connections with fellow creatives here in the District, this group is for you!

I’ll be sharing monthly walk details, meetup info and more over in the group! I’ve got to be clear and say that I will NOT be playing tour guide while we are out and about because these spots will be all new to me too, so we really will all be in this together! If I’m being truly honest, I have NO idea what I’m getting myself into! I’m really excited about this though, and I know y’all will help to make it something special. I know there are plenty of other incredible groups out there that do this, but I am really looking forward to smaller walks within this community!

There will be one “official” walk per month as we kick things off! You can bring your big camera, your small camera, your iPhone camera, your video camera, your brand new film camera, your mind’s eye… you get the picture! You don’t have to be a professional photographer to come along, and you most certainly can bring along your non-professional photographer friend if they want to join too! We’ll meet at a pre-determined location in the city to start, will walk around and explore with cameras in hand, and will finish off at a local spot for eats or sips and conversation! I hope these walks serve as an amazing way to connect with a community and a little creative refresh from whatever it is you do on the daily!

We are literally starting from square one! More details will be online in the Facebook group. If you want to join us, click here!

Ok… that was one heck of an intro. Now that that exciting announcement is out of the bag, we are going to get into the good stuff: the tour of Union Market! I’ve wanted to explore this incredible food hall for a while, and while I’ve popped in for meetings and photo sessions here and there, I never really had a chance to look around. This weekend, a few of my friends and I decided to spend Saturday afternoon hanging out at Union Market. We sampled food, took plenty of pictures and walked aimlessly through the various popup restaurants. It was a crowded day, but we had a lot of fun— I definitely know that I’ll be back!

First stop on our tour: graffiti heart wall for portraits because Valentine’s Day was earlier this week and also because… duh. If you are a twenty-something gal that calls DC home and don’t have a photo in front of this wall, do you really live in DC?

If you are looking for the heart wall, it is back behind the main entrance side of the building! When you get to the BIG Union Market sign on the southeast end of the building (as seen in the blog header), keep walking, take a left and follow the building until you get to some gates! Take a left into what looks like a truck loading zone, and it should be right there! Very detailed directions… I know 🙈Basically, f you get lost, just keep circling the building through the truck loading area. You’ll find it!

Can we talk about how cute these little igloo picnic table covers are?! It was a really cold day, and I love that there is a winter option for hybrid indoor/outdoor seating! They were very popular!  Union Market was SO crowded on Saturday… When I go back, I’ll definitely be going back on a weekday or earlier in the morning! Luckily, the food was still just as delicious as I had hoped!  There are cute little murals and trendy touches everywhere! If you have been to Union Market, you probably already know how amazing the food is. I arrived, not really knowing what to expect and was SO surprised by how many options there were. I literally panicked. If you have ever been, you know that there are SO many amazing food stalls and that everything that goes by in someone’s hands looks amazing…. there is Mediterranean food, Ethiopian food and Cuban food… BBQ, ice cream and açaí bowls. There are literally so many options. I wanted to eat everything all at once, and couldn’t decide where to stop on my first visit! I asked, and y’all sure answered! I put a quick poll up on the ‘gram, and this is what you recommended right off the bat:

Arepas (More on these in a minute…)
Puddin Shrimp and Grits
Grilled Cheese (I did a deep Internet dive and found out this place actually moved on to C’ville!)

We got falafel samples from Basta (more than once), and GUYS… they are gluten free AND they are delicious! 10/10 will be returning for a full meal in the future!

I don’t know why it took almost 25 years of life for me to have my very first arepa, but y’all, I’ve been missing out! We stopped by Arepa Zone because my roommate loves arepas, and I swore that I was going to check out another stand for more diversity in this post… but spoiler alert: we all ended up at Arepa Zone. They just looked SO good, and after hearing my roommate’s rave reviews, I had to go too! (Plus, they’re gluten free!)

I loved their mini arepa flight idea… meaning you could try a few of their many flavors in one order. I ended up getting the Caprese Arepa with avocado, and I could eat it again and again and again. The green sauce was also SO good!  After we ate, we went back outside to explore and ‘gram the murals because there were a few we forgot to photograph on our way in! 

All in all, I had so much fun and will most definitely be back. If you are looking for a fun place to bring guests or friends for a drink and something to eat, this is a great stop! There is an option for the pickiest and most adventurous of eaters.

 What I loved about Union Market:

I could literally go on a food tour here every weekend and would have something new to try— there are so many options!
There was a great vibe— so many different types of people were hanging out! Couples, families, individuals, friends, tourists & locals. Lots of fun!
Easy to get to via Uber, though I am sure you could walk over from the metro too!
This girl loves herself cute, trendy murals, and there were plenty of those to go around.

What I would have changed about Union Market:

It was really crowded when we were there— like it felt like the Hunger Games to get a standing spot at a bar to eat your Arepas crowded. I would definitely go on a different day next time.
This may sound silly, but it is definitely one of those places that is very “on trend.” Think delicious popup food stands and trendy items for the home. It is an amazing experience overall, but if you are someone that is looking for a classic food market, this isn’t it. I wasn’t shocked by this, but I know friends that have been!
The boutiques and cute little shops didn’t have the most budget friendly items, but they were very fun to peruse! 

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