The oldest continuously operating fish market, DC’s Fish Market on Maine Avenue on the Potomac River, has been given a facelift but preserved as the gateway to a new waterfront destination called simply “The Wharf.” I’ll fill you in on that in another post, but for now, let’s give the Fish Market its due, because the fishmongers here offer an iconic local experience that’s rare in the city.
Stalls stacked with all manner of fish, shrimp, oysters, clams and crustaceans line three sides of a large square. If you want to take your purchases home to enjoy, buy your shrimp and take it around back to be steamed, or grab a whole fish and stand in line for it to be cleaned and dressed for free (with or without the head). A rebuilt building to the side offers ready-to-eat seafood: fried fish, crab cakes and other delicacies to consume on the spot.
The city has shored up the old buildings and added more parking, though it’s still relatively tight with an auto. I think it’s a great destination for a hired scooter, or try the water jitney for a ride on the river in fair weather.