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Anyone who knows me knows I love a good dessert. Cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts… You name it, it’s likely I’m in love with it. So when I saw that Free Tours by Foot offered a History and Desserts walking tour of the Eastern Market neighborhood in D.C., I knew I had found my calling as a future tour guide (I am also a huge history nerd).

Daniel and I signed up for their Saturday morning tour (this is the only time of the week they offer the tour, so plan your trip to DC around it — I promise it’s worth it). The next morning, we eagerly made the nearly 1 and a half hour Metro ride (okay, maybe that part we weren’t so eager about) when the time came.

Eastern Market History and Desserts Tour

We met our guide, Erin, just outside of the Eastern Market Metro station. While we waited for the rest of the group to show up, she told us a little bit about herself. By day, she rocked out as a fifth grade teacher. On the weekends, though? Well, she spends that precious free time showing people around one of her favourite parts of DC. And I couldn’t be more grateful, because this tour truly was awesome.

The Food

We made four food stops on the two hour long tour — three at various sweet shops in the area and one finally at Eastern Market.

Cupcake Sweet Lobby Eastern Market DC

Since Free Tours by Foot is a free walking tour company (surprise, I bet you never would’ve guessed from their name), their History and Desserts tour operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Instead of paying a single, flat fee up front (and not being able to choose what you eat), you order for yourself along the way. That way, you can spend (and eat) as much or as little as you like. As a traveller on a student budget, I seriously appreciated this.

Lemon bar Spring Mill Bread Co Eastern Market DC

Over the course of the two hour tour, Daniel and I devoured a cupcake each (mine was caramel apple, his was chocolate caramel crunch), shared the best lemon bar we’ve ever tasted, and topped it off with a vanilla bean glazed doughnut from the famous District Doughnuts. All before lunch.

District Doughnuts Eastern market Washington DC

Feeling mostly completely full (and ready to collapse for the metro ride back), we grabbed a baguette and some brie from Eastern Market proper for lunch — along with two freshly squeezed lemonades. This plan proved to be the perfect end to a deliciously perfect morning.

Eastern Market Washington DC

Eastern Market Washington DC

Cheese Eastern Market Washington DC

The History

Of course, our tour wasn’t just about the food. Although not as famous as the history of the White House, per se, the neighborhood of Eastern Market is absolutely steeped with the stuff. We learned loads from Erin during our tour, and I’m nowhere near convinced that we learned even half of it.

Eastern Market Washington DC

Eastern Market Washington DC
My favourite story of the tour was about why this building survived the 1814 British invasion. But I won’t spoil the ending for you, in case you ever take the tour yourself.

I seriously loved walking around the neighborhood, learning about its history and satisfying my sweet tooth as we went. I can’t think of a better way to experience Eastern Market.

If You Go

Free Tours by Foot’s History and Desserts tour of Eastern Market leaves every Saturday at 11am from the Eastern Market metro station. You’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time.

Like all of Free Tours by Foot’s tours, the History and Desserts tour is free — but tipping your guide is more than encouraged! And let me tell you, after having such a fantastic time, we had no trouble coughing up some cash.

What’s the best tour you’ve ever taken? Tell me about it in the comments down below!


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Learn how to take the best food tour of the Eastern Market neighborhood in Washington DC with Free Tours By Foot and their History and Desserts Free Walking Tour. | What to do in Washington DC, USA


Addie Gray is a recent college grad and a passionate solo female traveler. Having traveled to more than 20 countries, she now shares her knowledge on budget travel, solo female travel, and travel photography.

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