The Maine Avenue Fish Market on Washington DC’s Southwest Waterfront is the oldest continually operating outdoor fish market in the United States. It’s also one of the best places to get fresh seafood in the area, and with its sights, sounds, and smells, it’s a great bit of local color off the usual tourist track. Whether it’s a bushel of the area’s famed Chesapeake Blue Crabs, some fresh whole fish, or a deliciously fresh fisherman’s platter cooked to order, this is your place.
The market is essentially a couple of small docks lined with open-air market stores. Though relatively small, it nevertheless packs a lot into a condensed space. The stores themselves are actually floating next to the main dock, so at high tide they put out wooden risers for customers to stand on so you can get at the same level.
The market opens early and closes late.
The most convenient way to get there, especially in the evening, is by car. There’s quite a lot of parking nearby and even though it’s often busy the parking spots typically turn over quickly since most people are there to pick up seafood and then head off.
It is possible to walk from near the Jefferson Memorial, but there’s not much else around. Use sensible caution if you’re walking at around there at night.
And while you’re there, be sure to buy yourself some of the great fresh seafood. You can get takeout platters cooked to order at some of the stores.
So long as you’re careful of the foot and car traffic you’re unlikely to have problems taking photos at the fish market. It’s quite brightly lit at night. It can get very busy on weekends and around meal times.
Commercial shoots and filming probably require a permit.
You can find more of my photos of the Maine Avenue Fish Market here, available for licensing.