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Thanksgiving in D.C.

Raleigh, North...
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Thanksgiving in D.C.

My husband and I are going to D.C. during Thanksgiving. We will be mostly be doing Smithsonian museums and the zoo. We are hoping to spend more time out sightseeing than sitting down for long heavy meals. Are there a fair amount of quickish (not fast food McDonalds) but tasty food places we can hop in and out of? Or are there mostly sit down and order places that will need reservations? Any suggestions?

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8 replies to this topic
Falls Church...
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1. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

The term you might want to use is Fast-casual (think Chipotle).

Ones I like that are either local or fairly restricted nationwide are:

1. &pizza

2. Roti (Mediterranean)

3. District Taco

4. Rice Bar

5. Takorean (korean and mexican flavors)

All of those places have outposts not too far from the mall. On the mall itself things can be limited but the cafes at the American Indian museum or between the east and west wings of the National Gallery are nice as well.

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

I haven't been to the Mitsitam Cafe in the Museum of the American Indian in ages, but the experience and quality of food has apparently deteriorated as the restaurant critic for the Washington Post recently panned it, giving it 1/2 star out of 4.


I prefer the Cascades Cafe in the National Gallery of Art--a wide variety of freshly prepared food at reasonable (museum) prices. The location next to an underground waterfall (hence, the name) and a neat art installation make it a unique dining environment.

Washington DC
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3. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

You aren't going to find restaurants on the Mall, it's Federal parkland. So there aren't any there but inside some of the museums. I think the ones in National Gallery and Natural History Museum are pretty good. YOu are talking about lunch, I presume, since you won't be visiting those museums at night. Several blocks off the Mall, you can find some casual takeaway places, sure. Actually, there are not tons of them, and they aren't cheap for what you get, in my opinion (ie, places like Cosi or Au Bon Pain). There are food trucks around the Mall on some streets also, which are basically take away. And a food court in Union Station has several such options.

Some takeaway stuff is "heavier" than a sitdown place where you can order as lightly as you want, actually. There is a Chopt salad restauurant at 9th and D NW and also a Paul's near there, those are okay options. Paul has sandwiches, salads, etc.

I don't think there's any great cheap places near the zoo.

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4. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

Use the various food trucks and hot dog stands. Their foods are very interesting from all over the world. They line up and down the tourist areas. You cannot miss them.

Get your food and sit on one of the benches that dot the National Mall. Enjoy.

Otherwise, you can eat at the different museums. No reservations are needed.

The zoo has food like pizzas, popcorn, and hot dogs. No reservations needed.

Lansing, MI
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5. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

The Capitol Visitor Center has a very nice cafeteria-style restaurant that is very reasonably priced. Downside is you have to go through security to access it.

Centerville, Ohio
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6. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

Several museums do have nice cafes, and Union Station is easily reached -- number of restaurants fit your bill.

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7. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

Not far from the mall is Elephant & Castle on Pennsylvania Ave serving pub style food in a lively setting.


*Consider visiting the Botanic Garden across from the Capitol as the seasonal display of DC landmarks made out of natural materials and the large train display opens Nov. 24th

Arlington, Virginia
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8. Re: Thanksgiving in D.C.

There's a food court inside the Ronald Reagan Trade building http://itcdc.com/dining/

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