Lunch and Dinner:
- Lebanese Taverna // This is my absolute favorite restaurant in DC. A great place to go with a group of friends; they serve delicious Lebanese food, small plate style. The waiters keep the warm pita coming! The atmosphere is relaxing, and the food is so good. (They even have mouthwash in the bathroom!) While they’re all nice, my favorite location is the one on Connecticut Ave. Closest Metro Station: Woodley Park-Zoo. (RD)
- I recommend: The Chef’s Platter which is a sampling of things like Hommus, Baba Ghanoush, Falafel, Tabouleh, and Grape Leaves.
- Busboys and Poets // One of my favorite hang out spots in the city. Named after poet Langston Hughes who once worked as a busboy, this is one of the first places I visited when I moved out to the East Coast. The atmosphere is incredible, and what’s better than eating in a restaurant lined with books? They have open mic nights where poets are encouraged to get together and read as well as numerous other art and political events. There are a few locations, but my favorite is the one on 5th and K. Closest Metro Station: Mount Vernon. (YL) (GR)
- I recommend: The Falafel Sandwich and the Vegan Nachos, or “Vachos” as my friends like to call them.
- Mandu // Amazing Korean food. I always loved the decor of this restaurant. Try sitting upstairs if you can! My favorite location is the one right next to Busboys and Poets on 5th and K. Closest Metro Station: Mount Vernon. (YL) (GR)
- I recommend: The Steamed or Pan-Fried Dumplings, the Bibim Bap, and the Green Tea Mochi for dessert.
- Graffiato // Great Italian food! Come for drinks, or enjoy dinner. I love the way this place is set up. There’s a huge wood oven in the center, so if you can, grab a seat at the bar so you can watch the magic happen. Closest Metro Station: Gallery Place Chinatown. (YL) (GR) (RD)
- I recommend: The Hand Cut Spaghetti. It’s classic, simple, and so delicious!
- Lost Dog Cafe // This gem is located in Arlington, Virginia, just outside DC. Not only is the food great, but the owners are pretty cool, too. They created the “Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation” which helps stray dogs and cats in the area find homes. When you eat here, you know you’re supporting a good cause. I used to frequent the Washington Blvd. location. Closest Metro Station: East Falls Church. (OR) (SV)
- I recommend: The Pedigree Pie with vegan cheese and a Cookies ‘n Cream Malt.
- Amsterdam Falafelshop // Delicious, cheap, build-it-yourself falafel sandwiches. Closest Metro Station: U Street. (YL) (GR)
- Founding Farmers // I fell in love with this place the minute I walked in. Not only is the restaurant gorgeous, but everything Founding Farmers uses is local and crazy fresh. The servers go through a spiel for you where they explain what the restaurant’s beliefs are in terms of local sustainability, and will even give you a detailed list of which farms they work with in the area. Closest Metro Station: Farragut West. (BL) (OR) (SV)
- I recommend: The Red Velvet Pancakes, Butternut Squash Mascarpone Ravioli, Tomato Florentine Egg’s Benedict, and the Mint Chai are all delicious!
- Georgetown Cupcake // The most famous cupcakes in the area, and definitely the tastiest! There’s usually a line wrapping around the block, but it’s worth the wait if you’re in the area. The owners had their own show on TLC and have won tons of awards over the years. I miss these cupcakes so much! Closest Metro Station: Unfortunately, getting to Georgetown by Metro isn’t the easiest, but if you get off at the Rosslyn Station (BL) (OR) (SV), you can walk 20 minutes to get there. It’s a scenic walk over the Key Bridge if you’re feeling up to it!
- I recommend the Salted Caramel or the Carrot cupcakes.
- Red Velvet Cupcakery // I know, I know, two cupcake places in a row? Yep… While Georgetown Cupcake is great, Red Velvet is a bit more accessible. Their cupcakes are really good and the line is never as long as Georgetown’s. Closest Metro Stations: Gallery Place Chinatown. (YL) (GR) (RD) and Archives. (YL) (GR)
- I recommend the Vegan Black Velvet or the Southern Belle cupcakes.
- Sticky Fingers Bakery // I love this place so much! They serve a regular food menu, but the dessert is my favorite. Everything is vegan and delicious. I was with a friend at Sticky Fingers once and we saw Doron working. We were a bit starstruck and said nothing of course (haha). She’s a bit of a celebrity in those parts and I really admire her. Make sure you pop in for a visit! Closest Metro Station: Columbia Heights. (YL) (GR)
- I recommend the Whoopie Pies or the Sandwich Cookies.
- The monuments! Take a day to walk around and appreciate the famous monuments of DC. From the Washington Monument, to the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans Memorials, to the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the newly installed MLK Memorial, DC has so many great things to see, and it won’t cost you a penny! After you’ve completed the monuments tour, head over to see The White House and the U.S. Capitol and soak in the views. Closest Metro Station to the monuments: Smithsonian. (BL) (OR) (SV) Closest Metro Station to The White House: Metro Center. (BL) (OR) (RD) (SV) Closest Metro Station to the Capitol Buildings: Capitol South. (BL) (OR) (SV)
- The Newseum // My favorite and one of the very best museums in DC. While it isn’t one of the free museums in the city, it’s definitely worth the money. It has awesome, interactive exhibits, and there’s so much history packed into this place. My favorite exhibits include the “Today’s Front Pages” exhibit where you can find the front page of the paper in every state in the US as well as certain countries around the world, and the “Pulitzer Prize Photographs” exhibit which showcases beautiful, and sometimes heartbreaking famous photographs. The 9/11 exhibit is also breathtaking, and the Berlin Wall gallery is really fascinating, too. Closest Metro Station: Archives. (YL) (GR)
- National Zoo // Admission is free. Make sure you visit the pandas! Closest Metro Station: Woodley Park-Zoo. (RD)
- National Portrait Gallery // Another beautiful, free museum located in the city. Closest Metro Station: Gallery Place Chinatown. (YL) (GR) (RD)
- Air and Space Museum // Great exhibits showcasing early aviation, space exploration, World War II, and much more. You’ll also see amazing historical pieces including the 1903 Wright Flyer. My favorite is the section dedicated entirely to Amelia Earhart. Closest Metro Station: L’Enfant Plaza. (YL) (GR) (BL) (OR) (SV)
- Holocaust Museum // This is a heartbreaking, but informative and important museum to visit while you’re in DC. The exhibits are deeply haunting, so definitely bring tissue. Closest Metro Station: Smithsonian. (BL) (OR) (SV)