Holiday Season: Where to Eat Near the National Mall

Be sure to check out the Museum of African American History and Culture! / Jeeah Lee 

Being the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is a popular destination of choice when it comes to vacation, especially during summertime. However, even though it’s technically off-season, you can still find a good amount of tourists spending their holidays in the area.

With various monuments, memorials and museums, D.C. offers plenty of things to do for everyone. Since the majority of touristy areas are concentrated in and around the National Mall, it is quite tempting to eat inside one of the museums. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, and some of them are actually good, such as the Mitsitam Cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian and the Sweet Home Cafe at the Museum of African American History and Culture (I can’t say this enough, please visit this museum! It is absolutely amazing).

However, whenever I have relatives visiting the town, I try to take them to Chinatown area. It’s a relatively short walk from the Mall, and there are more than enough reasonably-priced options available.

So below are some of my recommendations if you and your family want to grab a quick bite on a budget but in a family-friendly, relaxed, sit-in dining experience.

Pi Pizzeria at 910 F St NW

This pizza joint has a trendy interior yet casual, but not too casual atmosphere. Also, this place has deep dish pizza, which is pretty delicious!

Hill Country at 410 7th St NW

Who can say no to some juicy and tender barbeque? There is a set menu where you can try a little bit of everything from brisket, short rib, chicken to pulled pork and sausage.

Shake Shack at 800 F St NW

Since we covered pizza and bbq, burgers are next along with good old shakes. Conveniently located right next to the Spy Museum, you can’t miss it!

Daikaya at 705 6th NW or Bantam King at 501 G St NW

Ramen shops are all over the place in D.C. now, and there are two in Chinatown that are close to one another (the owners are the same). Since space is quite limited, especially during close to lunch time, try to aim for late afternoon. I usually swing by Daikaya to see if there are seats and then head to Bantam King or vice versa.

Carmine’s Italian Restaurant at 425 7th St NW

With their offering of various pasta dishes served family style, this is perfect for young families with hungry kids to feed.

Of course, the above list is by no means an exhaustive one!

As a bonus for dessert during this holiday season, check out the Downtown Holiday Market for some scrumptious heavenly churros from Alexa’s Empanadas and mini donuts that are to die for from Migue’s Magnificent Mini Donuts.

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