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Dinning options at The National Mall

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Toronto, Canada
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Dinning options at The National Mall

Hi,

We are planning our first trip with kids (10, 5, 1). The main focus would be museums (mostly Smithsonian's) and the Cherry Blossom festival.

Are there places in that area where we could have lunch / dinner? We need something kids friendly, not fancy and not expensive.

Thanks!

Washington, D.C.
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1. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

Hi Toronto,

besides the hotdog. etc. trucks around the area, each of the museums has a cafe, of varying kind and expense to some extent.

The Air and Space Museum also has a McDonalds, Boston market and pizza place in its food court.

gosmithsonian.com/dining/Smithsonian-Dining.…

Also, in the Old Post Office/Pavillion (you should consider going to the top of the Clock Tower there for the beautiful views on a clear day), there is a varied food court. it's at 11th and pennsylvania close to the Mall. http://www.oldpostofficedc.com/shop.php

The international Trade Center also has a smaller food court (some, but not all closed due to fire renovation) - at 13th and Penn. itcdc.com/PDFs/…20closure.pdf

If you are near the Capitol or Botanical Gardens side of the Mall, Spike Mendelson's Good Stuff Eatery and We the Pizza are there at reasonable prices (you can google easily).

If you are near Union Station (not on the Mall but north of the Capitol by the postal museum, they have large and good food court on the lower level. unionstationdc.com/Restaurants/…2138213150

If you give us the name or location of your hotel, we can also suggest other reasonable and casual places near your hotel. there are plenty around the city.

Edited: 03 February 2012, 17:18
Washington, D.C.
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2. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

i forgot to mention there is a Cosi right next door to Good Stuff Eatery http://www.getcosi.com/menu.html

and also the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center has a cafeteria if you visit it or are in the area: www.visitthecapitol.gov/visit/restaurant/

Some like to suggest the lunches-to-go at Central at 10th & Penn (great location if weather is nice for eating outside with your lunch at Navy Memorial next door), but it is more upscale and I find expensive for the quality and quanity. I have posted the menu nonetheless centralmichelrichard.com/documents/TO_GO_Men…

there are lots of chains, hamburger, pizza and sandwich shops around town. once you give the hotel location, we can suggest some things nearby for dinner if you would like.

Edited: 03 February 2012, 17:34
Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

Thank you very much for all the suggestions!

I'm considering eating around museums before getting back to the hotel.

First - because I'm considering Residence Inn Capitol Hill where according to the reviews on tripadvisor there aren't many dinning options especcially in the evening.

Second, because I rather have some break, feed kids and then go to a walk to monuments in the evening than go back and forth to the hotel. It's not very easy to move from place to place with kids 5 and 1 (especially 5) and i want to see monument lighted up.And third - if we go back to the hotel we either eat in the room or go to the food court at Crystal City (if we go with the marriott Crystal City option). So food around hotel area isn't such an issue as eating around museums.

I also don't like very much pizzas, hamburgersm hotdogs etc. But once in a while I think I could live with it :)

Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

The Cascades Cafe, located underground between the National Gallery of Art East and West buildings is my choice for food when I visit the museums. In addition to the burgers and pizzas (which are wood-fired and very good), you can have roasted chicken and freshly prepared sandwiches and salads. I find the food here of much better quality than at the other museum food courts.

The Cascades Cafe gets its name from the indoor waterfall at the entrance to the cafe. This always seems to interest the kids as does the nearby art installation of moving lights over a moving sidewalk.

The menu also includes value meals which are a good choice for families. See: http://www.nga.gov/pdf/cascadecafe_menu.pdf

If you are somewhat adventurous, you might enjoy the Mitsitam Cafe in the Museum of the American Indian. The regular menu might not appeal to the kids, but they do offer kids meals (grilled cheese, chicken nuggets). Here's their winter menu: http://www.nga.gov/pdf/cascadecafe_menu.pdf

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

Unless something has changed recently, there is no longer a food court in the Crystal City shops. Quite a few places to eat though. The food court that used to be there is closed.

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

Thanks a lot for this very useful info regarding Crystal City!!

Washington, D.C.
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7. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

Toronto - most of the places I have noted have many options other than pizza, hamburgers, etc., - salads, chicken, other entree, some ethnic choices in the food courts, so you should be fine.

I would also agree with Longhorn's endorsement of the Cascade Cafe.

Are you interested int he Residence Inn as it affords a kitchenette and separate bedroom (great with kids sleeping in one room while you're in other - makes sense)? There are 2 other Residence Inns closer to other food options - the one at 11th and Vermont and the one at Dupont, but they would be a walk down to the mall and a Metro ride from Dupont. (the Marriott Courtyard near the Verizon Center doesn't have suites but does have an indoor pool if that is of interest for your kids)

i would recommend staying at the Residence Inn Capitol Hill over Crystal City. You'll be able to walk more, Metro less than Crystal City and remember the taxis are pretty cheap in the city if you are just too tired to walk from here to thee (i know, i had 4 little ones. :) )

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

Itr's relatively unexpensive, has kitchens and most of all withing short distance from the metro and the National Mall.

The one in Crystal City is way cheaper and very close to metro, but I can't walk from there.

So I'm trying to figure out our plans to decide if it worth going back and forth to the hotel.

Arlington, Virginia
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9. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

There is also a food court at the Reagan Building, which is not far from the Natural History and American History museums. Basically, it is just past the EPA buildings that faces the American History museum. Just my opinion, this food court is better and has more selections than the Old Post Office food court (although I agree that it's worth checking out the view at the top of the tower, free). If you want sit down -- let me know and i'll recommend some places (or others will as well).

Washington, D.C.
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10. Re: Dinning options at The National Mall

NovaKM - we mentioned the ITC (Reagan) food court in one of the earlier posts. It does have some good places - not sure if they are all back open since the fire renovation forced some of their closures.