There’s so much delicious, healthy food in the nation’s capital. Try these restaurants and markets for affordable locavore food in Washington DC.
Washington, D.C. is a very popular spring break family travel destination for those of us living in the northeast. D.C. hits its cherry blossom glory right around the time when we’re sick of the cold weather here in Massachusetts. With its beautiful scenery, comfortable climate, and unending list of museums and attractions for families to enjoy, D.C. is the ideal destination for a spring getaway.
The District boasts a vibrant foodie scene, with locally sourced ingredients highlighted on menus across the city. During our recent visit, we sampled lots of great food from some of the healthier dining options. It was hard to choose from the many great restaurants and markets throughout the city. From cafes and food trucks to well known sit-down restaurants with a locavore focus, there are great options in just about every neighborhood of D.C.
Locavore Food in Washington DC
Founding Farmers is a farmer-owned restaurant just a few blocks from the White House. We had breakfast here on our last morning, and it was probably my favorite meal of the trip. The food was delicious and so affordable. Hundreds of family farms supply ingredients to this inspiring restaurant.
Farmers Fishers Bakers, a sister restaurant to Founding Farmers, is located on the waterfront in Georgetown. Everything here is made in-house, including freshly baked bread, churned butter, and homemade juice. And Farmers and Distillers is the third restaurant in this family of D.C. farmer-owned restaurants. Homemade alcohol is highlighted here, in addition to locally sourced food on the dining menu.
Good Stuff Eatery is a burger place with a couple locations in the city. They source ingredients locally to put together their affordable comfort food menu. They offer farmers market chopped salads as well, so you can balance out the meal with some greens.
Glen’s Garden Market is a grocery store and cafe that showcases locally grown produce and prepared foods for take-out. We went to the Dupont Circle location for dinner one night, and we enjoyed eating freshly made pizza and sandwiches on the outdoor patio. This would be a great place to pick up the fixings for a picnic on the mall.
Sweetgreen is a chain of salad restaurants that originated in Washington, D.C. Their farm-to-table ingredients are mixed into a variety of different bowls and salads, or you can build your own. This is an affordable place to grab a healthy meal, and they have several locations throughout the city. When we needed a cleansing meal after a day of travel food, this was the perfect place for dinner. My favorite salad here is Guacamole Greens.
Eastern Market, located on Capitol Hill, is a destination for fresh food in D.C. Produce, prepared foods, and fresh meat are available for purchase throughout the week, and additional farmers from local rural areas sell their items on Tuesday evenings and during the weekend. This is a great place to grab a casual lunch or picnic. (Closed Mondays)
Farmers markets can be found just about every day of the week throughout the growing season. Freshfarm coordinates producer-only farmers markets throughout the city. Dozens of smaller markets operate throughout the summer as well.
Truckeroo Food Truck Festival takes place at the Fairgrounds throughout the summer. Since food trucks don’t have much storage space, they often use the freshest possible ingredients. Whenever we travel, I like to visit food truck events to get a taste of the local culture.
Where to Stay
Kimpton runs 10 different boutique hotels throughout D.C., and we had a great experience staying at two of their properties during our visit.
Kimpton Glover Park is located near Georgetown in a scenic area of the city. We didn’t feel like we were in a city at all here with the tree-lined streets and beautiful neighborhoods surrounding the hotel. The rooms are spacious and the beds are incredibly comfortable at this hotel. The restaurant at Glover Park, Casolare, uses fresh, local ingredients to prepare its Italian-inspired menu items. There are also some good affordable dining options within a few blocks of the hotel, including Sweetgreen and Chipotle.
Hotel Madera in Dupont Circle was our second Kimpton hotel, and we loved this property too. Our room was very spacious and comfortable for the four of us. The location, not far from the Dupont Circle metro station, couldn’t have been better for our busy days of touring around the mall and museums. And the hotel restaurant, Firefly, was a great place to start our day with a healthy breakfast. The acai bowl and steel cut oats were highlights, and their dinner menu looked great, too.
DC Between Meals
You could spend weeks in D.C., and you still wouldn’t have time to do it all. With so many museums, monuments, and neighborhoods to explore, this city has something for everyone in the family.
The Smithsonian museums are all free, so they’re a great budget-friendly option. We visited the Air & Space Museum as well as the Museum of Natural History during our trip. Both were wonderful but very crowded in the afternoon. We’ll definitely visit first thing in the morning next time.
The National Zoo is part of the Smithsonian network, so it’s also free. We enjoyed seeing the pandas and other animals during an afternoon visit to the zoo. Like many D.C. attractions, it’s an easy walk from the Metro station.
My family loved the International Spy Museum. It’s not free, but it’s definitely worth the price of admission if your family has tweens or teens. There are lots of interactive exhibits at the museum, and guests are invited to take on the identity of a spy on a mission. It’s unlike any museum we’ve been to before.
There are so many outdoor monuments and federal buildings that are worth seeing in D.C. We visited several of the monuments, and we toured the Capitol building and the Supreme Court. We’re looking forward to visiting the area again so we can spend time at some of the places we missed on this trip. I’ll be happy to eat my way through the city again, too!
Disclosure: My family received a media rate at the Kimpton properties and discounted tickets to the Spy Museum. All opinions are my own.