Washington DC is a city of neighborhoods. There are actually over 100 neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. The best itinerary for visitors is a mix of downtown federal government sites and local neighborhood experiences. In this episode you’ll hear from Paige Muller, Chief Experience Officer of Curious Caravan, a custom trip planning service that curates one-of-a-kind adventures and itineraries for curious explorers seeking the unexpected in Washington, DC.
Washington DC is a museum city. People who visit often have ambitions of visiting many of our museums, but the reality is there are far too many to check out on a single trip. In this episode you’ll hear from Noelle Harada, a TikTok creator who set a goal in 2022 to visit every museum in Washington DC. She is documenting each museum visit with a video and review.
A vast majority of historic sites in Washington DC are dedicated to men in history. When you visit you’ll find huge monuments to presidents and military leaders and other men who made an impact on our country. Sites to American women exist but there are fewer of them and you need to know where to look.
Washington DC excels when it comes to the fast casual food scene. Fast casual restaurants offer elevated food and higher quality ingredients than traditional fast food. They operate counter-service where customers order and pay up-front, rather than with a server. Pricing is higher than fast food but less expensive than a sit-down restaurant. If you’ve ever eaten Chipotle you’ve experienced fast casual dining. However it’s not just limited to Mexican food. These are my favorite fast casual Washington DC cheap eats.
Korean food is delicious. Tacos are delicious. Korean food in taco form must therefore be delicious, right? Yes it is. What started as a single food truck has grown into a small local chain. Even if you aren’t initially sold on the concept, give it a try! It wasn’t until I had my first bite that I was hooked.
I love Indian food. Butter chicken, tikka masala, rogan josh – I could eat it all the time. Typically when you order Indian takeout it comes in a bunch of containers that you need to unpack and then plate. It’s kind of a lot of work. Rasa is awesome because each bowl is a self-contained meal with big flavors.
While Chipotle may be the original fast casual Mexican spot, District Taco is the local favorite. A true American success story, District Taco was started by a Mexican immigrant who grew it from a single taco cart to a local restaurant empire. They specialize in Yucatan style Mexican food and the menu has plenty of high-quality vegetarian options (and some vegan too).
Most of the restaurants on this list have solid vegetarian options but this one is a fully vegan, plant-based restaurant with items like burgers, sandwiches, salads and desserts. Items are based on traditional meat-based fast food (think burgers and fried chicken) but even if you enjoy meat you should give HipCityVeg a try because the food really is that good!
You can’t have a list of cheap eats without a staple: burger and fries. The menu at Swizzler isn’t big but what they do they do well. A “swizzler” is actually a hot dog, but the revamped menu at this restaurant is now more sandwich focused. They have a regular burger, veggie burger and fried chicken sandwich. I’ve tasted them all and they are all excellent.
Little Sesame is named for the tahini (ground sesame paste) which is the backbone of hummus. If you’re really into hummus, get a giant bowl with pita and dig in! I’m not ashamed to say it’s so good I’ve eaten an entire bowl of hummus for lunch before. If you want a more rounded meal go for a pita sandwich which is filled with meat, peppers and other vegetables.
You can’t have a list of “cheap eats” without pizza. Unfortunately pizza that’s fast is rarely fresh, and if it’s fresh it’s rarely fast. &Pizza is both. Each unique oval shaped pie is made to order, assembly-line style, right in front of you. Then it goes into the oven and in only a couple minutes you have a delicious hot pizza ready to eat.
Bibimbap is Korean for “mixed rice” but it’s different from a lot of other rice bowls out there. Bibimbap is served in a bowl topped with vegetables, chili paste, soy sauce and fermented soybean paste. I like to get mine with meat and topped with a fried egg. If you’ve never had it before, give it a shot. The combination of ingredients is really delicious.
Cava is now a nation-wide chain but its roots are right here in Washington, DC. Cava’s menu offers a modern American take on Mediterranean fare. Design your bowl with either grains or lettuce, add your protein, Mediterranean-style vegetables, and one of many sauces. The combination of ingredients and sauces makes for some of the best flavors you can get for the price.
Surfside’s claim to fame is that their Dupont Circle location is one of the only restaurants in DC open 24 hours per day. It’s great if you’re hungry after hitting up the nearby nightlife, but even if you visit during the day it’s a quick and delicious Mexican meal. On the menu you’ll find fajitas, quesadillas, and some of the best tacos in town.
This is one of the only true cheap eats in Washington, DC. In 2022 no item on the menu is more than five dollars. Order your falafel in a pita (sandwich form) or over greens (bowl form). The zaatar fries are a unique twist on the standard French fry. Make sure to try some of the signature sauces to take your meal to the next level.
Good Stuff is owned by Spike Mendelsohn, a local celebrity-chef who has appeared on several TV cooking shows. Good Stuff serves burgers, fries and top-notch milkshakes. The price point is low enough that it gives folks a chance to have a “celebrity-chef experience” without shelling out big bucks at a more traditional celebrity-chef restaurant.
Sometimes it’s useful to get a new or different perspective. A fresh set of eyes can highlight things that locals don’t notice because we live here and see the city every day. In this episode you’ll hear from Megan Marod (aka The Megan Daily), a licensed New York City tour guide who has visited Washington, DC several times over the past year. She shares some of the things she learned from those trips and offers tips to help you prepare for an upcoming trip.
What are the best hotels in Washington, DC? Where is the best area in Washington, DC to stay when you visit? With over 100 hotels in DC and hundreds more in the suburbs, there is no simple answer to this question.
However, you should not despair! We created this guide to help you figure out where to stay in Washington, DC. We identified the best hotels in DC based on location, reputation and prioritized hotels near DC Metro. Furthermore, we included all of the major hotel brands (Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG) and some independent properties. Also, we marked any freebies the hotel offers. For instance, free breakfast or happy hour are including links to reviews on TripAdvisor and other reputable websites.
Washington, DC is a fantastic destination for the Fourth of July. There are major events like the National Independence Day Parade, a Capitol Fourth concert and the fireworks – plus a handful of smaller events. It’s a fun day but important to know what to expect so you can navigate the crowds, road closures and summer heat. In this episode Rob consolidates all of his Fourth of July advice in one place.
When you’re planning a trip, where to stay, which hotel, and what area, is a big decision. It’s why one of the first things I did after I started Trip Hacks DC was create a where to stay guide. In this episode you’ll learn about all eleven recommend areas. What are the pros of each area? What are the cons of each area? And what are some solid hotel choices in each? Plus, what are the areas where you don’t want to stay? The don’ts are podcast exclusive content so stick around until the end of the episode to hear!
When you visit Washington, DC you will almost certainly check out the major monuments and memorials on the National Mall. Over the past few years, several new monuments have opened around the city. These are monuments both to former presidents and to major wars. Because they opened during the pandemic, their ceremonies didn’t have much fanfare. In this episode Rob is joined by guest Carolyn Muraskin to discuss these new sites, as well as a few other lesser-known memorials they think you should know about.
Carolyn is the owner of DC Design Tours, a tour company that runs historic walking tours with a focus on architecture, design and urban planning, including a few tours that cover sites discussed with Rob.
For the first time in three years National Cherry Blossom Festival events are back in person. This is an exciting development after years of missing out on one of the most anticipated events in Washington, DC. However, it’s important to know what’s changed and how. In this episode Rob is joined by Diana Mayhew. She is the President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the nonprofit organization that organizes and implements festival events each spring. Diana has some important tips if you’re planning to visit for the cherry blossoms in 2022 and beyond.
Trip Hacks DC was founded by Rob, a veteran tour guide in the Nation's Capital.
Everyone wants to get the most out of travel experience; we know that planning a trip can be fun but sometimes stressful. The tips and travel hacks offered here will help you make the most of your trip and avoid missing out on the best things the city has to offer. Our trip planning e-book is the perfect resource for every first-time Washington, DC visitor.
If you're looking for a guided experience once you arrive, Trip Hacks DC specializes in private tours; but has public tours options as well. Visit the Guided Tours section to learn about some of the suggested tours and the trip planning resources section for help preparing for your trip. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!