Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Vegan Food Near the National Mall, Washington DC

So you're planning a trip to Washington DC, huh? The nation's capital! There are plenty of websites and guidebooks to help you plan which tourist attractions you'll want to visit, and there are even an abundance of food-related sites to help you find vegan food options.

This post is different: Listed here are super-simple vegan food options as close to the National Mall as possible. Since most of the major tourist attractions are on or around the Mall, my guess is that a lot of tourists spend most of their time here.

This post is for people visiting DC who want to eat vegan meals and not fuss too much about figuring out where to eat. There are so many more awesome restaurants in and around DC, but in this post I'm going to focus on the ones within walking distance from the National Mall (or a short metro ride if you're tired from walking all day), and only restaurants that I myself have visited or are confident that they have vegan options. I've been living in DC for 3 years, and I still haven't tried them all!

native-foods-dc-love-food-sign
Art inside Native Foods @ Penn Quarter

Where to find decent vegan food around the National Mall [google map]
Depending on where you are when you decide you want to go get some food, there are 4 nearby areas that have clusters of restaurants. A lot of them have similar restaurants, so here's what's unique at each.
  1. Farragut North
    All the basics, plus a couple of fancier sit-down options.
    A good choice for daytime and evenings.
  2. Chinatown/Penn Quarter
    Pizza heaven! Plus all the basics.
    A good choice for daytime and evenings. This area is always super lively.
  3. Union Station
    Basic lunchtime places.
    Some places open later, but maybe not all. Check hours before you go late.
  4. L'Enfant Plaza
    Basic lunchtime places.
    Best for daytime, weekday meals since most places are closed on weekends and in the evenings. Caters to the lunchtime work crowd.
Here's a visual that shows at a glance what each area has:

  vegan-dc-map-areas

Check out the live Google map to click through to each place's website.

(The mile distances to each area follow the dotted red lines and assume that you're walking.)

I didn't include these on the map but just assume there's one or more of each in each area.
Sub-par sandwich chain options that are abundant:

  • Quiznos
  • Potbelly
  • Subway

Keep in mind that the National Mall is 2.2 miles from the Lincoln Memorial (west end) to the US Capitol (east end). It takes longer to walk between sites than you might think! If you're tired, I recommend taking the Metro to one of these food areas (each is located right near a Metro stop). Also know that there are basically no eating options directly on the Mall. It is a national park, afterall. There are some food trucks and crappy food stands, but I wouldn't count on any of them being vegan. Bring your own food or snacks if you want to stay on the Mall longer without leaving for food!

Hope this helps you lazy vegan tourists :) Personally, I love trying out a couple of unique vegan restaurants in cities I visit, but sometimes I just need to eat and I don't care where. In those cases, I just want to know what's closest without having to search forever on my tiny phone screen.

If you want to look more in-depth at vegan food options in the DC area, I recommend searching HappyCowYelp, or checking out The Veracious Vegan blog.

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