Day on a Budget

Eating Around Town

Any fun day spent in a big city includes indulging in the area’s available food, and Washington has great choices for the conscious spender.

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

District Taco
$$$$
Various locations
One of the most famous cheaper food options is District Taco, with three different food truck locations in the city near Dupont Circle, Eastern Market and Metro Center. At $3 a taco (three for $8), this authentic Yucatan-style Mexican restaurant provides a quick and satisfying well-priced meal. The company strives to do its part by limiting the environmental impact of its packaging, guaranteeing a good product for a good price.

POPVILLE

POPVILLE

Pete’s Diner
$$$$
212 Second St. SE
If the food truck scene is not your dining milieu, check out Pete’s Diner, an all-American spot just by the Library of Congress that is populated with Capitol Hill staffers, local families and congresspeople alike. Touting some of the best coffee in the area, the diner also provides well-priced food. With nothing over $10, the more expensive items on the menu include the rib-eye steak and the baked turkey dinner at $7.95. For an even cheaper option, most of the sandwiches and burgers are around $5, providing some of the best bargain deals close to Capitol Hill. The pricing is especially reasonable considering you will be eating beside some of the nation’s leading politicians.

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

Lincoln’s Waffle Shop
$$$$
504 10th St. NW
Finally, if you are looking for a great breakfast under $10 to start off your day in D.C., Lincoln’s Waffle Shop is the best place to check out. For $8.95, the Waffle Shop provides you with your choice of a waffle, pancakes or French toast, in addition to two eggs and your choice of bacon, sausage, ham or scrapple. Not only does it cover all of the important breakfast essentials, but the food is also well-prepared. The best proof of this is that while the Lincoln Waffle Shop is a favorite for tourists, it still maintains popularity with the local community.

Arts and Culture

With so many institutions simply open to public, the District is one of the best cities to satisfy your cultural desires for almost no cost.

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

Smithsonian
Free
1000 Jefferson Dr. SW

With 19 museums and a zoo, most of which are located along the National Mall, D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution provides abundant opportunities for cultural engagement at no charge. It boasts some of the largest and most expansive collections in the world, housed in venues as big as the National Museum of American History and as small as the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Asian Art. To best find your interests and to discover all of the perks the institution provides, visit the beautiful Smithsonian Institution Building, the organization’s administrative and informational hub.

TRIP ADVISOR

TRIP ADVISOR

Phillips Collection
Weekends: $8, students; $10, adults
1600 21st St. NW

Over in Dupont Circle is the impressive Phillips Collection, housing over 3,000 pieces of art. With so many works and artists, the Phillips Collection is one of the finest and most expansive assemblies of American and European art in the U.S. It also consistently brings in travelling exhibitions to keep its display changing. Seeing the collection itself is not costly as entrance is by donation Tuesday through Friday; however, the cost on weekends goes up to $10 for adults and $8 for students. When special ticketed exhibitions are on display these prices rise to $12 and $10, respectively.

Outdoors

With the D.C. summer comes warmer weather, providing better opportunities to enjoy oneself and have some fun outside.

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

One of the most famous outdoor areas to visit in the country can be found in the two-mile stretch between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument called the National Mall. The biggest attractions for the millions of tourists who visit the Mall each year tend to be the monuments and memorials; here, the Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr. and Franklin Delano Roosevelt monuments are joined by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the National World War II Memorial. Each of these is open all day with no charge to visit.

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

Located just two miles from the Capitol is Washington’s superb National Arboretum, a natural 446-acre living museum with no cost of entry. The arboretum also uses its extensive gardens and collections in its role as a center of botanical research. Despite the size of the city, this beautiful venue uses its open, natural space, surrounded by the Capitol’s original columns, to serve as an inviting destination for those who do not want to stay indoors all day.

Walk through Georgetown

One of the best ways to spend an afternoon in D.C. for no cost is to explore the beautiful and historic Georgetown neighborhood and its landmarks.

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA

A: It’s best to start a walking tour near Georgetown University on M Street, perusing some of the retail and fine dining on the way to the first destination, the Old Stone House (3051 M St. NW). Built in 1765, it is the oldest unchanged building in D.C., and one of the neighborhood’s few surviving Colonial homes.

B: From there, you can continue just a little farther on M and then turn onto 29th Street. Following 29th all the way down to R Street, at the end of the road, Oak Hill Cemetery appears. Founded in 1848 and completed in 1853, the cemetery is the resting place for many notable individuals, such as former Chief Justice Edward Douglass White, former President of The Washington Post Katharine Graham and sportscasting legend Glenn Brenner. The cemetery’s colorful garden style makes for a beautiful and peaceful resting place. In fact, its aesthetic and the prestige of those buried there has earned two of its buildings, the Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel and the Van Ness Mausoleum, positions on the National Register of Historic Places.

C: From the cemetery, it is less than a half of a mile to the Dumbarton Oaks Gardens (3120 R St. NW), and a few steps farther on the right is the Dumbarton Oaks Museum (1703 32nd St. NW). Both of these venues are opportunities to explore the 19th-century Dumbarton estate where there are museum tours, displays of Byzantine and pre-Columbian art and over 16 acres of beautiful gardens. The estate’s former residents, Robert Woods Bliss (1875-1962) and Mildred Barnes Bliss (1879-1969), gave up some of the land to Harvard University in 1940 to found the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

D: Be sure to make a final stop at Tudor Place (1644 31st St. NW) on the way back to the university campus. To get there from Dumbarton Oaks, it is best to backtrack a few steps on R Street and turn on 31st Street; from there, walk until you reach 1644 31st St. NW. Tudor Place is a famous Georgetown mansion overlooking the Potomac and taking up nearly a whole city block of space. The property was purchased in 1805 and became the home of Thomas Peter and his wife Martha Parke Custis Peter, a granddaughter of George Washington’s wife Martha Washington. From there, the walk back to campus is both short and enjoyable.

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