Where to Eat With Kids in DC Near the National Mall and Capitol Hill

Say "DC," and "National Mall" and "Capitol" will probably be some of the first things to come to mind. These are great Washington spots since most of the museums and attractions are centralized around the National Mall and U.S. Capitol Building. But finding good, kid-friendly, and inexpensive food when you're hungry and tired from lots of walking can be a challenge.

Mommy Poppins DC is here to help with the best family-friendly restaurants we discovered near the Mall and around Capitol Hill. 

Grab a quick, tasty, and easy bite from one of many area food trucks. Photo by Ted Eytan/CC BY 2.0

Food Truck Land 

Right in the middle of the National Mall, on 17th Street NW, several food trucks line up daily with a huge range of lunch offerings. There’s nowhere much to sit except park benches or the grass, but it’s cheap and easy.

The Hamilton

The Hamilton looks like a tourist trap, but the food's good and plentiful. The restaurant is huge, so getting a table without a reservation is easy, and it’s owned by the same people and offers a similar menu as the more popular Old Ebbitt Grill. The kids' menu offers burgers, chicken tenders, mini cheese pizzas, mac and cheese, and pasta. 

Shake Shack

With locations in nearly 30 states, the restaurant is famous for its Shack Sauce, and for good reason—the grilled burgers and crinkle-cut fries are delicious, and the frozen custard and shakes hard to resist. 

Cafe Berlin

In nice weather, grab a brat and a beer at Cafe Berlin, which offers an outdoor biergarten. Enjoy a Bavarian brunch, or a lunch that features a variety of German-inspired sandwiches and entrees, including schnitzel, sausages, and goulash.

Fuel Pizza & Wings

Located four blocks from the Mall and two blocks from the National Portrait Gallery, this establishment offers all the comfort foods the family may crave—chicken fingers, bacon cheese fries, a variety of meat and veggie pizzas, fresh salads, sandwiches, stromboli, and cinnamon knots for dessert. 

Lunch at Mitsitam isn't your usual museum cafeteria fare. Photo by ilya_ktsn/CC BY 2.0


Inside the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian is a lovely cafeteria offering a good variety of seasonal, indigenous foods. It’s the best place for a quick meal or snack without having to trek off the Mall. The menu includes soups, lobster rolls, hot and cold side dishes, and a variety of dessert tarts. 


Enjoy some Italian fare at the fun and bustling Carmine's, which serves up family-style food in DC's Penn Quarter, just a few blocks from the National Mall. Calamari, pasta, mouth-watering chicken dishes, scrumptious Italian cheesecake, and cannoli are just some of the treats found on this extensive menu.

Hard Rock Café

If you're looking to add to your Hard Rock t-shirt collection, then head on over to this location of the world-famous restaurant a couple blocks north of the Natural History Museum. Enjoy wings, nachos, and burgers, along with mouth-watering milkshakes and desserts. The White House, Capitol Hill, Smithsonian museums, and Metro Center are all within a short distance from the cafe. 

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana

Located four blocks from the National Gallery of Art, this restaurant features a vibrant atmosphere and specializes in Mexican cuisine. Think treats like tacos, ceviches, guacamole, and cactus paddles, and sweet indulgences featuring pastel de tres leches, flan, and chocolate custard. Adults can also choose from unique margaritas or perk up with an espresso. 

The Pavilion Cafe

This lovely cafe is located inside the National Gallery of Art and overlooks the sculpture garden. Indulge in soups, hot or cold sandwhiches, salads, and flatbreads. The children's menu (for diners 12 and under) featuers beloved hot dogs and chicken nuggets, along with a drink and a piece of fruit. Not only is the location convenient, but the menu also features vegetarian and gluten-free options. 

Don't miss out! Sign up for our free newsletter and stay up-to-date on the best things to do in Washington, DC with kids.

Top photo courtesy of  b Burgers via Facebook
XOXO: An Exhibit about Love & Forgiveness
National Children's Museum - 9:30 AM Pick
Play & Explore Mondays at Anacostia Library
Anacostia Library - 10:00 AM Pick
Storytime in the Reading Garden
Charles E. Beatley Jr. Central Library - 11:00 AM Pick
Family Story Time at Cleveland Park Library
Cleveland Park Library - various times Pick
Let's Learn Circuits Online Camp
Zoom - Online - 9:30 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides