The 13 Best Places to Eat and Drink in Washington, D.C.

Kirkikis, iStock / Getty Images Plus
Kirkikis, iStock / Getty Images Plus

We've covered a lot of the best foods, destinations, and bookstores in all 50 states here at Mental Floss, but unfortunately, our historic and vibrant capital city doesn't get represented in those lists. In fact, Washington, D.C. has trouble getting represented at all. Today, we're correcting that wrong. Here are 13 places you won't want to miss if you need a meal in the District.

1. Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in Washington, D.C. // Baked & Wired

Georgetown's Baked & Wired might be known for their cupcakes, but they have more than a dozen cookie and other sweet treat options, including a soft chocolate chunk cookie with optional walnuts. The only problem? The shop's self-serve cookie bar with its clear-glass cookie jars can be tough for those who like to think with their sweet tooth.

Read our Best Chocolate Chip Cookie in All 50 States

2. Best Pie in Washington, D.C. // Pie Sisters

"Any time is pie time, morning noon or night." The three real-life sisters behind Pie Sisters live by that motto and treat their customers to a wide enough variety of pies that you truly could eat them at any time of the day. Their specialty Jumble Berry includes a mix of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, but if you need a dinner option, the Country Tomato or Pulled Pork Barbecue savory pies would be a good lead-in to a Bourbon Chocolate Pecan dessert. Gluten and lactose-free options are also available by request.

Read our Best Pie in All 50 States

3. Best Diner in Washington, D.C. // Osman & Joe's Steak-N-Egg Kitchen

Need 24/7 access to the best steak and eggs dish around? Osman & Joe's has been open around the clock since 1993, and everyone from the locals to visiting dignitaries know to pop in for a breakfast platter or a kosher hot dog with an old-fashioned milkshake.

Read our Best Diner in All 50 States

4. Best Coffee Shop in Washington, D.C. // The Wydown Coffee Bar

Two coffee-obsessed brothers run the two Wydown locations—the 14th Street location focuses on the perfect pour-over to pair with their popular blackberry lavender scones, while the H Street location resembles a Viennese cafe, with its assortment of coffees, treats, and wine spritzes.

Read our Best Coffee Shop in All 50 States

5. Best Ramen in Washington, D.C. // Sakuramen

The brothers who own Sakuramen say they are committed to creating the best possible ramen "sourced from pure bone broth coupled with the freshest ingredients available." And while the menu is full of Japanese and Korean staples, there's also a more local tribute: the DC Miso mixes Berkshire pork belly chashu with bamboo shoots, naruto (fish cake), nori … and shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Read our Best Ramen in All 50 States

6. Best Pizza in Washington, D.C. // Timber Pizza Company

Famous for serving wood-fired pies since 2014 at local farmers markets, Timber Pizza Company opened their first location in Petworth, D.C. during the summer of 2016. While they have various options for red, white, and green pizzas (try the Green Monster, which is covered in pesto, feta, zucchini, and kale), they also know how to cater to any number of unusual add-ons, like nectarines, sugar snap peas, or cilantro.

Read our Best Pizza in All 50 States

7. Best Grilled Cheese in Washington, D.C. // The Pursuit Wine Bar

The only thing that could make a well-curated wine bar better would be a selection of sweet and savory grilled cheese sandwiches—for pairing purposes of course. Pursuit offers five wildly different grilled cheese options, like the "Some Like It Hot II" (jalapeño cheddar, pepper jack, tomato, mixed greens) or the "Little Salty Sweet" (brie, honey, prosciutto, and dried dates on challah).

Read our Best Grilled Cheese in All 50 States

8. Best Burger in Washington, D.C. // Lucky Buns

Lucky Buns in Adams Morgan has been serving seasoned-to-order burgers covered in house-made pickles and sauces since 2016. Try the Alfie's Bun for a sweet combination of runny egg soaking into gouda and a pineapple slice, or the Hot Tiger Bun for a fiery mix of spicy fried chicken and Sichuan peppercorn paste.

Read our Best Burger in All 50 States

9. Best Chili in Washington, D.C. // Ben's Chili Bowl

Ben's Chili Bowl has been a U Street staple for more than 60 years. It's the kind of place with celebrity and presidential photos lining the walls (president-elect Barack Obama ate there just days before his first inauguration), and all-original booths, stools, and diner counter. But most important are the bowls of their thick, delicious chili con carne. Ben's is also famous for their half-smoke—a smoky hot dog with mustard and onions and covered in their spicy chili, which they've been serving since 1958.

Read our Best Chili in All 50 States

10. Best Food Truck in Washington, D.C. // Feelin' Crabby

In D.C., politicians and plebeians alike love seafood—especially when it's topped with a generous pinch of Old Bay. That's where Feelin' Crabby comes in: The punny food truck serves lobster and crab-based sandwiches, salads, and sliders, including the giant "Crabwich" sandwich, which contains 5 ounces of jumbo lump crab meat and 2 ounces of lobster claw and knuckle meat.

Read our Best Food Truck in All 50 States

11. Best Sandwich Shop in Washington, D.C. // SUNdeVICH

According to owner Ali Bagheri, the name SUNdeVICH alludes to the accented pronunciation of "sandwich" that he hears in the middle east, but the flavors on his menu are fully global. A quick trip to this converted garage along an alleyway can yield sammie-inspo from Athens (lamb, greens, tzatziki), Havana (roasted pork, gruyere, dijonnaise), Seoul (bulgogi beef, kimchi, garlic mayo), and Tehran (mortadella, feta, fresh herbs)—no passport needed.

Read our Best Sandwiches in All 50 States

12. Best Bookstore in Washington, D.C. // Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café

Who needs dinner-and-a-movie when you could do dinner and a bookstore? A combination bookstore and restaurant, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café in Dupont Circle gives patrons the oft-overlooked satisfaction of browsing the stacks and immediately sitting down with their new find over something as fancy as filet mignon or as comforting as fried chicken on cheddar waffles.

Read our Best Bookstores in All 50 States

13. Best Picnic Spot in Washington, D.C. // The Yards Park

Whether you want to take a nice stroll or have lunch with a view, this scenic park along the Anacostia River provides plenty of space and is free and open to the public. The Dancing Fountains at the entrance of the park are fun for kids (or adults!) to cool off in, and their annual Summer Fridays concert series invites people to indulge in some food while listening to live music.

Read our Best Picnic Destinations in All 50 States

14 Retro Gifts for Millennials

Ravi Palwe, Unsplash
Ravi Palwe, Unsplash

Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996, which means the pop culture they grew up with is officially retro. No matter what generation you belong to, consider these gifts when shopping for the Millennials in your life this holiday season.

1. Reptar Funko Pop!; $29

Amazon

This vinyl Reptar figurine from Funko is as cool as anything you’d find in the rugrats’ toy box. The monster dinosaur has been redesigned in classic Pop! style, making it a perfect desk or shelf accessory for the grown-up Nickelodeon fan. It also glows in the dark, which should appeal to anyone’s inner child.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Dragon Ball Z Slippers; $20

Hot Topic

You don’t need to change out of your pajamas to feel like a Super Saiyan. These slippers are emblazoned with the same kanji Goku wears on his gi in Dragon Ball Z: one for training under King Kai and one for training with Master Roshi. And with a soft sherpa lining, the footwear feels as good as it looks.

Buy it: Hot Topic

3. The Pokémon Cookbook; $15

Hop Topic

What do you eat after a long day of training and catching Pokémon? Any dish in The Pokémon Cookbook is a great option. This book features more than 35 recipes inspired by creatures from the Pokémon franchise, including Poké Ball sushi rolls and mashed Meowth potatoes.

Buy it: Hot Topic

4. Lisa Frank Activity Book; $5

Urban Outfitters

Millennials will never be too old for Lisa Frank, especially when the artist’s playful designs come in a relaxing activity book. Watercolor brings the rainbow characters in this collection to life. Just gather some painting supplies and put on a podcast for a relaxing, nostalgia-fueled afternoon.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

5. Shoebox Tape Recorder with USB; $28

Amazon

The days of recording mix tapes don’t have to be over. This device looks and functions just like tape recorders from the pre-smartphone era. And with a USB port as well as a line-in jack and built-in mic, users can easily import their digital music collection onto retro cassette tapes.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Days of the Week Scrunchie Set; $12

Urban Outfitters

Millennials can be upset that a trend from their youth is old enough to be cool again, or they can embrace it. This scrunchie set is for anyone happy to see the return of the hair accessory. The soft knit ponytail holders come in a set of five—one for each day of the school (or work) week.

Buy it: Urban Outfitters

7. D&D Graphic T-shirt; $38-$48

80s Tees

The perfect gift for the Dungeon Master in your life, this graphic tee is modeled after the cover of the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule book. It’s available in sizes small through 3XL.

Buy it: 80s Tees

8. Chuck E. Cheese T-shirt; $36-$58

80s Tees

Few Millennials survived childhood without experiencing at least one birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. This retro T-shirt sports the brand’s original name: Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre. It may be the next-best gift for a Chuck E. Cheese fan behind a decommissioned animatronic.

Buy it: 80s Tees

9. The Nightmare Before Christmas Picnic Blanket Bag; $40

Shop Disney

Fans of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize the iconic scene on the front of this messenger bag. Unfold it and the bag becomes a blanket fit for a moonlit picnic among the pumpkins. The bottom side is waterproof and the top layer is made of soft fleece.

Buy it: Shop Disney

10. Toy Story Alien Socks; $15

Shop Disney

You don’t need to be skilled at the claw machine to take home a pair of these socks. Decorated with the aliens from Toy Story, they’re made from soft-knit fabric and are big enough to fit adult feet.

Buy it: Shop Disney

11. Goosebumps Board Game; $24

Amazon

Fans that read every book in R.L. Stine’s series growing up can now play the Goosebumps board game. In this game, based on the Goosebumps movie, players take on the role of their favorite monster from the series and race to the typewriter at the end of the trail of manuscripts.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Tamagotchi Mini; $19

Amazon

If you know someone who killed their Tamagotchi in the '90s, give them another chance to show off their digital pet-care skills. This Tamagotchi is a smaller, simplified version of the original game. It doubles as a keychain, so owners have no excuse to forget to feed their pet.

Buy it: Amazon

13. SNES Classic; $275

Amazon

The SNES Classic is much easier to find now than when it first came out, and it's still just as entertaining for retro video game fans. This mini console comes preloaded with 21 Nintendo games, including Super Mario Kart and Street Fighter II.

Buy it: Amazon

14. Planters Cheez Balls; $24

Amazon

Planters revived its Cheez Balls in 2018 after pulling them from shelves nearly a decade earlier. To Millennials unaware of that fact, this gift could be their dream come true. The throwback snack even comes in the classic canister fans remember.

Buy it: Amazon

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10 Great Gifts for Teens

Fjallraven/Polaroid
Fjallraven/Polaroid

If it’s been a few years since you were a teenager, you might be feeling at a loss when it comes to finding the perfect gift for the teen in your life. But you don’t have to worry—we’ve culled the internet to figure out what’s cool these days, and we found 10 items to suit any teen (and any price point).

1. Fjällräven Kånken Mini Classic Backpack for Everyday; $70

Fjällräven/Amazon

Fjällräven’s Kånken backpack was originally introduced in 1978 as an affordable and comfortable bag for Swedish schoolchildren, but it recently took off as a trend among American high schoolers and college students. With 43 different color options, chances are you’ll be able to find the perfect trendy backpack for the teen in your life.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Water Bottle; $30–$35

Hydro Flask/Amazon

Hydro Flasks aren’t only trendy, they’re sturdy and environmentally friendly. Plus, they keep hot drinks warm and icy drinks cool for an absurdly long amount of time. The standard-mouth water bottle is currently available on Amazon in 17 different colors, but the brand also offers tumbler cups and coffee mugs depending on your niece/nephew/cousin/friend/child’s preference.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Polaroid Originals OneStep+ Bluetooth-Connected Instant Film Camera; $140

Polaroid Originals/Amazon

Teens can kick it back old school with this Polaroid camera that hides some surprisingly contemporary features. Using a special app, users can fine-tune their camera settings to suit their personal tastes. Plus, this camera makes it possible to capture two scenes in a single frame, so it's that much easier to create uniquely artsy Polaroid pics.

Buy it: Amazon

4. 4th-Generation Echo Dot with Clock; $60

Amazon

Tech-wise, the fourth-generation Echo Dot is almost identical to its third-generation predecessor. But the updated spherical design seems poised to make the Echo Dot a worthy contender for traditional alarm clocks—the speaker face shows the time and it even includes a tap-to-snooze function for drowsy sleepers.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Bubble Tea Kit; $38

Uncommon Goods

Part of the reason bubble tea is so popular is that it’s customizable—and what could be more customizable than making it yourself? This kit, made by an Atlanta-based couple, comes with two reusable straws and enough supplies to make up to eight servings.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

6. Mixtape Card Game; $20

Uncommon Goods

This party game challenges players to find the perfect songs to suit specific prompts. Some cards might prompt players to use Spotify or Youtube to search for the songs with the best guitar solos, while other cards call for participants to play their “favorite slow dance love jam from junior high.” This game is sure to be a hit at any high school sleepover or house party—or, in true 2020 style, at any digital hangout or Zoom meeting.

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

7. Giant Flour Tortilla Throw Blanket; $18-$35

Mermaker/Amazon

This goofy double-sided blanket turns any human into a giant-size burrito, and it comes in four different sizes to suit any height. One reviewer even went so far as to say that “once you wrap yourself in it, you will be convinced that you are a burrito.”

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Cup of Destiny; $22

Shelter Harbor Press/Amazon

Here’s a prediction: Your hunt for the perfect gift is almost over. This kit is ideal for the teenager who is fascinated by the supernatural and loves exploring new ideas. Included, you’ll find a 96-page illustrated instruction book along with a cup and a saucer marked with patterns and symbols.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Wreck This Journal: Now in Color; $9

Penguin Books/Amazon

This journal is not intended to be pretty. It’s made for messiness and exploration and a little bit of chaos. Artistic-minded teens will love filling out pages that prompt them to catalog various stains or poke holes through the paper. Reviewers say it’s not only a source of creative inspiration, though—it’s also a stress reliever. And considering that the middle-school and high-school years aren’t exactly known for being relaxing, this journal could be a welcome reprieve from the daily pressure of managing homework and a social life.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Therapy Dough; $15

Uncommon Goods

Some teens focus better and relax more easily when they have something to fidget with. If the teen in your life fits that description, this therapy dough may be the perfect gift for them. Each 4.5-ounce container is infused with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, orange, or pine, making relaxation smell delicious (and all natural!).

Buy it: Uncommon Goods

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