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Class Trip for Seniors...any suggestions?

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hi! i just stumbled onto your site and loved it immediately! i am a teacher who is planning a senior class trip to washington, d.c. for my students in late april/early may. there will be around 30 students traveling there (from sw va) and as i have never been to our nation's capital, i need all the advice i can get! what are some good places to take 17 year-olds for meals in the area? we are planning a theater night at ford's theater, and i would like for them to have a nice dinner before seeing a play. of course we plan to visit the white house and the mall, too, and i have no idea where to take that many kids to eat. any help or suggestions would be sooo great! thanks! :D

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  1. I'd suggest Old Ebbitt Grill for a nice dinner before the theater. You need to make reservations soon. Old Ebbitt is a DC landmark sort of restaurant. They have a good menu for your group - everything from burgers to pasta to steaks. They also have the ability to put large groups in sectioned off areas. Call them soon!

    As for other meals, the Chinatown area of DC, near the Verizon Center, has lots of low end restaurant chains that would appeal to high schoolers and are used to accommodating large groups. Or, you could also consider doing a Chinese dinner in Chinatown at one of the remaining local restaurants. I've eaten at Tony Cheng's (Chang's) and liked it. It's a large restaurant that I also think could accommodate a group.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DC Gal

      thanks so much for your advice! i can't believe how quickly someone posted a response! i am looking at the site for old ebbit now, and it looks like a good place to take young adults. i want my students to have an amazing experience on this trip, as many of them have never really traveled before.

      since i am a d.c. virgin myself, i have no clue how far restaurant is from ford's theater. can you give me an estimate?

    2. Our visit with 30 students last spring included a visit to Hard Rock Cafe, not my favorite choice, but the boy's enjoyed it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: grapevine

        thanks!
        can't go wrong with a popular tourist destination like hard rock! haha :P

      2. For a group of 17 yo. students, I would suggest the Hard Rock Cafe or ESPN Zone, both are nearby. I know they are not foodie destinations, but I would think they'd be a hit with the kids!
        http://www.espnzone.com/washingtondc/
        http://www.hardrock.com/locations/caf...

        Both are a short walk away from Fords Theater.

        Also, The Museum of the American Indian is the newest Smithsonian, and is fantastic! The Mitsam cafe in the museum would be a fun place to eat, and an extention of the educational experience of the museum.

        http://www.nmai.si.edu/subpage.cfm?su...

        Another really fun place to visit is the International Spy Museum. Zola is a restaurant which is attached to the museum.

        http://www.spymuseum.org/

        www.zoladc.com

        The museum also has a nice cafeteria for lunch.

        2 Replies
        1. re: monavano

          so helpful! we are planning a day at the smithsonian museums, so those are great options. and i had no idea there was a spy museum! the cafeteria might be a very inexpensive way for us to go, which is always helpful when traveling with kids. they usually go hog wild and spend all their loot really quick, so low-cost meals is where it's at for us! hehe

          we will also be going to the national cathedral and arlington national cemetary too.

          thanks! if you think of anything else, please post again.

          1. re: monavano

            The Mitsam Cafe was exactly what I thought of when I read your post...the food is great, it's served cafeteria-style so the kids can choose what they want, and it's a dining experience they'll never replicate in SW VA.

            A number of folks have mentioned also food court options...Union Station would be another good choice if that's the direction you want to go. It's right on Capitol Hill so it's in walking distance of the U.S. Postal Museum, the Capitol Building, and a number of other sites. It also gives you access to the Metro system (subway - Red Line) - and the Circulator bus...a great public bus service that exclusively services the tourist sites - http://www.dccirculator.com/

          2. Also, not sure where you all are staying, but in the Chevy Chase area of the city (Friendship Heights) there is a Maggiano's and a Cheesecake Factory. There is another Cheesecake Factory in Clarendon in VA. All of these would be huge hits with hige schoolers.

            1. Here's a post from another group recently: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369988

              I thought there was one even more like your request (originating from the US) about a year ago, but I couldn't find it in my search.

              1. The newly redone food court at the National Press Building (entrance on 13th and F NW) has good lunch options --5 Guys burgers, Mo's Mexican (quite good), etc. -- and its near the White House.

                For dinner near Ford's Theater -- I agree that Chinatown, a few minutes walk to the east, would be good-- that area is really hopping these days. Also, nearer Ford's is Austin Grill -- a local chain Tex Mex that I think could handle a crowd. Over on 7th are lots of restaurants, including the DC Chophouse, a chain also, with burgers. Up by the Spy Museum is Gordon Biersch -- yet another chain -- but can also handle a crowd.

                1. And, another good food court exists in the Reagan Building.

                  1. wow! i can't describe how great all this information is! thanks so much, everyone. your hospitality is unsurpassed on any other board i have ever read.

                    i can't wait to try some of these places. we will be staying from wednesday to sunday, so there will be plenty of chances for us to eat out.

                    keep em' coming!

                    1. Not sure if this will fit the budget but it is unique and its just around the corner from the White House

                      http://www.fogodechao.com/dining.htm

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Hue

                        that place looks amazing, hue! thanks for the tip.

                      2. has anyone eaten at Bistro D'oc? gimme specs on that if possible, please. :)

                        1. Consider Fogo de Chao for lunch. You get the EXACT same menu and service for half the price. Now, you may not be able to stay awake for the remainder of the day due to your "meat coma" but it is definitely worth it. ANd, somewhat of a "cultural experience" for the kids.

                          One other "tip" for you in regards to the class trips in DC. If you can, plan your schedule so that you don't have your group on the Metro during the peak of rush hour. It's really tough on the local commuters when a whole car of a train is taken up by a school group. Granted, it's the price we pay for living in the nation's capital. But, I guarantee you, your travel experience will be easier and less rushed feeling if you can travel after 9 AM and before 5 PM (or after 6:30 PM). Just a hint.

                          1. Near the National Cathedral, young people usually like Cactus Cantina, and Two Amys for pizza unlike what they get at Domino's.

                            1. Don't go to ESPN Zone or Hard Rock. I know just about every other visiting kids group goes to one of these two places, but the food is mediocre at best and they can get cheeseburgers and fries (etc) at home, so why not something a bit different. Old Ebbit is a much better idea. Its a famous "DC place." There's something for everyone there. And its not all that far from Ford's Theatre - about 7 blocks or so. You asked about Bistro D'oc. That is on the same street as Ford's Theatre; very convenient. Its relatively small so your group would probably take up much of the place. But if you call well in advance they could probably handle it. Its a French place, specializing in Laguedoc region food (and wine). I don't know if your group would like it or not. It would certainly be a different experience for most of them. But I would rather see you do that -- give the kids an experience they haven't had before and can't get at home -- rather than some lousy chain establishment. Maybe a couple of the kids will find that they like French food, or just generally good food? (Truth is Bistro D'oc is far from the best French place around, but its not bad and not so fancy that you couldnt' take a group of kids). The kids might also like Fogo to Chao, an all-you-can-eat Brazilian place. It has a huge and very good salad bar and the waiters come around with various sorts of fresh carved meat. But it could be a little expensive -I am not sure how much - maybe $50 a person?

                              And don't listen to the commuters who tell you to stay off the metro at rush hour. It is a bit crowded those hours, but you visiting school group has as much right to use the metro as any DC resident commuter -- its PUBLIC transportation (but you will make more friends if you stand to the right and walk to the left on the escalators -- a sort of unwritten DC rule).

                              1. Two suggestions: (1) if it comes down to Fogo or Old Ebbit for visiting school group, go with Old Ebbit - its a good "DC experience" -- Fogo is pretty good food too but its a Brazilian experience; and (2) ride the metro during rush hour, with your whole group in tow, just to annoy DC Gal.

                                1. Folks, Pardon the interruption, but please do remember that Chowhound's narrow focus is on deliciousness. How to get to chow, and how not to annoy the locals in the process is off-topic here, and we've had to remove a number of posts that went astray. Please keep the focus on sharing local chow tips. Thanks!

                                  1. I can't reccomend a specific place - but when I was 17 we did the Smithsonian trip - The only meal I remember - we went and got real Dim Sum. It was a very cool meal - something for everyone and it was so different from anything else I had been exposed to

                                    1. DC is a great city for international dining. If you can swing a place with some FLAVA, I would go for it!

                                      Another suggestion, Clyde's in Chinatown. It's not the food experience they will remember for the rest of their lives, but there is a nice room that can probably hold 17-15 in booths of 4-5 with one central table. Went there for a b-day party. Food was quite good.