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Family trip to DC over Easter for a week with 8 YO and 11 YO - Your Suggestions Greatly Appreciated!

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First, I've got to say, the contributers to this list are amazing! I have read through a lot of the previous questions and posts and gotten great ideas for our trip, so thanks! My husband, two kids and I are traveling to DC on April 23 for the Great Family Trip to Our Nation's Capitol. We are very excited and have all the usual suspects lined up - Capitol Tour, White House Tour (fingers crossed still, and got shut out for the Easter Egg Roll - boo), Smithsonians, etc. We are good travelers, kids fairly adventurous eaters (sushi, Vietnamese and whatever else we throw at them in SF), and staying at the JW Marriott near the Mall. Two things I'm curious about - best place for a fun brunch or earlyish Easter dinner - NO hotels - not that kind of thing. Doesn't have to be a special Easter menu, I just want to be festive. Also, if there are Easter-related activities that people know about that would be good to know too (my son is skeptical of the bunny, although a grudging believer; my daughter's all in). Second, the best fun, cool neighborhoods to explore for food, small non-mall shops, people-watching. I visited DC in the late '80's and loved the Adams-Morgan area (and ate at a great little place then called Wings and 'Tings), but don't know if that's happening at all anymore. We live in the Mission/Noe Valley area of SF and like that sort of vibe - but want to see what DC thinks is fun and cool. Oh, and one more thing, where's the best place for a cafe latte - my husband will have withdrawal if he doesn't get good coffee, and I doubt it's at the Marriott.
Thanks in advance, Monique

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  1. Ok so cute neighborhoods to walk around are the U St. area, in that area lots of good restaurants, from Marvin, Masa 14 to Ooh and Aahs a whole in the wall with good soul food. Or Coppi's Oranic Italian.

    Also Old Town Alexandria is fun to wander around with lots of shops, there Vermillion, Majestic are good, so is Red Rocks Pizza.

    Fun Easter events: I know Zaytinya is doing some specials for Easter, I know the Willard is having a special Easter tea. Of Course the White House Easter Egg Hunt. I am sure both the National Cathedral and the Basilica of Immaculate Conception probably have special Easter services.

    If you have adventurous kids you might check out Oyamel, Jaleo or Zaytinya, all near the hotel. Cava Mezze on Capitol Hill or perhaps Monmartre.

    For the walking around you might also really enjoy the stalls and shops at the Eastern Market.

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    Mezze
    1606 Thames St., Baltimore, MD 21231

    Zaytinya
    701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Coppi's Restaurant
    1414 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    Red Rock Cafe
    385 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

    Masa 14
    1825 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

    2 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau

      You always have great suggestions. In Old Town, my kids love Eamonn's Irish Pub. Overlooked, I think is Del Ray, just north of Old Town. It's so much smaller, less touristy. I love Cheeestique and Dairy Godmother (they have a chair marked for where Obama sat, if you care) but I love poking around that whole area for a couple of hours.

      Ben's Chili Bowl is fun, not for the food but for the history and all the pictures of famous people who've eaten there. And, nearby is Etete--my kids think it's great eating w/ their fingers. The Eastern Market is nice, similar to places we used to go to in the Bay area.

      Also, if you get further out of the city, try the Eden Center in Falls Church.

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      Ben's Chili Bowl
      1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

      Eden Center
      Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

      Eamonns
      728 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

      1. re: chowser

        Yes, I second walking around the U Street area and Etete is my favorite. Ethiopian food is a real strength of DC and should be on your list.

        You could walk around Georgetown since it is pretty darn picturesque, but it's old school. The rowhouses and such are very charming though. M Street is full of chain stores though, which may not be your scene. For good food in that area, check out Leopold's, Pizzeria Paradiso, and Baked & Wired.

        Dupont Circle is also a nice area to walk around. Check out Dolcezza (either here or in Georgetown) for truly remarkable gelato. My San Francisco foodie friend loves this place and says it's the best gelato she ever eaten.

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        Etete
        1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

        Baked & Wired
        1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW, Washington, DC

        Pizzeria Paradiso
        3282 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007

        U Street Cafe
        1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    2. My favorite coffee shops in DC are:

      1) Peregrine Espresso - near the Eastern Market, which is a GREAT place to go for lots of food-related reasons

      2) Mid-City Cafe - 14th and R NW

      3) Chinatown Coffee - on H near 4th NW

      1. I'm always amused when people want to recreate an experience they can kind of get at home. For something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT this is one time I can recommend Saint's Paradise, a spiffy sky-lit cafeteria in the basement of the United House of Prayer. Go on Sunday. It will be an experience, and there will be plenty of people watching! Crab cakes here are a bargain.

        1. Easter Monday at the Zoo could be fun. Parts of the zoo are old and not-so-nice but other parts are new and very nice, such as the Asia Trail.

          http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ActivitiesA...

          Last time I went to the zoo with one of my kids we got pizza from Vace and brought it into the zoo, and sat on a bench for a very informal "picnic". Good pizza, lots of fun. (We drove from Vace to the Zoo, you can Google-map it to see if you consider it walking distance or just spend $8 or so on a taxi.) Unless things have really changed over the past 2 years, which I doubt, there is no good food in the zoo.

          Vace
          3315 Connecticut Avenue NW
          Washington DC 20008
          http://vaceitaliandeli.com/

          1. How about Hank's Oyster Bar in Dupont? I went there for an early dinner with my kids and had a great meal. There were lots of other families there early. You can check out Kramerbooks(for books), too.