Where to Eat
Nestled along the Tidal Basin with a majestic view of the Jefferson Memorial, the MLK Memorial spans 4 acres in the quiet southwest corner of the National Mall. The remote site is suitable to a memorial of its style and size, but it’s also lacking in obvious places to eat when your out-of-town-guest’s (or your own) stomach starts growling. So before you visit, know your options.
If it’s warm enough, an ideal plan is to pack a lunch and picnic on the lawn. The grassy areas are the perfect place to take a break, let the kids play or people watch.
The easiest (and cheapest) thing to do is grab a hot dog and soda from a street vendor — one is usually stationed near the Lincoln Memorial. While you’re there, find the plaque that marks the exact spot on the steps where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” Speech.
Another convenient option is to check out a neighboring museum’s food court, but they are often crowded and expensive because of the convenience. You’ll find the most variety at the National Gallery of Art, indigenous cuisines at the National Museum of the American Indian, and fast food at the National Air and Space Museum food court.
If you’re done sightseeing for the day and looking for a sit-down or fine-dining experience restaurants in Penn Quarter or in the Capitol Hill neighborhoods are walkable from the Mall (although tired feet may appreciate the short cab ride).
Along Pennsylvania Avenue you’ll find the requisite Starbucks and Au Bon Pain’s as well as fine-dining options like Wolfgang Puck’s The Source at the Newseum and Fiola, a modern upscale trattoria that has been lauded as one of the best new restaurants of 2011. Want to sit down but not spend a ton? Chef Geoff’s is a classic DC chain whose menu has something for everyone.
In Capitol Hill, Charlie Palmer Steak, Johnny’s Half-Shell or sleek Southern restaurant Art and Soul are all classic DC power spots. More family and group-friendly options include Matchbox for mini-burgers or pizza and Cava Mezze for Greek mezze (small plates).
Where to Stay
L’Enfant Plaza Hotel
480 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, DC 20024
Located just 2 miles from the MLK Memorial, the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel is the perfect place to stay during a family vacation in DC. The hotel offers a “City Escape Package,” which includes up to 4 sightseeing bus tickets, valid for 2 days, so you can see many of the nation’s most memorable monuments.
The Hay-Adams Hotel
800 16th St, NW, Washington, DC 20006
In town to visit the MLK Memorial over the holiday weekend? The Hay-Adams, located just 2 miles from the memorial, offers a winter holiday package for those traveling on a tighter budget. Book this package for 3 nights, and you’ll the third night free.
The W Hotel
515 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20004
Stay in a high-class hotel with top-end restaurants and amenities just 2 miles from the MLK Memorial. The W hotel offers a panoramic city view from its 11th-floor POV Roof Terrace, perfect for the sightseer in you.
You May Also Like:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Photos
Exclusive Video: Visit the MLK Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: What to Know
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: The Capital’s Most Unique Monument