Washington DC

Best DC Food Trucks and Where to Find Them

Swizzler
Swizzler
Swizzler

Looking for the best food trucks in DC? Food trucks may not be as popular or trendy as they were just a few years ago, but that does not mean there isn’t still delicious food to be had at the ones that have persisted. Here are nine of the tastiest mobile stops in the city currently, and what to order when you get there. Most of them roam, so it’s best to check each truck’s social media account for accurate locations.

Swizzler
Swizzler
Swizzler

Swizzler Hot Dog Truck

Best known for its corkscrew-shaped hot dogs sourced with 100-percent grass-fed beef, and a variety of unique toppings (aka the best part of a hot dog), Swizzler is a really cool local truck that gets creative with this ballpark classic. You will likely find a crowd lined up, but it’s worth the wait. The sweet and spicy combo of the “Feast Mode” with caramelized onions, whipped goat cheese, candied jalape√Īos, and black pepper honey is a flavor bomb in a soft brioche bun. Our advice: If they are anywhere reasonably close to you, seek them out. And when you are there, treat yo’self with the combo of a dog and truffle fries.¬†
Where is it? From Metro Center to NIH to Rosslyn, Swizzler goes everywhere.

PhoWheels
PhoWheels
PhoWheels

PhoWheels 

This iconic graffiti-laced truck is hard to miss and is a great stop for Vietnamese staples that have been given a modern American twist. The pork belly tacos are bomb, the banh mis are not traditional but tasty, and the chicken or beef pho is especially good on a cold day. Whether you are a fan of Vietnamese food or have never tried it before, PhoWheels has something for you. 
Where is it? Get yourself a steaming cup of pho or a banh mi at Chantilly, Chevy Chase, and many spots in between.

CapMac
CapMac
CapMac

CapMac

Sometimes you just need to indulge and get a decadent mac & cheese. But it’s even more worth it at CapMac where you get unique flavors, tasty sauces, and fresh produce. Yes, you can get a salad if you really want to, but let’s be real, we are in it for the cheese here. The Classic Mac (macaroni noodles topped with aged cheddar, even with more cheese, and Cheez-Its) is the most popular item for a reason — every spoonful is a decadent, cheesy bite. The seasonal pastas (Cacio E Pepe FTW!) or the Bolognese are excellent choices as well, so look for the weekly selection of specials.
Where is it? Catch them at the curb in Franklin Square, Farragut, and other downtown DC locations.

Timber Pizza Company
Timber Pizza Company
Timber Pizza Company

Timber Pizza 

You can now get Timber Pizza at its Petworth brick-and-mortar location, but find the OG mobile wood-fired pizza truck at various area farmers’ markets and tons of other locations throughout the city. The self-proclaimed Neapolitan-ish style pizzas are the bubbly, blistered, and probably not quite like any others you’ve had before. The Green Monster with pesto, zucchini, and crispy kale is absolutely fantastic, as is the Bentley with chorizo, soppressata, and a drizzle of locally made hot honey.¬†
Where is it? Weekly at the Ballston Farmers’ Market, and the Penn Quarter Farmers’ Market, but also plenty of other locations.

Arepa Zone
Arepa Zone
Arepa Zone

Arepa Zone

Per its name, Arepa Zone specializes in Venezuelan style arepas with a variety of filling choices. The Pabellon is a hearty mix of shredded beef, black beans, queso fresco, and sweet plantains and is a satisfying combination of savory and sweet. To say the arepas here are stuffed would be an understatement — they are literally overflowing. To pile it on even further, douse yours with a hearty helping of the delicious green sauce.
Where is it? Usually around DC, but occasionally in Tysons Corner and Friendship Heights.

Courtesy of Captain Cookie and the MilkMan
Courtesy of Captain Cookie and the MilkMan
Courtesy of Captain Cookie and the MilkMan

Captain Cookie and the MilkMan

Who doesn’t love a gooey ice cream sandwich? This dessert truck has an ice cream and cookie of the day — pick those and watch the talented staff make your ice cream sandwich dreams come true. You’ll definitely need a spoon to eat these enormous and delicious goodies. If you don’t feel like a sandwich, a cookie and the organic milk is the perfect sweet snack.
Where is it? A truck that’s always on the move, best is to keep an eye on its social media.

Puddin'
Puddin’
Puddin’

Puddin’

Your veritable stop for deeply comforting food, Puddin’ delivers Cajun and Creole flavors and soul-satisfying dishes like shrimp and grits, po’boys, and, of course, bread pudding. The shrimp and crawfish etouffee is a little taste of N’awlins, the gumbo is deeply flavorful, and the fried oyster po’boy is one fantastic sandwich. Whatever your order, make sure to get the brown butter bourbon bread pudding — rich, buttery, soaked in bourbon, and oh so delicious. The truck’s motto is “divine comfort food” and we couldn’t agree more.
Where is it? Weekly schedule announced on Twitter.

Himalayan Soul Foods - Momo Food Truck
Himalayan Soul Foods – Momo Food Truck
Himalayan Soul Foods – Momo Food Truck

Himalayan Soul Foods

This is your stop for a taste of a simple Himalayan food specialty: momos. These dumplings are freshly made and packed with pork, chicken, or vegetables, each with a distinct flavor. You may not think that a few dumplings will make a meal, but these are stuffed to capacity. Along with the accompanying hot sauce and the Nepalese potato salad, you have yourself a winner. Don’t roam too far from the truck with these — they are best eaten hot.
Where is it? Office-heavy areas like Metro Center, Union Station, and L’enfant Plaza.Sign up here for our daily DC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Aparna Krishnamoorthy is a freelance food and travel writer based in Washington DC. Always willing to eat biryani, pizza, fried chicken, and chocolate cake. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more dining and wanderlust adventures.

Washington DC

15 Totally Free Things to Do in DC

A full itinerary, completely free of charge.

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Washington DC is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and for those of us who call the District home, it’s easy to see why. With dozens of world-class museums, murals that transform streets into galleries, and sites brimming with history, DC offers a full agenda-completely free of charge. Whether you want to try a new farmer’s market, explore a new hike, or polish off your roller skating or canoeing skills, here are some of our favourite free things to do in the District.

Flickr/gawnesco
Flickr/gawnesco
Flickr/gawnesco

Hike, bike, or stroll along the C&O Canal

The historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is one of the most accessible nature escapes from the District. Thanks to a multi-year restoration project, the first mile of the canal is an idyllic walk that’s easy to access in Georgetown. Stick to a short stroll there, or grab a bike or lace up your hiking shoes for a longer adventure along the 184.5-mile canal.

Jump on the pickleball craze

Pickleball is working its way up the ladder past kickball and softball as one of America’s favourite games. Jump on the craze and practice your paddling at one of the District’s pickleball courts in Takoma Park, the Palisades, and more. Plus, Washington DC Pickleball invites guests to drop in to beginner sessions to try their hand at the sport before signing up for a $30 annual membership.

Flickr/mcfeelion
Flickr/mcfeelion
Flickr/mcfeelion

Bike the Mount Vernon Trail

DC is incredibly bike-friendly, and luckily that applies to the land immediately outside of the city as well. Start in the city and bike along the Mount Vernon Trail, a scenic route that hugs the water and cuts through the woods. It’s about a 10-mile trip from DC to Mount Vernon, but you can cut the trip slightly short and end at the Old Town Alexandria waterfront-just make sure to factor in time for ice cream before pedalling home.

Explore a sculpture park

While not located in the District proper, Glenstone, an expansive sculpture park in Maryland, is worth the 45-minute drive. Tickets to the park are free (just be sure to reserve several weeks in advance), and the 300-acre space offers stunning art, architecture, and open land. In addition to its indoor gallery spaces, you can spend hours walking on paths that wind through sculptures, meadows, and forests.

Flickr/Geoff Livingston
Flickr/Geoff Livingston
Flickr/Geoff Livingston

See the monuments at night

When the sun goes down-and the summer humidity somewhat dissipates-head to the National Mall for the rare chance to see the monuments without busloads of tourists. Moonlight will give you a different perspective as you traverse the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial or gaze up at the Washington Monument set aglow with lights.

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Museum hop the day away

One of DC’s greatest strengths is its world-class Smithsonian museums that are open to the public free of charge. There is no shortage of options, from the intimate Renwick Gallery, to the sprawling National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonians offer something for everyone. Pro tip: Some of the museums are open late in the evenings, making for an ideal date night.

muralsdc
muralsdc
muralsdc

Explore the city’s murals

Washington is home to hundreds of murals that are becoming as much a part of the city’s landscape as the monuments on the National Mall. Take a self-guided tour of these colourful creations no matter which neighbourhood you happen to be in. MuralsDC, the organization behind 150 of the District’s public artworks, is a great resource for mapping out a route to explore the city’s street art.

Hotel Washington
Hotel Washington
Hotel Washington

Take in a birds-eye view of the city

Washington looks pretty stunning from up high, and there are few spots within the city that make for phenomenal vantage points. Rooftop bars and restaurants offer epic views for the price of a drink or two, but there’s no more iconic sight than seeing the city from the top of the Washington Monument, which is completely free. Book a ticket ahead of time and ride an elevator all the way to the top of the monument and step out on the 500-foot observation deck.

Flickr/Nicolas Raymond
Flickr/Nicolas Raymond
Flickr/Nicolas Raymond

Wander through a garden

DC is home to some of the most beautiful urban gardens in the country, and many of them are open to the public for free. There is nothing like an afternoon spent strolling through, or picnicking, at the expansive 446-acre United States Arboretum or wandering through the Botanic Garden on the edge of the Mall. For something a bit smaller, explore the grounds at Tudor Place or Dumbarton Oaks (free in the winter), both of which are in Georgetown.

Flickr/ehpien
Flickr/ehpien
Flickr/ehpien

Hike the Billy Goat Trail

You can catch one of the District’s most popular hiking trails, the Billy Goat Trail, from the C&O canal. The full trail is 4.7 miles and ranges from easy to strenuous, so hike a section in and back or make the full loop for the variety.

Pay your respect at Arlington National Cemetery

Just across the Potomac from DC, Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 veterans. The cemetery is an expanse of 639 hallowed acres and the ANC Explorer allows visitors to locate graves, notable sites, and take self-guided walking tours to spots including the tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the final resting place of President John F. Kennedy.

Lace up your roller skates

When was the last time you went roller skating? Chances are it’s been too long. So get back into this nostalgic activity at the Anacostia Park roller skating pavilion. You can rent skates for free, just show proof of a government-issued ID, and the skating pavilion is open from 9 to 5 every day.

Help clean up the Anacostia River

We all know there’s a lot of work to be done to keep our waterways clean. Do your part, and have some fun, by participating in the city’s Green Boat initiative. On select weekends, DCers can join a two-hour guided paddle along the Anacostia River to collect trash and monitor the river’s progress.

Eastern Market
Eastern Market
Eastern Market

Stroll your local farmer’s market

DC’s close proximity to the farms of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and beyond mean that the city’s farmers’ markets always have something to offer. Check out the year-round markets like Eastern Market in Capitol Hill and the Sunday market in Dupont Circle or head to seasonal markets like the pop-up in front of the White House that draws vendors like Cucina al Volo and Call Your Mother Deli.

The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress

Play tourist all around the city

It’s easy to forget that all those traditionally touristy activities can be fun for locals too. If you haven’t been on a tour of the White House, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, or the Capitol, this is your sign. All are free with advanced reservations. Plus, tucked in the northern quadrant of NW, the Washington National Cathedral is free and open to all. Tour the cathedral’s impressive architecture, 215 stained glass windows, 112 Gothically-inspired gargoyles, and enormous pipe organ. See if you can spot the sculpture of Darth Vader.

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Madeline Weinfield is a Thrillist contributor.

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