Washington DC

The Most Mouth-Watering DC Sandwiches You Can Order Right Now

Perfect for a park picnic.

Jetties
Jetties
Jetties

During sweltering DC summers, we typically spend more time fighting tourists for space on the National Mall than we do actually enjoying the summer months. But this socially distanced summer is a little different. Sure, restaurants are still open for outdoor dining and you can always flex your culinary skills in your own kitchen, but we’re opting to get out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner picnics to preserve our level of sanity and have some contact with the outside world. When it comes time to load up your picnic basket, an easy-to-eat sandwich is the perfect solution, so here are 12 sandwich ideas all over the District.

Stachowski's
Stachowski’s
Stachowski’s

Four-Meat Grinder from Stachowski’s Market

Georgetown
If you’re looking for an authentic Italian sub with freshly carved meat, look no further than Stachowski’s Market. This butcher shop has extensive sandwich offerings that cover just about every meat they have in the shop. You can go all in with a four-meat grinder that has salami, coppa, mortadella, and soppressata, or try a hot sandwich like the pastrami or sausage varieties with house-made kielbasa, bratwurst, and hot Italian sausage.
How to order: Stop by the shop or pre-order takeout by calling 202-506-3125

Athens from SUNdeVICH

Georgetown
At this truly global sandwich shop, you can get picnic fare that will transport you to every corner of the globe and each sandwich is named for a different city. Try a lamb gyro dubbed the Athens or a cubano by way of Havana, or stay domestic with the Memphis, a BBQ chicken sandwich with iceberg lettuce, pickles, onions, and mayonnaise. The shop also has globally inspired salads, sides, and breakfast sandwiches influenced by Mexico City, Milan, and more. 
How to order: Takeout via website

Crush Subbies
Crush Subbies
Crush Subbies

Island Dip from Crush Subbies

NoMa
When Coconut Club‘s chefs team up with Yang Market‘s former owner, you get the summer of the subbie. The team now runs Crush Subbies, a delivery- and takeout-only business out of Union Market, and the spot has no shortage of classic cold cut grinders or hot subs built atop soft bakery rolls. The Island Dip is influenced by Coconut Club’s tropical menu and combines spicy coconut chicken, pickled fresno chiles, pepper jack cheese, and a spicy coconut curry sauce for a truly unique sandwich.
How to order: Takeout and delivery via Caviar and Doordash

Your Only Friend
Your Only Friend
Your Only Friend

Return of the Mack from Your Only Friend

Shaw
Another hit in the era of COVID pop-ups is Your Only Friend. This sandwich shop is running alongside Columbia Room‘s expertly crafted cocktails and features big ol’ fried chicken sandwiches doused in sauce and shredduce, hearty meatball subs, and thoughtful vegetarian options like a cauliflower banh mi variation. You can grab your sandwiches to go, steal an outdoor spot in Blagden Alley, or snag a picnic tote for $85 that includes two sandwiches, two drinks, a side, and a bottle opener all inside a reusable bag.
How to order: Takeout and delivery via Tock or make a reservation for outdoor seating

Banh Mi DC
Banh Mi DC
Banh Mi DC

Banh Mi from Banh Mi DC

Falls Church
For the area’s best banh mi sandwich, you’ll have to venture out to Falls Church. But once you arrive, you’ll have a wide variety of sandwiches to choose from for just about $5 a piece. You can get a banh mi you may have tried before with crispy pickled daikon and carrot, fresh cilantro, cucumber, and pork and p√Ęt√©, or try other meat options like BBQ pulled pork or sugarcane shrimp. You may automatically think of pork and p√Ęt√©, but banh mi really just means sandwich so the possibilities are endless.
How to order: Stop by for takeout or delivery via GrubHub

Bolognese Parmesan from Bub and Pop’s

Dupont Circle
This sandwich mainstay typically slings giant hoagies to all the workers who occupy K Street, and it’s easy to see why it has become a go-to. Skyhigh subs with Italian meat and cheese are the classics, but the shop also serves hot subs like chicken parmesan and a bolognese sandwich with meatballs, sweet Italian sausage, and plenty of melted cheese and sauce slathered on top. Whatever you imagine when you think of a big sandwich, think bigger. These subs are so giant that a full size will run you about $20, but it’s more than enough to feed two.
How to order: Stop by or call 202-457-1111 for takeout and delivery via UberEats

Jetties
Jetties
Jetties

Steps Beach from Jetties

Multiple locations including Bethesda, Foggy Bottom, and Foxhall
Known for its sandwiches piled atop soft white sourdough, this DC favorite now has three locations you can order from. Some go-tos are the Nobadeer, a Thanksgiving sandwich that’s delicious any time of year, and the Steps Beach, a turkey salad sandwich spiced up with golden raisins, apples, and tarragon. Keep an eye out for seasonal offerings and don’t skip the salads.
How to order: Takeout at all six locations via website and delivery via Doordash

Peppered Ham and Pepperoni from Subbs by Carl

Brookland
This sandwich shop has been a neighborhood staple for more than 30 years and the simple menu has largely stayed the same. This no-nonsense shop serves strictly cold deli sandwiches, but there’s a variety so you can mix and match meats and cheeses, and each comes topped with fresh, crisp veggies, and hot peppers that live up to their name.
How to order: Stop by the shop to take your sub to go

Capo Italian Deli
Capo Italian Deli
Capo Italian Deli

Italian Combo from Capo Italian Deli

Shaw
This deli has serious style. Its black-and-white tiled floors and sleek red subway tile are reminiscent of old-school Italian delis in New York and Philadelphia. And with that in mind, its sandwiches deliver. The classic Italian combo with salami, capicola, and provolone is a hit, as are the hot parmesan subs, cheesesteaks, and pasta dishes you can take to-go. During normal times, it has a speakeasy hidden behind a freezer door, but these days you can order “Fauci Pouchys,” named for the doctor who has become a household name, or other cocktails in adult juice boxes.
How to order: Takeout via website

Roast Turkey Sub from Red Apron Butchery

Penn Quarter and Fairfax
People usually flock to Union Market for a bite of the famed Red Apron burger and some groceries to take home, but its other sandwiches are true standouts thanks to all of the quality meat this butcher has in house. The roast turkey sub is a BLT dialed up a notch with freshly carved meat and whipped avocado, and the hot wagyu pastrami sub uses top-notch meat and crispy red cabbage slaw to make a well-balanced sandwich. The Union Market location is currently closed, but Red Apron is doing takeout and delivery out of its sister restaurant, The Parisian in Penn Quarter, and the Fairfax location.
How to order: Takeout and delivery from both locations via website

Duke's Grocery
Duke’s Grocery
Duke’s Grocery

Italian Stallion from Duke’s Grocery

Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Woodley Park
You know Duke’s for its burger, but don’t skip other sandwiches on the menu. The sarnies (aka British sandwiches) cover traditionals like BLTs with avocado, banh mis, or cubanos, but they also have more inventive options like the Spicy Aubergine or Italian stallion for vegetarians. The latter sandwich utilizes meatless Italian sausage as a base topped with goat cheese and rainbow cabbage slaw on a rice flour baguette.
How to order: Takeout and delivery at all three locations via website

Pastrami on Challah from Call Your Mother 

Bethesda, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, Park View
This Jewish deli originally drew crowds to its Park View location, but they’ve since opened three more spots where you can get bagel breakfast sandwiches. You can keep it simple with a bacon, egg, and cheese; cream cheese and veggies; or some whitefish salad piled on a bagel of your choice. Or opt for a lunchtime option like the cheesesteak-style sandwiches or pastrami piled on challah sub rolls. Plus, consider visiting Mercy Me in Foggy Bottom, the owners’ newest spot with South American-inspired fare like a chorizo sandwich topped with chimichurri, cabbage, and red onion or their take on a French dip sandwich — which has marinated sirloin, caramelized red onion, spicy jus for dipping, and a side of pickled vegetable slaw.
How to order: Takeout via Call Your Mother’s website or takeout and delivery via Mercy Me’s websiteSign up here for our daily DC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Liz Provencher is an editorial assistant at Thrillist and a former DC dweller. You can talk to her at [email protected] or check out her picnic spreads on Instagram.

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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