Where to Eat at Washington, D.C.’s Museums Slideshow

Mount Vernon

After spending the day wandering around George Washington’s Northern Virginia estate, visitors have the option of dining at Mount Vernon Inn — its official restaurant. Admission to the museum is not required for entrance to the restaurant. Guests can enjoy lunch daily and candlelit dinners Monday through Saturday and feast on hearty meals that pay tribute to our first president’s time. For an authentic taste of what the man on the dollar bill enjoyed, guests can order one half of one roasted duckling coated with Washington's favorite apricot sauce.

National Gallery of Art

Travelers who prefer a good meal with a view can head to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden Pavilion Café . Diners can eat inside the café and look out at the Gallery’s outdoor Sculpture Garden or buy their food and eat alfresco in the garden itself. One of café’s most-ordered plates is the Asian salad. This multi-textured dish is made with bok choy, cabbage, matchstick carrots, Mandarin oranges, crushed peanuts, crispy chow mein noodles, and served with tangy sesame dressing on the side. Visitors who also prefer to give their ears a treat can listen to live jazz at the Sculpture Garden on Friday evenings from Memorial Day through mid-September.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Hungry museum-goers can head to the Mitsitam Café (its name means "let’s eat" in the Piscataway and Delaware languages) for plates made exclusively out of ingredients hailing from the Western Hemisphere. The café has five different stations that represent different regions, including their cooking techniques and food, of Indian country: South America, Mesoamerica, the Northern Woodlands, the Great Plains, and the Northwest Coast. Hailing from the Northwest Coast is cedar-planked salmon — wild salmon, grilled corn, and cherry tapenade — one of the café’s most popular dishes.

The Baltimore Museum of Art

Baltimore-native and chef/owner of Gertrude’s, John Shields, named the restaurant after his grandmother, Gertrude Cleary, who taught him how to cook as a child. The interior of the eatery is inspired by life on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay (think gold-colored plaster molds of crabs, herons, turtles, and fish mounted on wood-paneled columns) as is the menu. For this restaurant’s take on a Baltimore classic, guests should order "Gertie's Crabcake" — Cleary’s special recipe she made for Baltimore’s St. Ann's Parish church.


The Newseum has a food court and one full-fledged restaurant, The Source by Wolfgang Puck. Puck also catered the food court’s menu, and it wouldn’t be a true Puck meal if it didn’t include a dish that he personally made popular — personal pizzas. Guests choose from cheese or pepperoni and dig into a meal made famous by the man who created it.