Having lived overseas, gone to school out of state, and with a husband whose family lives in another country, we often have out of town visitors. Because of that I am always searching for fun, interesting and unique activities to do in the city. Recently, I stumbled upon a super cool one: Carpe DC Food Tours, a relatively new walking food and history tour in DC. As part of team that focuses on travel dining, I knew this was going to be right up my alley. Our editor Jessica knows the founders, Mary and Stefan personally and loves what they do in regards to promoting the food and cultural scene in the city.

Carpe DC Food Tour
The tour started at Ben’s Chili Bowl

About Carpe DC Food Tours

The tour company offers tours of four different neighborhoods in the area: U Street, 14th street, Georgetown, and Shaw. You can buy tickets for just the food, or food and drinks. We selected the U Street tour, which is offered year round, Weds-Sun at 11:30am, and had incredibly a delicious and informative afternoon. The tour kicks off at Ben’s Chili Bowl, which we learned is landmark dining destination in DC. Having been around since 1958, it survived the 1968 riots which were a part of the civil rights movement as well as the massive gentrification which took place in the 2000s in the U Street Corridor. After enjoying cheese smothered fries and veggie chili, we got a chance to learn about the murals outside of the restaurant. The newest mural features President and Michelle Obama.

The murals at Ben's Chili Bowl Carpe DC Food Tours
The murals at Ben’s Chili Bowl

The Food

After that, we went over to Dukem to sample injera, lentils, collard greens and other Ethiopian specialties. Washington D.C. has the highest percentage of Ethiopian residents outside of Ethiopia which makes Ethiopian culture integral to the District. We walked past other Ethiopian restaurants, visited the Howard Theater, and stopped at the African American War Memorial. Our tour Carpe DC Food Tours guide, Stefan, is very well-informed about the history of DC. He gave us a robust history lesson about the places and sights we visited.

Ethiopian food at Dukem Carpe DC Food Tours
Ethiopian food at Dukem

The Verdict


Our final two stops were at Glen’s Market, significant for its commitment to local products, and Calabash, a tea house where we had dessert and iced tea. What I loved about the Carpe DC Food Tours is that you don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy it. I learned so much about a city I have been living in for ten years! The delicious food was an extra bonus. Take someone visiting from out of town, or just grab a group of friends and go.

More info: Carpe DC Food Tours, Website 

Our Carpe DC Food Tours guide Stefan, stopping to show us some of the many murals in DC
Our Carpe DC Food Tours guide Stefan, stopping to show us some of the many murals in DC