Food tours have sprouted up across the region, capitalizing on public appetite for culinary experiences outside of sit-down meals. Many focus on a specific neighborhood — such as Capitol Hill, Georgetown, or Shaw — and combine lessons on local history and landmarks with hors d’oeuvres.
Plant eaters can hit vegan spots on U Street NW and H Street NE with DC Vegan Tours, which launched in March. Customers can also opt to focus on a single cuisine: DC Metro Tours offers an Ethiopian food crawls, and Mangia DC Food Tours focuses on Italian.
This round-up also includes road trip options for tours in Richmond, Charlottesville, Baltimore, and Frederick
With more than 20 culinary tours in Virginia, Maryland and D.C., this service has neighborhood jaunts through Capitol Hill, Georgetown, and Eastern Market. It also offers a three-hour Little Ethiopia Food Tour ($56) that introduces visitors to the injera bread and doro wat (chicken stew) of U Street. In Virginia, tours of Alexandria and Leesburg combine architecture, history, and local cuisine.
Billing itself as DC’s first and only vegan walking tour, DC Vegan Tours combines food history with stops at NuVegan Café and Sticky Fingers on its U Street Vegan Food and History Tour ($49). An H Street Vegan Food and Street Art Tour includes time for perusing colorful murals and tasting samples at Hempburger Café & Juice bar and Fare Well.
Foodies can name their own price to get into the Eastern Market Pastries Tour, which explores historic sites on Capitol Hill and ends with indulgences at Eastern Market. (Tour guests purchase their own snacks). It’s currently the walking tour’s only public food experience, though the group arranges two private events: A Georgetown Cupcake Walking Tour and a U Street History and Food Tour.
Mangia’s Italian Food Tour ($68) explores Dupont Circle’s Italian immigrant history with stops at four local eateries. The three-hour Georgetown Foodie Tour ($68) pays a visit to historic houses — including Julia Child’s former home — and hits several restaurants for samples.
A Georgetown Food Tour stops for doughnuts and checks out Martin’s Tavern, the Prohibition-era bar loved by presidents. This group also offers a Boutique Old Town Alexandria Food Tour and a U Street Food Tour (all $89).
Baltimore’s newest food tour operator takes visitors to five spots in either Fells Point ($70) or Mount Vernon ($90). Guests can learn about Fells Point’s maritime history while enjoying stops at Pitango Bakery & Co. and Rye and Broadway Market. They can also get a history lesson at the Maryland Historical Society before heading to Cazbar for Turkish cuisine, Helmand for Afghani food and rooftop bar Topside for dessert and cocktails. The tour operator said it plans to add tours in Federal Hill and corporate tours of Little Italy this fall.
DC Metro’s sister tour in Baltimore offers several neighborhood walking tours that take in the sights and bites of Mount Vernon, Fells Point, Federal Hill, and Little Italy ($62-$65). It also arranges private group tours of Lexington Market and Cross Street Market. The tours blend history, architecture, and local food during the three-hour excursions. The tour company also offers culinary events in Annapolis, Frederick, and Loudoun County, Virginia.
Enjoy a local brew and half a dozen bites while learning about the culture and architecture in historic Frederick. The three-hour tour ($65) could include samples of cheese, pizza, and chocolate.
Upgrade a trip to the Shenandoah Valley with a food tour of historic downtown Charlottesville with Taste of Virginia. The three-hour excursions take place during the afternoon ($59) and during the evenings ($79).
River city offers diners a choice of five neighborhood walking tours in Richmond that include stops in restaurants, cafes, markets, and ice cream shops. Get a history less in Petersburg, downtown, Carrytown, Church Hill, and the Arts District ($56.60-$69.90), which includes stops at local art galleries.