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Zoo Lights
Zoo Lights
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A Dozen Places to Eat and Drink Before or After Zoolights

The zoo will be hopping due to the annual Christmas lights display. Make it a night out and grab something to eat or drink in the process.

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Zoo Lights
| Official

ZooLights is one of D.C.'s festive holiday traditions. The zoo gets completely decked out with a huge lighting display, featuring light-up animals and Christmas-inspired designs (attendees can even duck into the petting zoo or small mammals building and visit some animals while they're seeing the lights).

The event runs through January 1 from 5-9 p.m. Here are some places to grab dinner or drinks before (or after) to make a night of it. All are less than a mile walk from the National Zoo. Go even further and there are even more options, from pizza at 2Amys to whiskey at Jack Rose. And if you're really into something quick, grab a slice at Vace, one of the city's best pizza joints (but there's nowhere to sit).

Have another favorite dining or drinking destination near the zoo? Share in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ripple

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3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 244-7995
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Marjorie Meek-Bradley's Cleveland Park restaurant specializes in seasonal fare and has a great wine list. Walking distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

2. Medium Rare

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3500 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 237-1432
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Enjoy a steak frites-only menu for an affordable price at this Cleveland Park destination. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

3. The Zoo Bar Cafe

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3000 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 232-4225
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One of the city's true dive bars is located across the street from the Zoo. Walking distance from zoo: a whopping 92 feet.

4. New Heights Restaurant

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2317 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 234-4110
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Head to the charming New Heights for dishes like charcuterie and mackerel, or have a gin and tonic at the adjacent Gin Joint bar. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

5. Fat Pete's Barbecue

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3407 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 362-7777
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Fat Pete's is one of the more promising new barbecue joints to open this year, serving up dishes like ribs and brisket. Walking distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

6. Open City

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2331 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 332-2331
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No matter the hour of day, Open City is there to serve up casual diner fare. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

7. St. Arnold's of Cleveland Park

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3435 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste B
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 621-6719
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If mussels and a Belgian beer sound like a plan, St. Arnold's is a solid bet. Walking distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

8. Mintwood Place

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1813 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 234-6732
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At almost a mile away, it's a bit of a hike, but it'll be worth it after the burger, escargot hush puppies and French-leaning entrees. Walking distance from zoo: 0.9 miles.

9. Pop's SeaBar

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1817 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 534-3933
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Whether seeking pork roll, fried seafood or orange crush cocktails, Pop's SeaBar has it covered. Walking distance from zoo: 0.7 miles.

10. Donburi

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2438 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

Donburi's the place to go for a quick, casual Japanese rice bowl. Walking distance from zoo: 0.7 miles.

11. Ardeo + Bardeo

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3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 244-6750
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Ardeo +Bardeo offer New American dishes, a solid wine list and a classy atmosphere in Cleveland Park. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

12. Lebanese Taverna

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2641 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 265-8681
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A D.C. classic, Lebanese Taverna offers Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and lamb.

1. Ripple

3417 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Marjorie Meek-Bradley's Cleveland Park restaurant specializes in seasonal fare and has a great wine list. Walking distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

2. Medium Rare

3500 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Enjoy a steak frites-only menu for an affordable price at this Cleveland Park destination. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

3500 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

3. The Zoo Bar Cafe

3000 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

One of the city's true dive bars is located across the street from the Zoo. Walking distance from zoo: a whopping 92 feet.

3000 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

4. New Heights Restaurant

2317 Calvert St NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Head to the charming New Heights for dishes like charcuterie and mackerel, or have a gin and tonic at the adjacent Gin Joint bar. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

2317 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

5. Fat Pete's Barbecue

3407 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Fat Pete's is one of the more promising new barbecue joints to open this year, serving up dishes like ribs and brisket. Walking distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

3407 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

6. Open City

2331 Calvert St NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

No matter the hour of day, Open City is there to serve up casual diner fare. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

2331 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

7. St. Arnold's of Cleveland Park

3435 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste B, Washington, D.C. 20008

If mussels and a Belgian beer sound like a plan, St. Arnold's is a solid bet. Walking distance from zoo: 0.4 miles.

3435 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste B
Washington, D.C. 20008

8. Mintwood Place

1813 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

At almost a mile away, it's a bit of a hike, but it'll be worth it after the burger, escargot hush puppies and French-leaning entrees. Walking distance from zoo: 0.9 miles.

1813 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

9. Pop's SeaBar

1817 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Whether seeking pork roll, fried seafood or orange crush cocktails, Pop's SeaBar has it covered. Walking distance from zoo: 0.7 miles.

1817 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

10. Donburi

2438 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Donburi's the place to go for a quick, casual Japanese rice bowl. Walking distance from zoo: 0.7 miles.

2438 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

11. Ardeo + Bardeo

3311 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

Ardeo +Bardeo offer New American dishes, a solid wine list and a classy atmosphere in Cleveland Park. Walking distance from zoo: 0.5 miles.

3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

12. Lebanese Taverna

2641 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008

A D.C. classic, Lebanese Taverna offers Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and lamb.

2641 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

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