City

Actually Fun Things To Do in Nashville This Weekend

Discover the best bluegrass bar, eat a bunch of hot chicken, and try a pop-up bakery.

Berries N Cream Bakery
Berries N Cream Bakery
Berries N Cream Bakery

It’s an artsy and musical weekend right here in Music City. Whether you take a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame to learn about an iconic bluegrass venue or read along with Shakespeare or listen to a conversation with one of Nashville’s greatest musicians, you’re sure to find a little culture worth absorbing. Or you could just eat a bunch of punishingly hot chicken while you help pick the best of the best in peppery poultry. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Discover the greatest bluegrass bar in the world

Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7
SoBro
While Nashville’s premier bluegrass club, The Station Inn in the Gulch, is world-renowned by fans of the genre, it’s still a bit of a secret to many locals. That’s a shame, because the club which was opened in 1974, is the last bit of authenticity left in its burgeoning neighborhood which has largely been taken over by new builds. The Country Music Hall of Fame aims to shine a spotlight on the tiny stage with this exhibition of memorabilia from the club and other iconic bluegrass acts through the ages. You should definitely check it out and then go see a show at The Station Inn while it’s still fighting off the wrecking ball of progress.
Cost: $25.95
 

Find a new favorite fowl during Hot Chicken Week

Friday, February 5 – Sunday, February 7
Various locations
Nashville Hot Chicken is perhaps the city’s most iconic culinary creation, and we dedicate an entire week to its veneration every year. Some of your favorite hot chicken joints join in with non-traditional purveyors of piquant pullets to offer specially-priced dishes all week long. Try a few and vote online for your new favorite to help pick the winner of this cutthroat competition.
Cost: $7
 

Listen to one of the world’s greatest bass players

Friday, February 5
Online
Victor Wooten is the only musician to be named “Bass Player of the Year” by Bass Player magazine for his solo work and as a member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Proficient in multiple genres from funk to jazz to classical, Wooten is regarded as a musician’s musician, but he’s also an author. His latest book is The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues, and it’s a fable about the power of music. He’ll be reading from the book and engaging in conversation with his bandmate Bela Fleck in this online presentation courtesy of local bookseller Parnassus Books. The cost of admission includes a copy of the book, so it’s a bargain!
Cost: $16
 

Shop for sweets at Berries ‘n Cream’s pop-up bakery

Friday, February 5
Midtown
Berries ‘n Cream is a small bakery without a standalone storefront, but their gorgeous creations have already earned them a ton of fans. Specializing in vegan and gluten-free products along with traditional baked goods, they bring their pastries to the people at twice-monthly pop-up shops at the Graduate Hotel, so drop in to discover their latest and greatest concoctions and take some home for the weekend.
Cost: Free
 

Catch a glimpse of Goat Boy when Jim Breuer performs at Zanies

Friday, February 5
Historic Waverly
Former SNL star Jim Bruer is famous for his characters like Goat Boy and his spot-on impersonations of Joe Pesci and heavy metal singers. But he’s also a very talented comic with more than 20 years of experience on stage that landed him on Comedy Central’s list of “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.” He’ll be practicing his craft on the stage at Zanies this week, so take advantage of the opportunity to watch a master at work.
Cost: $30

Learn how to hoop like a pro and fan dance like an artist

Saturday, February 6 – Sunday, February 7
Nolensville Road/Online
Hula hoops aren’t just for kids anymore. They have become an exercise tool and a fun way to get your body moving as part of these fun dance-inspired classes at Nashville Hula Hoop. Speaking of dancing, they also teach exotic fan dancing classes if you’re looking to show off your sultry moves.
Cost: $15
 

Salute the Fab Four at the Beatles Laser Show at Adventure Science Center

Saturday, February 6 – Sunday, February 7
Wedgewood-Houston
The dome of the Sudekum Planetarium becomes the canvas for some light art as a kinetic laser show flashes across the ceiling set to the iconic music of The Beatles. The planetarium’s sound system is designed for star shows, so you’ll feel Paul’s rumbling bass all the way to your toes as the band runs through almost a dozen of their hits accompanied by the dancing lights.
Cost: $9
 

Celebrate Southern Grist Brewing’s fifth birthday

Saturday, February 6 – Sunday, February 7
The Nations
Although the popular brewery won’t be able to throw a huge shoulder-to-shoulder party to celebrate their birthday, it’s not going to let the special occasion pass without a little frivolity. Instead, this year it’s a drive-thru party where you can pick up special brew releases crafted in honor of five years of beers. In addition to Southern Grist products, guest breweries have also sent some party favors, so you can order as many as two dozen different beers to help celebrate the big day!
Cost: $15 and up
 

Feel the good vibrations at the Bob Marley Birthday Bash

Saturday, February 6
SoBro
Austin Grimm is the bandleader of local reggae/jam band supergroup Roots of a Rebellion, or ROAR, and he’ll be celebrating the birthday of the king of reggae with a free show at City WInery. ROAR will run through their catalog of cover tunes and originals with lots of Marley thrown in for good measure. They’ll be “jamming,” indeed.
Cost: Free
 

Unleash your inner thespian with Shakespeare Aloud

Saturday, February 6
Online
While the works of The Bard are best seen onstage, Shakespeare’s words resonate whenever they’re read aloud. The Nashville Shakespeare Festival hosts monthly public readings of the playwright’s entire canon on a rotating basis, and “Troilus and Cressida” is next on the docket. Zoom in to be part of the fun as you grab your dusty old copy of the play or follow along online until it’s your turn to take on a role and read along with your fellow Bardolators.
Cost: FreeSign up here for our daily Nashville email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Music City has to offer.

Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee

City

The Eight Most Exciting Suburbs Outside DC

You could use a little space.

Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock

When people say Washington, DC, it’s hard to tell if they’re talking about The District proper, or the sprawling metro area that is sometimes nicknamed the DMV: The District, Maryland, and Virginia. The fact is that DC is made whole by its vibrant suburbs, whether you’re looking for a shopping center dedicated almost entirely to Vietnamese cuisine, a rock climbing wall in-you guessed it-Rockville, or a wetland preserve that’s wide open for hiking and fresh air.

The DC suburbs practically have it all, and you can reach many of these neighborhoods by bike, public transit, or a set of four wheels. Here are eight great suburban destinations that you may find yourself visiting soon. We won’t judge you if you want to stay.

Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville

Rockville

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Many people will inevitably cruise Rockville Pike, aka 355, for all of its big-box delights, since this retail corridor has always been a sprawly place to shop for decades. But more recently, Rockville has become something entirely different. It’s walkable and bikeable, thanks to the Pike & Rose development. And it remains a destination for some of the best Chinese soup dumplings in the DMV at A&J Restaurant and Bob’s Shanghai 66. Rockville is also, fittingly, home to the best rock climbing wall attracting serious spelunkers and climbing newbies alike. And it remains a place for family-run restaurants, many of which are run by immigrants. For a small taste of the magic of this Montgomery County suburb, visit Bombay Bistro for Chef K.N.Vinod and Surfy Rahman’s take on Indian fare from the country’s southern region. Like many of the best eateries in Rockville, this restaurant is tucked away in a shopping strip. When you find it, you’ll be rewarded with mouth-watering dosas, biryani, and vindaloo.

Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette

Bethesda

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
Anyone who grew up near Bethesda has probably spent their early teenage years loitering at the Bethesda’s Regal Cinema or by The Barnes & Noble water fountain. Now, both of those legendary spots of yesteryear have been transformed into a suburban-style city with sidewalk cafes, trendy shopping, and an upgraded Capital Crescent Trail-a longtime favorite with joggers and bikers. Bethesda is also home to a world of flavors: Fresh Baguette for Parisian-style pastries, Pesca Deli for Portuguese, Taqueria El Jalapeño for tasty tacos, and Passage to India just to name a few. To reach all of these places, you can hop aboard the Bethesda Circulator, a free shuttle service that picks you up at the Bethesda Metro station and takes you in a loop around town.

Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks

Wheaton

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
There is absolutely no beating Wheaton when a food craving hits, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This Maryland suburb, just north of DC on Metro’s red line, has one of the best diners in the region, Nick’s Diner, owned and operated by Nick Markopoulos and his Greek family. For lunch, Wheaton is home to a handful of pupuserias that are indicative of this neighborhood’s Salvadoran community. Pupuseria La Familiar, Los Chorros, and Irene’s Pupusas are three great options. Finally, for dinner, Peruvian chicken at El Pollo Rico or Bolivian fare, and specifically the beef silpancho, at Kantuta’s are hearty and tasty offerings. Finish your day of dining on a high note with a cannoli or rainbow cookie from Filippo’s Deli. After a day of eating, you’ll need to walk off all those carbs. Go for a leisurely stroll around the pond at Wheaton Regional Park’s Brookside Gardens. The park is a five-minute drive north of Wheaton’s retail corridor, and it’s free and open to the public year-round.

Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.

Hyattsville

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
A brewery tour is a safe bet when visiting Hyattsville, Maryland-a community with a small-town vibe, located in Prince George’s County, just across The District line. A primary reason why beer nerds flock here is Franklins, a brewpub that last year opened a tiki-themed bar in its parking lot to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more than a dozen beers on tap, plus Franklins makes its own root beer if you prefer some nonalcoholic suds. That’s in addition to a historic hardware shop that’s been converted into a bottle shop, with a wide collection of craft beer and local wine. Nearby on Route 1, find a local brewery that specializes in outdoor drinking. Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. opened two years ago and is named in homage to the 82 Streetcar line which ran by the brewery’s site from 1888 to 1957. This converted auto garage now serves hop-forward beers and has bike rack parking and picnic tables, perfect for a Sunday Funday. For more craft beers from around the country paired with wood-fired pizza, Pizzeria Paradiso is a top-notch eater across the street, and cap off your crawl by swinging by Maryland Meadworks, which serves a range of meads from sweet to semi-sweet to dry.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

Upper Marlboro

Distance from DC: 45 minutes
Fulfill your childhood wonder and delight at the greatest playground in the DMV. Watkins Regional Park is great for kids (or the kid at heart) looking to romp around themed playgrounds. The first is a horse-racing-themed playground, part of Maryland’s legacy as a horse racing capital. Meanwhile, the second option is the stuff of fairy tales-a Wizard of Oz-inspired playground, complete with a yellow brick road, a ruby slippers slide, and an Emerald City climbing wall. Grownups and kids alike will also enjoy the hiking options at nearby Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, an expansive preserve that’s part of the tidal reaches of the Patuxent River. There are more than 1,700 acres of unique freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, creeks, meadows, pines and sand barrens, plus fields and park areas for an afternoon picnic. If you’d rather fuel up than bring-your-own food, Upper Marlboro’s Main Street Coffee & Treats is where the community gathers for coffee, pastries, fresh-pressed juices, and vegan cupcakes at all hours of the day.

Photo Courtesy of Ada's on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River

Old Town Alexandria

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
With waterfront views, historic homes along cobblestone streets, and a trolley that goes up and down King Street for free, it’s hard not to imagine why Old Town Alexandria wouldn’t be on our suburban list. You might come for the charm, but there’s a lot more to this city than just Instagram-worthy streetscapes. The Torpedo Factory is a burgeoning artist enclave for purchasing one-of-a-kind sculptures and artwork. Those who prefer a pleasure cruise down the Potomac can take the Potomac River Water Taxi to or from the city. And outdoor eating by the water offers plenty of space and social distance. The food and outdoor surroundings at Ada’s on the River and King & Rye, two of Alexandria’s latest eatery additions, are great places to book a weekend brunch.

Eden Center
Eden Center
Eden Center

Falls Church

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Most people know Falls Church as the home of Eden Center-a shopping center with dozens of Vietnamese businesses and restaurants. This might be the biggest draw for Falls Church food lovers. However, there are several more reasons to make this Northern Virginia suburb a part of your food bucket list. Start at Takumi, a popular Japanese sushi spot, serving quality grade sashimi, sake, and sushi tastings. Got a craving for cavatelli? Then book it to Thomspon Italian. Chef Gabe Thompson and Pastry Chef Katherine Thompson are a husband and wife team who make this spot feel more like home. While the dining room remains closed, Thompson is offering several of its top dishes, including housemade pasta and gelatos, for pickup.

Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap

Tysons Corner

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
When you visit Tysons Corner, you’re probably here to do one thing-shop until you drop. Tysons is home to two malls, sometimes nicknamed Tysons I (Tysons Corner Center) and Tysons II (Tysons Galleria). The former is pretty typical while the latter leans more upscale. Not surprisingly, Tysons II also has good taste in food. Find the Urbanspace Food Hall, home to Donburi DC and Andy’s Pizza, plus an upscale pastry shop called Lady M. Aside from the shopping and dining, another good reason to visit Tysons this summer might be for a concert. The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts recently announced its outdoor summer concert lineup, which could start as soon as the end of May. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!

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Tim Ebner is a contributor for Thrillist. 

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