Washington DC

Actually Fun Things to Do in DC This Weekend

Mix up Dry January cocktails, have a virtual game night, or go ice skating.

Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington
Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington

January 2021 is nearly behind us. And while some may be saying good riddance, others may not feel quite ready to jump into the next month. There’s something about the nearness of the month of February that instantly inspires all of the lovey-dovey feels. While the Biden administration has escalated vaccination distribution, the multiple variations of COVID-19 are more than enough reason to continue social distancing, limiting gatherings, and doubling up on face masks. But don’t worry, like always, we’ve compiled a list of fun DC-area events to keep your spirits high this weekend-from safe outdoor activities to a Valentine’s Day-inspired mural. 

Explore a Winter Village in Baltimore

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Downtown Baltimore
The fifth floor terrace of the waterfront Four Seasons Baltimore hotel has transformed into a “winter village” complete with a 1,800-square-foot ice rink, private cabanas with fire pits for rent, lively music, and warm snacks and drinks. Each one-hour ticket includes a skate rental, your choice of hot chocolate or apple cider, and housemade trail mix. The frosty fun lasts through February 21.
Cost: $30/person
 

Celebrate Winter Restaurant Week

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Various locations
Support local restaurants this weekend and take advantage of some great deals from Winter Restaurant Week by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. Choose from dine-out-at-home takeout, delivery and winter outdoor dining options. This year’s restaurant week also includes a robust to-go program with cocktail and wine pairings. Participating restaurants will offer multi-course dinner menus for $35 or $55 per person.
Cost: Prices vary
 

Submit a special Valentine’s Day message

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31  
Online
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. These days, it’s important now more than ever to remind your loved ones that you care for them. So, show some of your gratitude to your friends, family and significant other or favorite places with a message that will be added to a temporary mural in Rosslyn. You have from now through February 1 to submit your message. You’ll be notified the week before Valentine’s Day, once the murals are installed, and the murals will be available for viewing until the end of February.   
Cost: Free  
 

Experience a new kitchen collaboration

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31  
Shaw
It’s hard to argue the case that there’s anything better than doughnuts, fried chicken, and cookies in the same place. This week, new partners Astro Doughnuts and Saya Salteña have joined Prescription Chicken‘s shared kitchen in DC. Comfort food orders will be available for pick up or delivery.  
Cost: Prices vary   

Check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ latest exhibitions online

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Online
Just because the museum is currently closed to in-person visits, doesn’t mean you can’t expose yourself to its latest exhibitions. Check out the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ latest exhibition, Reclamation: Recipes, Remedies, and Rituals. Throughout the year, nine interdisciplinary artists will deliver a virtual content experience that re-contextualizes traditional gender roles. Participate in the exhibition in the exhibition by sharing recipes, anecdotes, photos, and reflections related to food. 
Cost: Free  
 

Share your 2020 story with the National Museum of American History

Friday, January 29 – Sunday, January 31
Online
Last year was unprecedented in many ways, from pandemics and turbulent elections to Black Lives Matters protests. Some say that the first couple of weeks of January have felt like a year in itself. Either way, we all have a notable 2020 story to share and the National Museum of American History wants to hear it. Contribute to history this weekend and share how your life has changed during these times. Put your writer’s hat on and add your story to the museum’s digital time capsule and send a message to future generations about life today.
Cost: Free  
 

Ice skate at Cameron Run

Saturday, January 30 – Sunday, January 31
Alexandria, Virginia
Grab your coat, scarf and favorite skates this weekend and head down to Cameron Run Regional Park for your ice-skating fix. Regardless of whether you’re a pro on the ice or just a beginner, it can’t hurt to get some fresh air and exercise. Purchase your ticket online to book a one-hour session and don’t forget your mask.
Cost: $15+   Sign up here for our daily DC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Oyin Adedoyin is a Baltimore-area freelance journalist with previous experience at The Wall Street JournalPolitico, and The Baltimore Sun. On the off chance that she’s not writing, you can probably find her nose buried in a good book or learning new songs on the ukulele. Follow her on Twitter @Oyin_Adedoyin_.

Washington DC

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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